A revival on the square

A familiar name is returning to White Bear Lake. Make that two familiar names: Chef Margaret Doran and her Margaux. Or in this instance, Margaux’s Table (4742 Washington Square).

For the next iteration of her catering company and restaurant, Doran is converting a former gift shop into a 49-seat restaurant and retail outlet. The building is located two doors down from her original Margaux.

The plan is to offer lunch Thursday through Saturday and dinner Friday and Saturday. During the rest of the week, Doran will continue to operate her catering business. Cooking classes as well as pop-up dinners hosted by area chefs are also in the works.

As for the retail outlet, “it’s going to be where local farmers can bring in produce and meats and cheeses,” said Doran. “We’re going to call it a farm store.”

Doran’s long association with downtown White Bear Lake began in 1998. Within a year, her catering business grew into a lunch-only cafe. A full-fledged restaurant debuted a year later, lasting into the mid-2000s. After opening and closing a brasserie in downtown St. Paul, Doran returned to White Bear in 2009, reviving her ultra-charming lunch-only concept.

She pulled that plug in 2011 and returned to a strict catering-only work diet, but after cooking in a West St. Paul kitchen for three years, Doran found herself growing tired of her long commute. And the restaurant bug was nibbling at her, once again.

“I miss having people come in,” she said.

Her intention is to stay casual, and small. Lunch will be simple: sandwiches on house-baked breads along with soups and salads.

“Dinner will change seasonally, according to what’s available,” Doran said. “The farmers market is right out front on Fridays. I can go out in the morning and buy things that will be on the menu that day.”

Opening day is six or seven weeks away, pending the timing of a renovation (diners with long memories will remember the place as the Cupping Room, a cafe/coffeehouse).

Like many restaurateurs, Doran is conducting a Kickstarter campaign — set to launch on June 17 — to help cover the expense of getting the space up to code. She’s confident that the community will provide the financial support she needs to get her place off the ground.

“I just love White Bear Lake,” she said. “It’s not a suburb, it’s a small town.”


Now open, times two

After a three-month construction hiatus, the Birchwood Cafe (3311 E. 25th St., Mpls., 612-722-4474, www.birchwoodcafe.com) is back, bigger and better than ever, serving breakfast, lunch and dinner daily.

Order the savory waffle, which has graduated from breakfast-only to all-day status (and yes, there’s a gluten-free option), one of many benefits of chef Marshall Paulsen’s much-expanded kitchen.

First the food truck, now the restaurant: Hola Arepa (3501 Nicollet Av. S., Mpls., 612-345-5583, www.holaarepa.com) is turning out Latin fare (including its namesake cornmeal buns, grilled, split and filled with all kinds of deliciousness) and craft cocktails six nights a week, opening at 3 p.m. Tuesday through Friday and at 11 a.m. weekends.