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The Inn Is Out


Well, that was fast. The Inn, the excellent little downtown restaurant by chef Tyge Nelson and the St. Paul Strip Club folks, has closed.

Why? “We were not doing as many people as we wanted to do, so we had to close,” explained Tim Niver, the six-month-old restaurant’s manager and a server. Well, I guess, obviously, yes. But the six months of the dead of winter for a restaurant with no skyway access, was that enough time?

“I’m proud of a lot of what we did here,” Niver continued. “We had a really cool directive to flip that [former Filipino restaurant Subo] on a dime, and we opened within 45 days. If we were the first people in that space, if Subo never happened, we might have made it.” (Because owner Jim Hayes was already burned from losing so much money on Subo.)

“Jim Hayes was nothing but cool though,” said Niver. “I don’t disagree that it wasn’t enough time, but it’s not as easy as people would dream it would be. We were just getting in stride, we were about to start doing a tasting menu. But I can’t pull a sad sack routine, I don’t want this to be a pity-party. [Chef] Tyge Nelson did a great job, and really came through. But we thought you could fill the place with heart, good food, and good drinks and it would work out… but it didn’t. Anyone who’s in this industry is going to go through this more than once, and you can either get beat down or persevere. And you have to remember it’s not about blogging about it, it’s about doing it.”

Except in this instance it’s also about blogging about it. Sympathies all, I’ll never forget the herring, the cod, or the glög.

The Inn

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Minnesota Monthly's Taste Blog answers your restaurant and dining questions, dishes on latest discoveries, reflects on breaking news, and generally brings the plate to the page with a skilled crew of experts: Learn more about the Taste bloggers.

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