When following a legend, it's smartest to just try and do your own thing, unless it's the legend on a map, in which case, probably just go by that. Replacing a culinary legend with something completely different: Joan's in the Park.
A "dream-come-true" first resto from a pair of industry vets, Joan's took what used to be venerable Highland Park pizzeria Grampa Tony's, yanked down 100s of photos, painted the walls yellow, and created a wine bar-ish nosheteria that aims to be a comfortable, "come-as-you-are kind of place", leaving it prime for a clever Nirvana reference, but... oh, Nevermind. Devoid of a deep-fryer and other standard kitchen accouterments, the majority of their menu's cooked using pizza ovens only, including an array of flatbreads (wild mushroom with mascarpone and truffle), entrees like pumpkin ravioli or a whole black sea bass, and creative apps highlighted by crostini with burrata, arugula, lemon, and cured speck, though how is something that the naked eye can barely see gonna fill you up? The well-wrought vino and beer list will soon be served from a room-dividing wine bar (it's all at the main counter for now), and includes Left Hand Milk Stout and Lake Superior Oktoberfest, as well as by-the-bottle grape goodness ranging from $18 Altoona Hills Chard to a $110 Franciscan "Magnificat" Blend, aka the opposite of your goal when loudly and conspicuously ordering $110 bottles of wine.
In the event that all you really want is Grampa Tony back, Joan's will still be offering GT's 'za to take out or order in, though you'd better hope the delivery guy doesn't forgot the key.
Published: September 13, 2011 at 4:00am EDT
631 Snelling Ave S.
St. Paul, MN 55116
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