Less than four months after debuting the Highland Park French bistro Bar Brigade, restaurateur Matty O'Reilly has again added to his empire of eateries.
His latest project, Delicata (delicatastp.com), debuted on Wednesday in St. Paul's Como Park area, offering a casual menu of pizza, appetizers and gelato in the former Java Train/ Como Park Grill location.
"This was a fun one to put together," said O'Reilly, best known for his Seven Corners burger bar, Republic. "It was out of my wheelhouse and my comfort zone — I've never done pizza before. But I've learned a lot."
After taking over the space at 1341 Pascal St. earlier this year, O'Reilly made minimal changes to the building's interior, giving it a fresh coat of paint, adding a backsplash tile behind the counter and repolishing the floors. In typical O'Reilly fashion, he kept plenty of relics of the previous era, from the tables and booths to the light fixtures.
The restaurant is counter service only, but diners will still be treated to high-quality fare with chef/partner J.D. Fratzke — the culinary director at all O'Reilly's restaurants — in the kitchen. The menu is divided into three sections, with a notable slate of starters (grilled artichokes with Romanesco, Italian sausage meatballs and cured meats), salads and, of course, pizzas. The pies, fired in the double-decker gas oven, offer a slight twist on the traditional, ranging from three-cheese, pepperoni and pork sausage pizzas to shrimp and pesto and chicken agrodolce. House-made gluten-free crust is available, too.
"Pizza, there's something about it, I just think it stands the test of time," said O'Reilly, who also owns the Red River Kitchen food truck, which is based at City House. "But we also want to be more than that."
For dessert, Delicata boasts a house-made, mayo-infused coconut cake as well as gelato from Sonny's Ice Cream and soft-serve. (Fratzke and Co. want to begin making their own frozen treats soon.) Customers can purchase their gelato with their dinner and receive a wooden nickel they can then later redeem for their icy sweets without again waiting in line.
Wine — including three on tap — can be served by the glass or the carafe, and beer and cider, by the pint or pitcher, to cut down on repeat trips to the counter.
The restaurant seats about 80 inside and about 50 outside on a tiered stone patio marked by hanging lanterns and a giant mural on the building's side.
Events around town
Looking for an excuse to roll up your sleeves and crack open some fresh shellfish? Minneapolis is offering two of them next month.
First up is Smack Shack's fifth annual Crayfest in the North Loop (603 Washington Av. N., smack-shack.com). The Aug. 5 party (noon-8 p.m.) will be packed with beer, live music and plenty of those tiny red crustaceans, waiting to be pulled apart — including in the eating contest if you're feeling competitive. Tickets ($20-$45) are available on eventbrite.com.
Then, on Aug. 18, the American Swedish Institute (2600 Park Av. S.) is getting in on the fun with Kraftskiva, their version of the Scandinavian tradition. The little brined creatures will be served cold with crown dill in the institute's courtyard along with aquavit and other drinks, and music from Ole Olsson's Oldtime Orkestra. Tickets are $55 for members and $65 for nonmembers at asi.org.