BEST NEIGHBORHOOD CAFE - ST. PAUL - 2004
You better get into Heartland while the getting's good, because this little can-do spot with the from-scratch-everything, all-regional menu has been for sale since January. Yes, it's been for sale since January! Seriously. Chef and owner Lenny Russo is looking to get out of his bucolic, gorgeous little neighborhood in part because you St. Paulites only come out on Fridays and Saturdays, and he needs to be able to even out employees' schedules, cash flow, and so forth, over the whole week. So if you neighborhood types want all the wonders of the Heartland kitchen--the Heartland house-cured goose breast prosciuttos, the Wisconsin wild boar roasts, the Ohio black walnut salads--think about heading in some Wednesday! Because there's a chance to change his mind if he can even out business, and build a lobby/bar next door so that people can have a drink with, or before, their meal. Seriously, St. Paul, consider this your all-points bulletin: If you want the best neighborhood restaurant in the history of St. Paul to stay in St. Paul, now's your chance to act! If not, expect to hear about the glory days of Heartland forevermore.