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New Lowertown Restaurant Will Mix South Asian Flavor With Minnesota Grown

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Lucas Almendinger opens Elephant Bar in Saint Paul

Lucas Almendinger
The new chef at Elephant Bar
Joy Summers/Eater Twin Cities

Lucas Almendinger, formerly of The Third Bird and Co-Op Creamery Cafe will open Elephant Bar in the Lowertown space that once held Scandinavian cafe, Hygga. A coffeeshop and roastery that quickly grew into a full-service restaurant and bar, Hygga closed its doors at 213 E. Fourth St. last November.

During the search for a new project to take over the space, building owner Nabeel Ahmad met Almendinger and the two immediately built a rapport, sharing recipes, techniques, and ingredients that would ultimately form the backbone for Elephant Bar’s menu.

Duck, cherry, olive dish
Duck, cherry, olive
Elephant Bar

Almendinger came through the ranks of his mentor, Steven Brown’s innovative South Minneapolis restaurant Tilia, and will use the skills he learned there—along with the creative and locally-sourced pantries of his past kitchens to produce something wholly new in this Lowertown bistro slated to open in late March.

The menu will make use of spices from Southeast Asia in collaboration with Ahmad. The cocktail menu is being built by Earl Giles, the cocktail company created by master bartenders Jesse Held and Jeff Erikkila.

The restaurant will be sit down with a cafe, quick-grab area as well.

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