From the outside, there doesn’t seem to be much going on within the Inver Grove Heights, South Saint Paul and West Saint Paul food and restaurant scene.
But look closer and there is a lot going on in the tri-city area of IGH, SSP and WSP.
Here is a look in this Eat IGH food and restaurant notebook:
Chick-fil-A West Saint Paul opening Oct. 20
Are you ready? Chick-fil-A will open in West Saint Paul, on Robert Street next to the Target parking lot on Thursday, October 20. It’s going to be insane. People are going to camp out the night before, wait in line for hours, and make it an event. And that’s cool, if that’s your thing. Chick-fil-A is outstanding, and the sandwiches and chicken strips are among the best in the fast food industry. But is it worth camping out for, or waiting in long lines? That’s debatable. We can’t wait to get some of that Chick-fil-A goodness, but we’ll drive over to Bloomington for now, until the craziness settles down on Robert Street. But, this restaurant is going to be a hit on Robert Street for years to come.
New restaurant coming to Concord Street
If you’ve driven by the old Clarion Hotel on Concord you’ve noticed a name change. It’s now enVision Hotel. Look closer and you would notice something else: A new restaurant is in the works and will be opening soon. Against the Grain restaurant is coming, and will have a full bar, full menu and is attached to the hotel. It’s going to feature a unique farm-to-fork concept and should open soon. We’ve been in touch with the team at enVision and Against the Grain and are working on a full story about the restaurant and will publish soon. Stay tuned.
New hotel coming to Inver Grove Heights
A review of the minutes from a recent IGH City Council meeting provided this information:
Sarju Igh, LLC- Case No. 16-33PRC: Consider a Resolution Approving the Improvement Agreement, Storm Water Facilities Maintenance Agreement and Related Agreements for Development of Hotel.
We reached out to Tom Link, Economic Development Director for the City of Inver Grove Heights to learn more about this.
“Yes, there is a new hotel coming to Inver Grove Heights,” said Link. “The City Council approved a comprehensive plan amendment and rezoning last spring and the site plan in August. The three story, 77 unit hotel will be located on the south side of 54th Street, just east of Robert Street and west of Salem Green Apartments. The hotel should provide more customers for the City’s restaurants. The owner has not yet identified the hotel chain, though we understand that it will be an extended stay operation. The owner has started to clear the site but has not yet made application for a building permit.”
Further details on this hotel development can be found in the City Council packet for the August 22 agenda on the IGH city web site.
Is TC Taco closing?
TC Taco has been a hot topic recently, unfortunately for all the wrong reasons. Discussion on neighborhood chats have asked if the restaurant is closed. The hours are irregular, and you never know when the restaurant will be open anymore. The phone number is disconnected, and a sign on the front door says cash only – meaning they likely have cancelled the credit card processing service they used. It does sound like it’s just a matter of time before TC Taco closes. It’s easy to come out and give opinions on the food at TC Taco, or provide reasons for why we think it didn’t/won’t last. But, instead, if they are closing, we’d like to thank the owner, Ty, for putting the hard work and energy into trying to make it work. We all wanted a new Mexican restaurant in Inver Grove Heights. We all looked forward to TC Taco coming to town. And he and others at the restaurant tried to make it work. It’s never good when IGH loses another small business. So if the end is near for TC Taco, Ty, thanks for your hard work and for trying something others talk about doing, but don’t do. You gave it a shot. Kudos to you. Best of luck in the next venture.
Reader mail: Don’t forget about Wong’s Kitchen in SSP
Little did we know that Little Asia Bowl had such a faithful following. The article Little Asia Bowl of Inver Grove Heights Big on Taste instantly became one of the most read in the history of Eat IGH. And the majority of people who commented on the article had nothing but positive things to say about Little Asia Bowl.
One reader, however, reminded us to not overlook another local favorite: Wong’s Kitchen in South Saint Paul. Jim responded to the Little Asia Bowl article by sending this to Eat IGH:
“Thanks for this review. I’m sure this place is good. And, I’ll certainly give it a try. However, as you review this and other Asian places in the area, please don’t forget about Wong’s Kitchen in South St. Paul. Wong’s is one of the best take-out places around. Cheers!”
We haven’t been to Wong’s Kitchen, but it’s been around for decades. So they are doing something right. We’ll check out Wong’s in the near future. Readers, what’s your thoughts on Wong’s Kitchen? Share in the comments section or on social media.
Reader mail: What about Turitto’s in Inver Grove Heights for best pizza?
Another reader sent this to the Eat IGH mailbox: “I’ll never understand why Turitto’s gets no love in the IGH pizza discussion. It was the best pizza in the city before Old World became Old World, and it still is.”
