The collectively owned Just/us eatery in Lowertown has closed indefinitely. According to its social media account, if ever it does reopen, it will be without its original ownership. The eatery began as a dining experiment run equally by five friends in a restaurant space at Wabasha and 7th Street in downtown St. Paul. The menu was an unconventional mix of burgers and fine dining.
Just/us lost that location when the building’s owners decided to restore the building and precipitously increase rent. A Go Fund Me was launched to relocate in May 2019 and the restaurant re-opened in an expanded, polished space across from the St. Paul Farmers Market, in the space that had been Golden Deli.
The remodel was done mostly by hand, but added a bar, stage, and meeting/event space inside the restaurant. It reopened in December of 2019 with the hopes of being a gathering point for neighbors, a no-tipping operation that paid its employee’s a living wage, and a music and art space reflective of the neighborhood it served.
Unfortunately, the pandemic thwarted many of those good intentions.
According to an Instagram post Sunday, said in part, “The sacrifices we have had to make to survive COVID have made our vision for this location unsustainable.” The eatery had been operating with takeout and delivery. Those operations have ceased immediately. If the restaurant does reopen some time in the future, it will be without any of the founding chefs, and with a reconfigured space.