A strip club chain whose name was inspired by Comedy Central’s animated series “South Park” is planning a new location in downtown Minneapolis.

There’s already a sign up for Peppermint Hippo at 251 Third Ave. S, located next to Rick’s Cabaret, but the club can’t open until it gets approval from the Minneapolis City Council. The business' liquor license application won unanimous approval Tuesday following a public hearing during the Business, Housing and Zoning Committee meeting. Peppermint Hippo's request is now scheduled to go before the City Council on July 18.

Peppermint Hippo is requesting an on-sale liquor license with adult entertainment, Sunday and 2 a.m. liquor sales, and special late night food. City inspector Max Cervantes recommended approval of the license.

Peppermint Hippo founder and CEO Alan Chang is behind the new location, rather than a local franchisee, according to public documents associated with the business’ application. He was present at the Business, Housing & Zoning Committee's Tuesday meeting.

Ward 3 Councilmember Michael Rainville, who represents the area where Peppermint Hippo is opening, told Chang that he wants to grab coffee with him so Rainville can get to know Chang and his business model better, especially since the club plans to serve alcohol until 2 a.m.

Peppermint Hippo owner Alan Chang (left) speaks during a public hearing on his business' liquor license request

Chang opened his first Peppermint Hippo club in 2019. The chain’s website currently lists eight locations in Wisconsin, Ohio, Missouri, Arkansas, and Nevada.

When the chain expanded to Las Vegas in 2022, Chang told the Las Vegas Review-Journal that he named his business after a fictional strip club in “South Park,” which appeared in episodes around the time Chang worked at Spearmint Rhino in Las Vegas. Peppermint Hippo was an obvious parody of Spearmint Rhino in the show.

The “confusingly similar” names prompted Spearmint Rhino to file a trademark infringement lawsuit against Peppermint Hippo in late 2023, the Las Vegas-Review Journal reported earlier this year. Court records show both parties are seeking a jury trial.

Spearmint Rhino was established in 1992 and expanded to downtown Minneapolis in 2015 with its club at 725 Hennepin Ave.

Peppermint Hippo’s new location is between THC Joint, owned by landlord Dennis Buchanan, and Rick’s Cabaret. Photo by Brianna Kelly

Peppermint Hippo’s new location spans about 10,000 square feet throughout the three-story building. A floor plan shows the club mostly occupying the second floor, with 100 seats inside and 28 outside on a private patio.

Dennis Buchanan owns the building where the new Peppermint Hippo club is located, as well as a few other downtown Minneapolis properties. His family has operated Sexworld and other adult entertainment stores in downtown Minneapolis since the ‘80s. Buchanan is currently renovating a historic Warehouse District building where Wisconsin-based chain Mad Chicken is opening its first Minnesota location.

This story was updated following the Business, Housing & Zoning meeting on July 9.