In a society overloaded with corporate restaurants and unforgiving fast-food joints, a locally-owned business that serves quality food at reasonable prices is a welcome sight in the Twin Cities.
Enter: The Como Park Grill.
Located in the heart of St. Paul’s Como Neighborhood between the Como Park Zoo and the Minnesota State Fair grounds, the Como Park Grill is a hidden gem for many locals and a happened-upon treasure for those who discover it.
“It’s a warm, cozy environment where you feel at home,” said Christine Finnegan, who owns the Como Park Grill, along with her husband, Steve.
Specializing in fresh-baked pizzas with homemade dough, Angus-beef burgers, sandwiches and made-from scratch soups, Como Park Grill has been under the ownership of the Finnegans since 2005. Only recently, however, did the business evolve in to the full-service restaurant it is today. Under its original name, Java Train, the Finnegans focused on gourmet coffee with some baked goods available. Eventually, sandwiches and other items were available for guests, before the final switch to Como Park Grill occurred in June 2013.
“Our (original) plan was not to open a restaurant when we purchased the property in 2003,” Christine said. “We planned to restore the 1926 commercial building back into two-store fronts with an apartment above and lease the units. What changed was, I decided to turn my hobby of floral design into a business and took one store front for that dream.”
People in the Como neighborhood expressed their wish to have a coffee shop open in the other commercial space, Christine said, so the Finnegans began the search for a tenant.
“Steve and I decided that we could run both store fronts and opened Java Train,” she said.
And what started as a coffee shop has now become a full-service restaurant with excellent food. Items not to be missed include the cowboy burger, spinach and mushroom quesadilla, veggie wrap (with homemade hummus) and, of course, the outstanding pizzas with either red sauce or pesto and a choice of many toppings. Also, breakfast is served all day and favorites include the meat wrap, banana bread French toast and top-notch omelets.
While the restaurant now offers a diverse selection of beer and wine, drinks ranging from chai lattes to caramel mochas are still available. Other new features to the Como Park Grill include three flat-screen televisions prime for watching Vikings, Wild, Timberwolves or Gopher games. In the summer, a spacious patio provides comfortable seating in a quaint neighborhood in St. Paul. In the winter, the Como Park Grill is a perfect retreat from the frigid temperatures.
“It’s a warm comfortable place to meet up with family and friends while the outdoors is cold,” Christine said. “You can have a hot latte or a cold craft beer and watch your favorite sports team or chat with friends.”
The Como Park Grill is located at 1341 Pascal Street in St. Paul. Their phone number is (651) 646-9179. Hours of operation: 8 a.m. to 10 p.m., everyday.
You can learn more about this restaurant by visiting their website.
Photos via: Joseph Friedrichs