Community protests as Marla's Caribbean Cuisine prepares to close

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Marla’s Caribbean Cuisine, a popular Minneapolis eatery known for its spicy dishes, has reached the end of the road at its current location.

On the corner of 38th and Bloomington in south Minneapolis, Marla Jadoonanan has been serving up authentic Caribbean cuisine for more than a decade.

Now, her days are numbered there.

“I am forced to close,” Jadoonanan said. “I’ve been pushed out. I’ve been literally pushed out out here.”

The Trinidadian native says her troubles began two years ago when a new property owner took over. The change nearly doubled her rent to $3,000 a month.

“I have no problem against gentrification, but people like us, we make up the community,” Jadoonanan said.

After fighting to stay, she is now giving up and the community turned out Thursday to protest.

“Down with the landlord, up with Marla,” they chanted.

“We just want to let people know we are finally standing up,” said Jadoonanan. “Small businesses, we’re losing a lot of small businesses and it’s a big loss when we have to close and be pushed out.”

As a minority business owner himself, property owner Dan Coleman disputes the gentrification narrative, adding that he is investing in a neighborhood where he grew up.

Jadoonanan acknowledges that he has a right to raise rent, but says it should be done within reason.

“I believe there’s something out there for us and we will continue,” Jadoonanan said. “This is not going to hinder me in any which way.”