Ten, 15, 20 years ago, Turitto’s was as good as any pizza restaurant in Inver Grove Heights. It was cheap and tasted good. The sub sandwiches were the best deal in town. The restaurant has, and still has an awesome old school vibe to it. But the pizza has changed. A former employee of Turitto’s told us his reasons for the slip and he cites a lot of employee turnover and lack of consistency in how the pizza is made. He also said they have changed ingredients over the years. Could that be the reason? If you’re from IGH or SSP, and have lived around this area your entire life, then Turitto’s is likely still a favorite. We think people who are new to town just don’t know about it, or forget about it. We’re going to give Turitto’s a try again soon and we will let you know what we find.
Try those Steak sandwiches from Illetschko’s Meats and Smokehouse
Illetschko’s Meats and Smokehouse had a food stand on Cahill during IGH Days and they served the best steak sandwiches around. It was simple – grilled and seasoned steak on a bun. The steak was juicy, tender and seasoned to perfection. We wondered, can anyone get the meat that was used for the steak sandwich at Illetschko’s Meats?
Mike from Illetschko’s provided the answer: “Yes you can get those Star City Days steak sandwiches and apple cider pork chops at Illetschko’s meats and smokehouse. Call ahead to place an order they sell out fast.”
Call ahead and order now. Get some of the same Illetschko’s seasoning they were using, grill and enjoy some tender juicy steak or chops. You won’t be disappointed.
$5 Pizza opens: Reader reviews of new SSP pizza restaurant
$5 Pizza is now open in South Saint Paul. We’ve had mixed reviews. One reader told us the pizza was excellent, especially for $5. Better than Little Caesar’s we were told. Another reader didn’t have as much luck, telling us: “Tried $5 pizza in SSP today, went with a $5 pep, not good at all. Pizza took 10 minutes, I thought it was like Little Caesars, grab and go, that’s my fault. Guy behind the counter not very professional, pizza was dry, barely any pep and not cut all the way through. I asked for napkins and the guy went to the back and grabbed me 3 Chipotle napkins. NICE!”
Hopefully the latter is just a growing pain for the new restaurant. There is potential to be great, if done right. Parents would love to grab some $5 pizzas for birthday parties and kids events. And they are affordable. But to last, they have to taste good. Let’s hope it happens.
J’s Fish and Chicken in Inver Grove Heights now delivers
J’s Fish and Chicken now delivers select hours, including 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. and 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. This is good news. A lot of people go out to Facebook and wonder about J’s Fish and Chicken. Why wonder – go there and try it yourself, or order it and have it delivered. We had the double cheeseburger and fries the other day, and it was one of the best burgers we’ve had in IGH. It was $7.99 for the burger and thick cut fries. We’ve had the philly and gyro and those are two other items that make J’s Fish and Chicken stand out. Give it a try. Follow J’s Fish and Chicken on Facebook for more information.
Jersey Mike’s Subs Not coming to Inver Grove Heights
There are two Jersey Mike’s Subs in Eagan and two in Woodbury. We ate at a Jersey Mike’s Subs in Eagan last week and asked the owner if he would ever open in IGH. “We have two in Eagan, two in Woodbury, so we’re in a good spot now.” No surprise here of course, there never was “talk” of Jersey’s Mike’s coming to IGH, but some people wished for it. Jersey Mike’s is good. Better than any sub sandwich chain in town by far. Next time you think about Subway or Jimmy John’s, make the trek to Eagan or Woodbury to get a Jersey Mike’s sub.
Update of Old Rainbow Foods locations
We recently published a report providing an update on the old Rainbow Foods location in Inver Grove Heights, stating businesses have shown interest. We got another update from the broker working on the location. Mark Robinson told us “We have one offer I think we’re getting close on, but not sure if it’ll happen. Non-traditional retail, I can’t share too much yet.” Whatever does eventually come to the old Rainbow Foods location, one thing should be clear: It’s going to be something totally unexpected. Not a grocery store, not something we would think would be a fit. Hopefully we find out soon.
Food Truck at Travel Tags in Inver Grove Heights
On Wednesday, Oct. 12, the Rusty Taco food truck was at the Travel Tags parking lot in Inver Grove Heights, serving food. Last month, Travel Tags hosted another food truck. If anyone works at Travel Tags, tell them to let Eat IGH know the next time a food truck is coming and we can help promote. Then again, perhaps Travel Tags wants the food truck for its employees only. But people love food trucks, so let’s spread the word.
1.2.3 Pasta Update
About 1.2.3 Pasta. We literally just called La Grolla to get an update on the proposed Inver Grove Heights Italian restaurant. Antonio Tettamanzi owns La Grolla, and 1.2.3. Pasta. We left a message we hope he returns. We’ve called the real estate company that leases the building four times but haven’t heard back. One person did tell us however, they believe the restaurant is still going to open but things have been slow. We’re still holding out hope, but it’s waning.
As you can see, a lot may seem the same in IGH, WSP and SSP, but a lot is going on in the food and restaurant industry.