One of Minnesota Wild owner Craig Leipold’s biggest regrets in life is that he never got to sit down and talk hockey with Herb Brooks.
So to honor Brooks’ legacy in his own way, Leipold is opening a restaurant in downtown Saint Paul at the Minnesota Club called Herbie’s on the Park, named for Brooks and the adjacent Rice Park.
“I wanted to do something that would be hockey, that would be St. Paul and that would be iconic for this area,” Leipold said at a press conference announcing the new venue.
Leipold, who will be teaming up with Chicago-based Levy Restaurants to carry out the operation, wants Herbie’s on the Park to be fun, iconic and high-energy to match the area around it.
Herbie’s on the Park is the result of years of planning and development. Herb Brooks’ brother, Dave, bought the Minnesota Club building from Leipold five years ago, and he wanted to add a restaurant to it from the very beginning. Leipold and Jamie Spencer, the Wild’s vice president of new business development, brought Brooks’ vision to life.
“With Dave’s encouragement and pushing — and I might even say overinvolvement — we have been able to finally put the whole package together,” Leipold said.
Herb Brooks’ son, Dan, also noted the perfect location. In 1955, at the nearby St. Paul Auditorium, Brooks scored the game-winning goal for the Johnson Governors in the Minnesota state high school hockey championship. The auditorium was also home to the 1980 Olympic team while they trained to take on the Soviets.
“The making of the miracle happened right here,” Brooks said.
The menu at Herbie’s on the Park will be designed by Executive Chef Tim Kovacs and will feature traditional and more upscale tavern fare as well as local craft beer and wine. Kovacs anticipates that his walleye cakes will be a signature dish.
Herbie’s on the Park will open this fall before the Wild’s season begins in October. It will be open seven days a week for lunch, dinner and weekend brunch and will seat around 200.
For more information please visit herbiesonthepark.com or follow the restaurant on Twitter at @HerbiesPark and Facebook.