What's good and not a chain in Mlps/St. Paul??
I am relocating to the Twin Cities in the next month and was curious as to what is excellent in the area, especially Italian. I am a chef, but am currently not practicing in my love. The few times I have visited the area, I've only seemed to notice a lot of chain style restaraunts like Macaroni Grille, Friday's, Chili's and others along that order. Thanks for your help!
1930 Hennepin Ave
(In the uptown district)
Its owned and run by 3 young chefs. Not every dish works, but even when they don't, the ingredients are local and fresh and the attempt valiant. make a reservation. A real effort to have a wine list unlike any others. My partner really likes their cracker crust pizza. I think its an abomination. Really great, eclectic music (jazz, soul etc) and a great bar. Overall, in every way an absolutely sincere and honest effort.
Kramarczuk East European Deli
215 E Hennepin Ave Minneapolis
Right across the river from downtown.
An institution for their homemade sausages, incredible pierogie and soups and Ukrainian food. Go hungry, bring cash. food=10, value=10, atmosphere=2 :) This is an absolute must try--worth a detour from anywhere.
In four years of trying during business visits, we have struck out quite a lot in Minneapolis, especially in the Lake District.
Because we have failed so often, we fall back on 'burnt meat' to...
Caspar's Cherokee Sirloin Room
Absolutely as retro as it sounds. For moderately priced Choice (not Prime) steaks. Nothing great, but not expensive either and some reasonably priced good quality cabernets.
The most effective Minneapolis eating strategy we have found is to schedule our flights thru Chicago both ways.
Hope you have better luck.
Hi, Becky. You didn't mention where you're moving from, so I'm not sure what you are used to. The Twin Cities are far from the cultural wasteland they might seem like at first glance, but they do have more than their share of yucky suburban mall-sprawl.
It's been several years since I've spent significant time in the TCs, but I can give you some, admittedly dated, advice. The area is still not really great for "fine dining" continental-style food (there's an earlier thread on this), but I do remember a tiny Italian place called Giorgio (in the Uptown Mpls. neighborhood) that many people liked, although I never went there. There's a branch of the NYC restaurant Aquavit (Scandinavian) that's pretty well regarded. And there are many contemporary places: Cafe Brenda and Table of Contents come to mind. And my favorite room in the Twin Cities, with nice, if overpriced food, is the Loring Restaurant, or whatever they're calling it these days. This is in an eccentrically and ornately decorated converted warehouse, overlooks a small park, and is across Lyndale Avenue from the Walker art museum. Expect to see lots of pretentious people in black.
Ethnic food in the Twin Cities is another story altogether, especially great Vietnamese (all over, my favorite is Vina, two locations) and Mexican (near downtown St. Paul).
And if you are interested in beer, you're in a good spot. Summit, Page and Schell breweries are good, and there's a mass-market beer there called "Pig's Eye" which was named by public referendum and whose workers own the brewery. Note also Sherlock's Home (in the suburbs), serving cask-conditioned ale, also mentioned in a previous thread.
Good luck with your move, and keep us posted on any great TC finds!
Beautiful space, yes, but we never got to taste the food. On a visit to Minneapolis, my sister-in-law, a native Minnesotan, highly recommended this bar/café and took us there for some coffee and its famous artichoke dip. Our drink order arrived separately and we weren't given milk and sugar for coffee. The cappuccino came out long after, and it was tepid. After a request for basic service (i.e., to be served some milk for coffee) and a hot cappucino (nicely requested), the waitress replied nastily "Is there anything else I can get for you?"
We made several attempts to see the manager about this through the bartender and other wait staff. The bartender treated us just as rudely. The manager finally appeared at our table while my sister-in-law was elsewhere and gave us some lip service (cappucino on the house, and after a while the artichoke dip, which never did arrive and we didn't want anyway. At this point we were too uncomfortable with what was going to be done with it.)
He went away and after a while my sister-in-law returned, reporting that she overhead the bartender, waitress and the manager talking for a long time about the "b*tches" and the foreigners (excuse us if we are bilingual U.S. citizens with accents). At this point, my sister-in-law had been standing with the assistant manager (the only sympathetic employee there) who was bringing her over to the manager. Having heard enough, my sister-in-law interjected and made her presence known. As she was talking to the manager, the waitress smirked at her. A nearby customer asked the bartender what was happening, and the bartender replied "The b*tch got bad service." It was outlandish that we were treated that way for simple requests for basic service.
And, don't expect to get any tea there either. It's "not in season" right now.
Omigod. The last time I was there (probably four years ago), they were doing a pretty nice job as a full-service restaurant with bar service/hours, although already regarded as having pretty irritating art-snob attitude. The food was great. No excuse, but maybe service was lousy because they were expecting you to order dinner or something. They seem to be coasting on their reputation & bucks from the theater crowd -- what a shame.