Dining Dish: Matties on Main, Libertine, Lagos, Gray House and more

This weather is positively intoxicating and I don’t know about you, but I sincerely wish I was out there working on my boiled lobster-like summer summer skin tone, but alas, work calls. Luckily, it won’t be long before we wind down this day and I’ve got all kinds of juicy food news with an extra heaping of patios for you.

Mattie’s on Main, from the same folks that brought us Wilde Roast has been softly edging towards opening in St. Anthony Main. Their outdoor seating looking sumptuous and the first images I’ve seen of the food are enough to get you salivating. Styled as a modern day saloon, they take their name from a madam who operated a brothel in the 1800’s in this area. They have a beautiful stage that will soon showcase live music acts and a colorful drink list including something the size and color of a fishbowl. Their official grand opening will be this Saturday.

Tim McKee is now gleefully sharing the details on his new concept—which will, in fact, be located inside what was once Cafeteria. (Rooftop revelers take note: The Skybar remains open up top, though.) Downstairs, they served their final dinner on Memorial Day. Now, the switchover begins as the room filled with chrome and color is transformed with rustic wood into Libertine.

McKee has long partnered with Parasole, but this is the first project that will be entirely his idea. The restaurant will focus on lesser known beef cuts like the feather blade, heritage breed pork with chops boasted beautiful fat caps, as well as lamb and a select number of seafood dishes. Leading the kitchen will be Chef Stephan Hesse, who also opened Masu with McKee.

Behind the bar they’ll have a wide selection of beers with everything to please the craft brew lovers and the $3 PBR can devotees.

They expect to open before too long—hopefully by the end of July. Can’t wait that long? There will be a little sample of what they’ll be serving at the upcoming Share Our Strength Taste of the Nation HOTlist event at the Guthrie. (Tickets available on their website.) Or follow them on Twitter or Instagram @LibertineMpls where they’ve been posting a bevy of tasty pictures.

It’s time to get your goat fix in while the getting’s good: Ian Gray of The Gray House has announced that he will not be renewing his lease when it’s up at the end of July. Gray said that the decision was in part that it’s time to try something new and in part a result of his divorce. Seems his ex-wife’s father was an investor and understandably, they’d like to separate that part of the business now that the marriage has come to an end. He promises that he’ll be around town. With all the critical love he’s received in that location that has been the demise of many-a-restaurant, this is likely not the last we’ve heard of young Chef Gray. So, you’ve got two months left to get your Gray House fix. Final service will be July 31st.

Don’t think we’re leaving Uptown just yet. There’s one more bit of news of the happy sort. Lago Tacos is ready to welcome taco fans into their new location (where last we saw Heidi’s 2.0). Locally made La Perla corn tortillas are stuffed with anything from quivering pork belly to fried walleye. This is their second location. The original in Excelsior has garnered a following for their giant margaritas. You can check them out beginning today beginning at 11:00 a.m. and they won’t shut down until 2 a.m. They’ve also done extensive work on the patio, which might just be perfect for a day like today.

While most folks will be flocking to St. Paul for a Grand Ol’ Day meander, I’m more inclined to head over to the Highland Park Pavillion for a little booya action. St. Francis hosts theirs beginning at 11:30 a.m. Booya is the St. Paul tradition of cooking a vat of mysterious stew and serving it to friends and family for just a couple of bucks. At St. Francis’ they also usually have tamales, popcorn, hotdogs, pull tabs, and more. It’s always a great community gathering point where the kids play and the old folks tell tales of days long past.

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