EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. (FOX 9) - After years of planning, Eden Prairie's Asia Mall is preparing to open its doors to the public for the first time on Thursday.
Built inside what used to be a Gander Mountain, Asia Mall will be a first of its kind in the metro, housing several restaurants, a large Asian grocery store and food stands.
The mall hosted a ribbon cutting ceremony ahead of its soft opening on Thursday.
"We are excited that the dream came to reality," said Michael Bui, owner of Bober Tea & Mochi Dough. His stand will serve boba tea and mochi doughnuts. Bui also owns and operates Pho Mai, a traditional Vietnamese restaurant located right next door.
Throughout the mall, patrons can also sink their teeth into Korean hot dogs and shaved ice, and Chinese hot pot.
Asia Mall is bringing authentic flavors to an area that has historically lacked traditional Asian offerings, demonstrating the demand for more options in the southwest suburbs.
"The perception is that most Asian Americans live in St. Paul or Minneapolis," said ThaoMee Xiong, executive and network director of the Coalition of Asian American Leaders. "The necessity for this mall demonstrates the growing population in this particular area."
For Amor Zhao, one of the mall's owners, it represents much more than just a place to eat. It's a spot where Asian Americans can celebrate and share their culture with the world.
"We welcome anybody. Anybody in the neighborhood is welcome," said Zhao.
Asia Mall's soft opening will run daily from November 10th through November 19th, 12-7 p.m. They will have limited occupancy during that time.
A grand opening is set for November 20th.