New Year's Eve. We raise our glasses to the end of a year full of change; a year full of ups and downs and permanent shifts in the capitol city's landscape. The loss of Macy's early in the year put the final nail in downtown's major-retail coffin, and the closing of the Artists Quarter has us all reeling.
But 2014 is a fresh start; a fresh canvas on which to paint the new St. Paul, and there is plenty to be excited about.
While we watch the Ordway’s massive expansion climb into the sky, the Saints stadium redefine the eastern edge of downtown, and neighborhoods all over the city grow with light rail, new breweries, restaurants and other businesses, here is what we have to look forward to in the coming year:
Tin Whiskers Brewing Company, and accompanying brewpub, will be opening in the second quarter of 2014 in downtown St. Paul’s Rossmor Building.
Across the street from the Rossmor, in the brand new Penfield market-rate apartment complex, a full-service Lund’s will offer groceries and more to the growing downtown population.
Bedlam Theater will (finally) be opening in Lowertown, right across the street from the Union Depot. The theatre/bar/nightclub hybrid will sit directly on the Green Line’s last stop and bring new and interesting activity to Lowertown nightlife.
Speaking of Union Depot, Amtrak trains will begin service in early 2014. Hop a train to Chicago and back for a weekend trip, or head out to Seattle. You can stop at Glacier National Park along the way. This will be the first time passenger trains have run through the historic depot in 42 years.
The Saint Dinette, a new concept restaurant from the owners of the amazing Strip Club, continues Lowertown’s trend of new and interesting spaces to eat, drink and be merry. The restaurant will be located in the base of the Lofts at Farmer’s Market, next door to Golden’s Deli and a stone’s throw from Heartland Restaurant. You can follow their progress on twitter: @SaintDinette
In the St. Paul skyway: The former McDonald’s space in the Alliance Bank Center food court is turning local, with the owner of the nearby Nectary opening a burger and fries joint of his own. Called the Skyway Grille, it promises to be a major step up from Big Macs and Filet o’ Fish.
And while we are sad about the closing of Jerabek’s in the same food court, Selby Avenue’s beloved Bars Bakery will be taking over the space. Serving the baked good that made them popular in the first place, Bars’ second location will also feature lunch items from locally-sourced ingredients. You can still visit Jerabek's flagship location, which recently reopened for business.
Light Rail will finally be riding along the Green Line, so you’ll be able to take the train down University, through diverse communities and districts, through downtown and all the way to Lowertown, to check out these new places.
Cook, the new restaurant that is taking over the Serlin’s Café space on Payne Avenue, will focus on local, sustainable and organic ingredients while still serving the American comfort food that made Serlin's a mainstay of the area. A cake boutique will also be featured in the restaurant. Payne Avenue’s turnaround has been contingent upon neighborhood dining and social places, with the success of Ward 6 as the latest example. Cook plans on opening in the spring.
Down Grand Avenue, on the other side of the city, the opening of French Meadow’s second location will join places like Shish and Italian Pie Shoppe in the shadow of Macalester College.
A second Red Cow location will be taking over longtime Selby Avenue dive Costello’s. There have been mixed feelings about this in the community; Costello’s was a neighborhood favorite, after all. But the continued interest of businesses looking to locate in St. Paul is always positive.
It will be an exciting year, 2014, and to that I raise a glass of bubbly and throw my hat in the air.