Dear Mayor Frey | Power Line

Late last month restaurateur Ryan Brevig copied friends and acquaintances on his message to Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey and the Minneapolis City Council announcing the closure of his Warehouse District property. Burl Gilyard covered the message and related events in his Twin Cities Business article here. I thought some Power Line readers might find the message of interest. Here it is (lightly edited):

From: Ryan Brevig
Date: July 21, 2020
Subject: The 508 bar + restaurant Closure

Mayor Frey and Minneapolis City Council,

First, thank you for taking the time to read this e-mail. I know that all of you are busy.

My name is Ryan Brevig. I have owned restaurants in the city of Minneapolis, since 2006 — The Loop and The 508.

It is with an extremely heavy heart that I notify you that after 12 amazing years, we have decided to close The 508 bar + restaurant forever. It’s last day of business was June 17. We are only now announcing the closure to the public, out of respect for the building owner, as we did not want any looters to get wind of another vacated space and get any criminal ideas.

Sure, the pandemic did not help. But to be quite frank, the final straw was the absolute mess that you have allowed our once great city to become.

Downtown Minneapolis became a scary place to be after the tragic murder of George Floyd. Don’t get me wrong, that murder was just that….murder. I truly hope that those responsible are held accountable to the fullest extent of the law.

That being said, to simply turn over our city to chaos was unbelievable to watch and quite unprecedented. To watch the 3rd Precinct be turned over to people actively committing crimes was a crying shame.

On June 12, The 508 had some unruly people causing trouble outside of our restaurant’s front door. Along with our neighboring restaurant, we called the police at the 1st precinct to help break up the group so that customers would be allowed to get past them and into our place of business.

In what I can only describe as utterly shocking, we were told by the police that there would be no police sent our way….and it was recommended that we simply close and lock our doors. Mind you, the 1st precinct is literally one block away from The 508. We had just been allowed to reopen our dining room two days prior, per the Governor’s reduced restrictions. Then, we’re told by City of Minneapolis police that they cannot help us and we should close up and lock our doors on that fateful Friday, June 12.

That was it for us. If the City is going to provide that level of “support” to its loyal downtown businesses then we simply cannot operate safely. It was the next day that we decided to close the business forever.

I don’t know what you all are up to and I truly question if you have any idea yourselves. But our city is headed in a terrible direction. Do you remember the decade-plus of the abandoned downtown district of Detroit?

We are on the fast track to that same fate if our Leaders don’t wise up to the notion that you have to be at least moderately business-friendly in order to create a vibrant, energetic, and safe city.

Mayor Frey, I am sorry to speak so bluntly. I have known you for many years on a business and personal level and you’ve always been fair to me. But the actions of this City Council over the last few years is truly frightening and has small businesses in Minneapolis running for the exits. It’s embarrassing.

I do not consider myself a political person. Every time I step into a voting booth, my completed ballot has both “blue” and “red” on it. So, please don’t consider this e-mail anything but what it is. I’m simply a small business owner in Minneapolis who needed to share with you the perspective of many many small business owners in your City. Frustration doesn’t even come close to describing it.

I don’t mean to offend anyone with this communication.

I hope you’re all staying safe and healthy.

Again, thank you for your time.


Ryan Brevig

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