Photo by Caitlin Abrams
>> St. Paul's most glamorous bit of history, The Commodore Bar, is indeed open again to the public. Fully restored to Zelda standards, the space is swank. Parquet floors, club chairs, low lamp lighting, deco accents—this is the place to really enjoy a cocktail. The lower lobby bar and the upper deco bar are both stocked to the jibs with local liquors, as are the drinks. This is a full service restaurant to boot, so feel free to indulge into some deviled eggs, beef tartare, braised rabbit or pan-roasted ribeye.
>> In a little strip mall next to Campiello, the new Gogi Bros. House is now open and bringing Korean food to Eden Prairie! Their food truck fans will be psyched to see the Korean BBQ tacos, but I popped by yesterday and snarfed a whole plate of kimchi fried rice which is now my favorite thing about Shady Oak Road. Also, there's a wicked Seoul Burger made of marinated beef with tiger slaw (!) and an egg. Had to try that too. It's a small full service restaurant, no bar, serving lunch and dinner. To stay competitive in the strip, they're offering a bento box of bulgogi meats and treats for $8.95. Do you HEAR me Optum?
>> Henry & Son is a new small boutique beer, wine, and spirits shop open in the First and First building over by IMS. Hoping to mimic wine shops they loved in Brooklyn, owners Mark Henry and Gretchen Skedsvold plan to offer unique bottles from interesting makers that you might not find in other shops. I dig the vibe of this place, it's interesting and not intimidating, it begs exploring. Also love the shelf sporting 12 different bottles under $12. Look for some cool tastings and sampling to happen here.
>> I drove by the old Bar Abilene the other night only to discover that it had become The Fremont. It looks sports bar-ish. Maybe a little dude-bro? Anyhoo, it's from the cats behind The Lyndale Tap and the neighboring Hammer & Sickle. The menu sports some 19 kinds of hots wings, a burger, some sandwiches, and a long list of apps that includes a tower of gorgonzola fries (bro-tip: breath mint).
>> Troubadour Wine Bar may be a more promising entrant to the Uptown bar scene. It has quietly been open since July in the former Solomon Bakery on Hennepin, serving from a nice little list of over 40 boutique wines from all over the world. It's a little boho chic like Uptown used to be, there's chill live music almost every night, and it makes me feel like there's hope. Plus, snacky meat and cheese plates!
>> The old Girvan Grille at the Bunker Hills Golf Club is now Kendall's Tavern & Chophouse. Gone are the ghost wings, but in their place there are wood fired meats, smoked bologna sliders, brick oven flatbreads, and the like. Also, can we admit that the giant pretzel is having an appetizer moment?
>> DiNoko's Deep Dish pizza is back in business! After leaving that bad spot downtown, the owners have opened a take-out and delivery pizza shop in Kingfield, in the former Sweets Bakeshop. Not to sit on their laurels, a dine-in shop is in the works off of 45th Ave, East of Minnehaha Ave.
>> Ramen Kazama, a very hotly anticipated ramen shop in Kingfield from chef Matthew Kazama, is officially opening on Sunday night (tho, I drove by the other night and the sign said open, you intrepid gastrotippers). There will be five kinds of ramen at the counter service joint, with only 40 seats, and I can ONLY HOPE AND PRAY that there will be the magical magical butter ramen of the Hokkaido region in Japan. Shut up, it's real.
>> The vacant St. Paul Fuji Ya space won't stay vacant very long. Around Dec. 1, it will become Red Lantern Sushi & Noodle bar, from the same folks behind the stellar sushi shop in White Bear Lake (recently named to TimeOut's 21 Best Sushi Spots in America, nbd.) Wei Wang and his team are ready to come to the big city and bring some serious noodle game.
>> Kung Fu Noodle is another noodle/ramen shop in the works. The owners from Haiku Japanese Bistro intend to take over half of the Shuang Hur Market on Eat Street. Kung Fu will carve out a 4,000 square foot chunk of the northern side of the market for a full-service Japanese noodle restaurant seating about 120 for lunch and dinner daily.
>> Chef Adam Vickerman is leaving the fold of Cafe Levain, whose kitchen he has been toiling with for nearly 11 years. He's moving on to the Seward Co-op team where a life outside the kitchen slog awaits.
>> Holi-Go-Fabulous is a fun little shopping and entertaining excursion you might want to come aboard for as the Holidays loom. Head out to The Galleria on Nov. 7 and learn tips and tricks from fun people, like MSPMAG editors! I'll be conducting a wee cocktail and apps pairing class at Williams-Sonoma. I hear copper mugs are so HOT right now.
>> Wine Night is back! Join our wine writer Bill Coy as he drills down on the good grapes at Aster Cafe, every first Thursday of the month from 6-7pm. A mere $15 will get you sips of 4-6 wines, plus lively conversation led by Coy. Have you met him? He's worth the price of admission.
>> Don't forget, it's Halloween this weekend. Are you hanging or are you hiding?
>> But on Sunday, when the tp begins to disintegrate on your trees and you start to seek a non-Butterfinger genre of snack, why not pop over to St. Paul's Quixotic Coffee for a little Fire and Flour bread drop? Let's start the month out right, hmmm?
>> Also don't forget that you need to check back here on Monday to find out the results of our epic burger crawl, then: follow our lead.