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American Burger Emporium closes in Woodbury

Woodbury residents said goodbye to one of the city's popular burger joints and will soon welcome a new Chinese restaurant in its place.

American Burger Emporium closed its doors late last month after owner Eric Sandrock decided to get out of his lease 14 months early, he said.

The restaurant, which was part of a cluster of restaurants at Woodbury Village, has three other locations in Minnesota.

Sandrock said the other spots in St. Paul, Minneapolis and St. Joseph are American Burger Bar and have a few more options with a slightly different concept.

He wanted to focus more on the American Burger Bar concept and close up shop at Woodbury's Emporium.

"It was a tough decision to make," Sandrock said. "We just felt that it would be better, if the opportunity arose, that we would close it."

The property manager allowed him to get out of his lease early because a new tenant was interested in the space, he added.

The other American Burger bars have more complicated burgers that are bigger in size and are made with exotic ingredients, he said. They also have table service, a sit down menu and liquor options.

Emporium was open in Woodbury for almost four years and attracted customers from nearby businesses as well as regulars who told Sandrock they were sad to see it go.

"It was hard to say goodbye to everybody," he said.

But the Woodbury resident is happy with how things went, even though he opened during shaky economic times.

"We opened right before the recession. We feel good we made it," Sandrock said.

He's also excited for what's coming to that part of town, with Dickey's Barbecue opening right down the street, and Panda Express replacing his former restaurant.

Woodbury city officials announced last month that Panda Express will replace American Burger Emporium after doing a complete remodel to the space.

The space is already under construction to fit the new cuisine.

Sandrock said for now he's focusing on running the three American Burger Bar locations, but he may come back in the future.

"I think one day you'll see us back in Woodbury, Oakdale, Cottage Grove," he said. "I would like to have something back in that area."

Riham Feshir
Riham Feshir is a reporter and photographer for the Woodbury Bulletin. Her coverage includes Woodbury City Hall, Washington County Board of Commissioners and business news.  Follow Riham on Twitter @RihamFeshir for the latest updates.