Crime ‘killed our businesses,’ Minneapolis restaurant owner says

As damaging as high operating costs, taxes, and COVID mandates are for Minneapolis restaurants and bars, Jay Ettinger believes crime is the biggest thorn in their side.

An empty sidewalk along Nicollet Mall in downtown Minneapolis. (Alpha News)

On the latest episode of “Liz Collin Reports,” Liz speaks with two Minneapolis residents — a business owner and a health care worker — about the city’s prospects for recovery given the persistent effects of COVID lockdowns, restrictions, and a high crime rate.

Jay Ettinger, owner of Minneapolis’ two Pourhouse locations, says he’s more optimistic about the resurgence of downtown than that of Uptown. But it’s a muted optimism because of what he continues to see on the ground.

“Perception is reality, but reality is reality, in my eyes. And people are coming downtown and seeing what’s going on and not coming back,” he tells Liz. “And so for people to say, ‘Jay, keep your mouth shut, you’re hurting the perception of downtown.’ To me, that’s nonsense.”

The sparse activity, Ettinger adds, is a combination of the lingering effects of COVID shutdowns and mandates, high costs of dining and parking, high taxes, and crime.

Alpha News’ own Pafoua Yang recently reported on how thefts, robberies, and shootings have increased at a time when police patrols are few and far between and activity is still down from pre-pandemic levels.

As damaging as high operating costs, taxes, and COVID mandates are for Minneapolis restaurants and bars, Ettinger believes crime is the biggest thorn in their side.

“Everyone can tell you that COVID hurt business, and I agree that it probably hurt the lunch establishments, but the late night spots were not affected by COVID other than the mask mandates and the vax card mandates. That’s what killed our business,” he says. “But first and foremost, public safety is what’s killed our businesses.”

Liz’s next guest was an employee of Hennepin Healthcare who asked to be identified as “Ann” for privacy reasons. She gave an account of a quiet downtown that may never fully recover. Ann believes it’s because people just aren’t comfortable with the eerie silence and the nagging threat of crime.

“It’s been so long like this that it’s hard to imagine it coming back,” she says.

Listen to the latest episode of “Liz Collin Reports” by clicking here.