When Nick Rancone and Thomas Boemer transformed Corner Table in 2013, they connected with a zeitgeist. High-end diners and food adventurers still craved sustainability, but with a little less bang-you-on-the-head zealotry. Instead, they angled for seasonally-focused, casual elegance with a side of soul—think coq au vin next to maple-roasted jowl.
That modus operandi carried them to open to their more casual, Southern-fried concept, Revival. Boemer, a James Beard Award semi-finalist for Best Chef Midwest this year, wanted to hearken back to his North Carolina childhood. At Revival, diners flock—and often wait—to try his take on johnnycakes, collard greens, banana cream pie, and his array of house-made hot sauces. The big star, though? The fried chicken, which moved Rick Nelson of the Star Tribune to declare: “nobody does it better than Revival.”
Lucky for St. Paul, Rancone and Boemer are on the brink of opening Revival part deux in the old Cheeky Monkey space of the Selby-Dale neighborhood. Food-wise, St. Paul has had a long history of stops and starts—for every Strip Club that’s opened, a Heartland has closed—and it seems as if the really good restaurants only open every 10 years (which is why Mucci’s, Tori Ramen, and Revival St. Paul are so consequential).
Luckier still, though, this summer Rancone and Boemer announced they’ll be furthering their St. Paul food crusade. They will head a new concept as the lead tenants of the forthcoming Keg & Case Market, a food-centric market in the Schmidt Brewery complex. The new restaurant is still finding its feet, but rumors point to vegetable-forward cuisine, a dramatic hearth, sharable plates, smoke, fire, and diner-accessibility. The space will seat 120 inside and 80 on the outdoor patio.
If that doesn’t leave you starry-eyed and hopeful, know this: you can even get a taste of Revival at a Vikings game. Rancone and Boemer offer fried chicken sandwiches and homemade pork rinds with spicy cheese at their U.S. Bank Stadium stall. Whatever their St. Paul concept shapes up to be, there’s no doubt it will get Minneapolis diners to cross the river more often.
Our mission at The Growler is to tell stories that inspire progress in local food, drink, and culture. And in that spirit as part of our 2016 Kind-Of-A-Big-Deal Issue, we felt the need to point out 25 people, ideas, businesses, and organizations who have done necessary, important, and groundbreaking work in 2016. See the rest of our 2016 Trailblazers here.