With his earlier projects, restaurateur Brian Ingram has always gone full-tilt toward immersive themes that stole the spotlight from whatever was on the plate. He was involved in an indoor food truck park, a restaurant built out of reused shipping containers, and a burger joint with a full vintage bus parked inside. His and his wife and partner Sarah Ingram's Hope Breakfast Bar, one of their most successful endeavors, made a spectacle out of decorated pancakes.
Now they have pulled out all the stops at a massive new-build restaurant across the street from Xcel Energy Center. Apostle Supper Club spans the entire ground floor of a new development, with multiple zones that each contribute their own nostalgic nod to midcentury glamour — and kitsch.
This is the second location for the Apostle Supper Club; the first opened last summer in Duluth, a spinning restaurant atop the Radisson Duluth Harborview hotel.
Address: 235 W. Kellogg Blvd., St. Paul, 651-340-8987, apostlesupperclub.com. Open 4-11 p.m. Wed.-Sun., open until 1 a.m. Fri.-Sat.
The vibe: The sprawling restaurant will more than support overflow from Xcel events. There's the main dining room, with its banquette booths and globe lights. A circular piano bar, surrounded by cushy loungers and live music every night. A groovy-wallpapered conversation pit with a fireplace at its center. An open kitchen surrounded by ample counter seating. And a thatch-roofed tiki bar called the False Eyedoll, a bit out of place among the more stylish furnishings of the supper club, shoehorned into one side wing.
The various areas for drinking and dining give the space a retro dinner party feel, with room to mingle with a drink before dinner, and retire to the lounge afterward.
Service is attentive and enthusiastic.
Food: Chef Brandon Randolph's all-over-the-map menu makes subtle nods to supper club tradition, with a tempura battered cod and just a couple of chops. There is, however, a complimentary relish plate of pickles, peppers and raw crudité to start. Comfort food is big, especially the fried sort. Chicken-fried lobster ($42) came out like a classic fish fry, and creamy mushroom orzo ($28) was a decadent grown-up mac and cheese, quizzically studded with whole morels (in November!), and yet more fried mushrooms on top. Perhaps borrowing from the tiki myth, a number of dishes lean into Asian flavors, such as sweet caramelized rice crisped up like a hash brown ($6).
The most successful bites came from the False Eyedoll bar menu, which can be ordered in the dining room, as well. Chief among them was the fried Spam tostada ($12), which sprinkled crispy hunks of the canned meat on a tender sheet of puffed rice. Pickle rollups ($8), elevated with prosciutto, were a fun starter. Dessert was also a delight, with the Jell-O Cake ($10) a Twinkie-like throwback to Midwestern holiday tables.
Drinks: Two cocktail menus, one with tiki classics and the other with supper club stalwarts, are available anywhere in the restaurant. Both the Mai Tai and the Pain Killer ($12) hit the sweet and sour spot. The Apostle Grasshopper ($12) is a lighter-than-expected blend of peanut buttery whiskey, Rumchata and heavy cream. Both menus offer spirit-free options, as well. There's plenty of beer and wine, plus prosecco on tap.
Doing good: The Ingrams' Purpose Restaurants group donates 3% of sales to their nonprofit Give Hope MN, which provides food to families in need.