Pick of the Market: A “natural partnership” between Twin Cities Media Alliance and the Black Dog Café


“We’re big supporters of independent media. We really value its importance to our community,” says Sara Remke, co-owner of the Black Dog Café in Lowertown Saint Paul. “So we just feel like it’s a natural partnership.” 

Remke is speaking about the “Pick of Market” dinner taking place at the café Sunday, August 29 at 6:30 p.m. The event is a benefit to raise money for the Twin Cities Media Alliance, the non-profit publisher of this site, the Twin Cities Daily Planet. 

The dinner is being prepared by master chef Shelagh Connolly.

With some 30 years experience at restaurants like WA Frost, Bravo and her own late, much lamented, Mildred Pierce Café, Connolly is well-known for creating adventurous menus — and “Pick of the Market” will draw upon that strength, featuring a multi-course dinner and dessert prepared from the best ingredients available that day from the Saint Paul Farmers Market, located just across the street from the Black Dog.


What: “Pick of the Market” benefit dinner for the Twin Cities Media Alliance, sponsor of the Twin Cities Daily Planet. $40 per person.

Where: Black Dog Café, 308 Prince Street, Saint Paul. 651/292-9274.

When: 6:30 p.m., August 29. Special members-only aperitif hour, 5:30 p.m.-6:30 p.m., AZ Gallery.

Where to park: On- and off-street parking is available near the Black Dog Café. Best bet: The surface lot located on Prince Street directly behind the café. Parking there costs only $1 for the entire evening.

To purchase tickets on the Daily Planet’s secure website, just click here.

If you aren’t a contributing member to TCMA, you can become one by making a donation – in any amount. Just click here.

If you prefer, you can pay for the dinner – and/or make a donation, by sending a check to TCMA, 2600 E. Franklin, Minneapolis, MN 55406.

The Black Dog began putting on these market dinners over a year ago. The idea came from Remke and Connolly’s shared enthusiasm for the Saint Paul Farmers Market, the epitome of “local foods:” everything there has to be produced within a 50-mile radius of downtown Saint Paul.

“We would always talk about what was available on any given weekend,” recalls Remke. One day the pair asked themselves what kinds of dinners they could serve using the best ingredients on sale at the Farmers Market that day.

“The idea was to utilize what is freshest,” she says. “We also wanted to create family-style dinners, where people who don’t know each other sit at the same table and eat and socialize together.”

In the 12 years since Remke and her brother, Andy, and sister, Stacy, opened the Black Dog, the café has emerged as a kind of Lowertown coffee shop/community center, especially for artists and musicians. The café features a constant rotation of artwork exhibited on its walls, and a busy schedule of musical events and other performances several nights a week.

Over the past several years, meanwhile, Remke has spent a lot of time in France visiting her in-laws who farm organically on land located not far from Tours.

In that time, the Black Dog has come increasingly to emphasize local food and food production; all of its beers, for example, are local, and the café works with the Minnesota Food Alliance, a non-profit that trains immigrant farmers how to grow food organically, with some of what they produce going to the café to serve customers. 

“My time in France has definitely had a big influence on me,” Remke says. “Every time I go there, I learn more – and bring that back to the Black Dog.”