Years in the making, the newly renovated State Capitol has a grand reopening celebration starting today and continuing through Sunday. Between the refurbished Capitol, the new Saints stadium and the renovated Children's Museum, there's a lot going on in downtown St. Paul. As it happens, there are a few new restaurants to check out as well.
Saint Dinette is a great way to get a taste of the restaurateur Tim Niver's and chef JD Fratzke's dining experience, now that their famed Strip Club Meat and Fish has just closed. The Saint Dinette menu has French and Southern influences — be sure to try the house-made bologna.
For wood-fired pizza, Big River Pizza uses lots of Minnesota-grown ingredients; in particular, there's a pizza there called the"Land of 10,000 Leeks" with potato, leeks (natch) and Gruyère.
Donald Gonzales, the longtime Forepaugh's chef, recently opened his own place called Gray Duck Tavern, featuring globally inspired comfort food and great cocktails, including a charred-peach Old Fashioned.
We're sad to see Lowertown's Tanpopo close, but happy that a second Kyatchi Sushi will open in its space. Expect a menu similar to the original location at 38th and Nicollet: sushi with sustainable fish, plus noodles, rice bowls, skewers, etc.
And really close to the State Capitol, there's new arrival PHO #1 on St. Peter Street, a Vietnamese noodle place in the space formerly occupied by Babani's Kurdish Restaurant, which relocated to a larger space across the Wabasha Street Bridge from downtown St. Paul.