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Est. 2014

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Restaurant roundup: Rochester whiskey bar ranked among the nation's best

Restaurant roundup: Rochester whiskey bar ranked among the nation's best

A pair of new steakhouses are set to open soon in downtown Rochester.

The two restaurants — Pittsburgh Blue Steakhouse and Fuji steakhouse and seafood — are located within just a couple blocks of each other.

Fuji is a concept being cooked up by local restaurateur Yong Hao Liu. Housed inside the historic Olmsted County Bank and Trust Building, 7 Second Street Southwest, Fuji will feature steak, seafood, sushi and other Japanese-style dishes. The restaurant is scheduled to open April 2.

Pittsburgh Blue, meantime, will begin firing up the grills inside the new 20-story Hilton hotel project on April 8. The restaurant, which already has locations in Edina and Maple Grove, will feature proprietary cuts of aged, Midwestern beef along with fresh seafood and casual fare.

The $125 million Hilton project also features a lounge and nightlife venue, a 5th floor rooftop terrace, and 20,000 square feet of convention space. The Rochester Area Chamber of Commerce will christen the space by hosting its annual celebration inside the new hotel on April 12.

Rooftop being reconfigured

Changes lie ahead for a Rochester rooftop destination.

La Vetta, located atop the H3 Plaza building at 30 Third Street Southeast, will close down for the next few months while the space is being “reconceptualized,” according to an announcement Tuesday.

“While La Vetta has always been a popular choice for the local community and city visitors, we feel that as downtown Rochester is going through this amazing transformation, there is opportunity for an expanded concept that will be a unique and exciting addition to the downtown area,” said Pat Woodring, a partner with Nova Restaurant Group, the owner of La Vetta.

The restaurant group, which also operates Chester’s and Pescara downtown, did not give any info on what might be next for the seventh floor bar. It did say that Terza, located on the ground level, will remain open.

The H3 Plaza building is owned by Titan Development and Investments. Titan is also a co-developer on the aforementioned Hilton project.

Cheers are in order

And finally, a toast to one of our favorite Rochester establishments.

The Half Barrel, located at 304 First Avenue Southwest, was recently named one of the top 50 whiskey bars in the country by the review site, Yelp.

The site says it identified the nation’s best whiskey bars by analyzing reviews from across its platform. The only other Minnesota bar to make the list was Merlins Rest Pub in Minneapolis.

Whiskey aficionado and Half Barrel co-owner Chris Fierst told me this morning, “it is very cool to see the hard work over the last few years be recognized in such a way — and nationally too.”

Not a whiskey drinker? The Barrel team also owns Bar Buffalo, a gin-focused saloon, located just around the corner on Historic Third.

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