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Lunch recommendations in St. Paul West Side

Dear Twin Cities Chowhounds,

This is my very first posting ever! But, I read the board almost everyday and have been impressed by how serious but also fun-loving and friendly you all seem to be.

I am coordinating a 4-day professional training in mid-September at the Wellstone Center for Community Building (a.k.a., Neighborhood House), which is right behind El Burrito Mercado. I would like your recommendations for other lunch places within walking as well as a short driving distance from the Center. Each day, we will have 1.5 hours for lunch.

I read that Kalyste Cafe is moving to another location in September. Does anyone know when it will be closing at its present location?

Thank you!

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  1. Welcome Ms. Fennelbulb.

    I don't know about Kalyste Cafe, but I'm sure others will assist you.

    Were I in your position, I would consider El Burrito Mercado a given for day 1. The second day, I would head to Beirut Restaurant which is only two miles south of your location on Robert Street (1385 just south of Emerson). Day 3, I would recommend a 1/2 mile walk (or ride) up the hill to Jerabek's Bakery for sandwiches, quiche, bakery, etc. (63 Winifred St. W....note this is assuming you have less than 20 people in the party...Jerabek's isn't that big. This is also your substitute for Kalyste -- Jerabek's if Kalyste is closed). Day 4, I would cross the river and head to Cossetta's (1.95 miles total via Wabasha Bridge). I might recommend other places downtown, but parking can be a problem, especially with multiple vehicles. Parking is a bit easier by Cossetta's especially if you can find spots in the Cossetta's lot.


    All of the above are reasonably inexpensive, easy in and out and offer "something for everyone" both chowhound and non-hound.

    Good luck and let us know how it turns out!

    Edit to add: At the all-day trainings/meetings I am forced to endure far too often, good coffee and bakery is appreciated. There is an intriguing new coffee house across the street from El Burrito Mercado. Something in Spanish like that I think translates to "Blue Cat" or Blue Moon or Purple Starbucks....I don't know. (El Gato Azul??? I have no idea...I see "coffee", I go). Also, a couple hundred yards west on Concord/Cesar Chavez is Don Pancho's, a wonderful (and dirt cheap) Mexican bakery. Lots of great goodies (don't be scared off by the Mexican aspect -- there are dozens of "American familiar" items) in there to go with the morning coffee. You could easily put out an impressive spread.

    3 Replies
    1. re: MSPD

      Yes, Gato Azul would be be the Blue Cat.

      Better get to Jerebek's before it comes under new ownership, according to Kathie Jenkins of the Pioneer Press (8/1/07), the restaurant is for sale. I hope their kolaches will still be good!


      1. re: MSPD

        All excellent suggestions. Here's another: Bread, Coffee, Cake (BCC) on Wabasha and Concord. Sandwiches made with his very good artisan breads, big chewy cookies, cakes, tarts, etc. Daily soups. An excellent cold brewed coffee with just the right amount of sweetened condensed milk--I think he calls it the Westsider.
        Note: BCC is closed Mondays.

        1. re: MSPD

          Thank you, MSPD! I love the daily "menu" you suggested. I appreciate the cafe/bakery info, too. We will eat quite well during this training.

        2. I can't remember the name of the bar, and it definitely was in the shady part of town, but it had the best burger. It had a special name...Juicy Lucy. A thick patty with a hunk of cheese in the middle that spills out on your first bite. I've tried to make them at home and can't seem to get the technique down. I hope you can find the place because it was worth it.

          3 Replies
          1. re: rdoherty

            Hmmmm...I can't think of a place in West St. Paul that has divine jucy lucy's (note the "traditional" spelling of jucy is without the "i"), but my favorite in St. Paul is at the Nook on Hamline at Randolph in St. Paul. Nice neighborhood, right across the street from Cretin Hall's ballpark, where Joe Mauer (among others) went to school. A couple of places that serve jucy lucy, in "dicey" parts of MINNEAPOLIS might be the 5-8 Club (never been there) or Matt's Bar, where many believe the lucy was invented.

            None of these places are particularly convenient to where Ms. Fennelbulb will be. Is there a fantastic "jucy lucy" place in West St. Paul I've overlooked?


              1. re: The Dairy Queen

                Yeah, I''m running through the mental list of Jucy Lucy outlets.

                Matt's Bar is on 38th and Cedar in Minneapolis, which might be shady for some folks, but way too long a commute for the OP's time constraint.

                The 5-8 Club is in a pretty benign neighborhood on Minneapolis, down near where Cedar Ave meets the Crosstown. Again, wrong city.

                Groveland Tap is in a college/residential neighborhood of St. Paul.

                Cretin Durham is across the street from a Catholic high school.

                The Shamrock, on West 7th Street, might be what rdoherty had in mind? How big a hike would that be? And are there enough other good items to make it an acceptable lunch outing for a group?

