Did you know there’s a new boutique hotel in St. Cloud? Yes, that St. Cloud. Called Le St. Germain—it’s a sister-hotel to Minneapolis’ Graves 601. I talked to Ben Graves, president of Graves Hospitality, and he told me that St. Cloud is in the midst of a major revitalization due to its status as the urban center for Brainerd, Fargo, and other nearby cities. This revitalization has included a great expansion of the local convention center, which is connected by skyway to the hotel, and so it seemed a good time to improve the hotel offerings and make it a more elite property.
For people who regularly travel to St. Cloud, this seems like great news, and might even be good news for us urban dwellers in search of a fancy getaway at Iron Range prices. Graves tells me this boutique property can be had for around $125 a night. He also tells me that the hotel will get a fancier restaurant in a few months—a French-influenced bistro called De La Pointe, named for one of his great-grandmother’s maiden names.
Speaking of St. Cloud, have you ever noticed any similarities between St. Cloud and Williamsburg, Brooklyn, New York City, ground-zero of post-rock, artisanal-rye swilling, handmade-hat wearing American hipsters? Nope, me neither. Except now there is one: Williamsburg is also getting a new Graves-owned boutique hotel in April. Ben Graves tells me the new Hotel Williamsburg will have an enormous rooftop pool and bar—with a 4 a.m. closing time!—and a destination restaurant called Coalition (with a NYC up-and-coming chef, yet to be named). Graves also is opening a Wicker Park Chicago gastropub, possibly called The Bedford.
(Restaurant insiders: It’s pretty amusing to look at chef Mark Steuer’s Twitter feed—you can watch him go from giving notice at the Gage to “killing” a nine-course tasting menu for investors [presumably cooked in the Cosmos kitchen?], to the CC Club and Eatery 112.)
Graves tells me no top-name Minneapolis chefs are being recruited for the far-flung locations—but plenty of line cooks are. So if you’re a line cook with a yen to travel, you know where to apply. Graves also tells me they’ll be bringing chefs and key personnel from the far-flung locations here to Minnesota for training. Minnesota—the sixth borough? Also, anyone with hipster friends in Williamsburg, please, please reach out and annoy them by letting them know they’re an also-ran to St. Cloud. I’ve already annoyed my friends. You must do your part!