The Como Park area’s dining and drinking choices have expanded in the past few months, with the addition of a new wine and liquor store and two new restaurants, one serving a variety of regional Chinese cuisines and the other serving a truly international menu.
Toasted Wine, Spirits & Ales opened in May at 560 Como Ave. The store stocks more than 100 varieties of domestic and imported wine and 100 types of spirits, according to owner Deanna Doyle. Beer drinkers can also get their fill, with a wide range of craft beers filling the store’s shelves.
“We’re the neighborhood community store. We take a lot of requests,” said Doyle, who runs the store with her husband, Son Tran. She added that customers also come back because of the “great ambiance.”
Toasted Wine is open Monday through Thursday from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m., and Friday through Saturday from 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. Shoppers looking to place large or unique orders are asked call ahead 651-330- 0619 or email Toastedwinespiritsales@gmail.com.
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The International Deli and Banquet Hall opened in the spot of the old Abetto’s, next door to Toasted, in August. Owner Hassib Farooq’s menu mixes Mediterranean and Middle Eastern dishes such as falafel, gyros and kabobs with American fare such as hamburgers and Philly cheesesteak.
“That’s why we named it the International Deli and Banquet Hall,” Farooq said.
The establishment has a banquet hall for rent that can host up to 300 people. The restaurant is open Monday-Thursday, 11 a.m.-8 p.m., Friday and Saturday, 11 a.m.-9 p.m., and Sunday, 12-8 p.m. To find out more call 651-493-4693.
Farther west, Café 99 opened on Oct. 3 in the former Bascali’s next to Nelson Cheese and Deli. Owner Hong Chen and her husband, Delin Qu, travel to their homeland of China several times a year to keep up with Chinese culinary trends. As a result, Qu said, the menu covers a wide range of Chinese cuisines, including Cantonese, Szechuan, Hunan, Yangtze Delta, Northern China and Mongolian.
Among the most popular dishes served at the restaurant are “boiled beef,” flank steak served on bed of cabbage and green onion and bathing in a Szechuan “spicy sauce,” and “Chrysanthemum flower” sole fillet in a tomato sauce, which Qu said was recognized at the Taste of Chanhassen celebration.
The couple runs another restaurant in Chanhassen, a popular dining spot for visiting Chinese dignitaries, businesspeople and chefs, Qu said. The St. Paul location is at 1552 Como Ave. The restaurant’s website, Cafe99mn.com, is still under construction, but customers can call 651-603-8899.