Elephant Bar heads for the Hygga space in Lowertown

Look at those cute lil elephants lurking in the background!

Look at those cute lil elephants lurking in the background! Instagram: @lucas_alm7

The elephant in the room? Soon, it'll be Elephant Bar—a new restaurant-cafe headed for the former Hygga space in Lowertown St. Paul.

Mpls/St. Paul Mag reported earlier this week that Elephant Bar is the latest from chef Lucas Almendinger, formerly of the Bird (back in its Third Bird days) and Co-Op Creamery Cafe.

(No connection to the Elephant Bar restaurant chain, which has several locations in California plus one in Las Vegas and another in New Mexico and will likely be the first thing that shows up if you Google "Elephant Bar.")

Expect Indian-influenced fine-dining food here; the chef and Pakistan-born, Midwest-raised building owner Nabeel Ahmad really bonded after Almendinger found the space, and Ahmad started sharing new tricks and ingredients that have made their way into his cooking. 

MSP Mag says to expect dinnertime dishes like fried, yogurt-marinated chicken, plus flatbreads and rice, packed with flavors from the Indian subcontinent. The chef has been posting a few food photos on Instagram, many featuring a small golden elephant figurine: buttermilk, saffron, and brown ricetartare; some sort of sliced pear and endive dish.

But Almendinger tells MSP Mag this isn't a south Indian or Pakistani restaurant, so there's room for guessing, too. It'll have a full bar program, and there will be a quick-serve cafe serving those staples—salads, sandwiches, etc.—and they'll have Bootstrap Coffee and Patisserie 46 pastries in the a.m.

Sounds like they're shooting for a mid-March opening. 

Elephant Bar
213 E. 4th St., Ste. 100, St. Paul