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Town Hall Brewery expands to Edina with new 'road food' restaurant

When Pete Rifakes, co-owner of the growing Town Hall family of bars, discovered his next venue, a 1950’s service station in Edina, he decided he wanted to honor as much of the original charm as possible.

Thus Town Hall Station was born.

The bar and restaurant housed in the former Wally’s Service Station at 4500 Valley View Road debuted last week with a mechanical-inspired space, a menu full of “road food,” and, of course, plenty of Town Hall’s house brews.

“People living in the neighborhood, we’ve found they feel some nostalgia about the building,” Rifakes said. “They told us they were glad we didn’t tear it down because they owed a lot of memories to that place.”

Rifakes – who also owns Town Hall Brewery in Seven Corners, Town Hall Tap on south Chicago Av. and Town Hall Lanes to the east of Lake Nokomis – is taking those memories into a new era.

In the renovated space that fits 140 people inside and out, gas station themes take the lead, with a vinyl “filling station” graphic featured along one wall. Lighting is reused from industrial warehouses in northeast Minneapolis. Tables are made from steel. And the booths are patterned after motorcycle seats – black leather with silver studs. Eventually, Town Hall Station will be adding some framed photos of the original Wally’s, which closed in 2014, as well.

On the menu, patrons will find fare influenced by the travels of Rifakes and head brewer Mike Hoops when they’ve explored the country for conventions, beer festivals and to see new breweries.

“We love good food and when we travel, we look off the beaten path for places that are making good, scratch food,” Rifakes said. “To us, that’s what road food is. It’s going to be affordable, local and high quality.”

The lineup at Town Hall Station will include some items that are also served at the other restaurants, such as the bratwurst with house-made sauerkraut, mustard and potato salad, as well as some unique dishes, including a slew of tacos – braised beef rib and marlin tacos among them – and the "brewer's double" burger (pictured, courtesy of Town Hall Station).

Though Town Hall won’t brew on site, the Station will boast 13 taps of Town Hall Brewery’s beer (as well as other local and worldwide beers) and a special brew made just for this location: the Pitstop Cherry Lager, a dry-finishing lager incorporating Michigan tart cherries.

“I was skeptical to be honest,” Rifakes said. “I’m not a big fruit beer guy. But it’s amazing. And it’s super easy drinking in the summer.”

Cocktails – such as jalapeno cucumber margarita and the summer rose, a gin drink with lavender, blueberries and lemon – will also be available. Town Hall Station is open from 11 a.m. to midnight Sunday through Wednesday and 11 a.m. to 1 a.m. Thursday through Saturday.

Photos of Town Hall Station are courtesy of Dan Roth.

Popular sushi restaurant Kyatchi opening second location in St. Paul, replacing Tanpopo

After debuting Kyatchi in Minneapolis’ Kingfield neighborhood three and a half years ago, the team behind the sustainable sushi restaurant is expanding to St. Paul.

The second location of Kyatchi – the brainchild of siblings Sarah and Sam Peterson – will open in the former Tanpopo space at 308 E. Prince St. near CHS Field in St. Paul's Lowertown later this summer. Some of Kyatchi’s trademark features at its original venue include a large mural along one wall that incorporates Japanese baseball themes, and a handful of baseball jerseys.

“I’m excited to get to know our neighbors here in St. Paul,” Sarah Peterson said in a release. “Sushi, art and baseball – it’s a home run!”

The project, which is backed by mega restaurateur Kim Bartmann, will keep the same focus as the Minneapolis shop, with chef Hide Tozawa specializing in authentic sushi, karage (fried) and grilled dishes, along with Kyatchi’s signature Japanese hot dogs.

Unlike the original, the new spot will have a full liquor license, and offer a selection of Japanese whisky along with its local tap beers and wine line.

No exact dates have been announced for the opening. The Minneapolis locale, meanwhile, added a new lunch service on Saturdays and Sundays earlier this month. 

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