A onetime bagel oven is about to become a pizza oven.
Tonight at 5 p.m., St. Paul’s Mucci’s Italian leaps across the river with the opening of Trattoria Mucci’s in Minneapolis (901 W. Lake St., Minneapolis, muccisitalian.com). (Note: The restaurant will be closed on July 4.)
The pizza and pasta spot takes over the short-lived Meyvn, a deli and Mediterranean restaurant with daytime counter service that never found its nighttime audience. Both Meyvn and Mucci’s have an owner in common: restaurateur Tim Niver, who also co-owns Saint Dinette in Lowertown.
Opening a second Mucci’s “was never the idea until I knew that Meyvn wasn’t going to work out,” Niver said.
“When I started to come up out of the tumult of Meyvn closing, everything switched over, and it was very clear this is the best option for the space and for myself and for the landlord and my financial situation,” he explained. “Things are borne out of adversity, aren’t they? And this is what’s happened, and I’m just so happy about it.”
Slow nighttime traffic contributed to Meyvn’s demise, Niver previously told the Star Tribune.
Mucci’s, he expects, will bring in the people Meyvn wasn’t reaching. “It’s the right concept on the right corner in the right neighborhood for all the right people,” he said.
Chef/co-owner Chris Uhrich will be overseeing the kitchen in both locations (McKenzie Edinger is the new chef de cuisine in St. Paul), and St. Paul’s general manager Heather Mady will be handling operations in both spots. (The St. Paul Mucci’s is at 786 Randolph Av.)
While the menu will largely stay the same, the Minneapolis restaurant has a little more to offer, thanks to that oven. The St. Paul Mucci’s is known for its fried pizza crust, but with a wood-fired oven, “now we have ‘traditional’ crust,” Niver said.
(Those crusts will keep the oven too busy to continue making Meyvn’s bagels, which were sold at Kowalksi’s for a short time after the restaurant closed.)
Niver can’t say whether the new locale will offer up the beloved Mucci’s doughnuts, which ended their run in St. Paul this past winter.
“Everybody wants us to,” Niver said. “But they don’t have to make them at 3 in the morning.”
It’s not out of the question, down the road. “I think we’re trying to take a relatively conservative approach to how we’re doing this in steps,” he said.
But something new for Mucci’s in Minneapolis are half-portions of pastas and a full bar.
And one very big difference from St. Paul: The Minneapolis restaurant takes reservations.