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Owners of Stanley's and Pub 819 opening new dog-friendly pub in St. Louis Park

Members of the Craft & Crew Hospitality crew are at it again.

Two of the owners of Stanley’s Northeast Bar Room, the Howe Daily Kitchen & Bar, Pub 819 and other properties – have just sealed the deal to expand into St. Louis Park.

In a building that's currently home to Park Vacuum – it’s located just northeast of the intersection of Hwy. 7 and Louisiana Av. – co-owners Luke Derheim and David Benowitz plan to create the Block (7008 Hwy. 7).

“The concept will be very similar to our other neighborhood restaurants, and offer a full bar program,” said Derheim. “We are beyond excited to be a part of the community in this area, and bringing our food, drinks and, most important, our dog menu to this area.”

Fun fact: Three years after introducing such items as “Turkey Muttloaf” and “K-9 Chicken,” the canine-friendly restaurants have just served their 20,000th dog meal.

For humans, Craft & Crew kitchens turn out a long list of well-made, crowd-pleasing favorites: burgers, flatbreads, salads, sandwiches, grain bowls and brunch items. (That's the burger at Pub 819, pictured, above).

An expansion of the modest building will yield a 112-seat dining room, and a 50-seat patio will be placed on the Walker St. side of the property. Also in the works is a rooftop patio, a Craft & Crew first.

“We're not certain if that's going to happen in 2020, or 2021," said Derheim.

Construction on the restaurant and bar is scheduled to begin in December, with an opening sometime in late May.

One of St. Paul's oldest brewpubs to close this weekend

When Sean O’Byrne opened Great Waters Brewing Company in 1997, the brewpub scene in Minnesota was “pretty slim.” Now, there are more than 150 craft breweries in the state. But there will be one less after this weekend, when the downtown St. Paul standby closes its doors. (426 Saint Peter St., St. Paul, 651-224-2739, greatwatersbc.com)

“We were one of the first breweries around, and now there’s almost one on every corner, like a Starbucks,” O’Byrne said.

Minnesota Wild games, theater at the Ordway and concerts at the newly renovated Palace Theatre have been a boon to the brewery, restaurant and bar in the historic Hamm Building. But it’s not enough, O’Byrne said.

“It’s great for a destination, but everyday, casual customers who want to stop in for a beer – now there’s one in their neighborhood,” he said. And when the theater is dark and the games are away, and “there’s no one out on the streets because it’s so darn cold, you still have to pay the bills on those days.” Those bills include upgrades to 22-year-old restaurant and brewing equipment that O’Byrne wasn’t prepared to make.

Great Waters bore witness to major changes in the Twin Cities craft brewing world.

“At the time we opened up, you could not sell growlers,” O’Byrne said “The state Legislature didn’t even know what growlers were.”

O’Byrne lobbied for seven years for a change in the law to get approval to sell his beer to-go. Meanwhile, the Twin Cities were ripening for taproom boom. But because Great Waters also serves wine and liquor, it legally can’t sell its beer off-premises like competing local breweries can.

O’Byrne isn’t sure what he will do next. But the address is slated to undergo major renovations and turn into a “totally different concept” in the next three months, he said.

For now, merchandise is flying off the shelves and reservations are filling up for a busy last week. Great Waters officially closes on Sunday, Nov. 18. 

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