A speakeasy for Stillwater, plus 5 other new and coming soon spots

Getty Images/iStockphoto

Getty Images/iStockphoto

Spring brings with it a speakeasy for Stillwater, a pinball bar, Palestinian food in St. Paul, and more.

The Velveteen Speakeasy
Just when you thought speakeasy culture might be on the way out, Stillwater is getting a "secret" drinking den of its own. 

The Velveteen Speakeasy will land in the old Connolly Shoe Factory building, which dates to the turn of the century. Owner Dariush Moslemi told the White Bear Press that his plans are to bring something altogether new to the project.

“With operational speakeasies, there’s maybe a handful in this country that are to this level,” Moslemi said. “That’s what we wanted to bring to Stillwater, something that you can’t even find in Chicago, let alone Minneapolis," he said. 

Watch for a May or June opening. 

JX Event Center 
123 N. 2nd St., Stillwater

Harris Food Hall
Nationally, food halls are hot. Sort of a posh version of a food court, the food hall is like an indoor market with a variety of vendors, not unlike Midtown Global Market. We’re soon to get one in St. Paul, Keg and Case, in the old Schmidt Brewery facility, which is scheduled to open phase one by the end of the year. 

Another, dubbed Harris Food Hall, is being planned for 20 acres of land near Prospect Park. The space will include office space, food vendors, and even a rock climbing facility.

Laura Chin, daughter of famous Chinese food label founder Leeann Chin, is assisting with marketing and leasing of the food hall. 

The deal is scheduled to close this month, but there is no exact timeline for finishing the project. Other proposed additions to the plan include a possible grocery store, and affordable to upscale housing, reports Finance and Commerce. 

The old Harris Machinery Warehouse Building is the proposed site of the project. 
Opening TBD
501 30th Ave SE, Minneapolis

La Costa Mexican Sports Bar
The dining scene on Cesar Chavez (formerly Concord Avenue) in West St. Paul has needed a shot in the arm for a while. After about a year of delays, La Costa Mexican Sports Bar will finally be opening soon.

The open, airy space includes a garage door that opens onto the street, and the menu is made up of classic Mexican fare like tacos and enchiladas, and also, strangely, a "120-oz steak." 

The restaurant is currently in its hiring phase and could open as early as the end of the month.

194 Cesar Chavez St., St Paul

Zai’t and Zatar, a mom-and-pop Palestinian spot in St. Paul
Yet more fast-casual Middle Eastern is descending on the Twin Cities, joining Minneapolis' Spitz and Naf Naf.

But St. Paul newcomer Zai’t and Zatar looks like a more homestyle version of a shawarma restaurant, including more unusual dishes like Layali Lubnan, a cold semolina pudding dessert topped with house-made cream and sprinkled with pistachios. Although the chef and owner is Palestinian, an Egyptian street stall dish called Kushari will be on offer: rice, macaroni, chickpeas, lentils, and fried onions topped with red sauce.  

Watch for our first look coming soon.

Now open
1626 Selby Ave., St. Paul

Tilt Pinball Bar
From the people who bring you the sophisticated Uptown lounge Nightingale, Tilt Pinball Bar is hosting its (private) soft opening early next week, meaning its public opening cannot be far off.

Jasha Johnston and Carrie Mccabe-Johnston are a longtime bar manager and chef, respectively, and the married couple and business partners are on a bit of a tear, recently adding old neighborhood favorites Mortimer’s and Dusty’s Bar to their brand umbrella.

Tilt will be one of a number of games bars that have landed in the Twin Cities area of late (Up-Down, Can Can Wonderland, Punch Bowl Social). Apparently, we all just need a goddamn diversion and booze alone isn’t going to do the trick.

In addition to vintage pinball machines, expect hot dogs, a full liquor license, and wine in a can.

Opens soon
113 E. 26th St., Minneapolis

Marin is now Mercy
In case you hadn’t already noticed (they’ve launched a serious PR campaign including faux April Fool's Day parking tickets, a billboard offering a free drink if you take a selfie with it, and household mailers) Marin is now Mercy.

Marin, in the Chambers Hotel was once a wellness-friendly spot with calorie counts adjacent to menu items, spa-friendly quinoa waffles, and the like.

Now, Mercy has shifted to a more comfort food format, which should be a better fit for the many theater-going families that descend on the intersection every weekend, not to mention downtown residents who may want something simpler from a neighborhood spot.

Some new menu items include a hot pastrami sandwich, a King crab grilled cheese, an oyster po'boy and a bunch of “steaks on a plate” with a la carte sides.

Mercy is now open for breakfast, lunch, dinner, brunch, and happy hour. 

901 Hennepin Ave., Minneapolis

An earlier version of this story named Laura Chin as one of the vendors of Harris Food Hall. Chin will not be running any business in the space, and the text has been changed to reflect that.