Monday, May 21, 2007

The new Old Man is a young girl

At the end of St. Paul's High Bridge, Smith avenue just continues to climb and climb. If you're on foot or on a bike, it's quite a grind to the intersection of Smith Avenue and Anapolis St. (Highway 13), where you've finally conquered the hill and entered West St. Paul, with its mix of middle-class homes and 19th century brownstones.

But once you get to the crest, you are welcomed by Old Man River Cafe, a delightful hangout with solar-roasted coffee, sandwiches, and even beer. But hold on a second: It's gone. Old Man River cafe is dead.

Long live Cafe Juliahna! Proprieter Sherry Asplund bought the joint this winter and renamed it after her daughter. A veteran of the Twin Cities organic coop scene, Asplund slightly tweaks the menu, simplifying and greening the offerings with sandwiches, pies, scones, and the like. Same great solar-roasted coffee, same comfortable digs, liquor license on the way.

We'll miss the Mark Twain/historic rivertown theme--it was a good one, and oddly rare in our most antique city, but so far the tradeoff is more like a spring freshening than a wholesale repositioning.

Cafe Juliahna,, 879 Smith Ave, West St Paul, MN, 651.450.7070