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Look what's open: St. Paul's first Spyhouse Coffee

St. Paul’s first Spyhouse Coffee opened for business this morning promptly at 6 a.m.

“I haven’t been up this early since…I can’t remember when,” said owner Christian Johnson with a laugh. “Even my dog didn’t get up.”

But it seems as if the rest of the neighborhood is filled with caffeine-seeking early risers. By sunrise, the place was doing a brisk business, with smartphone-wielding customers snapping images left and right. By noon, the corner of Snelling and Palace is surely going to be the 651’s Instagram hot spot, and then some.

And why not? Like all Spyhouse locations – there are four others, all in Minneapolis – it’s a style-conscious space, one that takes full advantage of its 1930s-era storefront roots (the building once housed a neighborhood market and was most recently an antiques store), finished with envy-inducing marble counters trimmed in trendy brass, and plenty of Johnson's sharp-eyed collection of collectibles. Yeah, there's a reason Spyhouse has collected nearly 33,000 Instagram followers. 

The usual Spyhouse menu is in play, with beverages fashioned from beans roasted in Johnson’s northeast Minneapolis plant. The counter boasts a full complement of beautiful goodies from Sarah Botcher’s Black Walnut Bakery: scones, croissants, cookies, muffins and other pastries.

The cozy 42-seat coffeehouse, the smallest in Johnson’s orbit, also features a backyard patio, one that’s bound to be popular when the weather cooperates. 

Find it at 420 Snelling Av. S. in St. Paul, about six blocks south of the Macalester College campus.

First Avenue to open new restaurant and bar adjoining Palace Theatre in St. Paul



The owners of Minneapolis’ beloved First Avenue music club are opening a new bar and restaurant – this time in St. Paul.

In 2010, the club debuted the Depot Tavern, a casual pub that abuts First Ave. Now they’re adding a similarly adjoined bar and restaurant to the big St. Paul venue they co-manage: the Palace Theatre.

The new restaurant will move into the current Wild Tymes location, with First Ave taking over the lease on Nov. 29 and then remodeling and rebranding the space.

“An adjoining bar and restaurant was always part of the plan with the Palace Theatre project,” said First Ave general manager Nate Kranz. “We have a lot of ideas about how we can use that space as a really complimentary room to the Palace.”

Right now, there’s no name, and Kranz said the new concept is still being “fleshed out.” As for the remodel, Kranz said they want to move the bar and “open up the space a little bit” while leaving the kitchen and restrooms mostly intact.

Kranz said he expects the vibe to be similar in some ways to the Depot but stopped short of confirming that the menu would be mostly pub-focused.



The Palace, which was originally unveiled in 1916, reopened earlier this year after sitting mostly dormant for four decades.

“I see that area as the connector between Lowertown and West Seventh,” Kranz said. “It’s got a lot of charm, and it’s just active. We think it’s really up and coming and the Palace is a big part of that.”

Kranz said First Ave hopes to debut the new restaurant and bar by spring of 2018.

(Palace photo by Leila Navidi; Depot photo by Tom Horgen)

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