Jul 19, 2019, 3:00am CDT
Afro Deli & Coffee Afro Deli & Coffee's sandwich offerings include Somali Steak, Grilled Chicken and cheeseburgers. Afro Deli is opening a new location in downtown Minneapolis this fall at the former O'Cheeze skyway location in Baker Center. Afro Deli owner Abdirahman Kahin had wanted to be in the Minneapolis skyway for a while and seized on the opportunity when the O'Cheeze space opened up, signing a 10-year lease a few weeks ago for the 1,600 square foot spot, Caspian Group Vice President Marshall Nguyen said. Nguyen represented Afro Deli in the deal, while Marilyn Fritze with Christianson & Company represented Baker Center. "We have a lot of demand from downtown Minneapolis, so we want to join the community there and share our love and our menu," Kahin said. The new location at 705 Marquette Ave., across the walkway from Grain & Green, will be called Afro Deli Express and mimic the St. Paul skyway location that opened in February. The restaurant will serve most of the African, Mediterranean and American dishes available at its larger locations. In contrast, the St. Paul Afro Deli Express started with an abbreviated menu of its most popular items; it has since expanded its offerings in response to customer feedback, Kahin said. Kahin said the new Minneapolis restaurant will have a build-your-own meal line where customers can order customized sandwiches, wraps and rice dishes. All the meals at Afro-Deli are prepared halal. This will be the fourth Afro Deli in the Twin Cities. Kahin opened the first in the Cedar-Riverside neighborhood of Minneapolis in 2010 to great fanfare. The restaurant proved to be a hit among everyone from college students to hospital employees. In 2015, Kahin opened a second Afro Deli near the Minnesota Children's Museum in St. Paul. The original Afro Deli in Cedar-Riverside closed in 2016 due to a dispute between Kahin and the landlord, the African Development Center, but reopened in Stadium Village in early 2017. Kahin plans to open the new skyway restaurant in mid-September after spending at least a month fixing, repairing and branding the space. He is optimistic about Baker Center's impact on the restaurant, saying its location is one of the busiest in Minneapolis.