The Mill: Saint Paul Winter Carnival will have its palace after all

A rendering of the St. Paul Winter Carnival's 2018 "People's Palace" // Photo courtesy of Saint Paul Winter Carnival

A rendering of the St. Paul Winter Carnival’s 2018 “People’s Ice Palace” // Photo courtesy of Saint Paul Winter Carnival

The Saint Paul Winter Carnival will not be without its palace this year, thanks to the efforts of private donors. After initial plans for record-breaking million dollar ice structure fell through due to lack of funding, sponsors stepped forward to ensure that visitors of the free festival experience have their frozen castle.

The Saint Paul Festival and Heritage Foundation announced a plan last Thursday that allows people to “buy a block” to be used in the construction of the palace. The project is being dubbed the People’s Ice Palace, with public donations ranging from $25 to $100, some even up to $1,000. Deb Schaber, CEO of the foundation, told the Pioneer Press that within the first 24 hours of the announcement, the Carnival website had received $15,000 in donations.

The 4,000 blocks of ice needed for the castle are being harvested at Green Lake near Spicer, Minnesota. The seven-story castle will be built in Rice Park as a part of the annual winter celebration, which has been extended an extra week (January 25–February 10) to cover the Super Bowl. The last full-sized walk-through palace to be built for the festival was in 2004. A multimillion-dollar castle built to coincide with the Super Bowl in 1992 drove the Saint Paul Winter Carnival Association out of business and nearly ended the beloved festival, which will celebrate its 132nd year this year.


Rosé wine

In an effort to capitalize on the booming rosé trend, California-based cider company Crispin, which was founded in Minneapolis and sold to MillerCoors in 2012, will soon be launching Crispin Rosé. The hard cider will be made with real rose petals, hibiscus, and a blend of apples and pears.

St. Paul has approved the permits needed to keep bars open until 4am on February 3, 4, and 5, otherwise known as the weekend of Super Bowl LII. The permit allowing the extended hours will cost bars up to $250 each, with exceptions including no outdoor drinking. If temperatures stay sub-zero as they have been, that caveat could be a moot point.

With major changes currently in negotiation for the North American Free Trade Agreement, one thing in particular is at risk of skyrocketing in price: imported beer. Should the agreement be scrapped or altered, we should all be prepared to see some sky-high price tags on Corona and our avocados.


Menus at The Copper Hen // Photo courtesy The Copper Hen Facebook

Menus at The Copper Hen // Photo courtesy The Copper Hen Facebook

Copper Hen owners Danielle and Chris Bjorling are expanding their farm-centric vision with a new restaurant in Minnetonka, expected to open next summer. The Copper Cow will be slightly more masculine in decor and food offerings, with leather accents, a mounted Scottish Highland cow, as well as beef ground in-house and boozy milkshakes using ice cream from Honey & Mackie’s in Plymouth.

Ramen Kazama is opening a second location in the the former Obento-Ya in the Como neighborhood, set to open New Year’s Day. In addition to the menu offerings of its original Nicollet location, the new spot will offer a handful of new items like rice bowls to-go and mazemen, a brothless ramen bowl topped with kimchi.

Tum Rup Thai is soon to be replaced by a Buffalo Wild Wings Express in Uptown Minneapolis, another step in the slow demise of the area’s independent food scene. The new model for B-Dubs will test a faster, more streamlined counter service that, if successful, will be introduced into larger markets like Atlanta and Los Angeles.

California is preparing for a cannabis-driven boom in their culinary scene in 2018. With the requirement of a medical marijuana card gone, the newly-broadened market for THC-infused fine dining experiences is expected to reshape the state’s food industry, with possibilities of low-dose items offered everywhere from restaurants to gyms. Critics fear this will cause a both rise in emergency room visits and in usage among youth.


Putting up the sign outside of SOUND Duluth in the snow // Photo courtesy SOUND Duluth Facebook

Working on the sign outside of SOUND: Duluth during a snowfall // Photo courtesy SOUND: Duluth Facebook

New restaurant and music venue SOUND: Duluth held a soft opening last Friday in its new space occupying the top two floors of Duluth’s historic city hall. The space previously underwent a $2.4 million renovation prior to opening as Tycoon in 2011, then rebranded as Blind Pig last fall before closing once again. This newest concept plans to book bigger acts, so far having hosted Brett Dennen, an all-star bluegrass string summit, and plans for G. Love on January 9.

The Current is celebrating its 13th year on the airwaves with a two-night show at First Avenue’s Mainroom on January 19 and 20. Acts for night one that have been announced include Bully, The Social Animals, deM atlaS, and Now, Now, and night two’s lineup will include JD McPherson, Ron Gallo, Lady Lark, and Reina Del Cid.

The arctic temperatures of the past few days have introduced Duluth to the otherworldly phenomenon known as ‘sea smoke.’ Sea smoke forms when the air is colder than the water it’s streaming across, creating massive waves of cloud-like moisture. While conditions that bring such a phenomenon are generally unpleasant to deal with, this undoubtedly is one awesome silver lining.

The Mill is The Growler’s regular digest of all things new and notable in the world of food, drink, and culture. Stop back weekly for restaurant news, brewery rumors, and more. Have some news you want to share? Got some gossip to dish? Drop us a line at [email protected]