07/29/2016 8:41AM CDT
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A food truck, a building and a big idea
Built in 1927, the historic City House facility has served as a quiet yet lovely reminder of Saint Paul’s history as a Mississippi River port city. Located along the edge of the river, City House offers a pavilion-style center, with views of the river and downtown Saint Paul.
For the past decade, people have tried to fill City House with restaurant and business ideas, but one stubborn hurdle stopped those ideas in their tracks. This hurdle, of course, was the unpredictable flooding of the Mississippi River that threatens the building. So how do you overcome an obstacle like this? Matty O’Reilly, co-owner of Red River Kitchen food truck and Republic restaurant in Minneapolis, said that he answered that question with another question, “Well, what if the entire investment was in something on wheels?”
Well, what if?
The Red River Kitchen offers a simple, effective, and fun answer to the question of flooding. With the entire kitchen located IN their food truck, the recently announced Red River Kitchen at City House will use the historic building for food orders, seating and popular lawn games that will be available to customers. When the time comes for flooding, O’Reilly said, “It’s so easy, we just pack up the truck and drive away from the flood.”
Aside from its nod to early Saint Paul days, O’Reilly said that he feels as though he’s filling a need in the immediate area surrounding City House. While the successful co-owners (who have opened over 20 restaurants between the two of them) hope for an Aug. 8 opening, “a lot of little things need to fall into place still”, O’Reilly said.
The drinks menu will feature beer, wine, cocktails and the food will be up to JD Fratzke (The Strip Club Meat & Fish and Saint Dinette). O’Reilly describes the food as, “a cross between what’s been working well in our food truck and his own inspiration.”
On handing over the menu to Fratzke’s discretion, O’Reilly said, “I trust him, and I know it’s gonna be great. It won’t be a huge menu, but it’s gonna be healthy, friendly, accessible, and delicious food; it’s just what he does.”
Bulldog restaurant co-owner Matt Lokowich unexpectedly passed away at the age of 49 over the weekend of July 16. Read the Pioneer Press article here. Our thoughts go out to his family, friends and fellow foodies.
Sometimes, the most daunting part of dining out is tackling the menu. Everything sounds awesome but what if you could just be told what the best thing on the menu is...now you can! Saint Paul restaurants tell you about their best right here.
Groveland Tap: Hand, beer battered Ellsworth cheese curds. Try 'em inside a burger with the Ellsworth Lucy.
Whether you’re a strapped-for-cash college kid or a family of four on a budget, “Steal of a Deal” will fill you up without emptying your pockets.
Pazzaluna: Happy Hour. From 4-6 p.m., $3 well cocktails, $4 Italian draft beers, $5 select Italian wines by the glass, $6 select signature cocktails, $5 select antipasti, $7 select bruschettas or meatballs, $10 select pizzas, wings or fonduta, $12 select appetizers. From 9 p.m.-close, $5 spices olives, zuchinnies fries, tomato basil bruschetta or roasted garlic and gorgonzola bruschetta, $5 classic or giant stuffed meatball, $5 alfredo or sugo pomodor spaghetti, $5 four cheese, margherita or rustica pizza, $5 parmesan wings, $5 spinach & artichoke fonduta, $5 gelato, creme brulee, tiramisu, limoncelllo cheesecake or chocolate versato.
Greg Awada is the co-owner of Zamboni's Pizza on West 7th near the Xcel Energy Center. He's a native of the Saint Paul area and stuck with the family industry. He grew up washing dishes and working at places like his father and grandfather's restaurant, the former Awada's on Plato Boulevard. "I was born into the restaurant business. It's in my blood," he said.
VSP: What’s one thing not a lot of people know about you?
GA: I play hockey four nights a week.
VSP: What’s a TV show you secretly love?
GA: I like the Real Housewives of Orange County.
VSP: How did Zamboni’s get its start?
GA: The place just became available, a friend of mine knew the owner, our shop on Snelling was looking to have a place downtown and we jumped at it.
VSP: What’s your favorite kind of pizza?
GA: I love the margherita pizza, crisp crust, fresh basil.
VSP: Favorite movie?
GA: The Fifth Element is a personal favorite, it’s amazing.
VSP: What’s your least favorite fashion trend?
GA: Yeah the cuffed jeans thing, I just don’t like it.
VSP: Favorite thing about Saint Paul?
GA: I like the small town feel with the bigger city undertones.
VSP: What do you think about Pokemon Go?
GA: It’s great, we’ve had some business because of it. I don’t know if I’m saying this correctly but I think there’s a “lure” here? I think that’s what you call it. I think it’s fantastic, it’s right by the beer.
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