After holding their wedding reception in the space (a former restaurant at the time) on May 6, 2007, the couple decided that the space, forever personal to them now, was perfect to create the restaurant Russell had been dreaming about since before he even began culinary school.

Meritage builds on the brasserie feel, innate to the 1919 bones of the space, and offers the seasonal, French influenced fare that Chef Klein long-ago became known for while Executive Chef at WA Frost. “I want to cook food that people understand and that I can be proud to serve,” says Klein. “Meritage offers fine food at moderate prices. We want this restaurant to be welcoming for all people, and all occasions.” It is not a mistake the restaurant is called Meritage- a union of merit and heritage.

Desta Maree Klein provides the behind the scenes support, the vision for the wine program, as well as the service standards & the financial management of the enterprise. With over twenty years in the restaurant business herself, she brings unique perspective and core financial management skills. Beyond the numbers, Desta travels and surrounds herself with capable wine professionals, guiding Meritage in the development of "Wine School" a program, now over 10 years old and 13 co-horts deep, to bring wine education and knowledge to both her staff and her community.

A thoughtful wine program, considering history and terroir, whose focus centers on old-world styled wines.  It results in a list that offers from the United States and Europe exclusively. "We want to focus on wines that pair well with the cuisine Russell creates and that reflects our palettes." explains Desta, "For me, wine is all about where it comes from. As they say, 'what goes together, grows together', so we keep that sentiment alive".

The couple has been delighted to continue their lives together in the space they first celebrated their marriage. The pair made a conscious decision to open in St Paul, where they began their lives together. “We both moved here from other places and have come to love St Paul. It was important to Desta and I that when we realized our dream of opening a restaurant that it be in St Paul. We have always believed that the future of St Paul is bright, it's an underestimated city.” Chef Klein adds.


As Meritage reaches its first decade, it has become time to celebrate all that it has offered, hosted, and grown into. More, it is time to, as Desta puts it "celebrate all of the memories and moments of and with our guests, staff, and community, as it has been our pleasure and task to be the stewards of this truly special place."

Our staff are all service professionals. We have won numerous service awards over the years due to their dedication. We pursue employees who look at restaurants as their career, not a passing interest. They are passionate, educated, smart & engaging. We are proud of them and all of the effort they give every day.

We are always looking for talented people, though we are rarely actively hiring. To see any positions we are seeking to fill, to submit your resume, download an application, or to contact us click the link to our Employment page below.