With last week’s announcement that Meyvn was closing, the Twin Cities again bids farewell to an attempt at a deli, as the Lyn-Lake eatery joins the list of those trying to take up the mantle since Lincoln Del’s closure in 2000.
Here’s the thing about Meyvn: It was good. Not great. Not otherworldly. And that, right there, was the problem.
The bagels were the thing that Chef Adam Eaton talked the most about when interviewed in December 2017. And they were good – TC Jewfolk’s 2018 Great Minnesota Bagel Showdown rated them second in the Twin Cities.
But beyond that, the restaurant lacked identity. Eaton called the menu “worldly Jewish,” and the menu had deli staples like a Reuben, pastrami, and matzah ball soup. But the recent obituary in City Pages lamented the loss of their cheeseburger and pierogis, both things that weren’t on the opening day menu and neither are things that I’m looking for at a deli. There are plenty of places that specialize in cheeseburgers that I’m looking to if that’s what I have a hankering for, and the pierogis at Burch Steak are out of this world. In other words, those aren’t the things that bring me in.
When our group from TC Jewfolk ate there the consensus was the food was good-not-great, slightly overpriced for the quantity, and a little too clean. By which we mean it lacked the character that you expect to see out of a traditional, stereotypical deli.
General Manager Laurel Elm said that they thought of the restaurant as “Jewish deli by day and sexy Mediterranean café by night.” That meant that bagels – ostensibly the star of the show – were only available at breakfast and lunch. The bagels will still be available even after the restaurant closes at Kowalski’s. The restaurant’s last day is April 21. So, during Passover.
In their Instagram post announcing the closing, they wrote: “And we have exciting new things coming as well.” I wouldn’t doubt that, given the leadership team of owner Tim Niver, Eaton, and Elm. However, with the golden opportunity to end the Minneapolis deli drought, Meyvn, like Rye before it, came in with a bang and out with a whimper.