BEST NEIGHBORHOOD CAFÉ—ST. PAUL - 2006
When chef Lenny Russo announced that he would be heading the new restaurants at the Guthrie Theater, you could almost hear the screams of anguish emanating from residents of Mac-Groveland: What about their beloved Heartland? Just when the renowned fine-dining restaurant opened its wonderful attached wine bar, featuring house-made charcuterie and unusual foodie treats like the odd cuts that resulted from the restaurant's practice of butchering whole animals purchased from local farmers—where else could anyone ever get house made garlic pork sausage or smoked lamb ribs with their pint of beer? Well, sit tight, you lucky Mac-Groveland denizens, it turns out that Russo and his wife and partner Mega Hoehn, who has always been in charge of the restaurant's wonderful wine list and smooth-moving dining room, have been planning this transition for quite a while. To that end Robb Moore, formerly a longtime Goodfellow's chef, has been working side by side with Russo for the last year, learning his tricks and treats, in preparation for taking over the Heartland dining room. Now Moore and Stephanie Kochlin, long responsible for Heartland's lovely amuse bouches and salads, are leading Minnesota's most locally committed restaurant into the new era.