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Rejoice! St. Paul's Happy Gnome returning as 'The Gnome' in July

Don't worry: The (new) Gnome still promises happiness.

Don't worry: The (new) Gnome still promises happiness. Sarah Brumble

Based on their latest endeavor, it seems the folks behind Hope Breakfast Bar have a thing for do-gooding out of firehouses… and folks? We’re here for it.

Hope's chef Brian Ingram and wife and business partner, Sarah, have announced they’re breathing new life into a St. Paul legend that runs deeper than food and beverage service, and its doors will welcome guests very soon.

The space they’re working with, located at 498 Selby Avenue in the Cathedral Hill neighborhood, had originally opened as Engine Company Number Five way back in 1882, before it was converted into (among other things) the Happy Gnome. Mourners bid adieu to the late, great gastropub’s jovial atmosphere and vast beer selection last December, when the bar closed after 14 years in business.

“In continuing with the legacy of the Happy Gnome combined with the history of the firehouse and representation of a gnome providing protection, we felt The Gnome name was so fitting,” said chef Ingram. 

The (new) Gnome is expected to open in late July, featuring a supper club concept and chef-driven menu fine-tuned by Justin Sutherland, who was brought on to serve as The Gnome’s director of culinary. Fret not: Those 100 taps will be put to good use, pouring craft brews, non-alcoholic delights, cocktails, and more. Perhaps most intriguingly, mention was made of both a second-story beer garden and table-side raclette service, the latter of which could prove fascinating mid-pandemic… 

In keeping with another one of the Ingrams’ budding traditions (the first being opening restaurants in firehouses: Hope is located in St. Paul’s original Firehouse Number Three!), the restaurateurs continue to extend their passion for giving back to the community. Through their nonprofit, Give Hope, the Gnome, too, will donate at minimum 3 percent of proceeds from sales to charitable causes.

"As a Guardian of Good we want to continue to focus on the community around us – providing a place for people to come together, enjoy quality food, and have some fun – all while helping others," said Ingram.

Wherever he is, the ancient firehouse's über gnome surely presides and abides.