St. Paul's Strip Club Meat & Fish to close July 1: 'We're throwing a six-month party'

Strip Club Meat & Fish

Strip Club Meat & Fish Star Tribune

The changing of the guard continues. Over the past few months, we've seen some of Minneapolis' most definitive restaurants close, including Middle Eastern finer dining destination Saffron, bistro gem Grand Cafe, and, soon, the one-of-a-kind Piccolo

Come July 1, you can add a St. Paul favorite to the list: Strip Club Meat & Fish. Co-owners Tim Niver and J.D. Fratzke announced the impending closure of their popular steakhouse late Wednesday. 

"We just thought we'd let everybody go to the cabin and the beach," Fratzke says by phone, a cheeky explanation for their decision to not renew their lease after 10 years in business. 

In reality, both partners have recently taken up other projects: Niver at the small but very mighty Mucci's in St. Paul; both partners at Saint Dinette; and Fratzke at an upcoming venture, City House, in partnership with Matty O'Reilly of Republic fame. 

"It's like moving out of the house where your kids grew up," Fratzke says. He's feeling "good" about the obviously difficult decision, but anyone who knows Strip Club knows it was never just any restaurant.

The two partners opened a steakhouse that's not exactly a steakhouse -- in a strange but beautiful old building, in a difficult-to-sell part of east St. Paul -- and made it work for a decade. In that time, the place became a beloved sanctuary for many, and reflecting on those relationships and friendships chokes the chef up. 

"You can't be a good chef unless you have a larger life," Fratzke says. He's known for late-night musings and social media poetry fueled by the haze of aching legs, music, wine, and grease after long shifts at his decade-long cooking home. 

Strip Club will throw its "six month party" until July 1. Niver and Fratzke hold the lease through the end of that month, and say they'll host private "Strip Club-style" parties for anyone looking to rent out the space. 

Strip Club Meat & Fish
378 Maria Ave., St. Paul

Correction: A previous version of this article incorrectly stated that Alma is closing; it's open and it's great.