MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — An iconic cluster of restaurants in South Minneapolis is weathering a difficult time.

“All of the businesses in this area have been struggling,” said Tomme Beevas, the founder of Pimento Jamaican Kitchen.

Beevas remains upbeat about his restaurant’s prospects, as well as its Eat Street neighbors.

The diverse stretch of restaurants on Nicollet Avenue south of downtown is a Minneapolis staple.

“It’s great,” said Jason Lampel, who lives nearby. “Just a lot of different restaurants and bars to try out.”

“That Black Forest Inn place is definitely something you’d find in a guide to Minneapolis,” said Maren Johnson, who’s lived near Eat Street her whole life.

At Pimento, Beevas says they’re dealing with a labor shortage, the bar side has limited hours, and their food truck is searching for customers.

“There’s nobody downtown anymore so right now we’re over at Lake Bde Maka Ska where we’re hoping we can get some traffic over there, but people are by and large still afraid to come out,” Beevas said.

Pho 79’s manager says business is slower than usual.

The family-owned Jasmine Deli closed to re-open as a tea place, which has since been vandalized.

“It’s concerning to all of us because at any minute, we can be in that position,” Beevas said.

He said the pivot to more takeout and delivery has presented challenges, including the high fees charged by services like Uber Eats, GrubHub and BiteSquad.

Hope springs because of the community though, according to Beevas.

“Everybody’s coming to Eat Street because that’s where they’ll get their souls fed,” he said.

The Whittier Neighborhood Alliance is holding an Eat Street Arts Fest this Saturday from noon to 5 p.m.

David Schuman