First Look: St. Paul’s Newest Giant Patio, the Gnome

Brian Ingram’s outdoor dining destination debuts this week on Cathedral Hill
Outside the Gnome, formerly the Happy Gnome

Photo by Jason DeRusha

You’ve got to be crazy to open a restaurant—in general, and certainly in these COVID-19 times. Brian Ingram’s opening The Gnome in St. Paul Tuesday, August 4, and he is crazy. “My wife who is six months pregnant certainly thinks I am,” Brian tells me.

I visited his newest restaurant in what used to be The Happy Gnome over the weekend at a media preview (it was only the second time his team cooked the menu, and they did it for more than 100 people in a 2-hour period!). The patio is enormous—with seating for about 200, including a handful of hammocks. Lots of room for social distancing for sure.

Slow Roasted Beef Curry

Ingram is describing the food as “supper-club-style.” Chef Justin Sutherland is the culinary consultant helping to create the menu. You’ll see poutine with potato wedges, fried curds, and veal demi—a 30-ounce, giant braided pretzel topped with shaved raclette and served with pimento cheese. That same raclette is shaved tableside with potatoes, ham, and bread. (Can’t wait to try that!)

Milwaukee Pretzel, $14

Prices look great on the sandwiches too—carved beef barbacoa or slow-roasted pork dipped in au jus with fries for $12? A beer can chicken for $15? We loved the whole grilled branzini for $21.

Whole grilled Branzini served with polenta, $21

The Gnome will be patio-only from Tuesday-Sunday for lunch and dinner until 10 p.m. The 100 drinks on tap include local beer, wine, cocktails, soda, and cold brew. Lots of tiki cocktails, too—if you’re into that.

The Ingrams own Hope Breakfast Bar, and donate a minimum 3% of proceeds to charity. Later this month they’ll open Elotes in the former In Bloom space at Keg & Case Market. Like I said they’re crazy.

The Gnome, 498 Selby Ave., Saint Paul, thegnomepub.com

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