The restaurant was stocked, staffed and ready to open. There was just one problem facing Salt Cellar, the Cathedral Hill neighborhood restaurant at the corner of Western and Selby in St. Paul. There was no liquor license. The liquor license was contingent on a parking issue.
The neighborhood already boasts several eateries, including W.A. Frost, Moscow on the Hill and Red Cow near the same intersection. The on street parking is limited and actual parking lots for guests are in even shorter supply. Salt Cellar's owners Joe Kasel and Kevin Geisen (who also own Eagle Street Grill) ran into issues with the number of parking spots available for a 180 seat restaurant. Neighbors argued that there would not be enough to support the influx of traffic the restaurant will draw. The owners countered that they were "grandfathered" in from the parking allowed for the College of Visual Arts who last occupied the building.
In the end, the Board of Zoning Appeal sided with Salt Cellar. City Council Member Dai Thao explained his support to the Pioneer Press, "I just don't believe that having one business carry the burden of a problem that is shared by the entire community, it doesn't make sense."
With the approval of the liquor license (and a plan for valet parking thanks to a nearby Boy Scouts parking lot) the restaurant announced that they will open for dinner service on December 20th.
Salt Cellar's kitchen will be run by chef Alan Bergo, a passionate forager who last worked at Heartland. The restaurant's menu will focus on grass fed, locally sourced steaks and sustainable seafood. The restaurant website boasts craft cocktails and well-sourced wine, which is where the liquor license should prove quite handy.
- All Salt Cellar Coverage [-EMPLS-]
- Cathedral Hill eatery Salt Cellar liquor license approved [PiPress]
- Salt Cellar [Official Page]