Location: Saint Paul
Key Players: Nick Rancone, Thomas Boemer, Dan Zeroth, Nate McLamore Raczkowski
Projected Opening: Before Christmas
This past week we got the exclusive first peek inside the second coming of the fried chicken juggernaut: Revival. Just like chef Thomas Boemer and Nick Rancone’s other restaurants, Revival 1 and Corner Table, the wallpaper game is on point. Standing leopards are intertwined and accented by a tasteful amount of gold. Specially ordered from overseas, that is just one of the gilded touches inside the transformed Cheeky Monkey space on Selby Avenue in St. Paul’s Cathedral Hill neighborhood.
Inside the kitchen there will be the fried chicken, but there’s also a huge and glorious smoker that is just waiting to be stocked with brisket.
The duo are thrilled to be in St. Paul. For Rancone, it’s a homecoming. He grew up in the area. Surprisingly, Revival was originally meant to be a St. Paul eatery. The vague idea of a chicken place solidified when the duo had toured a location on nearby Grand Avenue. That address didn’t work out, but this space feels so right.
The full bar is being installed (to be overseen by Nate McLamore Raczkowski, who was last at Hola Arepa) and the kitchen staff is being hired by chef de cuisine Dan Zeroth whose resume includes a turn behind the burners at the old school Corner Table.
Boemer and Rancone say the eatery is very near the inspection period and once all is clear with the city, the fryers will get roiling. And this time, they promise, take out will be available. St. Paul’s Netflix and couch game is about to get a major upgrade.
After this restaurant is open, the team will turn its attention to the expansion of the Minneapolis location. After that, they turn their attention to the giant Schmidt Brewery project that will open late next year, if not 2018.
Location: Walker Art Center
Key Players: Doug Flicker, Kim Tong, Jon S. Olson, T.J. Rawitzer
Projected Opening: Tuesday December 13
Along with a massive remodel, the progressive museum is opening a restaurant along with Culinare. The company which also operates Sea Change in the Guthrie has tapped Doug Flicker (Piccolo, Sandcastle) to operate the eatery. His all star team leading the crew includes Kim Tong as general manager, Jon S. Olson behind the bar and T.J. Rawitzer as chef de cuisine.
The new restaurant will seat 94 inside and 60 outside, under a canopy of honey locust trees. Every seat comes with spectacular views of the downtown skyline and the sculpture garden thanks to floor to ceiling windows and mindful design.
During the day, the restaurant be more casual with counter service. By night, the experience transforms into full-service dinner. Parking will be easily accessed through the ramp attached to the Walker and doors that open onto Vineland Place. Hours will be Tuesday through Friday lunch, brunch Saturday and Sunday and dinner Tuesday through Sunday. On the menu will be the de rigeuer locally sourced, ethically raised meats, but taking center stage on the plate will be vegetables and grains. "It's not a vegetarian restaurant," Flicker cautioned. "That said, I think as chefs we've cooked a piece of meat every way imaginable. We're working in a new frontier and treating an onion with the same care and respect as a tenderloin." Plus, there will be a rotisserie, so we can expect those slow, spit roasted meats, but imagine what a rotisseried head of Romanesco could become in Doug Flicker's masterful hands.
Location: 605 7th Street West, St. Paul
Key Players: Stephan Hesse and Tyge Nelson
Projected Opening: December
Tyge Nelson and Stephan Hesse have built reputations as the big guns other restaurants pull in to run a great kitchen. Until now, neither had been able to unleash their own, unadulterated culinary creativity on us, the eating public, until now. The chefs have branched out and will open an ever-so-slightly elevated Mexican restaurant inside the former Glockenspiel location in St. Paul's West 7th neighborhood. Think perfectly toothsome handmade tortillas, inventive interpretations of ceviche and cold beverages with friends that stretch on for hours.
This space is also imminently ready to open and after a wildly popular pop up at Parlour last month, it’s clear the public is ready to get in here. Loosen up those holiday belts, tasty things are heading our way before the end of the year.
Location: 700 West Lake Street, Minneapolis
Key Players: Chris Jackson, Chanel Donahue and Dan Prentice
Projected Opening: Winter
A counter service dumpling shop is taking shape inside an old sub shop right at the intersection of Lake Street and Lyndale Avenue. According to The Growler, the shop’s menu will revolve around a pan-Asian selection of dumplings—Korean mandu next to Thai wontons and Japanese gyoza. There will be 36 seats inside for daytime service and a window serving bites late night and after bar close.
Location: The corner of 2nd Avenue and Washington Avenue in Minneapolis
Key Players: Luke Shimp and Todd MacDonald
Projected Opening: Late November
Construction is underway inside this North Loop pizza collaboration from chef Todd MacDonald and Luke Shimp (owner of the Red Cow burger joints.) The woodfire-fueled eatery will also sport cocktails from Red Cow's master mixologist Ian Lowther, which Shimp raves are among the best he’s ever tasted.
MacDonald's culinary background is primarily in Italian fare (he led the short-lived Parella's kitchen in Calhoun Square). Drew Yancey (formerly of Borough) has also joined the team as sous chef and Mchael Mihajlov will be the general manager. The team is assembly and next will come menu development as the room takes shape.
Location: 1096 Grand Avenue, St. Paul
Key Players: Kevin Fitzgerald, Josh Thoma, Jack Riebel
Projected Opening: ?
The owners have heard you and trust us, they feel the pain of our longing for The Lexington in St. Paul, but there’s no new, real news on this opening. We are with you when we begin to wonder if it’s even possible this highly anticipated rebirth will ever happen.
The restaurant was first established back in 1935 and it was April 2014 when the news broke that the Smack Shack's owners and chef Jack Riebel were taking over the shuttered restaurant. Unfortunately for everybody, the project has included a few fits and starts. A restoration of this magnitude takes time and a lot of capital. Plus, co-owners Josh Thoma and Kevin Fitzgerald have also opened a second Smack Shack in Chicago, which we are speculating took a bit of work in its own right.
Now the unconfirmed murmurs are putting opening somewhere around next summer. Whenever they get there, we will be happy to go and get another taste of Jack Riebel’s divine cuisine.