Minnesota’s iconic Chinese bakery, Keefer Court will once again be selling its signature buns and other foods but in a new location and with new ownership.
We’re excited to announce the return of Keefer Court to Minnesota in late 2023! After nearly 40 years of serving fresh Chinese pastries in the Cedar-Riverside neighborhood of Minneapolis, we’ll be re-opening at the new Asia Mall in Eden Prairie.
According to the social media post, Keefer Court is expected to open in the mall sometime this fall or winter and serve Chinese pastries, as they were known for, along with Vietnamese desserts and cakes.
The new location will be run by the trio behind Pho Mai in Dinkytown, who purchased the beloved Chinese bakery.
The post announcing the closure of the Keefer Court said owners Sunny and Paulina Kwan decided to retire, and their daughter, Michelle, who had worked the last five years to take over the family business, had plans to “pursue her own dreams and passion.”
It turns out that Asia Mall, Eden Prairie’s destination food hub, as many Asians have lamented, has a missing piece. On the first floor, between Pho Mai and Home Taste, sits an empty storefront where 2,700 square feet is earmarked for a Chinese bakery. Before the end of the year, that space will be filled with the sights and heavenly aromas of one we almost lost: Keefer Court.
Restaurateur Michael Bui is working with the blessing and a little help from the family that owned the bakery for 40 years.
“I went to college in the ’90s,” said restaurateur and Pho Mai owner Michael Bui. “I lived in the Cedar-Riverside neighborhood. To be able to get barbecue pork bun for just $2 to $3 back then was amazing.”
Like so many, he was sad to hear that the family behind the delicious institution, Sunny and Paulina Kwan and their daughter Michelle, had decided to retire and move on. The bakery, which started as a fortune cookie factory in 1983, closed at the end of 2022.
“If you travel, every great Chinatown usually has a place where you’ll see ducks hanging in the window and there will be a Chinese or Asian bakery,” said Bui. For Asia Mall to fully realize its vision, it needed a bakery. And it was in searching for a bakery that the business owners were able to connect.
“I looked into all the major franchise options,” said Bui; nothing was quite right. But the owner of Asia Mall is good friends with Sunny Kwan. After months of discussing their plan, Bui was able to work out a deal to buy the rights to Keefer Court and all of its recipes.
Not only does he have the name and dishes, but he also has the help of Sunny and Michelle. The two will come in and train the staff to ensure that all those beloved baked goods — from the pork buns and egg tarts to chocolate chip almond cookies — are made according to Keefer Court standards.
In addition to the original bakery recipes, there will be a few Vietnamese desserts added to the menu, like che, the vibrant tri-colored dessert, and xoi, coconut-topped sweet rice.
Bui’s family emigrated to Minnesota from Vietnam in 1980; his mother eventually opened MT Noodles in Brooklyn Park. Following in her footsteps, Bui opened the first Pho Mai location during the pandemic in Dinkytown. As an Eden Prairie native, he was excited to be a part of Asia Mall as it was taking shape.
Right now, the focus is concentrating on the construction with the goal of opening Keefer Court in late 2023.
“Anytime you have new owners of a great concept, it’s really about keeping it good,” said Bui. “Both Michelle and Sunny will help us become experts.”