One of the original pillars of St. Paul’s Lowertown neighborhood just got a major makeover, complete with a new look, a new chef and a full bar.

The 19-year-old Black Dog unveiled its major changes in August after seven months of renovations.

Owners Sara, Andrew and Stacy Remke (all siblings) bought the adjacent lot in the Northern Warehouse building, a former meditation center, in January and knocked out the dividing wall. The result is a space that is about twice as large as the original – plenty of room for the full scratch kitchen the Remkes had been dreaming about for years.

“We wanted to have a kitchen for a long time and because we were in a historic building it was just way prohibited to do that,” Sara Remke said.

When Black Dog opened almost two decades ago, they were one of just a handful of food and drink emporiums in Lowertown, a neighborhood that has since exploded.  Remke called it a “ghost town” then. Initially, the spot was a coffee and wine bar; later, it evolved to include simple fare like sandwiches and feature live music.

“It was really ad hoc as we were going along, [to] service the needs of the neighborhood,” Remke said. “We just evolved in that way very organically.”

The Remkes were contemplating a move when the space next door opened up. It just seemed logical.

“We were like ‘Why wouldn’t we do this?’” Remke said.

Chef David Perez (previously at Meritage) took over last month and remade a menu that includes casual fare like burgers, bahn mi sandwiches, salads and pizzas, as well as a new brunch service – look for items like roast beef egg and shakshuka, an Israeli egg and spicy tomato dish. Soon, Perez plans to roll out a limited entrées menu that initially will comprise of homemade pasta, roasted chicken and a vegetarian dish. Steak frites could be on deck.

Black Dog has a full liquor license now as well.

The Remkes, who managed to avoid closing for a single day during the renovations, are still trying to decide what to do with the bounty of new space, but they’ve already hosted some events in the extended area. The Black Dog will still feature its popular lineup of live music with rotating artists, including their Saturday night jazz series.

“We were just bursting at the seams in our last kitchen,” said Sara Remke who owns the Black Dog along with siblings Andrew and Stacy Remke. “So it’s very exciting to be more of what we always wanted to be.”

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