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Chef Diane Moua Opens Diane’s Place in Northeast Minneapolis

The Hmong American restaurant includes event space and is now open for bookings

By Amy Nelson

Chef Diane Moua || Photo by Tim Gruber Photography, courtesy of Diane’s Place

Chef Diane Moua’s father proudly spoke in Hmong about his daughter and their family’s journey at a ribbon-cutting ceremony for Diane’s Place in Minneapolis’ Food Building in early April.

Moua herself fluidly switched between English and Hmong, and other family members and well-wishers cheered before she slashed the ceremonial ribbon, signaling the restaurant and event space was open for business. Described as “a Hmong American full-service restaurant,” Diane’s Place in Northeast Minneapolis is a 1,900-square-foot establishment that currently serves breakfast and lunch, with plans to add dinner service soon.

At the same time, Moua also opened an adjacent 2,600-square-foot event space called Events by Diane that offers catering from her team. Both feature Asian-inspired interior design aspects and are now open for booking.

Event space at Diane’s Place in Minneapolis || Photo by Tim Gruber Photography, courtesy of Diane’s Place

Moua, a five-time James Beard-nominated pastry chef, may best be known for her years as executive pastry chef of Spoon and Stable in Minneapolis and Bellecour in Wayzata, but she also has worked in popular kitchens around the Twin Cities such as Aquavit and La Belle Vie. She is the oldest daughter of Hmong refugees and grew up on a farm in central Wisconsin where her parents still live. She was the first of her six siblings to be born in the United States.

“Working our family farm with my parents and siblings taught me the importance of food and high-quality ingredients,” Moua says, in a prepared statement. “I want Diane’s Place to reflect my heritage and everything my parents taught me, including their work ethic, hospitality, and love of food.” She says she hopes to use some of the ingredients from the farm for both the restaurant and the event space.

The collaboration with other makers in the Food Building was a strong fit for Moua. The Food Building is also home to artisanal Alemar Cheese Company, wholesale flour mill Baker’s Field Flour & Bread, local entrepreneur Kiernan Folliard’s Red Locks Irish Whiskey, and other entrepreneurs. The Makers’ Board menu item at Diane’s Place features meats and cheeses from Food Building partners, while other dishes lean into Moua’s pasty and dessert expertise.

A table of eats at Diane's Place
A table of eats at Diane’s Place || Photo by Gemma Weston Photography, courtesy of Diane’s Place

Moua has been dreaming about opening her own restaurant for some time—the buzz about Diane’s Place started last year when she first released details about her plans, including the name and inspiration.

“Opening my own restaurant is very meaningful to my parents, and using my American name is honoring my family’s dreams,” she says. “As a trained chef and farmer, Diane’s Place will offer the best of both of my worlds. I look forward to sharing my personal interpretations of Hmong cuisine and the fresh, savory ingredients I grew up eating with my family.”