The team behind Handsome Hog, Ox Cart Ale House, Eagle Street and other popular St. Paul restaurants is debuting its latest project next week with a Minnesota name and an international flair. 

Gray Duck Tavern – yes, that’s a nod to "Duck, Duck, Gray Duck," the game that everyone else in the world knows as "Duck, Duck, Goose" – is officially opening its doors in downtown St. Paul at 345 Wabasha on Tuesday. Owner Carol March and Co. offered a sneak peek this week. Here's a look:

The revamped space, which previously sat empty for at least a decade, is highlighted by a rectangular bar that is surrounded with flat screen TVs. 

With Twin Cities cocktail legend Aaron Johnson (one of the bartenders/owners behind Town Talk Diner in the mid-2000s) assuming the role of general manager, the drink list commands attention, serving up a house-made tonic with gin and a Mezcal-Aperol-grapefruit crema concoction, among other things. Minnesota distilleries take the spotlight in the creations.

In the kitchen, chef Don Gonzalez (formerly of Forepaugh’s), whips up a variety of small snacks (fried almonds with olives, Spanish sausages with peppers, a devilled duck egg, a “Cuban cigar” egg roll with orange mojo sauce) that land between $3-4. Rounding out the menu are a handful of starters (tamarind chicken wings, jerk shrimp with pineapple and shiso), soups and salads, entrées such as a turmeric-spiced halibut with rice noodles and a carved meats section (purchase the likes of Singapore broil or pork lechon in seven, 14 or 21-ounce portions).

Besides the previously mentioned restaurants, Madison Restaurant Group also owns Public Kitchen + Bar, Green Lantern and Fitzgerald's. Gray Duck will be open seven days a week for lunch and dinner and will have early and late happy hours on weekdays.

(Photos by Amelia Rayno and Tom Horgen)

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