Trailblazers 2017: Carol March

Carol March // Photo courtesy Carol March

Carol March // Photo courtesy Carol March

St. Paul’s Lowertown neighborhood has grown from a collection of rough-around-the-edges warehouses into a revitalized, pulsating dining district within the Capital City. With restaurants like Big River Pizza and Saint Dinette, and exciting new additions in Kyatchi, Octo Fishbar, and Salty Tart, momentum in Lowertown is hitting an all-time high.

But before the neighborhood started attracting the likes of Tim Niver, chef Hide Tozawa, and Tim McKee, one woman laid the foundation for Lowertown’s food renaissance. One notable female figure, in an otherwise male-centric business sphere, cultivated and nurtured a previously sleepy area into an energetic culinary destination.

Carol March.

With a passion for the hospitality biz ever since she was a teenager, March had always dreamt of opening her own place. Her dream became our delicious reality, but not by managing one or two restaurants, but six, all within a one-mile radius.

March, president of the Madison Restaurant Group, has blazed an impressive St. Paul food and drink trail, opening Public Kitchen + Bar, Handsome Hog, and Gray Duck Tavern, and taking over management of Ox Cart Ale House, Fitzgerald’s, and Eagle Street Grille.

All along the way, Madison Restaurant Group has remained committed to the redevelopment of St. Paul and with providing residents with quality dining experiences, as boldly stated on the company’s website. And they are, from global comfort foods to neighborhood bistros to contemporary Southern with a dash of bourbon and smoke.

St. Paul is finally stepping out of the shadow of Minneapolis’ restaurant scene and getting a share of the spotlight. But is Lowertown going all “Uptown” on us?

No. It’s just a new, fresh-faced Lowertown. A place burning with potential. And we must thank Carol March for igniting the fire.


Trailblazers are the people, ideas, businesses, and organizations doing necessary, important, and groundbreaking work in the realms of food, drink, and culture. See the rest of The Growler’s 2017 Trailblazers here.