RED WING, Minn. -- More than two years in the making, the Scarlet Kitchen and Bar inside the historic St. James Hotel is open and serving the public.
“The planning took several months,” said Marilyne Bouteiller, director of sales and marketing for the St. Jame Hotel. “A year ago we worked on the outside patio and expanded it. This year we did the inside.”
The area for the new restaurant used to be The Veranda Restaurant. In addition to physical work and a new name, the restaurant also has a new menu, according to Bouteiller.
“We did a rebranding,” Bouteiller said. “We renamed the restaurant. We kept some of the staples that people liked in the past, but we have a brand new menu with more local food.”
Jennifer Olson, director of food and beverage at the St. James Hotel, said, “The menu is influenced by regional cuisine and sourced with local ingredients. Our culinary team recreated community-inspired family recipes with a modern twist for guests to truly experience a taste of southern Minnesota.”
Bouteiller said that using local family recipes adds a fun element to the dining experience.
“When you look at the menu, there is a story behind every dish,” she said. “We are training our waiters and servers to understand those stories, so they can be explained to the consumer.”
The Scarlet Kitchen and Bar kept some of the Veranda Restaurant’s best features including the floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking the Mississippi River. The new design also incorporates Red Wing history with a tabletop made from Red Wing Pottery, and leather accents from the hotel’s parent company, Red Wing Shoes.
“Scarlet interprets the city of Red Wing,” Olson said, “magnifying the town’s unique history and allure through design elements.”
A hallway near the new restaurant has been converted into an archive room. In addition to photos and stories from the history of the St. James Hotel, it features items and stories from Red Wing Shoes, The Sheldon Theatre, the arts and pottery, and the Mississippi River.
“The theme of the room is what made Red Wing over the years,” Bouteiller said.
The interior renovation began in December 2019, the restaurant's outside patio opened on July 1. The inside portion of the Scarlet Kitchen and Bar opened on July 13.
The 67-room St. James Hotel has been independently owned and operated by Red Wing Shoe Co. since 1977. The building features 17,000 square feet of meeting space, two restaurants, a coffee shop, a hair salon, a flower shop, a medi-spa, and a clothing store. In 2019, the hotel received the “Best Small Historic Hotel” award from Historic Hotels of America, and it is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Bouteiller said the entire staff is happy to have the Scarlet Kitchen and Bar, as well as the hotel open.
“We are pretty excited to be back,” she said. “It feels good.”