Mini Saigon, a longtime Vietnamese/Thai restaurant in downtown Olympia, is set to close at the end of January, the co-owner of the business said.
“It’s time for a change,” said Duane Walz, who bought into the business about 10 years ago. It opened in 1996 at 111 Columbia St. NW.
The business is for sale. Walz said he currently is negotiating with a buyer who has plans to fill the vacant restaurant space with another undisclosed restaurant.
“We didn’t want to leave an empty spot,” he said.
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If all goes as planned, Mini Saigon closes on Jan. 31 and the new owner takes over Feb. 1.
Walz described it as a family-run restaurant that catered to families and was best known for its spring rolls and pad thai, a noodle dish. His four sons grew up in the business.
“It’s going to be weird for them not to be down at the restaurant,” he said.
Lisa Scott Owen, the owner of The Mark, a restaurant and bar that also is on Columbia Street, said it was sad to see the business go.
“The neighborhood is disappearing a little bit,” said Owen, who became emotional when asked for her reaction to the closure.
The biggest change in the area was the arrival of new market-rate apartments, also known as the 123-4th building. And with it came some increased restaurant competition after Kizuki, a destination for Japanese food, including ramen, opened a street-level location at the corner of Fifth Avenue and Columbia Street.
And more change is on the way: A mixed-use development called Dockside Flats, which will include housing, is set to be built at Columbia Street and State Avenue. That’s the former site of a Les Schwab store, which moved across town to Plum Street and Union Avenue.