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'U' Campus Favorites Village Wok, Big Ten To Close After Decades

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) -- After decades in business, some popular restaurants around the University of Minnesota will be closing their doors.

There are plans to build a 27-story apartment complex at the Stadium Village location where The Big Ten Restaurant and Bar and Village Wok currently stand.

Eric Plumb has been a Village Wok customer since 1992.

"It's just a small mom-and-pop place that has really, really good food," Eric said.

His wife, Sari, has been right there with him.

"This is our go-to place for Chinese food so we'll miss it a lot," Sari said.

Village Wok will officially close its doors on Aug. 21 to make way for new apartments.

Village Wok, Big Ten, Bun Mi
(credit: CBS)

Francisco Vuong Deo Campo is a manager at both Village Wok and Bun Mi.

"I've worked here over three decade, so it is kind of my second home," Francisco said.

He says employees at both places are looking for new jobs, even though both restaurants want to return in a couple years.

"It's going to be sad, but I'm hoping we come back soon," Francisco said.

While the Village Wok and Bun Mi are hoping to return after construction is completed, The Big Ten has other plans after 62 years in business.

"It's time for us to move on," said owner Todd DuPont.

He has worked at The Big Ten while he was in college, and then bought it with a partner after he graduated.

Todd says it has had generations of staff and customers come through.

"I just don't feel it'd be right, my partners don't feel it'd be right to try and replace this," Todd said. "We want the memories to just end nice, peacefully and the way it should."

Last call will be on Labor Day. That meant U of M graduate Jerod Swanson had to visit one more time.

"I heard that it was going to be closing down so I wanted to hit it one more time," Jerod said. "That's why we are all here. The college crew and buddies we've made along the way."

The Big Ten Bar and Restaurant has another location in Hopkins, and that will remain open.

Both Village Wok and Bun Mi hope to return to the first-floor retail center that will be built as part of the new construction.

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