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Wild owner launching restaurant in St. Paul

Minnesota Wild owner Craig Leipold plans to open an upscale pub in the former Minnesota Club building this September that will be “iconic and St. Paul” and honor the late Minnesota hockey great Herb Brooks.

Herbie’s on the Park, the latest business venture for the team in downtown St. Paul, will be built into a 2,700-square-foot, first-floor space in the 317 Washington St. structure that houses the Wild’s front offices.

Leipold announced the name and concept for the restaurant in a Wednesday morning event outside the building. Work is already underway converting the club’s former Parkview Room into the restaurant’s dining area, while another part of the building is being repurposed for kitchen space.

The 317 Washington building is owned by Brooks’ younger brother, Dave. He purchased it from Leipold about five years ago.

Leipold said he has long wanted to connect the Herb Brooks name to the new restaurant.

“We’re proud of that name,” he said of the “Miracle on Ice” 1980 Winter Olympics coach.

With its location next to the Ordway Center for the Performing Arts, the St. Paul RiverCentre and Xcel Energy Center (home ice for the Wild), the future restaurant is positioned to capture game-day, theater and other event traffic. The restaurant will serve lunch and dinner daily.

The announcement, the purpose of which was kept under wraps until the event, did not address the Wild’s other expected downtown project. The team has proposed building a practice rink atop the former Macy’s building at 411 Cedar St. Jamie Spencer, the Wild’s vice president of new business development, said Wednesday the team is meeting with St. Paul Port Authority officials daily to “find a solution soon” that will put the team in that building.

In the meantime, the restaurant is on schedule to open by the start of the hockey season. MP Johnson Construction of Minneapolis has been at work in the historic Parkview Room space for two months. The work will preserve historic flooring, many of the old wood and brass details, and the room’s fireplace, Spencer said.

Workers have installed portions of a large bar area and will build the room out to accommodate about 200 diners, he said.

Spencer declined to disclose the cost for the project, saying only that it is “significant.” Permits on file with the city of St. Paul show the construction value at about $559,000 to date.

St. Paul-based Gleeson Architects designed the restaurant, according to Wild spokeswoman Kathy Ross.

Herbie’s will be managed by Chicago-based Levy Restaurants. Jennifer Cox, a regional chef for the company, told attendees that the “tavern-meets-pub” theme will be punctuated with local beers and wines and a menu including a walleye cake.

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