Owners of Minh Anh restaurant in Cleveland’s Detroit-Shoreway neighborhood sell building to developers putting up apartments next door

CLEVELAND, Ohio – The owner of the popular Minh Anh Vietnamese restaurant in Detroit-Shoreway, which closed earlier this month after 37 years, has sold the building and adjacent lots to developers building a large apartment building next door.

Camla Wadsworth, who has run the restaurant on the 5500 block on Detroit Avenue since 1984, and her business partner sold the 5,200-square-foot building, an adjoining warehouse, and land in between to the Bond Street Group.

Bond Street Group plans to add 126 homes and a storefront with the Waverly & Oak development just to the west. The sale gives the Bond Street Group more control over the location for their current project and possible future ones.

Bond Street Group boss Justin Strizzi stressed that the company has no plans to demolish the restaurant’s building. Instead, he hopes to be able to run another restaurant there.

Sales ended Friday for the property in Minh Anh, as well as a property next door that housed the Vietnam Market grocery store run by Wadsworth family members. Bond Street Group paid Wadsworth and its partner $ 637,500 and $ 1.21 million for the Vietnam market and adjacent properties, according to Cuyahoga County’s real estate records. A separate deal for the sale of the neighboring property, which also includes the longtime Club Azteca Mexican American Social Club home, was closed in March.

In total, it puts Bond Street Group in control of 1.38 acres in one of the fastest developing areas in the city.

Wadsworth, 74, said she closed the restaurant because she wanted to retire. She said during an interview on Friday that the last few days Minh Anh was open were emotional.

“I feel bad. My customers have been coming here for a long, long time,” she said.

The sale of the restaurant building and the other property she owned was not part of the original deal the Bond Street Group had reached as it was planning the $ 47 million Waverly & Oak project, despite Wadsworth’s property being already up for sale had offered.

Strizzi said he started speaking to the owners of the Vietnamese market in early 2020. Wadsworth was aware of the negotiations because they used the same real estate agent, he said.

But she began talking to Bond Street Group about selling the property in late spring and early summer of that year. Strizzi said many iterations of a deal were discussed, including whether Wadsworth would continue the restaurant during the sale of the property or open the restaurant with new management.

“As much as we wanted Camla and her restaurant to stay up and running, she didn’t want it herself,” said Strizzi, who heads the Bond Street Group with Taylor Hawkins and Majestic Steel President and CEO Todd Leebow.

A depiction of the Waverly & Oak project in the Detroit-Shoreway neighborhood.

Save recipes

Still, Strizzi said he and his partners understood the importance of the restaurant to the Detroit-Shoreway neighborhood and wanted to preserve Wadsworth’s recipes.

The deal included all fixtures and fittings that will remain in the restaurant building, which includes three apartments that Wadsworth and her sister will live in for a few months while they plan their next move. It also included Wadsworth giving the Bond Street Group some of their recipes for later use in some way.

Most of the recipes are in Wadsworth’s head, so she agreed to write many of them down. That means that the possibilities for making Minh Anhs Pho, vermicelli and spring rolls will be handed over.

When asked on Friday if she had started writing down the recipes, Wadsworth said, “Not yet, because this is where I clean first.

“Then I feel better. Then I can write, ”she says.

Strizzi said the building was ready for a new restaurant operator to take over, but admitted that it could be challenging due to the construction work next door. Still, a soft opening, ghost kitchen, or pop-up restaurant could work, he said.

As for the prescriptions, he didn’t come up with a final plan for them but said he included them in the deal because the company didn’t want them to be lost and “we just wanted to make sure they were taken into account”. They could be used by a new restaurant on site or elsewhere in town, he said.

Councilor Jenny Spencer said she hoped the restaurant’s recipes land somewhere.

“It’s definitely a popular place not just for me personally, but for countless others for decades,” she said.

Vietnam market

The Vietnam Market building, seen here on September 27, 2021.

Building preserved

Spencer said she was unaware of the Bond Street Group’s plans for the Minh Anh building, but said she would oppose any efforts to demolish it. Strizzi said the Bond Street Group has no such plans.

“It’s not something disguised,” he said. “We’re not knocking it down.”

As for Waverly & Oak, Strizzi said the fences will be removed soon and that the equipment will be relocated on site. The owners of the Vietnam market pulled some items out of this building on Monday.

The crews will soon be demolishing the Club Azteca and Vietnam Market buildings, even though Strizzi did not have a schedule for these demolitions. The construction time should be 20 months.

The Cleveland Landmarks Commission gave its approval in April after a group of Latino supporters tried in February to prevent the demolition of the 64-year-old Club Azteca building. Many of these proponents changed their minds in the months that followed after developers promised to erect a memorial to the club on the property.

Regarding the property and the property directly to the east, Strizzi said the Bond Street Group could use some of it for parking in the short term. The company doesn’t have a long-term plan for the site because that part of the deal came late in the process, Strizzi said.

Still, “there are many positive reasons for owning the adjoining properties,” he said.

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