|Chocolate Chateau, and soon Third Floor jazz venue on Selby|
|Dancing to Lila Ammons at The Nicollet|
Remember the Vintage restaurant on Selby in St. Paul? For years it was considered a dining destination, more for the elegant Victorian architecture than the kitchen. After it closed, it was home to an Italian restaurant for a year or two, even boasting some Happy Hour and weekend jazz with the likes of Irv Williams and Peter Schimke. A couple years ago, it closed. The next tenant was, and is, the Chocolate Chateau, purveyor of all things chocolate, including some you can’t eat. There’s a small café and outdoor patio, so you can have your chocolate and coffee on site.
Enter Jeremy Konecny, looking for a new venue for his next jazz and food venture. “After starting some jazz at The Nicollet I found myself so into jazz music and knowing what was happening with the growth of jazz and the price some places are charging...I just really felt compelled to find another new home for jazz,” he said, explaining why he was again taking the plunge, this time with The Third Floor. Which of course is on the third floor of the old Vintage. “The space,” he says, “although weak on staging, is beautiful in looks and sound, and the location is pretty fantastic as well! It has a lot of history [the building is on the National Register of Historic Places] and a 4th floor, which is very rare in this area. The winter views from the mezzanine should be amazing.”
Amazing indeed. I stopped in to pick up some chocolate the other day and was treated to a private preview of the Third Floor. It’s an elegant mix of hardwood floors and exposed brick walls, a very cool bar (with totally cool bar chairs—the kind with backs for us middle-agers), and large windows overlooking Cathedral Hill. And perhaps best of all, it is two flights above the Chocolate Chateau which should figure significantly on the menu. Not wanting to create a real dining room, Jeremy explains that “I will be bringing back (and making better) our pizza from The Nicollet,” and he has some other menu ideas as well, including, of course, dessert.
Says Jeremy, “Between the location, my desire and passion for jazz, the local jazz community getting behind us, keeping ticket prices very low, and all the free parking...we just got to make this place special!” The Third Floor isn’t even open for another week, but already it seems like it will be a special destination.
Chocolate and jazz, in historic St. Paul? It’s the Rebirth of the Cool.
Come out October 18th for the opening night on The Third Floor, 579 Selby in St Paul; http://the3rdfloor.weebly.com
Photo of the historic Vintage building from the Chocolate Chateau website. Other photos by Andrea Canter.