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Handsome Hog in St. Paul to close temporarily

Executive chef Justin Sutherland cited inaction by state and federal leaders during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Handsome Hog restaurant in St. Paul announced it will temporarily close its doors, citing difficulties with the pandemic and a lack of action by state and federal leaders.

Executive chef Justin Sutherland wrote on Facebook Monday that Saturday would be Handsome Hog’s last day of service. Sutherland said the restaurant does plan to reopen at some point.

“Due to the inaction by our state and federal government the numbers just don’t work, we tried,” Sutherland wrote, saying his restaurants would remain closed "until the world makes sense."

Handsome Hog is known for its contemporary southern fare, including brisket, ribs and chicken, with Sutherland – a former Top Chef contestant – a rising star in the Twin Cities restaurant scene.

Last month, Gov. Tim Walz announced that restaurants and bars would again be limited to take-out and delivery service as part of the state’s “dial back” response to rising numbers of COVID-19 infections in Minnesota.

To aid businesses affected by the closures, Walz has called on the federal government to pass relief. He has also proposed state relief by waiving state and regulatory fees for bars and restaurants and establishing an eviction moratorium to help small businesses stay in their locations.

Once Walz and Republican lawmakers in the Senate can reach an agreement on a relief package, it will likely to be passed in the next special session.

Walz also expressed a hope on Monday that more specific help for the bars and restaurants could be provided by the Legislature passing a bill allowing them to sell to-go cocktails.

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