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It's time to say final goodbyes to the "Famous for walleye" mainstay, Tavern on Grand. After more than 35 years, the St. Paul restaurant will close after Grand Old Day on June 2.

But a new restaurant will rise from first-time restaurateur Todd Russell, who is uniquely suited to run a business at this address — he owns the building.

"We're going to do something spectacular," Russell said in an interview last week. But why have the details been kept mum until now?

"We want to honor what Tavern on Grand has meant to the community," he said. But now he's ready to share some of the reasons that St. Paul should get excited about the next generation's plans for 656 Grand Av.

Russell is a commercial real estate developer who boasts some high-profile projects, including a retail complex called the Grove in Los Angeles. But he's also a St. Paul kid who grew up not far from Tavern on Grand. He remembers gathering with friends for the unofficial bar holiday: The Night Before Thanksgiving at O'Connell's, the precursor to Tavern on Grand.

When the building that houses Tavern came up for sale in 2022, Russell said, he was excited to buy it for the historic elements and its potential. When the family that owns Tavern on Grand let him know that their era was ending, the wheels began to turn.

While much has been said about the current state of the businesses on Grand Avenue, Russell feels strongly about the neighborhood. "We have such history on the Avenue," he said. "We've gone through all these moments in time, but the backbone has always been all these mom-and-pop businesses that make it so special."

The next one will be Russell's Bar and Grill, a restaurant fancy enough for date night, special enough for celebrations, but casual enough to bring the whole family after big events. To bring his concept to fruition, Russell has surrounded himself with an experienced team to build the menu, staff up and design the space.

Part of that team will be noted designer Aaron Wittkamper, whose recent restaurant projects include Dario, Berlin and Mr. Paul's Supper Club. "We've known each other for years. Aaron understands St. Paul," said Russell. "The interior will be reflective of this area and the surrounding community. We are the antithesis of Dario."

Construction will begin in late June with a planned opening in November — in time for that unofficial holiday.

The menu will be composed of American classics through contemporary light, which is code for: There's going to be a burger, but that's not all. The bar will include classic drinks, but not over-the-top versions of them; actual classics like a vodka gimlet with filberts. There also will be martinis (no shade if you want it dirty), Manhattans, Grasshoppers and Brandy Alexanders, again served with filberts.

In the summer there will be a sidewalk patio, for watching all that Grand Avenue hubbub.

"It couldn't come at a better time," said Russell. "This is where my heart is."

Another Wuollet Bakery has been evicted

Wuollet Bakery in Hastings has been evicted from its location, just days after Wuollet's Wayzata location appeared closed for the same reason. The news comes via the Hastings Star Gazette.

In 2022, Wuollet took over Emily's Bakery, the most recent bakery acquired by the company. Emily's closed in 2021.

Wuollet continues to operate A Baker's Wife in Minneapolis, Hans Bakery in Anoka (now operated as a Wuollet), in addition to locations in Edina, Robbinsdale, St. Paul and downtown and Uptown Minneapolis.

Eric Shogren bought the 75-year-old Wuollet company in 2019. At the time, Shogren said, "On the product side of these things, the rule is do no harm."

Elk River's Daddy-O's will close May 24

In more bummer news for nostalgic eateries, Elk River's ode to the 1950s, Daddy-O's Cafe, will close May 24. In a Facebook post, the restaurant said the restaurant will only be open from 2 to 7 p.m. for visits; no food will be served.

Daddy O's has been flipping burgers, serving malts and frothing over those 1919 Root Beer floats for 58 years in downtown Elk River. The farewell announcement had more than 324 comments brimming with love for the business and the people who sustained it.

Hurry in for one last taco at 709 NW. Main St. in Elk River.

Smoothie bowl pop-up lands permanent home

Bom Día Treats, the smoothie bowl pop-up that's been operating inside St. Paul's Quixotic Coffee, has landed a new full-time location in the North Loop. Opening May 25, Bom Día Treats will begin serving its fresh, health-focused bowls at 251 1st Av. N., Mpls. Get more info at

Myriel brings in global chefs for a world-class fundraiser

Karyn Tomlinson has invited two esteemed colleagues to her intimate St. Paul restaurant for a very special dinner. Tomlinson met Jae Bang from Freyja in Melbourne, and Alejandra Espinoza from Somos in Quito, Ecuador, at the René Redzepi's MAD Academy in Copenhagen. Tomlinson was so inspired by her time at the hospitality school that she invited her fellow graduates to prepare the first ever alumni-led fundraiser.

Two special dinners will be held on June 25 and 26; tickets are $200 for a multicourse experience. The goal is to support future hospitality leaders who will continue the drive toward more ethical and sustainable systems.

Bang brings his Michelin star pedigree and more than 15 years of global haute cuisine experience that usually can only be found at the celebrated Freyja. Espinoza is the co-owner and creative force behind Somos, and is opening a new restaurant, Cotoa, in Miami. She is unapologetic in making room for the people, places and palate of Ecuador at the global culinary table through her genre-defining cuisine.

Tickets for the dinner are available through Tock. Myriel is at 470 S. Cleveland Av., St. Paul,