St Paul Update: Keg and Case Is Finally Opening
The old Schmidt Brewery is still in the process of getting a facelift and a long list of food-centric businesses that will all make up the Key and Case destination spot.
The former Schmidt Brewery keg house in St. Paul is a flurry of activity as about two dozen vendors get ready for the September 14 opening date of Keg and Case Market. The long-vacant building is buzzing with workers putting the finishing touches on each space.
Outside, St. Paul West End neighbors and foodies are eagerly watching. When new signage went up the second week of August, many people snapped pictures and posted them on social media. A steak fest with Bloody Mary bar hosted by tenant Croix Valley drew a good-sized crowd the first weekend of August.
Developer Craig Cohen, who is leading the project, has been immersed in countless details as he and the development team prepare for the grand opening. Getting an old neglected building whipped into shape has been one of the greatest challenges of his development career. What was a dank and musty space is now airy and light, with 40-foot ceilings, uniquely designed spaces and an array of features to catch the eye. It will be difficult for visitors to know what to look at first.
“It’s very exciting,” Cohen said of the upcoming grand opening. “It’s turned out much better than we could have imagined. All of the vendors and restaurants are bringing their own ideas in and it’s very exciting.”
Turning the beer keg and case building into an exciting new space has taken almost two years. The 30,000-plus-square-foot building needed extensive work as it had sat largely unused since Minnesota Brewery Company closed in 2002 and Gopher State Ethanol closed two years later. Cohen’s family had been involved in an earlier, shelved brewery redevelopment plan not long after that.
“It’s been a huge challenge, but it’s going to be a great place and we’re really excited,” said Cohen. He is quick to praise everyone involved to help make the food hall dream a reality.
As of Foodservice News’ deadline, space in the market had been claimed. Many of the vendors will be in spaces that are about 10 square feet, with larger spaces for a brewpub and restaurants.
The makeup of the space has changed over time. Hola Arepa, one of the original tenants, is no longer part of the mix. Revival and Corner Table co-owners Thomas Boemer and Nick Rancone are debuting In Bloom and Revival Smoked Meats. They will unveil a two-story restaurant centered on a huge wood-burning hearth. Diners can enjoy a large patio space on the West 7th Street side of the building.
Keg and Case patrons can also look forward to smoked meat and vegan offerings, as well as the ability for carryout.
Another large space will be filled by Pimento Jamaican Kitchen. The popular Minneapolis Eat Street locale’s St. Paul spot received city funding for its buildout.
Clutch Brewing Company will bring beer back to Schmidt, with its hand-crafted ales and lagers. Home brewers and Clutch founders Jordan Standish and Max Boeke began brewing nearly a decade ago with a stand welded from bed frames and a converted Igloo cooler. Clutch Brewing has a mezzanine level taproom.
Other vendors include:
Bogart’s Doughnut Co., which features rich, buttery, brioche yeasted and made-from-scratch donuts. Bogart’s owner Anne Rucker made the leap from attorney and hobby baker/blogger to selling donuts at the Kingfield Farmers Market. She opened her first brick-and-mortar shop in south Minneapolis in 2014, and has a kiosk in the IDS Center’s Crystal Court. This is the first Bogart’s location in St. Paul.
Wisconsin-based Croix Valley Foods began with a Northwoods family steakhouse in 1996. Customers loved the sauces and asked if they could be purchased separately. The company began bottling its sauces in 2009 and expanded into dry rubs, marinades, barbecue sauces and Bloody Mary seasonings. Seasonal offerings are also planned by owners Damon and Lu Holter.
Five-Watt Coffee will open its third location, and first in St. Paul, for owners Lee Carter and Caleb Garn.
Forest to Fork is offering wild-foods products. Grocer and chef Mike Kempenich is the operator, who will grow mushrooms on-site. Berries, nuts and greens, also with pickled and preserved goods, are planned.
Gazta and Enhancements will feature cheese plates, wine, beer and cocktails, with sit-down and to-go food options, Owners are Haley and Tony Fritz, who are known for their O’Cheeze and Dough Dough food trucks and restaurants.
Green Bee Juicery is bringing cold-pressed beverages, with a focus on local produce and nut milks, the latter of which is hard to find in St. Paul. This will be the first St. Paul location for sibling-owners Melanie Madden, Mallory Madden and Michaela Madden Smith. They have a south Minneapolis location.
Hobby Farmer Canning Company will have its first retail outlet, after selling its pickled vegetables at farmers markets and selected grocery stores. Co-owners Jeff Cerise, Chuck Hermes and Tod Novinska have announced that they are adding switchel, a fermented, vinegar-based beverage that’s mixed with water.
House of Halva will offer different types of the Middle Eastern treats, including gluten-free and Kosher varieties. It is operated by Liz and David Kadosh
K’nack, which is affiliated with family-owned shop RJ’s Meats out of Hudson, Wisconsin, will sell cured and smoked meats including natural casing wieners, smoked bratwurst, salami and a variety of specialty sausages.
Rose Street Patisserie is planning its second St. Paul outpost at Keg and Case. The first is under construction at Selby and Snelling avenues. Baker John Kraus is the force behind the array of pastries, breads and other treats planned.
Spinning Wylde is bringing its cotton candy pop-up shop to a market spot. Owned by Soktevy “Tevy” Phann-Smith and Ben Smith, this is its inaugural brick-and-mortar location. The business is named after their son Wylde and features cotton candy made from organic cane sugar, plant-based dyes and a flavor list with everything from marshmallows to Earl Grey tea.
Sweet Science Ice Cream will be opening its second St. Paul outpost in just a few months. This summer owner Ashlee Olds opened another outlet of the popular ice cream company at the Como Park Pavilion.
Worker B will bring a mix of different types of raw honey, as well as skincare products and beeswax candles, to its booth. Those behind the business include self-described “passionate beekeepers.”
Non-food vendors will have a few spots, including Elva Pottery with its pottery and oil paintings. The owners have a small shop on Dale Street just north of Grand Avenue. The business is named for Ella and Eva, daughters of potter Michael Coon and painter Kimberly Christenson. Florist Studio Emme, which is based in Minneapolis, is also a vendor.
Cohen has more plans in the works, including a small amphitheater and events on the Keg and Case patio. Events will be year-round, so look for an ice bar in the winter and farmers markets in the spring, summer and fall. He hopes to finish work on the adjacent office/rathskeller building and open that structure by year’s end.