I will be in Minneapolis in October for a conference and I am looking for a few original places to eat. The catch is that I will be traveling with a 12 month old girl. That means that I would prefer a restaurant that has high chairs and does not choose to hide us in some corner. I am looking for an original restaurant, reasonable prices, in the downtown area, non smoking if possible. Hope you can help me out.
It depends on your definition of "original", "reasonable prices", and "in the downtown area".
Luckily, the no-smoking is covered. Recent city ordinances mandate that all restos are completely smoke free. Inside.
Cafe Brenda, and their sister place Spoon River, are both excellent local places, with emphasis on organic, free range, locally grown, etc. Spoon River, being newer and at the new Guthrie, will probably be much more crowded that Brenda. Branda has a light, airy ambience and service is always excellent yet low-key. Not the pricest (or as they say in the midwest - spendiest) place, but not cheap pub food either. Brenda is in the warehouse district, just two blocks east of the light rail station.
If you are near the Convention Center, then cruise down Nicollet Street south of 12th. We call it Eat Street for a reason. Tons of great, family-friendly restos. New Delhi would be a good Indian choice, just a couple of blocks from the Convention Center.
Continuing down Nicollet you'll find tons of Asian, Mexican, and the enduring Black Forest (German).
Good luck, and enjoy your visit.
We are actually staying near the Government Plaza Station. From looking at the maps, I think Eat Street is not within walking distance. Am I right? If so, is there something that you would recommend on Nicollet Street north of the Convention Center?
Hope to hear from you.
Yes, definitely. The stretch of Nicollet Street north of the convention center is called Nicollet Mall. It's the main downtown shopping drag, with a bunch of restos. They range in ambience, quality, and price from small sandwich takeaways in the skyway system to Oceanaire and Manny's Steakhouse in the Hyatt. Those last two are probably a little too far and a little to posh for hauling a one-year-old to.
Closest to you would be the stretch of mall between the light rail station on 5th Street south to about 10th St. Some highlights that I think would be most kid-friendly and reasonbly priced include:
Sawatdee Thai - serviceable Thai, not great, but the ambience is usually pretty open and ok for kids, and the price is right. It's about the closest Thai to where you will be.
1005 Nicollet Avenue, (612) 341-2838
They have another location on Washington St, within a relatively easy walk from your hotel.
607 Washington Avenue S, (612) 338-6451
bluesman13 recommended Keys Cafe and Bakery; they are open for lunch and brunch.
1007 Nicollet Mall, (612) 339-6399
Ike's is a strange but I think great place to eat. The ambience is old fasioned supperclub/diner, and the food matches. Not as stuffy as a high-end steak house, but better food than most of today's pubs. It's just off the mall.
50 S. 5th St., 746-4537, www.ilikeikes.com
McCormick & Schmick have a local presence on the mall. You probably already know about them, being a national chain with aspirations. Their small plate happy hour is supposedly the best thing going for them.
800 Nicollet Mall, 338-3300
The Local is maybe the best, though not necessarily the most authentic, Irish in the downtown area. I find their food choices to be very good.
931 Nicollet Mall, 904-1000
NOTE: one place to avoid like death on the mall in Brit's Pub. On the one hand, it has lawn bowling and outdoor movies on the roof. On the other, it is a major meat-market singles joint - very kid-UNfriendly. And the they serve typically old-fashioned abysmal British food. Not the new style of pub food that makes pubs in England worth the trip; no, I mean the old fashioned kind that gave England such a bad food rep for all those years.
Note, too, that being near Government Plaza station, you are 1 stop from Nicollet Mall and 2 stops from the Warehouse District. My rec for Cafe Brenda stands as your best choice for the Warehouse District. 112 Eatery is fab food, but as MSPD points out, the place is tiny and packed - not necessarily the best ambience for a 1-year-old. It's a little farther from the light rail, also.
Within an easy walk of Government Plaza is Dan Kelly's, a straighahead pub with decent pub food. They are kid-friendly; my neighbor takes his teenagers in there when they are in town.
2112 S. 7th St., 333-2644
Another resto within an easy walk is Bombay Bistro. I've never been; perhaps another poster can speak for it.
820 Marquette Ave, (612) 312-2708
Hell's Kitchen, recommended by St. Paul Susie, is also a relatively easy walk for you. Famous for breakfast in this town.
89 South 10th St., 612.332.4700, hellskitcheninc.com
You are also near the Guthrie, with Spoon River and Cue restos. I have not had the opportunity to try either of them - yet! If you'll be here on a Saturday morning with a couple of hours to spare, it's worth a swing to the Guthrie for the organic farmer's market. True, you probably won't be taking any organic chicken home with you, but there are vendors for honey, candy, candles, flowers, etc. I believe their last day for the year is October 28.
I think that's a good start, and will probably stimulate some more recs from our faithful local chowhounds.
Good luck with your chow adventures, and enjoy Minneapolis. It's a pretty hip town and an easy place to have fun.
112 Eatery is wonderful and laid back so you won't have to worry about baby noise if the situation arises. However, it's a tiny space and very popular, so can be a bit cramped if you have the high chair at the end of the booth (many of the tables are booths). The staff are great and will do their best to accommodate you, but they have limited options to work with space-wise (go to www.112eatery.com and the photo you see is nearly the entire restaurant). I know the feeling, we're about to have kid #3.
One important thing. All restaurants are 100% smoke free in Minneapolis. Not original but very kid friendly is the Spaghetti Factory on Washington Ave.