It’s been a busy year for Matty O’Reilly.
Last August, the restaurateur debuted Red River Kitchen’s City House location, an open-air, restored grain elevator and flour mill that hangs over the Mississippi River just outside of downtown St. Paul. (The seasonal operation resumed last week.)
In March, O’Reilly, pictured above, quietly opened Bar Brigade, a simple French restaurant in St. Paul’s Highland Park neighborhood.
“It’s super accessible, a casual place to get a drink, dessert, whatever,” said O’Reilly of the eatery inspired by a spot he frequented on a recent trip to Paris. “It’s really exceeded our expectations in how people have embraced it.”
In between, Republic opened a new location – in Terminal One of the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport.
And now, O’Reilly is unveiling plans for yet another fresh project to land in the former Como Park Grill (formerly Java Train) location.
Delicata will be a casual pizza and gelato shop boasting both old-school and new-school pies, salads, sharable plates, plus wine, beer and cider.
“We’re going to keep it simple,” O’Reilly said. “Our aim is to feed a bunch of families lunch and dinner and serve straight-forward, focused food.”
O'Reilly is keeping in place most of the bones of the space, which will hold about 80 inside and 50 on an outdoor patio. He'll make use of many of the same tables, chairs and other elements from its former life.
"This place has a lot of character and things we can repurpose," he said.
The menu, created by chef J.D. Fratzke, will be about 60 percent vegetarian, O’Reilly said, with plenty of cheese-laden items. As for any specifics? For now, O'Reilly is keeping them close to the vest.
He expects a summer or fall opening.
So did O’Reilly plan for another venture on top of the pile? Not really – but as always, with him, he was galvanized by a space that spoke to him.
“I’ve always loved the building, it was just a cute little coffee shop in a random neighborhood,” O’Reilly said. “It popped up on my radar and I just thought ‘Man, this could be a good fit.
"I just couldn't let it go."
(Top photo by David Joles, Star Tribune)