After more than 3 decades, St. Paul’s Tavern on Grand to close

Tavern on Grand to close after more than 30 years

Tavern on Grand to close after more than 30 years

A St. Paul staple will be permanently closing its doors this year.

Early Thursday morning, officials with Tavern on Grand posted on social media it will be serving customers until sometime in early June.

The cabin-themed restaurant, known for its walleye, opened in 1990, and owners say it served a luncheon to former Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev the same year.

In Tavern’s post, it said the business was “accomplished with the love and support of our customers, community, and staff” and that they’re thankful “to have been like a home to many over the years with memories to last several lifetimes.”

After Tavern on Grand made the announcement Thursday, their phones were flooded with calls from customers, and the booths were filled with people hoping to cherish the restaurant while they still could.

“They’re happy tears because it means that you made an impact,” co-owner Tara Padilla said. “Everybody here, the staff and the customers have made an impact on us.”

An exact closing date wasn’t specified in the post, which can be found below.

Not as Grand as it used to be

When you look around Grand Avenue, “For Lease” posters stare back.

“This has always been kind of like a high-energy, high-traffic area, and seeing it slow down definitely feels strange,” Grand Avenue resident Anna Krueger said. “It’s a bummer.”

Neighbors said the dark storefronts dim the sparkle Grand Avenue used to have.

In recent months, retail stores like Anthropologie and Pottery Barn called it quits, and French restaurant Salut closed its doors earlier this month. Tavern on Grand will be serving up its last plate of walleye in June.

“It’s been an ongoing discussion for many months,” Eric Lemay, Tavern on Grand co-owner, said.

Lemay said they decided not to renew a lease for a variety of reasons, and one of them is Grand Avenue.

“With the change in the foot traffic and everything going on, it’s made the metrics look a little worse,” he said.

He added the closure was the best decision for their family because business has slowed down altogether since COVID-19 and the prices of goods have increased.

The Summit Hill Association released a statement to 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS regarding the recent business closures:

“The Summit Hill Association plays an important role as convenor of community conversation and liaison between our community and the City of Saint Paul. Keeping Grand Avenue vibrant is a top priority of our community. For the last five years, we have held countless stakeholder conversations and hosted volunteer efforts to spruce up the avenue. But this only goes so far – we need action. Action will only come when we have partnership from local governments with economic development, public safety and financial authority to drive change.”

Elizabeth Emerson, Summit Hill Association Board member

Other St. Paul closures

Tavern on Grand is the latest St. Paul restaurant to permanently shutter.

In November, Clutch Brewing Company announced it would close its doors at the end of 2023. Prior to that closure, Filipino restaurant Kalsada shut down in September. Foxy Falafel closed in July after 13 years of business.

In June, Alary’s Bar announced its closure, but a social media post said a new era was coming. Also in June, Fasika’s in the city’s Hamline-Midway neighborhood said it was permanently closing. Those closures followed Angelo’s Pizza locking the doors to its location on White Bear Avenue in March.

In late 2022, owners of East Side Bar announced they were closing for good. That same year, Black Sheep pizza owners announced the closure of the downtown St. Paul location.

Prior to those, Birch’s Lowertown closed.