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Red Rabbit Brings Its Italian Cuisine to St. Paul

Executive Chef Todd Macdonald (left) alongside owner Luke Shimp at the new Red Rabbit restaurant on St. Paul’s Grand Avenue, opening October 2.

Laura Michaels/Foodservice News

Gone are the dance floor and DJ booth, along with the wooden bar that more often than not was sticky from spilt drinks. What was the Wild Onion on St. Paul’s Grand Avenue for more than 20 years is now Red Rabbit, the rustic Italian concept from Luke Shimp’s kindRED Hospitality, also behind the Twin Cities’ four Red Cow restaurants.

Opening October 2, Red Rabbit hosted a media preview September 26 to showcase the completely redesigned space and a menu that mirrors Executive Chef Todd Macdonald’s first Red Rabbit in Minneapolis’ North Loop. Filled with what Macdonald calls “uncomplicated and authentic” Italian dishes, he utilizes a new wood fire grill and wood fire pizza oven to put out items such as a charred green bean salad and bruschetta topped with avocado and soft scrambled eggs. Of course there’s pizzas, including a spicy salami version and the Old World Margherita. Highlighted pastas include raviolo with house burrata and pickled rhubarb, linguine and clams, and a risotto milanese with braised veal cheek.

Studio M completely renovated the space, said Shimp, to give it an open floor plan with new booth and table seating, along with contemporary fixtures and an expansive rebuilt bar.

“The neighborhood was ready for something new,” said Shimp of taking over what had been a popular party spot. “We’ve heard from a lot of people that they’re excited for us to come. The Wild Onion had a great run and now it’s our turn to bring something different.”

The restaurant seats 140 inside, along with a 40-seat outdoor patio. At the bar, Beverage Director Ian Lowther created a full cocktail program with an emphasis on Italian spirits such as Amaro and Campari, and Red Rabbit has a state-of-the-art Le Verre de Vin wine preservation system to go along with 36 beer taps.

Like its counterpart in Minneapolis, the St. Paul Red Rabbit will serve lunch and weekend brunch in addition to dinner.

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