These days, with a three-year old girl and a baby boy on the way, plus busy work and family schedules, my hubby and I rarely schedule more of a “date night” than a movie on the couch with ice cream in our PJs. Most of the time, such an at-home super chill date night is exactly what we need (and baby-to-be LOVES ice cream), but every once in a while we’re up for an adventure. So when I heard that a Pinot’s Palette wine, appetizers, and painting studio just opened up in Saint Louis Park (literally, last week), I knew we had to try it out.
And now we’re hooked.
For less than the cost of a theater ticket each, my hubby and I got to spend three hours eating, drinking (a full beer and wine list plus a few non-alcoholic are available), and learning how to paint a stunning work of art called “Japanese Moon Garden” from one of the studio’s eight resident artists (in our case, Arlinda). Step-by-step she walked us through each color combination and brush technique, turning down the upbeat music (which ranged from 90s dance hits to Latin beats) to answer questions. We had a blast.
We’re big fans of shopping and eating local, which brings me to the other reason we took the opportunity for a “real” date night out. I loved the idea of checking out a new business run by a young mom, who happened to be a fellow MOT, Mila Krol, who I heard about from a friend-of-a-friend’s post in the local Facebook group Minnesota Mammalehs.
“I wanted to put my whole being into something meaningful…”
Almost one year to the date before she took a leap of faith and opened Pinot’s Palette Saint Louis Park, Mila had her “a ha” moment. She took her mom to a wine and painting night and fell in love. She was blown away by the celebratory atmosphere (bachelorette parties, date nights, birthdays, anniversaries, etc), with the expressions of creativity, and most significantly, with her mom’s own transformation.
“She came in really shy, saying she was not an artist, and brush to paint she really transformed, she relaxed, she even had a glass of wine, which she never does. We really had a great time. I thought … this is the best thing ever,” Mila told me as we sat and chatted in the painter’s palette-style bar stools in her private party back room for a few minutes after our painting class was over.
An IT program and project manager until recently, Mila said she has always known she wanted to own a business, and after that night with her mom, everything just crystallized.
“I wanted to put my whole being into something meaningful,” she explained, and said as soon as she heard about the opportunity to create Minnesota’s first Pinot’s Palette (there are over 150 Pinot’s Palettes around the country), she knew she had to sign up.
Mila realizes there are a handful of other wine and painting spots in town, but sees what she offers as something a notch higher in terms of atmosphere, customer service, and food offerings. Atmosphere-wise, the place feels more like a restaurant’s edgy waiting room than an art studio, with its colorful drop lighting, large wall of windows to the street (yes, people will linger and watch you paint), and stylish bar. We ate several cured meat and artisan cheese platters which is all sourced locally, from Red Table Meat and The Lone Grazer Creamery. Regrettably, Mila’s chef was not around Saturday night to make his famous fresh fruit crepes, so we missed out on those, but we hope to try them out next time.
Mila also stated that the studio’s painting library is the largest in the Twin Cities because they have access to artist contributions from the entire Pinot’s Palette system. In addition, Pinot’s Palette Saint Louis Park is currently working on having their artists compose paintings of some of the Twin Cities’ famous darlings like the Spoonbridge and Cherry, Mill City Museum, Stone Arch Bridge and the Split Rock Lighthouse. They will be holding “name this painting” contests for the new additions and “pick me” class giveways on Facebook weekly – so follow their page so you don’t miss the opportunity.
Since Pinot’s Palette Saint Louis Park literally just opened up, Mila is really open to feedback and new ideas. She is also launching new painting projects – like a couple’s night out where the two individuals paint two pieces of the same painting, and then put them together (awwww….), and already hosted her first private party in the back room, which she says will soon be adorned by a mural created by her resident artists.
When she’s not launching her business, Mila is spending time with her hubby Lenny (she thinks they first met at the Sabes JCC camp back in the ’90s), and her also art-loving six-year-old daughter. Business is picking up, and she’s already had some sold out nights, but she would love for people to come and celebrate something with her and her paints, and spread the word through their networks.
In fact, if you log on to her website before April 15, 2016 and book a public class for one of the March or April dates using the discount code “TCJewfolkBogo” you will get one free public class for every one you book! That’s a date night for the price of a single ticket, or a family of four for the price of a date night! I dare you to try it out.
For those non-artists (like me) out there, you’ll be surprised how fun and easy it is to create a save-worthy piece of art.
Guided by Arlinda’s expert advice, my painting turned out to be an artistic expression of my mood that evening – adventurous and exuberant. In fact I even splurged on one of the reasonably priced frames available to take home, so I can put the artwork up in my office. #winning.
Pinot’s Palette Saint Louis Park Details:
Dates and Times: Public classes are Thursday, Friday, and Saturday nights from 7-10pm (with some rare exceptions. Private parties (including corporate team-building events) can be held any day of the week between 10am-8pm.
Paintings: For public classes, pick your class by the painting (check out the calendar). Private parties get to pick their own painting.
Location: 4712 Excelsior Blvd, St. Louis Park, MN 55416 (we found free parking in a ramp nearby).
Price: $38-$48 per person depending on the night. Food and drink are extra (but prices are reasonable).
*The FTC made me do it: Disclosure of Material Connection: TC Jewfolk received a free class at Pinot’s Palette Saint Louis Park in the hope that we would mention it on TC Jewfolk. But getting the class pass for free doesn’t mean that we were obligated to give a positive review. We are disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.” Blah, blah, blah…