The last few months have not been easy for Marla Jadoonanan.
In January, she told City Pages that after a decade at Bloomington and 38th, her colorful, critically acclaimed, locally beloved Caribbean restaurant would have to find a new home. Her longtime landlord sold the building last year, and the new owner told Marla he had standing offers to rent the space, which currently runs her $1,325, for $3,000 a month. So, she launched a GoFundMe, and has been looking for a new location since.
Now, adding insult to uncertainty, there's this: Someone vandalized Marla's earlier this week.
Marla and her husband, Ian, discovered it Thursday morning. Some scissor-happy jerk hacked right through her bright-red awning, slicing out the restaurant's name and logo.
“And now, this morning, the whole awning is gone,” Marla tells us. She says their AC unit has been stolen, too.
When we spoke with Marla earlier this year, she noted that her building was a little rougher when they opened a decade ago: bullet holes in the windows, graffiti on the walls.
But has anything like this happened since?
“Never. Never. I’ve been here 11 years, and I've never had any problems," Marla says. “I don’t even know how I showered, got up, and got dressed this morning. I’m so frustrated right now.”
Marla says they've filed a report with the police, who told her it seems like this was pretty intentional, "a direct hit.” But they don't have video surveillance, and the gas station cameras across the street don’t capture her building.
Marla's isn't shutting down for good, though it will stay closed until at least Thursday given the scorching forecast and lack of AC. But the restaurant may not be in south Minneapolis much longer; while the lease runs through November of 2019, she says that in light of the these events, they’re trying to get out sooner rather than later.
There is one bright spot in all this: Marla's loyal fans.
“I have customers literally driving around the city looking for spots, and they’ll send me information on it," she says. "The support has been overwhelming; a lot of people have been reaching out personally and by Facebook today, to let me know how sorry they are. I just want to thank everybody out there for the overwhelming support. I love everybody that reaches out, I love all my customers.”
“It’s just a hassle," she adds, sighing. "When I should be cooking delicious food, here I am worrying about things.”