A Southern food restaurant is doing business downtown while a new burger joint has opened near the university.

The Pita Pit restaurant has changed hands and a new young women’s fashion store is opening in River Hills Mall.

Archie’s Diner

RayShawn “Archie” Ninow is serving up comfort food to satisfy the Southern soul palate as well as some American breakfast staples.

Ninow last weekend had a grand opening for Archie’s Diner in the downtown Mankato Place, located where the Simply Delicious sandwich shop previously operated.

“We have the best fried chicken, creole mac and cheese, turkey legs — I mean the big turkey legs,” Ninow said. “And I have chicken and waffle on a stick. I’m always thinking of something new.”

He will be open from 7:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday-Thursday and later Friday and Saturday nights to catch the after-bar college crowd.

His breakfast menu includes typical egg dishes, grits, oatmeal muffins and more.

Ninow had a rough early life in St. Paul. “I was in 22 foster homes in the Cities and then got lucky and got adopted when I was 11 by a Janesville family.” After growing up in Janesville, Ninow went to culinary school in St. Paul.

In a nod to the poverty in his early life, Ninow donates leftover food to the homeless.

He’s already expecting growth in the future.

“I plan on going bigger and getting my own building some day.”

Kato Burger Pit

The new burger place calls itself “The Fresh Fast Food Joint,” offering a variety of burgers, fish and chips, sides, salads, wraps and ice cream.

Kato Burger Pit is a couple of blocks from the university campus at 1633 Monks Ave., in the former Massad’s Grille location.

Pita Pit

JoRae Galli Storm, who opened the downtown Pita Pit franchise in 2010, recently sold it.

The new owners are Ryan Schmitz and Rachel Ernsting. “They were customers here and they thought it’d be a good fit,” Galli Storm said.

Galli Storm and her husband, Jason Storm, also operate other businesses.

The new owners are planning to do a refresh of the store, which is at 530 South Front St.

Dry Goods USA

Dry Goods, a junior contemporary women’s clothing and accessories shop, is opening in River Hills Mall in the former Charlotte Russe space.

Charlotte Russe closed last March after the chain filed for bankruptcy and closed all its locations.

The company’s website, drygoodsusa.com, describes the stores as providing “customers with a unique shopping experience, combining an ever-changing selection of the latest trend-setting apparel, accessories, and gifts, visually inviting interiors, and unmatched customer service.”

Dry Goods USA, a subsidiary of Von Maur Department Store, opened its first location in 2010 in Aurora, Illinois.

The company has more than 40 stores in 11 states and plans to soon have 58 locations, including stores in seven new states. Dry Goods offers an interest-free credit card.

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