The first time we chatted with Franz Gilbertson at Good Times, things seemed so good.
It was October. He'd just signed a lease at 38th and Grand Avenue in Minneapolis. Square-cut, thin-crust bar pies were on their way to Kingfield, along with ice cream and a jukebox and arcade games. The opening date was "a little uncertain," he said, but he added: "We're hoping it's not too far off."
Then someone started bashing in all the windows.
Last month, the Southwest Journal reported on the "plague of smashed windows" at 322 W. 38th St., which started in January. Property owner Tyler Avestini replaced the broken glass and installed security cameras a few weeks later, but that was just the beginning.
“They waited until those got replaced, came back that night, smashed the same one out again, plus another one in the other space,” Gilbertson told the Journal. They also shattered his back door.
The destruction is part of a pattern of property damage at Avestini-owned buildings in north Minneapolis -- and the vandals in South haven't let up.
"One step forward and two steps back," Gilbertson captioned the would-be pizzeria's latest Instagram post. "I suppose this is life having been unwittingly wrapped up with a shady slumlord and his cohorts."
He tells City Pages that someone broke another two windows last week. A third was busted up just this Monday night.
To state the obvious: It's a big bummer, for Good Times and for the neighborhood, which would likely have a lot of fun at this self-described "David Lynch meets Pee-Wee's Playhouse tavern." The shop might open one of these days -- Gilbertson's hopeful, but stuck in a real tough spot, having made "a significant investment" in the storefront already. Walking away now would mean big-time losses.
"Having been beset from day one with myriad setbacks and tribulations I'll say this, we're hanging in there but I really can't say for certain where this path leads," Gilbertson wrote.
"And please stop breaking the fucking windows," he added, "at least in my space."