A few days in Minneapolis
Hi! I'm coming into Minneapolis over the weekend of the 22nd. My wife is attending a conference, so I'm going to be out and about on my own. It's my first trip to the Twin Cities, and I thought I'd solicit some food recommendations.
Since I'll be mostly on my own, I'm not looking for fancy, upscale dining. I'm thinking of places might have a nice place to sit by a park or the river, places where I could get something like a sandwich as take out and walk around.
Also, if anyone has any recs on places to get a good beer in the afternoon that would be greatly appreciated. In particular either a good brewpub or someplace by the water to have a drink.
Thanks in advance! I look forward to seeing what recs I get.
Oh yeah, also, I'm open to about any kind of cuisine. However, if there are things that are uniquely Minneapolis I'd prefer that...
The only brewpub in downtown Minneapollis is a Rock Bottom Brew Pub on 9th and Hennepin. The Town Hall Brew Pub a few miles away near the U of Minnesota west bank is the better brew pub. The best Guinness is at the Local on 10th and Nicollet Mall. Between 8th Street and 11th Street on Nicollet Mall you can sit outside at Zelos, McCormick & Schmicks, the Newsroom, the Local, the Dakotah Jazz, Masa, Chipotle, Brits (mentioned previously) and a few coffee joints. Also in that stretch is Peavy Plaza, an outddoor park next to Orchestra Hall that has temporary tents serving brats, and that sort of stuff. It is a good place to sit around and eat a sandwich outdoors. Hell's Kitchen is just a half block away from Nicollet Mall on 10th Street. A fine restaurant in that stretch is Vincent's next to Brits and across the street from Peavy Plaza.
A few weeks ago we went to Masa on a Saturday night for dinner and was greeted with a free Jazz Fest street festival on the mall and Peavy Plaza after dinner. Three hours of the Air Force Falconeers Big Band, Debbie Duncan, Connie Evingson, and others. There seems to be always something going on in that area in the summer.
If you can get out to Lake Minnetonka, the best place to sit and watch people and boats come and go is Lord Fletcher's. There is a steady stream of boats that like to cruise by even if they don't intend to dock. They have a nice large outdoor deck. The other place is Maynard's in Excelsior on Lake Minnetonka. There you can also walk around a nice quaint town and park, take an old fashion street car ride or ride the turn of the last century Minnehaha streetcar steamboat on the lake.
I'm hard pressed to come up with any recommendation better than what you've already been given--Bob S has nailed just about everything I would have wanted to say--but, I'm going to offer up the Longfellow Grill because it's a personal favorite and it is along the river (if you just wanted to walk along the river). They also have a bar you could hang out at.
Sea Salt, mentioned above, serves Sebastian Joe's ice cream, which is a local favorite. Sea Salt is featured in last week's free weekly, City Pages. Dara the reviewer won one two James Beard awards for food writing. Of course, you should take it with a grain of salt. ;-)
Pracna on Main is a nice place along the water for a drink.
Hmmmm...as far as the uniquely Minneapolisness of it, well, frankly, nothing is more Minneapolitan than getting out and enjoying a park while the weather is good. Minnesotans love their lakes and parks. As far as foods that are uniquely Minnesotan, I've posted a few of them in my profile, but they are very St. Paul centric.
I've stopped at Spoonriver right near the new Guthrie for a drink. Both the drinks and the appetizers were great. I also think that there is a bar in the Guthrie itself. I'd check it out.
The Tin Fish is in the northeast corner of Lake Calhoun. (Take Hennepin to Lagoon and turn right. Go about 8 blocks West.) It has a good variety of seafood and is located right on the shore of the lake.
In the same vein, Sea Salt is located at Minnehaha Park. You can get good seafood AND a beer there. It's right by Minnehaha Falls, which is very pleasant. I understand that the lines are pretty bad there so lunch or an early dinner might be a better plan. As a bonus, you can take the light rail line from Downtown (if you're staying there) to the 50th street station and walk right over.
re: bob s
If presented with the choice of going to only Tin Fish OR Sea Salt, I would recommend Sea Salt. Unless they have changed their menu substantially Tin Fish is primarily fried fish. The food is very good (and the location is excellent!), but you don't always want fried fish.
Sea Salt has a much larger variety - some fried, some grilled - of choices. The Grilled Squid sandwich is particularly tasty. The fried oyster po boy is also very good. they also do a rather nice crab cake sandwich (made with lump crab meat).
Where are you staying?
Sit outside of Brit's Pub & people watch - or go upstairs and watch (and try) lawn bowling. (Nicollet Mall, downtown Mpls)
Someone in a few threads below mentioned Hell's Kitchen on 10th - which is also in downtown Mpls - which is excellent for bfast or lunch.
If you want to loaf and eat by the water - and have a rental car you really need to visit Lake Minnetonka or Stillwater.