The Cove – A taste of Hawaii in Dinkytown
The Cove, one of Dinkytown’s newest fast casual restaurants opened in June 2017. The restaurant is named after the place where Owners Lee & Lana got married in Hawaii. Lee is a very hands-on owner, and you can find him at the restaurant nearly everyday, and Lana runs the social media. They offer fast-casual Asian fusion, with their specialty being build your own Poke (pronounced po-kay) bowls. You can also find a variety of Banh Mi sandwiches and fries, if you’re looking to go that route. About half their business is take-out while the other half is dine-in. They also use 3rd party delivery services.
Although he has no formal culinary training, Lee has always had a passion for food and an interest in Asian cooking passed down from parents. Additionally, when developing the menu they brought in chef Tom Thammavong. Tom has a culinary background and studied in Hawaii so he was able to help bring authenticity to their menu. Nearly everything is made fresh, including the mayo and sauces. The meats are made to order and the vegetables are sautéed as ordered.
Lee & Lana both went to the University of Minnesota, so were very familiar with Dinkytown and the culture. And while Poke bowls can be found on menus in restaurants throughout Minnesota, there isn’t currently a place that specializes in them. When Lee was looking for a career change a friend let them know about the vacancy in the ground floor space of The Venue. Knowing that Dinkytown would be a great place for the restaurant, Lee left the risk management industry to pursue being a restauranteur. Their space is shiny and new, with The Cove being their first tenant in the space since opening in 2014.
They currently have approximately 20 employees and are open every day except Mondays, but they plan to change that to be open 7 days a week very soon.
Lee said his favorite part about being in Dinkytown is the liveliness of being in a city neighborhood. Being an alumni of the University of Minnesota, it is fun for him to be back in proximity of his alma matter, and is happy to bring the poke trend to Minnesota. Dinkytown is happy to have this modern “mom & pop” restaurant in the neighborhood!