ReGrow Dining Spotlight
Washington Square Bar & Grill
John & Deb McGuire, Owners
John and Deb McGuire worked their way through college in the restaurant business and after many years in the corporate world and a move to WBL, they found themselves missing the bars and grills of their old St. Paul neighborhood. They started thinking there were people in town who would like a neighborhood place to get a beverage and bite to eat. In Thanksgiving week 1998 their dream became reality and “The Square” opened with just 45 seats inside and 20 outside. John laughed as he remembers barley having money to purchase those inexpensive director’s chairs from Pier I. There was crochet and bocce as well.
Their goal was a gathering spot where community members could gather and rub elbows, whether in suits or faded jeans. The focus was not to turn tables rapidly, but rather a comfortable gathering place where patrons could congregate in a casual, fun environment. They also led the way helping establish a vibrant live music scene in WBL and specialized in small and unique breweries before the craft beer trend took hold. Many nationally known musicians have performed there over the years.
Their concept was a success and by 2002 they did their first expansion into what is known as the “South Room”. Originally it was to be an outdoor bar, but regulations caused them to simply enclose that space and develop the popular current outdoor patio. In 2007 they expanded again, this time doubling the size of the kitchen to accommodate their growing customer base and adding the “East Room”.
The McGuire’s have long been enthusiastic supporters of the community, consistently contributing to charitable causes and events. The community has reciprocated as well. They’re humbled by the outpouring of support they’ve received during the COVID crisis. Their Take-Out program was already well developed, and they hope that will supplement their Dine-in business this winter. They’re running daily themed specials monthly. Fans can view their entire menu at www.washingtonsquareonline.net
This article written by Ken Galloway, and originally featured in the White Bear Press.