Sunday, January 6, 2013

Minot booms ... and diversifies

John Eligon reports for the New York Times today under the headline, "Down-Home American, Korean Style."  The story is of that a Korean-American woman, 48-year-old Geewon Anderson, who last year bought a quintessentially American restaurant, Charlie's Main Street Cafe, in downtown Minot, North Dakota.  Anderson has installed various members of her family there to run the place, along with some other local enterprises in which she has invested.  Although the family members who are operating these businesses have come from South Korea to do so, Eligon focuses on how Anderson and her husband (a Minnesotan by birth) have sought to keep Charlie's quintessentially American, from decor to menu.  Here's an excerpt that evokes a certain nostalgia about establishments like Charlie's:
Charlie’s Main Street Cafe in the heart of downtown here is a monument to small-town Americana.
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It is a gathering place for local leaders, and for residents to catch up on gossip. 
This could well be a haunt on any idyllic American street corner. But Charlie’s is a bit different. 
The purveyor at this landmark of deeply American culture in a town that is more than 97 percent American-born happens to be a South Korean immigrant who traces her earliest awareness of the United States to a story her mom told her when she was in elementary school in Seoul, about a place that boasted of 31 flavors of ice cream.
Eligon also notes that Anderson was attracted to Minot as a destination for her investment because, like its western North Dakota environs, it is enjoying an economic boom from oil and gas drilling in the region.

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