Russian cuisine to arrive in Dinkytown

In addition to the already eclectic shops and restaurants in Dinkytown, the University neighborhood will soon boast a Russian restaurant.
Moscowtown, an expansion of Moscow on the Hill in St. Paul, will arrive this winter in the former George’s Bakery space on 14th Street Southeast, next door to Caffe Royale.
The restaurant will be cozy, seating only 20 to 25 patrons, and offer lunches and dinners priced at about $5. Overall, the menu will be geared toward easily prepared entrees capable of being served in minutes.
The restaurant’s owner, Marina Liberman, hopes the fast service will appeal to people at the University who have little time to eat, but who still want a quality meal.
The menu will include borshch, a cabbage and beet soup; piorgia, beef sauteed with mushrooms and sauce; and piomini, Russian dumplings.
Liberman, who speaks with a thick Russian accent, formerly worked as a neurologist in Moscow. In 1992, she and her husband immigrated to St. Paul with her sister.
Soon after, she started Moscow on the Hill, named for its location in St. Paul’s Cathedral Hill neighborhood. The restaurant is well known for its wide selection of vodkas, its specialty martinis and its requirement that patrons shoot their vodka shots.
Moscowtown, however, will only serve beer and wine because of what Liberman called the near-impossible task of obtaining a full liquor license in Dinkytown.
“This whole process has already taken over a month, and to try and get a full liquor license is not even worth it,” she said.
Without liquor, and alcohol’s hypnotic power of attracting students, Liberman expects that Russian cuisine will draw plenty of customers.
Furthermore, she’s not fazed by the dismal track record of previous Dinkytown restaurants.
“We are going to be a really unique place,” she said. “There isn’t another Russian restaurant close to the area, and our exceptional regional Russian food should keep customers coming back.”
Peter Frost covers business and welcomes comments at [email protected] He can also be reached at (612) 627-4070 x3215.