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JD Fratzke and Matty O’Reilly Are Opening a Highland Park French Tavern

Bar Brigade will open in the old Ristorante Luci space.

Chef J.D. Fratzke is opening a new spot in St. Paul
Photo courtesy Erik Eastman

When Ristorante Luci closed earlier this winter after three decades in St. Paul’s Highland Park neighborhood, many wondered what could take its place. Now we know it will be Bar Brigade from Matty O'Reilly and JD Fratzke. Bar Brigade will be a tiny French tavern, according to Stephanie March at Mpls./St.Paul Magazine, serving approachable, simple cuisine that will tend toward the veggie-centric with small plates, salads and oysters.

Fratzke, fresh off the announcement that the Strip Club Meat and Fish would shutter later this summer, has transitioned into the role of culinary director for Republic and Red River Kitchen at City House. That’s the small, seasonal space served by Republic’s second food truck that overlooks the Mississippi River where he helped O’Reilly develop the menu.

O’Reilly is also owner of Republic, the wildly popular craft beer bar and restaurant at Seven Corners, that also has two food trucks and operates inside the airport.

The restaurant just off the intersection of Fairview and Randolph in St. Paul’s Highland Park neighborhood was, until recently, a standby neighborhood red sauce restaurant and it’s a cozy space. The kitchen is diminutive, so cooking is going to require some creativity. March reports a menu that will tend towards cheese plates, oysters, small plates and just a handful of entrees.

But that’s not the end of the exciting collaborations. There will be a full cocktail program designed by Tattersall Distilling’s Dan Oskey, an exclusively French wine list and a rosé on tap.

So, grab your oyster forks, folks. The restaurant is opening soonish.