It has been two years since Corner Table and Revival owners Thomas Boemer and Nick Rancone announced their plans to open a hearth-centric restaurant in Keg and Case Market, the food hall that is finally nearing completion in the former Schmidt Brewery complex in St. Paul.
(That’s the two of them, pictured, above — Boemer on the left, and Rancone on the right — in a Star Tribune file photo taken in the building that was to become Keg & Case Market, in August 2016, when the project was announced).
They’re calling it In Bloom, and it’s opening, soon.
But that’s only part of the story. During these intervening 24 months, a second Boemer-Rancone project has popped up in the complex: Revival Smoked Meats.
“It’s going to be a traditional barbecue spot,” said Boemer. “We started looking at the market as a whole, and all the incredible, talented people and the styles of food going in there, and we knew we had to do barbecue. Besides, the barbecue at Revival St. Paul is going nuts, we can hardly keep up with it. So, we’re going to expand on that idea, and chase down the rabbit hole of my love of barbecue.”
The menu’s centerpiece will feature the popular smoked meats that Boemer currently features at the St. Paul Revival: brisket, pork shoulder and pork belly.
“And then we’re going to expand on those classic barbecue fundamentals, and get into what I would consider Minnesota barbecue,” he said. “The great Polish sausages, the knockwursts, the kielbasas. The smoked whitefish from Lake Superior, an ode to those great smokehouses that have been there for as long as southern barbecue places have been smoking. And the braunschweiger, that wonderful smoked liver sausage. It has such a special place in the heart of Minnesotans, and it’s going to be a tribute to my late father.”
Boemer — born in Minnesota but raised in the Carolinas and Missouri, where he picked up his passion for barbecue — also plans to include the exceptional pastrami that he now reserves for Mondays at Revival in St. Paul.
Revival Smoked Meats will sell those meats on a by-the-pound basis, as well as in combo plates: coleslaw and corn bread, or mac-and-cheese and corn bread, for example. Boemer is also promising a large sandwich menu. They’ll be a weekend brunch program, too.
“Imagine a great breakfast burrito with eggs and cheese, and then brisket that’s hot out of the smoker, sliced fresh,” he said. “Or a burnt ends breakfast sandwich. We’ll be making our own hams. Once you invest all the time creating these things, you want do have fun with them. So, let’s put that ham on a nice brioche roll, with eggs and cheese. It doesn’t get any better than that.”
The counter-service restaurant will have 45 seats indoors, with another 75 to 100 seats on a patio that will overlook the market’s large outdoor space. Studio M Architects in Minneapolis, which is responsible for the market’s design, is designing the restaurant, as well as In Bloom.
The smoker? “It’s the Cadillac of barbecue smokers,” said Boemer. “It can handle a thousand pounds of barbecue at a time. The goal is to produce about a ton of barbecue a day. And it’s an all-wood smoker. There’s not a single gas cooking line, there are no stoves or burners, no assists of any kind.”
There’s no confirmed opening date for Revival Smoked Meats or In Bloom, but Keg and Case Market (pictured, above) is officially opening to the public on Sept. 14. Boemer can’t wait.
“The market is going to be absolutely insane,” he said. “Everyone there is at the top of their game, and they’re going to be offering the best there is to offer. It’s incredible, it’s mind-blowing, to have them all in one place. The people who have come into this market are just some of my favorite people in the food world, and I’m so excited to work with them.”