There was much rejoicing when it was announced that St. Paul's The Lexington would be purchased and run by some St. Paul boys with bold-face names. After years of struggling to find modern footing, the restaurant shuttered last year and went through several would-be buyers before finding investors in the owners of Smack Shack, Josh Thoma and Kevin Fitzgerald. They along with partner and chef Jack Riebel (who left the Butcher & the Boar last year) were set to take over the space and begin improvements. Those improvements are moving along, if not quite as quickly as some fans would prefer.
When reached for comment today, Thoma said "It takes a lot of work to even begin to find what needs to be done." Thus far, they've been doing demo work. "It's a lot of discovery and it's an old and historic building that used to be three buildings now it's one."
They've been jack-hammering the basement and completely remodeling the second floor. "The second floor was basically an abandoned space that was never built to be a ballroom and now we're making it safe for 300 people to jump up and down on it," said Thoma.
The kitchen is also being completely gutted. The construction will need to begin before chef Riebel can even consider his menu planning. Riebel grew up a stone's throw from the iconic restaurant.
Once they select a general contractor and get the permits in order, Thoma expects construction to begin in late October and to last about five months. That is, if all goes smoothly.
·Restaurant News: The Lexington [Star Tribune]
·All Lexington Coverage [EMPLS]