Kim Long

- 439 University Avenue -

Kim Long was the name of one of the city’s first Vietnamese restaurants and one of the first businesses to shape what became Little Mekong. It was named after its owner, who had come to Saint Paul from Vietnam in 1975. He opened his namesake restaurant in 1976.

Long was a fourth-generation restaurateur and a fighter pilot in the Vietnamese Air Force.

Long was well-known for his efforts to bring more immigrant businesses to University Avenue. He would tell people that they could help make the neighborhood better by opening shops and restaurants along University Avenue. He worked with a large group of neighborhood residents to try to rid the area of open-air drug dealing, street prostitution and other crime.

Long also led efforts to build the International Marketplace at 478 University Ave. and to obtain $1 million to fund that project and to make streetscape improvements on the east end of University Avenue. He and others worked with city officials to convert a former Harmon Glass center into a mini-mall of ethnic businesses. That effort began in 1989 and lasted into the early 1990s. One unrealized part of the plan called for flags of all nations to be placed along University Avenue.