                Matt's Bar
                3500 Cedar Ave S, Minneapolis, MN 55407

                Groveland Tap
                1834 Saint Clair Ave, Saint Paul, MN 55105

                Shamrock Grill
                995 7th St W, Saint Paul, MN 55102

                Nook the Casper's Runyon's Nook [DUPLICATE]
                492 Hamline Ave S, St Paul, MN 55116

                58 club [SEE 5-8 CLUB]
                5800 Cedar Ave S, Minneapolis, MN 55417

            1. Per Bruno's last customer email, Kallyste's move to Woodbury has been delayed. He'll still be in West St. Paul mid-September.

              1 Reply
              1. re: clepro

                This is exactly what I wanted to hear! Thank you!

              2. Hi! You would be an easy drive down Cesar Chavez (which becomes Concord) to TreVina Italian restaurant in South Saint Paul. I love the food there and it has very friendly owners as well as a charming atmosphere in an old brick hotel. It is a little farther than the other places mentioned, but I think would be doable.

                1 Reply
                1. re: Jitterbug

                  This is the first time I hear of TreVina. I will definitely check it out. Thanks!

                2. In order to keep the Midwest board narrowly focused on where to find the best chow in the Midwest, commentary regarding how to make a jucy lucy was moved to the Home Cooking Board. Please resume that part of the discussion here: http://www.chowhound.com/topics/43183...

                  Thank you!

                  1. Dear MSPD, TDQ, Clepro and Jitterbug,

                    Thank you very much for your suggestions back in August. I want to let you know how well my colleagues and I ate during a recent training at the Wellstone Center.

                    BC2 (aka, Pan Para Todos) has excellent bread and killer coffee! Robert, the owner, cold-brews his coffee and this results in full coffee flavor without the bitterness or the buzz from caffeine. The instructor for the training, who is from New Hampshire, plans to come back for the next training in late November with an empty suitcase so that he can take home loaves of bread! Every bread we tried (Cherry-Almond, Cracked Honey Wheat, Apple-Chipotle, Whole Wheat, Sourdough) was excellent but I liked Whole Wheat (wonderful earthy grain flavor) and Sourdough (perfect sourness).

                    Tanpopo pleased my vegetarian companion because the soup noodles were available with veg broth.

                    El Burrito Mercado was slightly disappointing because chicken Mole had an overly acidic flavor. But, overall, our-of-towners enjoyed the experience.

                    Jerabek's was mixed. Before the training, I stopped by on a Thursday to see what they had. Their special-of-the-day grilled veg Focacia was probably the best sandwich I ever had. All the ingredients (red pepper, yellow squash, zucchini, asparagus, etc.) were perfectly grilled (i.e., some crunchiness remaining) and layered so thick that I had to squish the sandwich to fit my mouth! I usually do not like Focacia bread much but theirs was thin and airy. During the training when I went back, my quiche was soggy and not seasoned well.

                    Some people went to Cossetta's and reported to me that they enjoyed the atmosphere as well as the wholesome food. I was worried about the long lines but they said it was fine on a Saturday.

                    Thank you!

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: Ms. Fennelbulb

                      Ms. Fennelbulb, thanks for reporting back. I always like to find out how things go and appreciate the effort of the post.

                    2. MSP Chowhounds,

                      I would appreciate any updates on good lunch places in SP West Side/downtown area; I have another 4-day training coming up at the Wellstone Center. For instance, sadly, I know that Kalyste Cafe does not exist anymore. What are your thoughts on Cafe Juliahna at 879 Smith Avenue S, WSP? Also, any recommendations in Dayton's Bluff neighborhood other than Swede Hollow Cafe? We have 1.5 hours for lunch break. So, I think we can make it there. Thank you!

                      P.S. Did I do this right in asking for updates via doing the "reply" for my original post? Or should I have replied to the last post? Thanks!

                      3 Replies
                      1. re: Ms. Fennelbulb

                        Ms. Fennelbulb:

                        for a fun lunch outing in the dayton's bluff area i would strongly suggest the strip club (strip-steaks---steaks, not strip, um, people) which is now open for lunch. moderately priced at lunch, warm, friendly service, and fine execution highlighting some of the region's nice meat n' fish.

                        The Strip Club
                        378 Maria Ave, Saint Paul, MN 55106

                        1. re: Ms. Fennelbulb

                          Ms. Fennelbulb, this seems like a perfect use of the "reply," right in the spot where you placed it.

                          I really appreciate it when a person has done some reading/searching here before throwing out a question. When it's 100% relevant, as this is, replying builds to the existing knowledge on the topic, all in one place.

                          1. re: Ms. Fennelbulb

                            In terms of Dayton's Bluff,

                            Manana Restaurant
                            828 7th St E, Saint Paul, MN 55106

                            Los Paisanos
                            825 7th St E, Saint Paul, MN 55106