Estelle opened last week in St. Paul’s Mac Groveland neighborhood and word spread quickly that there was a new family-friendly and date-worthy eatery in the quiet part of the city. Overseen by chef Jason Hanson and hospitalitarian Peter Sebastian the new eatery is humming with an open kitchen and tucked away, quiet bar.
The location was previously Bottle Rocket and before that Scusi — way before that it was once the original location of Heartland. The layout is tricky, but Estelle navigates it with a host stand next to the door, directing people either into the bar or down a short hall into an open dining room with views of the cooks plating dishes.
The menu is an affordable trip through Southern Europe with tapas from Spain including little crispy/fried goodies served with toothpicks. There’s a selection of salads, pastas, and sandwiches. All the food is priced at $17 or less.
These are the foods that chef Jason has been obsessed with for years, even as he was cooking in such notable local kitchens as Tilia and 112 Eatery.
He backpacked through Europe in his twenties and has been continually drawn back to these dishes and flavors ever since.
On the other side of the restaurant is the separate bar space. A tall, dark bar looms over a narrow room that’s gotten a light refresh with fresh, patterned wallpaper and light colored leather stools.
Estelle is open Tuesday through Sunday for dinner. Parking is available on the street outside, or a small shared lot on Fairview and St. Clair.