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Sep 7, 2007 02:25 PM

MSP - A Rebours is closing

I saw this in the Pioneer Press today. It's very sad downtown St. Paul can support so few nice restaurants. They cite the bridge collapse as a driving factor -- no one wants to get on I-94 after 2 PM.

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  1. Russell Klein, formerly of W.A. Frost, has bought it with his wife. They're calling it Meritage. Not sure when they're opening for business. I hope they make a go of it!

    1. If the bridge collapse had anything to do with their demise, one would expect that would extend to MOST restaurants. I mean, shouldn't Alma be empty right now then, using this line of thinking? They're right in the backyard of the bridge! I was at Alma last week and it was going as strong as it usually is. I think A Rebours lost its edge quite some time ago. The bridge thing is just making an excuse to save face.

      3 Replies
      1. re: HuaGung

        I'm inclined to agree with you, HuaGung. Nevertheless, I'm always sad to see a place fold, and with it the owners' hopes and dreams. I'm delighted to hear mcgeary's news that Russell Klein has landed, though.


        1. re: The Dairy Queen

          Doug Anderson is still planning to open Nick & Eddie's on Loring Park, so he'll still have a place to park his dreams . . . I'm really curious to check it out. Last I heard it was supposed to open in November, but that was a while ago -- maybe the timeline's compressed now that A Rebours is out of the mix.

        2. re: HuaGung

          The ongoing issue with downtown St. Paul going silent unless there's an event at the Ordway or the Excel appears to have taken A Reboir right to the edge, and the bridge collapse just pushed them over.

          In the summer when the Wild is in the off-season and the theatre/SPCO seasons have slowed down, the downtown restaurants must be just hanging on.

        3. Small independent restaurants add important variety to the food community and in doing so make our cities stronger. Downtown St. Paul and the Gulf of Mexico are dead zones. Good luck to Mr. Klein. I will be a patron. What kind of food town do we want to live in? I'm also hopeful that Lenny Russo will be able to light up the Farmer's Market. Pay attention to the small guys, or they'll starve along with you. Dinner at Tanpopo, now.

          1. So sorry to hear about the closing of A Rebours - however, I am thrilled that the Russell Klein will be opening up his own place. He did wonders at W.A. Frost and I'm eager to taste my way through his new place. Has anyone heard about when Meritage will open?

            1 Reply
            1. Ann Bauer over at the Rake reports on her conversation with Doug Anderson wherein he denied blaming the failure of A Rebours on the 35W bridge collapse, but, really, on his personal circumstances. Furthermore, we "food wienies" are all supposed to stop talking about the food, and, instead, enjoy it and a cheap bottle of wine, and the rest of our evening, with our sweethearts... :). That's a bit of a paraphrase...

              Unfortunately, the main take-away here is that due to personal circumstances, it sounds like Mr. Anderson won't be opening a new restaurant any time soon. I was hoping to read about his next venture, but it sounds his wife is moving forward Nick and Eddies in partnership with Steve Vranian, and that Doug will not be involved. On the upside, it sounds like Meritage won't be predestined to fail; obviously, one might assume their business would be similarly dampened by the collapsed 35W bridge (a point HuaGung astutely made above), but, apparently, that's not really a factor.

              Jeremy Iggers is finally blogging on The Rake now, too.


              2 Replies
              1. re: The Dairy Queen

                My main take away is that Mr. Anderson would rather blame food weenies, the people that may drive across town for excellent french food, than look at his business decisions. Moving into a beautiful location with no history of drawing people except for when events at the X or other major events and serving good, but not great food is not a recipe for success. A perfect example is my parents who regularly went to the Opera love good french food. The first time they went they were unimpressed and never went back. If they had loved it they would have made it a regular pre-opera stop. You can't open a neighborhood bistro if there's no neighborhood.

                Food weinies should be seen as an ally. What better way to get feedback than to be able to see what people are saying about you and rectifying the issues your customers bring up. For every person that blogs about a problem, there are probably many more who are telling their freinds. Oh, and the non-food wienies will just go to Applebees or Kincaid's.

                1. re: GastronautMN

                  Doug Anderson went out on a limb to open A Rebours in St. Paul (a very thin limb..) and I don't think it's fair to be critical of someone for being an optimist. He's not the first person to try and fail downtown St. Paul. I spoke to him about 6 months before they opened and it was truly exciting to see someone so..well...excited about St. Paul.

                  As far as his anti-foodie comments in the Rake; it's just bluster. do you seriously think this is not a man who loves food? You gotta admit, he's always good for a quote right?

                  So,has anyone been to Nick and Eddie? I have and while I don't think they were ready for 3 and a half stars (like the star tribune gave them) it's worth the trip. Maybe not for the food quite yet (though the beef cheeks are amazing and Jessica's butterscotch pudding is *still* amazing) but for the place itself. I for one am glad "Mr Anderson" has landed on his feet. And I'm a foodie from St. Paul.....