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Historic buildings, great food, and an unforgettable day in Saint Paul.

🏆 CURATED BY: Thomas Schroeder
Founder of Waldmann Brewing and local history buff (more? Tom’s “Makerview”)

(+ Hubby & dog. More from Riley)

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Downtown Saint Paul best restaurants A-side public house and Waldmann Brewing

Tom sent us to his “best of 7th street” history…here is the guide:

Stretching south along the Mississippi from downtown Saint Paul is the West Seventh Neighborhood. It’s a neighborhood rooted in the history of the city; and it is also quickly becoming a foodie’s heaven with trendy openings complimenting old school favorites.

To best get a feel for the area and how entrepreneurs and residents alike are blending the past with the present, Tom (the owner and restorer of Waldmann Brewery) suggested we take a walking tour the neighborhood. Knowing we would finish at the brewery , we decided to base our route around the other limestone buildings and restaurants operating out of restored buildings in the West Seventh Neighborhood…

A-side public house downtown saint paul, mn shows brunch and historic fire station and bar patio
Aside Public House in Saint Paul

Grab food at a historic Fire Station!

A-Side Public House

📍 754 Randolph Ave, St Paul, MN 55102
📞 (651) 756-1351

Before wandering the neighborhood’s historic sites, it is only appropriate to begin with a meal in a decommissioned fire station.

Along West Seventh, you surprisingly have two options for this historic experience.

1. Hope Breakfast Bar.
To make room for the construction of the Marriott, St. Paul’s oldest remaining fire station, Hope Engine Company 3, was slated for demolition until a group community members helped develop a plan to reuse the historic space. Opening in 2019, Hope Breakfast Bar has quickly become one of the Twin Cities favorite breakfast destinations.

We were looking forward to trying Tom’s favorite breakfast joint, but…

If you are starting your day a little later (like us) and are looking for lunch or beer options…

2. A-side Public House
Is just down the road in the former Station 10 firehouse. Built in 1885, it was the city’s oldest functioning station until being decommissioned in 2010. A-side Public House has embraced the layout of the old firehouse, keeping three large garage doors which make a fantastic indoor-outdoor experience regardless of what our Minnesota weather is doing.
– Always swayed by anything with mushrooms, I opted for the biscuits and gravy when we visited, which was an indulgent mix of expertly seasoned sausage and mushrooms.

historic saint paul homes in irvine park along the mississippi river
Historic Saint Paul Homes in Irvine Park (photo wikipedia)

Historic Walking Tour

Architecture and historic homes Downtown STP

🌐 St. Paul Heritage Preservation Commission

Full from lunch, we headed out on a self-crafted walking tour of the neighborhood’s Pioneer-era limestone houses nominated to the St. Paul Heritage Preservation commission:

📍 Anthony Waldman House (445 Smith Avenue)
📍 Christian Reinhard House (383 Goodhue Street)
📍 Justus Ramsey House (252 W 7th Street)
📍 Martin Weber House (202 McBoal Street)
📍 Shillinger-Brings House (178 Goodrich Ave)

Built from Platteville Limestone from the West Seventh Street quarry, these buildings exemplify rubble stone masonry and the aesthetic which defined early stone buildings in Saint Paul. (For those interested in more background on these buildings, TPT highlighted them in an episode of Minnesota Experience .

We found the Martin Weber and Justus Ramsey Houses the most interesting from the outside. It was neat to see how these small historic stone buildings fit into the neighborhood -and bars – that built up around them. For those short on time, I would recommend skipping the Christina Reinhard House since it is further from the other stops and in poorer shape than the other highlighted buildings. However, I would recommend an additional stop at the Alexander Ramsey House (265 S. Exchange St.). Also built from limestone and the largest house on the tour, it was built in 1872 for the second governor of Minnesota. Although it was closed when we visited for COVID-19 precautions, the Minnesota Historical Society operates a small museum and provides guided tours here.

irvine park saint paul, mn fountain
photo by Riley S. Irvine Park fountain in downtown Saint Paul, MN

A Picnic at Irvine Park

📍 251 Walnut St, St Paul, MN 55102

After checking out these historic buildings, we decided it was time for a picnic. On theme for the afternoon, we headed to Irvine Park, a New-England style square nestled between a bustling commercial section of West 7th street and the Mississippi river. Irvine Park is a quite oasis centered around an ornate iron fountain, built to match the 1881 original. As the center of St. Paul civic life in the 1800’s, the park is surrounded by well-preserved mansions, such as the Symonds House, which is thought to be St. Paul’s oldest remaining house.

On your way there, stop by Keg and Case Market or Cossetta’s to grab a picnic lunch. The aptly named Keg and Case Market is situated in former keg house of the Schmidt Brewery, the original brewery that likely provided beer to the original Waldmann saloon during the 1800’s.

Similar to other historic buildings in the West Seventh Neighborhood, preservationists and entrepreneurs have revitalized this building and offer a range of contemporary options from Five Watt Coffee to O’Cheeze’s gourmet grilled cheese. A neighborhood institution, Cossetta’s is another great option for grabbing a slice of pizza or building your own charcuterie board from the Italian market.

Oktoberfest at Waldmann Brewing craft brewery in downtown saint paul, mn
waldmann brewing dinner menu shows soup, beer, and table seating
photos by Waldmann (see more below)

Beers & German food at Waldmann Brewery!

Waldmann Brewery

📍 445 Smith Ave N, St Paul, MN 55102
📞 651-222-1857
🌟 Pilsner

The final, and most anticipated stop, on our tour of the West Seventh Neighborhood was Waldmann Brewery.

Seeing the limestone front, it is hard to not be transported back to the 1800’s when approaching the building. Inside we were immediately struck by the civil war-era decorations and lively conversations happening at tables scattered throughout the original saloon space. Like nowhere else I’ve been before, this blending of historical accuracy and a bright setting creates a truly unique atmosphere.

While the original Waldmann saloon likely served beer from the Schmidt Brewery located down the road, the modern day Waldmann Brewery now brews and serves their own beer. We tried the Belgian Golden Strong, Schokoladeweizen, and Pilsner which we thought was one of the best in the Twin Cities and is not to be missed.

Waldmann specializes in traditional German comfort food and our platter of Wursts and a side of Spätzle paired perfectly. The buttery pasta was a great accompaniment to the perfectly seasoned bratwursts. We were there for dinner, but Waldmann’s also has a fantastic Beer Garden equipped with fire pits and industrial heaters for year-round use (and their famous Oktoberfest!)

We look forward to returning soon to enjoy more Pilseners and a loaded pretzel this spring ☺️.

“We hope you enjoyed reading about our day touring the area. The walk and recommendations were courtesy of Tom Schreoder. When it comes to local history, you honestly couldn’t ask for a nicer, more knowledgeable person.

Thanks to Craft Notes for making this happen and be sure to check out Walmann Brewery and say “hi” to Tom if he’s there! “

Riley S.

Craft Notes fan, Writer.

Photo Tour (Google Story)

Get the Passport

Waldmann Brewing is Minnesota Craft Brewer’s Guild member and featured in the MNCBG/Craft Notes Collaboration. Grab one for yourself and enjoy a pint on Tom, and 80 other MN Breweries (proceeds benefit MN Craft Beer)

A Map to Tom’s Recommendations & our stops from the day

(click map layers and select Thomas Shroeder to filter)