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Restaurant opens in St. Paul’s old Gallivan’s, famed former hangout for City Hall politicians and judges

It’s appropriate that the new American Burger Bar in downtown St. Paul is open today, St. Patrick’s Day.

New management, including former Pazzaluna star chef Rino Baglio, has turned the old Gallivan’s space into an upscale burger bar, and they would have preferred a little more time to get ready for the public.

But St. Patrick’s Day is a major tradition at the bar on Wabasha Street; in fact, it’s the place where plans for the city’s popular St. Patrick’s Day parade were hatched 42 years ago. 

Gallivan’s, at the time, was the stopping-off spot for judges, lawyers, City Council members and others who’d seek refuge in Bob Gallivan’s bar/supper club at noon and before heading home for the day. Legend tells that many a plot and ordinance were conceived at the bar inside the wood-paneled establishment on the first floor of the Victory Parking ramp.

According to the St. Patrick’s Association history, Gallivan, Judge Ed Devitt, former Mayor Tom Byrne and others were part of those early parades.

Today only, the bar is serving Reuben sandwiches and chicken strip baskets, along with a large offering of liquid refreshment, for the green-clad revelers who’ll be jamming the place.

Tomorrow, they’ll return to their gourmet burger menu: bison burgers, lamb burgers, Kobe beef burgers, ahi tuna steaks et al.

The American Burger Bar folks have another, more casual spot, the American Burger Emporium in Woodbury.

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