MRI Food Halls Inc photo with bankruptcy tag

On January 15, 2021, MRI Food Halls and its two Minneapolis-based restaurants filed Chapter 7 bankruptcy, according to the US Bankruptcy Court for the District of Minnesota

As restaurants across Minnesota begin to reopen amid coronavirus-related shutdowns, many Twin Cities restaurant owners like MRI have been forced to shut their restaurants’ doors for good. 

The two Minneapolis restaurants — the 9,000-square-foot Cargo Food Authority, and the Bus Stop Burgers & Brewhouse — are among the nearly 100 Twin Cities restaurants that closed in 2020 — and now 2021 — due to the COVID-19 pandemic and recent riots in Minneapolis.

“[These restaurants] are totally shuttered,” said John Lamey, the bankruptcy attorney for MRI Food Halls, told the Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal after the filing. “There’s no intention of opening back up.”

COVID-19 pandemic brutalizes Twin Cities contractors & restaurant industry 

As of December 28, 2020, a reported 94 restaurants across Minneapolis shut down due to the coronavirus pandemic, and some have yet to reopen and recover.

The report came as the State of Minnesota closed all bars and restaurants in November 2020 for one month due to the increase of COVID-19 cases across the state. 

On January 11, Minnesota Governor Tim Walz lifted the coronavirus restrictions, allowing restaurants and bars to operate at 50 percent capacity with a 10 p.m. curfew. 

As of January 22, 2021, the state has reported 450,762 total positive COVID-19 cases

For contractors servicing the hospitality industry and beyond in Minnesota, the coronavirus pandemic has led to somber outlooks for 2021. 

According to a survey of 29 construction firm managers in Minneapolis conducted by the Minneapolis Star-Tribune in early January 2021, 24 out of 29 firm managers (83%) are “worried that the pandemic would continue to hurt projects, workers, and supply chains well into 2021.” 

The survey also found that 22 of the 29 construction managers, or 76%, reported their clients had postponed projects in the Twin Cities. At least 14 contractors (48%) had their construction projects cancelled completely. 

The Minneapolis Star-Tribune also reports that 41% of general contractors across the state have faced increased project costs directly caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, along with an increase in time to complete projects.

Additionally, the news outlet found that 34% of surveyed Minnesota construction firms plan to hire fewer employees in 2021. 

Of MRI Food Halls’ 76 creditors with nonpriority unsecured claims, at least 37 are contractors, material suppliers, and equipment lessors. 

Amid the affects of COVID-19, MRI Food Halls reported just $240,343 in gross revenue between December 19, 2019, and December 27, 2020. 

The restaurant owner also notes they owe a total of $1,477,311.57 in liabilities. 

At the time of their Chapter 7 bankruptcy filing, MRI Food Halls reported no secured claims or priority unsecured claims. While the bankruptcy petition includes 76 nonpriority unsecured claims, only a handful of creditors are listed with a claim amount owed. 

Notably, Dallas, Texas-based Downtown East Investors — which has a financial interest in the building housing Bus Stop Burgers & Brewhouse — holds a nonpriority unsecured claim worth $1 million. The property owner of the Cargo Food Authority restaurant location, Los Angeles-based AEG Management, is named with a nonpriority unsecured claim worth $429,167. 

Of the 37 contractor, material supplier, and equipment lessor creditors, only Minneapolis-based ice supplier Shamrock Group lists a claim amount: $36,000. 

The remaining contractor, material supplier, and equipment lessor creditors do not list claim amounts, citing the amounts as “unknown” in the filing. The 36 additional creditors include: 

  • Air Conditioning Associates
  • Alpine Diversified Services
  • Ameripride 
  • Appear Clear Window & Cleaning 
  • Bernick’s 
  • Boelter Premier Minneapolis
  • Broadway Rental Equipment 
  • CaterRent 
  • Coyle Appliance Repair 
  • Creative Color 
  • Davis Lock and Safe 
  • Dugas Woodworking 
  • Enviro-Master of Minneapolis & St. Paul 
  • Greiner Construction 
  • Hohensteins 
  • JJ Taylor Distributing Company of MN 
  • Johnson Controls Fire Protection 
  • Kaufman Sign Company 
  • Minneapple Cleaning 
  • Plunkett’s Pest Control 
  • Quality Propane of MN 
  • RJ Macro Construction 
  • Roto-Rooter Services Company 
  • Saf-Guard Safety Shoe Company 
  • Shamrock Group 
  • Smart Care Equipment Solutions 
  • Southern Glazers of MN 
  • Summit Companies 
  • Sun Creators 
  • Sysco Minnesota 
  • T-Rex Cookie Company 
  • Transource 
  • Trio Supply Company 
  • Utility Management Solutions 
  • Unitech Technology Systems 
  • Wallraff Electric