Finish this phrase and we can tell you where you’re from, “Duck.... duck.....” If you said, “goose,” chances are, you’re not from around here. Minnesota is proud gray duck country and we don’t care about your other fowl dispositions. It’s from our nursery school game time that the new restaurant soon-to-open at 435 Wabasha Street in downtown St. Paul: Gray Duck Tavern. The Madison Restaurant Group is behind the projects, the same team that owns Handsome Hog and Public. Chef Donald Gonzales, who was the long-time chef at Fourpaugh’s. Overseeing hospitality will be Aaron Johnson, a name familiar to restaurant fans who lovingly remember the Town Talk Diner. Johnson recently helped open Herbie’s on the Park before moving on to other projects.
The restaurant will have 122 seats inside and an additional 28 when it’s patio season and design is being overseen by the fittingly named Studio Grey.
Gonzales’ menu will pull inspiration from global comfort foods. Cocktails are updated takes on classics. For a preview, they are hosting a pop up inside Green Lantern, the cocktail bar below Public on Wednesday April 26. Gonzales will show off some dishes along with some seafood treats from his friend Tim McKee, the James Beard Award winning chef from The Fish Guys. Reservations are required.
Expect a Gray Duck opening by the end of May.
—Speaking of restaurant names and exciting developments, the restaurant and bar inside North Loop’s Gardner’s Hardware building have announced its names. NOLO Kitchen and Bar will be the upstairs component and the subterranean Basement Bar will be below. Behind the restaurants are Marty Collins of McCoy’s Public House, Brett Johnson of The Hilltop Restaurant and chef Peter Hoff. If all goes as planned, they will be open in September of this year.
—There’s a new game station in town. Tilt Pinball Bar is now open in the Phillips neighborhood. There are a ton of pinball machines and hotdogs for eating between games.
—Your Netflix and Couch nights are about to get a whole lot tastier thanks to two beloved restaurants known for lines out the door on busy nights. Young Joni, fresh off a nod from GQ as one of the best new restaurants in the country and feeding celebrity chefs, has added call-ahead carry out service for their pizzas. That means, intrepid drinkers at the nearby Dangerous Man taproom and plan accordingly for a pie and pint night.
—And if that is too much going outside for you, there’s now Revival on the Uber Eats app. The St. Paul location of the fried chicken sensation is now available for home delivery. Let the weekend officially commence.