by Jo Heinz
Need to get out of the house for some social contact and a home cooked meal? Bay Street Grill & Pub, located at 731 Randolph Ave., serves breakfast, lunch and dinner from 8am-9pm. This building has been in existence since 1919, originally constructed by the former Schmidt Brewery. Many owners have provided food, entertainment and sometimes controversy. Under the ownership of Paul Mateyka Jr. and high school friend John Burrows it operated as J & P’s until 1995. Mateyka and his mother Lois continued as Mateyka’s until 2005. Bob “Lucky” Foxx purchased Mateyka’s in 2005 and owned it until this past year.
Currently, Paul is back managing the operation, now called Bay Street Grill & Pub, for his mother Lois. She and her husband Ed Snyder got this business in foreclosure. Ed said, “We are hoping to make it a successful neighborhood restaurant and bar.”
Neighbors living close by have complained about noise, fights, and other obnoxious behavior by bar patrons. Federation staff member Betty Moran said she had sat through some challenging and arduous meetings with the City Council and neighbors. Snyder said, “The situation was bad. In February I attended a meeting with the neighbors and they went through the horror stories. It was quite a bad element from Minneapolis that was in here and not just noise, fights and litter. I had nothing but sympathy for the neighbors because I wouldn’t have wanted to live in a situation like that either. Our goal is to eliminate that crowd and bring back the neighborhood crowd. I feel we have been quite successful and the neighbors agree. Since opening in July, we’ve had no fights and no police calls. We’ve obeyed restrictions on (our) liquor license; we’re trying to be a good business in the neighborhood.”
They employ 21 people full time.
Since opening in July, they have replaced all the old equipment and added new flat-screen TVs. Their main focus, though, is on the food: breakfast lunch and dinner. Paul says, “People rave about our food. We’re trying to make it a dinner place for people to come in and have a reasonable dinner. Everything we have on our menu is under $12.” Their favorite meals to date are their ribs and pan-fried walleye on Fridays, and they now have prime rib every Saturday.
Bay Street offers accommodations for special events like holiday parties for up to 40 guests. Reservations should be scheduled 1-2 weeks in advance, by calling 651-294-3240. Meals can be ordered from the menu or can be specially made to order. Some newer items added to the menu include whole wings with a variety of different flavors, top sirloin steak, pork cutlet sandwich, and a 1000 Island burger, as well as veggie burgers and wraps. Daily happy hours are also featured.
At the official grand opening in October, Paul said, “The place was packed — you couldn’t move in here for five hours. We had sauerkraut and apples, corn, dressing, pork, dinner roll and gravy poured over the top for $5.” Ed added, “Macaroni and cheese.” They roasted a pig at a different location and brought it here, selling over 100 dinners that day.
Paul is always looking for suggestions for new items to meet customer demand. Although he is open to criticism, he said with a chuckle, praise is also welcome!
Besides an enjoyable meal, there’s a friendly opportunity to play darts, video games, Saturday bingo, and to take part in meat raffles, to name a few activities, which you might want to check out!