Monthly Archives: August 2016

Union Depot Adds Two New “Choose Your Own Experience” Ideas for Travel, Recreation and Entertainment

August 31, 2016

Union Depot in downtown St. Paul began an online campaign, “Choose Your Own Experience,” in 2015 to promote a variety of experiences around the Twin Cities in which guests can participate when they visit Union Depot. Each experience includes a visit to Union Depot, whether simply to park in the venue’s parking garage while exploring amenities in the neighborhood, to partake in an event in the space, to ride the Green Line to cultural, entertainment and sports events along the route, or to catch a bus or Amtrak® train for a getaway.  A list of the seven experiences is below.  Two new experiences, the State Fair Scavenger Hunt and Red Wing R&R, have been added to the list.

These new online experiences include:

State Fair Scavenger Hunt:  A trip to Union Depot makes getting to the Minnesota State Fair a stress-free experience by offering covered parking to keep cars cool and bus and Green Line transportation to the fairgrounds.  This year’s fairgoers can take the State Fair Scavenger Hunt Quiz, posted on the Experiences page, then take it to The Java Express when returning to Union Depot to receive a free set of earbuds and purchase a handcrafted beverage to enjoy while taking the self-guided Union Depot walking tour with the new earbuds.

Red Wing R&R:  Visitors to Union Depot can take a day trip to Red Wing with a morning departure on the eastbound Amtrak® Empire Builder headed to Chicago, then return later that evening on the westbound train destined for the Pacific Northwest.  The 54-minute trip transports travelers from Union Depot to the town National Geographic Traveler ranked as the 23rd most historic place to visit of 109 global destinations.

Other experiences available are:

  • Twin Cities Music Tour
  • Afternoon Bike Adventure
  • Duluth Weekend Getaway
  • Date Night in St. Paul
  • Chill Out in Chi-Town

State Fair Giveaway

Union Depot is giving away 25,000 Union Depot Conductor Hats every day at the Minnesota State Fair. The hats are free and available at the fair at the myTalk107.1 and KS95 booths every day while supplies last. A social media campaign is also underway, inviting participants to snap a photo wearing the Union Depot Conductor Hat and post it on Instagram with the hashtag #UDExperience for a chance to win prizes (monthly prizes are being awarded through July 2017). The hats will also be available throughout the year at Union Depot’s signature events, while supplies last.

For more information and to view the “Choose Your Own Experience” page, please visit

Kaskaid Hospitality, Creator of CRAVE restaurants, to Open Union Bar & Grill at Union Depot

August 16, 2016

Kaskaid Hospitality, owner and operator of  CRAVE American Kitchen & Sushi Bar and other popular restaurants, as well as a full-service catering company, ultra lounge, and event center, has agreed to open a full-service restaurant at Union Depot in the Head House space formerly occupied by Christos.  The restaurant will be the second location for the popular Union Bar & Grill concept and will provide full lunch and dinner service, as well as grab-and-go offerings. Breakfast service may be added in the future, as well as outdoor seating on the east end of the North Plaza during warm weather months. The restaurant is expected to open in the first quarter of 2017.

The company’s Crave Catering division will be the exclusive catering provider to Union Depot by providing catering services for events hosted at Union Depot. The catering breakfast, lunch, and dinner options will include box lunches, buffet and plated meals for events at the venue. Crave has been a preferred vendor at Union Depot since 2013. Their repertoire at the station has included weddings, galas and dinners. Kaskaid Hospitality’s Crave Catering will help expand the corporate and non-profit event business, as well as weddings. The historic and majestic Union Depot provides the perfect backdrop to Crave’s gift for leading the local market with creative, high-quality food and exceptional catered events.

Ramsey County Regional Railroad Authority, which owns Union Depot, began seeking proposals for the restaurant space in spring 2016.  The proposals were reviewed based on criteria of experience, personnel qualifications, business plan, marketing plan, and cost. “Kaskaid Hospitality will bring a vibrant energy to Union Depot,” said Rafael E. Ortega, chair, Ramsey County Regional Railroad Authority. “We are excited that the restaurant menu and catering operation are being designed to meet the unique needs of Union Depot patrons, many of whom are travelers, but also include Lowertown residents, event attendees and visitors to the station.”

Kaskaid Hospitality signed a five-year agreement with a five-year renewal option.  Ramsey County Regional Railroad Authority will handle renovation of the space, and Kaskaid Hospitality will assist with the design and specifications of the new restaurant.

“We are thrilled to have CRAVE Catering selected as the exclusive caterer at Union Depot.  In addition to taking over the catering operations, we’ll be opening a second location of our successful Union Bar & Grill.  We feel this concept with its diversified and casual menu is the perfect fit for Union Depot,” said Kam Talebi, co-owner of Kaskaid Hospitality. “We’re incredibly honored to be involved in the next chapter of this exciting, beautiful, and historical property.”  In addition to the CRAVE American Kitchen & Sushi Bar locations in the Twin Cities and other markets, Kaskaid Hospitality, owned by brothers Kam and Keyvan Talebi, operates other restaurants and lounges including, UNION Rooftop Restaurant, Union Bar & Grill, BLVD Kitchen & Bar, Burger Burger, Avenida Cocina & Bar, and REV Ultra Lounge.  The company also operates Muse Event Center in downtown Minneapolis. For more information about Kaskaid Hospitality and the new restaurant, please visit

The recent opening of The Java Express, operated by Crystal Scott, at Union Depot has provided visitors with a daily coffee, baked goods and sandwich option. The Java Express will move to the northwest corner of the Head House later in the fall after improvements are completed and will continue providing a coffee shop experience for visitors to Union Depot.

Union Depot Seeking Evergreen Tree for “Hub for the Holidays” Festivities

August 2, 2016

Union Depot is seeking a beautiful evergreen tree, about 80 feet tall, to serve as the glittering center of its “Hub for the Holidays” festivities this winter in Lowertown. The magnificent evergreen fitting this description will become the featured holiday tree for the Union Depot Holiday Tree Lighting celebration on Friday, December 2, 2016.

The Union Depot Holiday Tree will stand tall on the North Plaza, adjacent to the Green Line light rail station on 4th Street, to welcome visitors to the venue’s grand front entrance. Twinkling brightly with more than 15,000 energy-efficient LED lights, the tree will brighten the winter nights through January 1, 2017.

For trees to be considered, they must have overgrown their location or otherwise need to be removed, but still in good condition. Only trees within Ramsey County will be considered. Individuals interested in donating a tree for this celebration should email their address and a photo of the tree to or call 651-202-2700. The owner of the chosen tree will be eligible to have the tree removed and the stump ground down at no charge, and may also be eligible for a tax deduction. The deadline for submissions is Friday, September 30.

The Union Depot Holiday Tree will be chosen by November 1 and will be cut, transported and installed on Union Depot’s North Plaza by November 25.

The Annual Holiday Tree Lighting celebration will be held on Friday, December 2 at 6:30 p.m. and will include special live holiday entertainment, fireworks, and the first free Union Depot Holiday Movie Night to kick-off the “Hub for the Holidays” season of festivities. The Union Depot Holiday Tree will be on display from December 2, 2016 to January 1, 2017. Visit the calendar at for more information on upcoming events.