After a three-month hiatus, the original Green Mill Restaurant and Bar, which started serving deep-dish pizza at the corner of Hamline and Grand avenues in St. Paul in 1975, has recently reopened following a top-to-bottom face-lift.
Regulars won't recognize the place. For starters, the bar, which once anchored the back wall, has been relocated to a front-and-center spot under a wide skylight. It's crowned by a showy neon sign that celebrates another St. Paul food-and-drink institution: Hamm's Beer.
This is not the formulaic Green Mill of old. The dining room, once a bit of a warren, has been cleared of a number of partitions — in HGTV parlance, it now exhibits an "open concept" floor plan — with a mix of booths and tables set in contemporary surroundings that emphasize lightly toned wood, brick and mosaic tile. A private gathering area, accessible via a glass partition, is adjacent to the dining room. The design is the work of Shea, the Minneapolis-based architecture firm.
Also new: Green Mill Market & Deli, a remake of the restaurant's former to-go space.
"Guests will now be able to get Green Mill grocery products, along with made-from-scratch freshly-prepared foods and more made-to-order items, with many using locally-sourced ingredients," CEO Paul Dzubnar said in a statement. "And, guests can still pick up their favorite pizzas, pasta and wings from this area."
Another plus is the addition of a well-appointed sidewalk patio.
Green Mill operates 18 restaurants in three states and is a division of Hightop Hospitality, which also operates the Copperfield, which just opened in Mendota Heights, as well as 13 Crooked Pint Ale House locations in five states.
Tuesdays are good days to visit the Green Mill mother ship (57 Hamline Av. S., St. Paul, greenmill.com), for two reasons. First, the price on the kitchen's signature deep-dish pizzas is cut in half, all day. Second, kids eat free, from 4 to 8 p.m. With both offers, some restrictions apply.
The restaurant is open 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Sunday through Thursday and 11 a.m. to midnight Friday and Saturday; the market is open 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily.
"We can't wait for the guests who have supported us for so many years to see our new look," Dzubnar said. "They are not going to believe their eyes once they step inside."