In a letter dated December 12, the St. Paul Conservatory for Performing Artists, a downtown Saint Paul charter school, requested an immediate suspension of Gray Duck Tavern’s liquor license. Addressed to Mayor Melvin Carter, City Council President Amy Brendmoen, and City Attorney Lyndsey Olson, the letter contends that the bar operating in the same building as the school violates a city ordinance prohibiting businesses located within 300 feet of a school from obtaining liquor license the Star Tribune reported on Tuesday.
The letter asks that Gray Duck Tavern immediately suspend liquor sales until the City explains why a liquor license was issued to the business in April 2017. Jim Crockarell the real estate magnate owner behind Gray Duck and several other St. Paul establishments, told the Strib that the news was a shock he has received no letter. He added that, “I assure you I would not have put $20 million into this derelict building unless I knew I would be able to run my business.”
Gray Duck is part of the Madison restaurant group, which is now overseen by chef Justin Sutherland and includes Handsome Hog, Public Kitchen and Bar and OxCart Alehouse, all of which are also located in downtown Saint Paul.
When the school moved into the building in 2013, it was already near restaurants including Pazzaluna.
The City says it is working towards a resolution that will work for the school while also promoting a vibrant and economically strong downtown.