Arone’s Bar at 500 Central Ave SE is no more and set to be replaced with a second location of Ray J’s American Grill, opening around the same time the NFL football season kicks off in September.
Mark Jacob, along with his brother Paul, who are from Northeast, own the original location of Ray J’s in Woodbury.
“We kind of know what we’re looking for and what we’re targeting,” Jacob said. “[We will] hit Northeast with the sports bar we would want in the neighborhood.”
Jacob said the restaurant would feature 32 tap beers with lots of “American crafts,” focusing on Minnesota and Minneapolis brews such as Indeed, 612 and Surly, while eschewing some of the domestic taps that populate the bar in Woodbury.
Beyond, Ray J’s will feature a new wood oven for wood-fired pizzas along with the restaurant’s signature wings, which, according to Jacob, have been a “craze” at their other location; some menu items will carry over from Woodbury, others will be new.
The new restaurant will be sports heavy, with 17 televisions packed into what Jacob noted was a fairly small space, and will have late night eating options and happy hours.
A patio space will be a new addition to the building, extending northeast through what is now a parking lot.
Jacob said his father purchased Arone’s Bar 12 years ago and the plan for a new restaurant took shape over the past two or three years. Jacob said Ray J’s is named after his father.
The renovation has been underway for about a month now, and Jacob said the time was right.
“Northeast is surpassing Uptown as the new hot spot,” he said. “So we definitely wanted to get something done.”