4 new restaurants coming soon, plus huge news for the Schmidt Brewery Keg House in St. Paul

Alimama's food truck will be a restaurant any day.

Alimama's food truck will be a restaurant any day. Mecca Bos

More big news for St. Paul! Keg and Case will be a new food-driven market housed in the old Schmidt Brewery Keg House. Tenants will include fried chicken and BBQ giant Revival, Latin cooking savants Hola Arepa, our favorite new coffee shop 5 Watt Coffee, and a farmers market.

The project is an obvious boon for residents of the Schmidt Brewery Loft, and for the ever-growing West Seventh Street neighborhood.

Also watch for live music space, private event space, and even an ice rink. 

Groundbreaking begins this fall. 

Keg and Case at Schmidt Brewery
900 W. Seventh St., St. Paul 

Have you spotted Alimama’s big red sambusas truck roving around downtown? We hadn’t either until last week. We grabbed some sambusas, stuffed with heavily curried ground beef, and loved them. They also do falafel and curries but sambusas are their specialty. And get this — they have a restaurant coming any day now. Alimama will be the new exclusive dining service provider at Metropolitan State University's St. Paul campus.

Alimama’s Sambusas and Mediterranean Cuisine Food Truck (and restaurant coming soon)
700 E. Seventh St., St. Paul

Union Depot has been quiet about what will replace Christos in the recently vacated restaurant space, and finally the Pioneer Press reports that it will be a second location of downtown’s Union Bar and Grill. Aside from the obvious perfect-fit name, this comes as a bit of a surprise because that restaurant has been through more changes than Madonna’s hair, and has had a really difficult time seeming relevant for anyone craving anything other than burgers and insipid bar food.

Crave will be the exclusive caterer for the event space, which makes more sense — their all-things-for-all-people approach will appeal to the masses.

Union Bar and Grill in Union Depot
Projected opening date first quarter of 2017
214 Fourth St. E., St. Paul

First it was Shag Sushi, that surprisingly good 1970s-themed sushi joint, and then Rojo, that watered-down Mexican restaurant that was closed practically before it opened. Now the vacant kitchen on Washington Avenue in the North Loop is destined to be an “authentic Chinese restaurant,” according to the Mpls./St. Paul Business Journal.

Owners Jessie Wong and son Zi “Jack” Wang have another restaurant called Szechuan in Roseville, but they emphasize that this new space will be more upscale with a full bar, open kitchen, and some dishes that have been woefully missing from the Twin Cities restaurant scene. We're talking handmade noodles and shumai (traditional dim sum-style dumplings). Swoon.

Name TBD
Projected opening date November
730 N. Washington Ave., Minneapolis

Penny’s Coffee is a new collaboration between La Colombe Coffee Roasters, Spyhouse Coffee, and a couple of other partners including one of the partners involved with Lowry Hill Meats, Ben Herz.

These masterminds say Penny’s will be a “design-driven concept” with two locations due to hit Minneapolis late this fall. One location will be on Washington Avenue and the other on West 44th Street in Linden Hills.

Aside from that they’ve been short on details. We’ll come at you with more intel as it becomes available.

Penny’s Coffee with two locations
Projected opening date late fall.

And in some merger news, the entities behind Handsome Hog and Public Kitchen + Bar, and the owners of Ox Cart Ale House, and the recently shuttered (but soon to re-launch) Salt Cellar have joined forces. This comes on the tail of the news that chef Lenny Russo of Heartland, who was very briefly (less than four months) hired on as the culinary director of Handsome Hog and Public, has exited that project. He says he "just wasn't the right fit." 

It will be interesting to see how all of the projects pan out; Salt Cellar was one of the biggest boondoggles in recent memory, OxCart's quality has been backsliding considerably in recent months, and Public Kitchen + Bar has never seemed to be able to gain any footing. Handsome Hog meanwhile appears to be thrumming away, serving decent renditions of Southern cuisine and BBQ.