In the local food world, mention of the Lexington in St. Paul has lately brought more groans than cheers. 

After a series of delays and non-responses, many assumed the announced eatery starring Josh Thoma (the owner of Smack Shack) and Jack Riebel (the former chef at Butcher & the Boar) would never open.

But now, just as the project was fading into the background, we have an update – a vague update, but a reassurance nonetheless that this renovation is still happening.

Last week, passersby might have noticed a sign on the Lexington door marking headway: the Lexington is now hiring. According to the sign, the team is conducting interviews for all front-of-the-house and back-of-the-house positions on Wednesday and Thursday of this week.

And Jennifer Lueck, who handles public relations for the Lexington, among other restaurants in the Twin Cities, confirmed on Tuesday that construction is progressing and that nothing has changed within the ownership team.

However, Lueck declined to give a predicted date for the debut – or even a basic time frame like “first half of 2017” or “second half of 2017” – because of the extensive delays the crew has already endured.

What has been the problem with all the delays? It’s mostly been construction related, Lueck said, including new wiring. And there are plans for a rooftop patio where there has been none in the past, Lueck said. 

“It’s an older building and in order to bring everything up to where it needs to be, it’s been a very big undertaking,” Lueck said. “But it is absolutely happening, we are progressing.

“It’s been a long wait, but we are seeing the light at the end of the tunnel.”