When Leah Raymundo was growing up, parents kicked the kids out of the house to play.
“All the kids in my neighborhood were playing outside. On the street was a good place to play,” she said. That’s why she chose the name Kalsada, which means “street” in Filipino, for her new restaurant adventure with her partner, chef John Occhiato. The duo, who also own Cafe Astoria and Stella Belle on St. Paul’s W. 7th Street, are taking over the former Augustine’s (1668 Selby Av.) to bring their take on Filipino cuisine to the city.
It’s an idea that’s been in the works for a long time, and they’ve looked at various restaurant sites in St. Paul. When Augustine decided to close, the owner suggested that restaurateurs contact Raymundo and Occhiato. They just closed the building on Friday and are ready to come in and start work immediately.
The interior will be slightly refreshed, with a new interior in bright colors.
“I love the interior,” said Raymundo. “The owner has done very well, but we will be adding Southeast Asian colors and decor.”
The food will be modern Filipino, using ingredients they can find in the United States. “There are already some authentic and traditional Filipino restaurants in St. Paul, like Manila Sizzling – we were there today. We don’t want to cut into what they do and do very well. We’re going to bring another s’ tackling traditional Filipino cuisine,” Occhiato said.
From 7 a.m. to 3 p.m., the restaurant will resemble a Café Astoria West, with the lattes and pancakes their first restaurant is known for. Then it will be closed for an hour before reopening with table service, a full dinner menu of dishes to share, and a full bar serving tropical cocktails.
They said they can’t wait to open the patio – which will welcome dogs – and if all goes according to plan, Kalsada will open later this spring.