Restaurant Row

The familiar Midwest urban decline began along Selby during the Depression, accelerated after World War II, then hit its nadir with two nights of violence after the murder of Dr. Martin Luther King in 1968. Several Selby Avenue businesses were firebombed; a year later one remaining merchant pronounced Selby commerce near death. A street that had once thrived with hundreds of business was reduced to a few straggling survivors.

A slow revival began in the mid-1970s; it is still going on today, exemplified by “restaurant row” between Western Avenue and Dale Street.

Moscow on the Hill – 371 Selby
Solo Vino – 517 Selby
French Hen - 518 Selby
W.A. Frost - 374 Selby
Cheeky Monkey – 525 Selby
Nina's Coffee Cafe – 165 Western
Great Harvest Bakery – 534 Selby
Costello's Bar – 393 Selby
Chocolate Emporium – 579 Selby
Fabulous Fern's – 400 Selby
Mango Thai – 610 Selby
La Grolla – 452 Selby
Louisiana Cafe – 613 Selby
Bon Vie Bistro & A Piece of Cake – 485 Selby
Muddy Pig – 162 Dale St.
The Happy Gnome, 517 Selby
Sweeney's – 96 Dale St.

Except for the old Angus Hotel building (Nina's), the showiest of these buildings is the former Trott-Birch house at 579, a rare four-story double house in the Chateauesque style. It catches the eye, but its size makes it a challenge to sustain as a commercial building. Contrast it to the low brick structures occupied now by French Hen and Cheeky Monkey; these adaptable spaces have been home to dozens of cafes and shops over the decades.

Selby now rivals nearby Grand Avenue as St. Paul's “eat street.”

Images

Looking east from Kent and Selby

Looking east from Kent and Selby

The Happy Gnome (formerly Engine House #5) to the right and the Cathedral in the distance. Date: May, 2013 Photo by: Kimmy Tanaka View File Details Page

Restaurant Row

Restaurant Row

Near Mackubin Street and Selby. Solo Vino in the foreground. Date: May, 2013 Photo by: Kimmy Tanaka View File Details Page

Selby Avenue near Dale

Selby Avenue near Dale

Date: 7/17/1975 Image courtesy of Minnesota Historical Society View File Details Page

Selby Avenue, west of Dale Street

Selby Avenue, west of Dale Street

Photographer: St. Paul Dispatch & Pioneer Press Date: 1967 Image courtesy of Minnesota Historical Society View File Details Page

Cite this Page:

Paul Nelson, “Restaurant Row,” Saint Paul Historical, accessed May 24, 2017, http://saintpaulhistorical.com/items/show/112.

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