Three years after the legendary St. Clair Broiler closed, a new restaurant is finally reviving the storied space on the corner of St. Clair Ave. and Snelling Ave. in St. Paul.
Tono Pizzeria + Cheesesteaks is opening its second location in the spot that formerly housed the 61-year-old diner known for its burgers and malts. Look for a socially-distant grand opening this fall.
Tono has been slinging Philly-style cheesesteaks and pizzas inspired by a Sicilian recipe at its first fast-casual location, in Maplewood, for a year (3088 White Bear Av., Maplewood, 651-243-1953, tonomn.com).
Co-owners Shaz Khan and chef Antonio Gambino planned to make that outlet the first of many, and after partnering with an investment firm, the “scaling strategy” is on track, Khan said.
“This location is likely the second of many more to come in rapid succession,” he teased.
But this one comes with history.
The old St. Clair Broiler is “obviously a well-known staple of the community, and we are deeply aware of the cherished memories spanning over half a century,” Khan said. “These are some proverbially big shoes to fill — but that is precisely why we are so excited.”
The new spot will have the same menu as the Maplewood location, including Gambino’s meticulously researched cheesesteak. The Philly-native (and son of the Andrea of Andrea Pizza), toured Philadelphia’s most famous cheesesteak makers, taking inspiration from them to create his own version.
Gambino and Khan also own Frank from Philly & Andrea Pizza on the University of Minnesota campus (1235 4th St. SE, Mpls., 612-208-1973, frankandandrea.com), and the new Tono continues to spread their Italy-by-way-of-Philadelphia gospel across the Twin Cities.
“We may be new in the area, but we’re seasoned to the palate,” Khan said. “We can’t wait to give St. Paul a taste of tradition.”