When the Strip Club Meat & Fish first opened, it was instantly hailed as the restaurant grass-fed beef deserved. Tim Niver created a hospitality ambiance that was gracious, yet deliciously, honestly sincere. His fine dining pedigree from Aquavit and his down home familiarity from the Town Talk Diner merged into the house party on the hill everyone wanted to attend.
JD Fratzke’s fare was hailed by then Minnesota Monthly critic Dara Moskowitz Grumdahl as a stage where “his personal vision shines through unadulterated.” The duck confit “exquisite” the shrimp scampi, “cooking school perfect.” He has Mississippi River water in his blood and a steadfast devotion to our region’s farmers.
Over the years they hung more than a few awards on the wall outside the bathrooms in the restaurant. “Best New Restaurant,” “Best Restaurant St. Paul,” “Best Drinks”: it was the culmination of years of experience and a cadre of especially gifted souls that created lasting memories.
We’ll miss the spiral staircase, the false fireplace with the office behind it, the man with the mop of hair doling out hugs at the door, the man without the hair writing the innuendo laden poetry that acts as a menu, the Cobra Kai, the meat to please you and so many more special details that have made their collective mark on the Twin Cities dining landscape.
Tonight’s dinner marks the final week of The Strip Club Meat & Fish. Saturday will be the final night. Looking back these are our favorite stories at this long-time favorite St. Paul restaurant.