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Neighborhood Series: Payne-Phalen, Saint Paul

Posted by VIBE Realty on Thursday, February 18th, 2021 at 12:18pm.

Just minutes from downtown Saint Paul, Payne-Phalen is known for its history, outdoor beauty, easygoing character, and vibrant diversity. From the waters of Lake Phalen to it’s notable hole-in-the-walls, this area is good for an afternoon visit and even worth considering relocating to. With it’s excellent location, green parkways, and connected trails—you have fast access to all the metro area has to offer. Looking to scope it out? You’ll find respite outdoors along with great restaurants which we’ve made sure to highlight below.  

Saint Paul Brewing (Previously Known as Flat Earth Brewing)

Saint Paul Brewing is proud to be one of Minnesota’s original craft breweries. Previously known as Flat Earth Brewing, they recently rebranded and still produce the same beers we’ve all come to love, just under a new label. This quirky operation is in the historic Hamm's brewery, breathing a little life into this old brewing town's East Side.

Photo Courtesy of @stpbrewing


Swede Hollow Cafe

Located in the historic Stutzman building on East 7th Street just across from Metropolitan State University, Swede Hollow Cafe is a coffeehouse that emphasizes community gathering. It has exposed brick walls, a second level with  quiet meeting places, and large and shady outdoor space. Latte anyone?

Swede Hollow Cafe is my go-to place to meet with clients or just stop and get some work done when I’m on the east side. My go-to order is an Americano (which comes with a small bar of dark chocolate) and a piece of their decadent house quiche.”  - VIBE Agent, Cara Quinn

Photo Courtesy of Swede Hollow Cafe 


Tongue In Cheek

A restaurant that prides itself on the humane and sustainable raising of its products is one that we can vouch for. Inventive New American fine dining and craft cocktails in a retro vibe seems to be the gist of it. Try the cocktail flight which is known to allow for creative libations to be experimented in small doses.

Photo Courtesy of MSP Mag


Gateway State Trail 

Need a breath of fresh air? The Gateway State Trail is a multi-use recreational path running 18 miles from Saint Paul to Pine Point Regional Park in Stillwater. It runs through urban landscapes of eastern Saint Paul through rural farmland and forests in Washington County. Hop on in the Payne-Phalen area and you have yourself a journey ahead.

Photo Courtesy of


Phalen Regional Park & Lake Phalen

The star of the show—Phalen Regional Park is a popular destination for fishing, boating, swimming, biking, golf, picnics, and more. Lake Phalen is one of the largest lakes in Saint Paul. It’s the centerpiece of the Phalen Regional Park and drains into the Mississippi River after traveling through Phalen Creek. Recreational water activities in the warmer months will you keep busy, no doubt. /

Photo Courtesy of 


East Side Thai

Looking for a go-to place for Pho? This Payne-Phalen Thai mainstay is the perfect stop on a cold Minnesota day. Enjoy their delicious spicy curry dishes or a warm bowl of pho. Pro tip: We heard the Thai Red Curry is impossible to beat.

Photo Courtesy of East Side Thai


Caydence Records & Coffee

This Payne Avenue gem has it all. Grab a craft coffee drink and listen to soundtracks of local artists while browsing their collection of new and used vinyl records, cds and cassettes and perusing the arts and crafts of local artists. Or, stop by in the evening and check out some live music in the back room venue. The owners and staff are great people who are committed to supporting the people and businesses of the East Side.

Photo Courtesy of Music In Minnesota


Brunson's Pub 

Ah, the beloved local watering hole. Brunson’s Pub is a traditional hangout offering creative gastropub fare/scratch-made food along with a full bar with endless options. This pub gives us locals a place to enjoy outstanding food at even more outstanding prices. What’s not to love?

Photo Courtesy of @brunsonspub


Vertical Endeavors 

Whether you’re a climbing connoisseur or just looking for an adventurous  afternoon in the Twin Cities, Vertical Endeavors is worth checking out. Enjoy their expansive rock-climbing facility featuring a variety of wall textures for bouldering as well as 60-foot walls for climbing. No experience necessary, if it’s your first time their team is well-equipped to give you the low-down. Climb on!

Photo Courtesy of Vertical Endeavors

Karibu Grocery & Deli

“Karibu” is a Swahili word meaning “welcome”, a perfect description for this new addition to the fabulous Payne Avenue restaurant scene. Karibu offers freshly prepared counter-service East African and Afro-Mediterranean food, alongside a mini-market for pantry staples and halal meats.

I love goat, so I usually order one of their Ari (goat) dishes when I stop by, along with a sambusa. For less adventurous eaters, they have a number of chicken and vegetarian dishes, or, try Karibu’s take on a Philly Cheesesteak.” - VIBE Agent, Cara Quinn

Photo Courtesy of Karibu Grocery & Deli


Yarusso Bros Italian Restaurant

Not your average hole-in-the-wall. Yarusso Bros is a neighborhood Italian icon that has been around since the 1930s. It’s easy to see that not much has changed at this family owned spot (in a good way!) Enjoy their generous portions and their hefty meatballs.

Yarusso Bros. is old-school Italian-American fare at it’s best: think pizza, pasta, meatballs in heavy red sauce. Stop by at lunch and order up a Dago Supreme - beef simmered in sauce with cheese, sautéed bell peppers, onions, and mushrooms. Be sure to try their fried ravioli, a truly American creation but delicious nonetheless.” - VIBE Agent, Cara Quinn

Photo Courtesy of USA Restaurants


Home Search in Payne-Phalen, Saint Paul

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