The Strip Club owners to open "upscale flannel" Saint Dinette in Lowertown

J.D. Fratzke and Tim Niver to open a new restaurant in Lowertown
J.D. Fratzke and Tim Niver to open a new restaurant in Lowertown
Courtesy of Stephanie A. Meyer

The news got out a little earlier than Strip Club Meat and Fish owners would have liked, but it's true: They are looking to open a new restaurant. Initial reports suggested that this would be a second outpost of their beloved Maria Avenue spot, but it turns out this is an entirely new concept, with a vibe they're calling "upscale flannel." We spoke with co-owner Tim Niver about what their plans are for the new spot.

See also:
Best Restaurant St. Paul 2013: Strip Club Meat and Fish

The new space will be located at the base of the Lofts at Farmers Market building (adjacent to the St. Paul Farmers Market) at the corner of East 5th Street and Wall Street and christened Saint Dinette. It's an entirely new, completely bare space that they will build out, so the restaurant opening won't happen until spring of next year, at the earliest. 

The lease hasn't yet been signed, but according to Niver, the corporation he has formed with Strip Club chef and co-owner J.D. Fratzke and business partner Brad Tetzloff expects to move forward and sign the lease either this week or next. 

So, what does "upscale flannel" mean?

"Upscale flannel doesn't mean hipster," explained Niver. "Feeling casual, but also having a touch of class. In terms of cuisine, it's St. Paul-like. It's artistic, smart, forward-thinking, but there will be a simplicity. So, a low-brow look and cuisine that values simplicity. I think of Tilia as an example. It's casual and down home, but they do things just a little bit differently."

He hints that they already have several menu items in mind, and says the food on the plate will rely on strong preparation to allow the ingredients to shine through. 

The front of house will be handled by Laurel Elm, who was the one-time general manager at La Belle. Hiring her shows their planned commitment to an exceptional service for customers -- regardless of the modest price point. She's already been helping out at the Strip Club.

While there will be a full cocktail menu, they aren't necessarily looking to pull in any well-known mixologists right at the start. 

"Like we did at The Inn: Dan (Oskey) and I created that original drink menu. Jesse Held didn't start out creating any drinks, but once you get into the place, that's when the personality takes over," said Niver.

The personality at this space will be uniquely St. Paul and it sounds well-suited for Lowertown. They will be closed Monday and Tuesday, open for dinner Thursday through Friday, and open all day on both Saturday and Sunday, from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. These weekend hours will accommodate a range of eating schedules, Niver explained. "You know, if you want to stop in for brunch or have a little lunch or stop in at 3 o'clock for coffee and a dessert or grab a cocktail and a bite, you can do that."

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