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Apr 28, 2007 04:26 PM

St. Paul-Randolph/Snelling lunch ideas

I'm starting a new job tomorrow in the neighborhood of Snelling and Randolph and I'm looking for some lunch options.

If anyone has good ideas I'd appreciate hearing them.

Thanks in advance.

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  1. Lots and lots. Not too far away is Punch pizza (Randolph to Cleavland and then south a few blocks) which offers real Neapolitan style pizza and good salads. Just up Snelling is Grand Ave, and there are no end of good places there. Everest on Grand up by Kowalski's (East of Snelling on grand near Ayd Mill Rd) offers good spicy food, as does Kyber Pass (Afghani food) next to the original Dunn Brothers right at Snelling and Grand. Just west on grand is the Pad Thai Cafe, although just a little farther away (Snelling to Selby and then west) is Taste of Thailand which is better for Thai (service can be very slow however). Hong Sen is just west of Macalester on Grand and offers good basic Vietnamese (beef with potatoes is great). The Saint Clair Broiler at Saint Clair and Snelling is a classic and will serve you a good burger or sandwich. For a brew with the burger the Groveland Tap is a few blocks west of the Broiler and is a nice little tavern (somewhere between Matt's Bar and the 5 8 Tavern in ambiance food and beer). The Uptowner at Lexington and Grand kicks butt for breakfast items.

    1. Check out Blondie's Cafe, a few doors north of the intersection on Snelling Ave, for soups and sandwiches.

      1. Congrats on your new job!

        You've got some pretty nice suggestions so far, except for St. Clair Broiler, which I'm not a fan of. I've found the food there pretty blah and there's often a wait. If you're on St. Clair anyway (which you'd likely have to drive to from Randolph if your lunch break is short,) head a block or two West to Groveland Tap instead--I like their cajun lucy, portabella mushroom sandwich, chili, tacos, etc. Good solid bar food (it's one of the Highland/Longfellow Grill siblings...)

        Your most walkable options:
        ~Blondie's Cafe (already mentioned) on Snelling
        ~Carbone's Pizza on Randolph a block or so West of Snelling (at Davern, I think.) They've got some uber-affordable lunch specials--spaghetti, mini pizza with salad, etc.--nothing fancy, but reasonable and good. It's a favorite of the kids at the high school across the street, so, be cafeful about your timing.
        ~For take-out lunch options, Mississippi Market Grocery/Co-op has some reasonable humous, wraps, salads, etc. in their fridge section. (Also, Izzy's in their freezer--I don't know if they have individual servings available for purchase.) It's on Randolph at Fairview (you could go walk to St. Kate's Campus and sit and eat your lunch, or, Mattocks Park which is on Davern Street a block North of Randolph
        )~Across from Mississippi Market is Brewberry, neighborhood coffeehouse. I just saw a sign out that they now have "gourmet" ice cream. Don't know what that's all about but could be worth exploring on a hot summer day.

        A longer walk, or worth a short hop on our bike or in your car (that haven't been mentioned yet:)

        ~Shish on Grand a block or two West of Snelling. City Pages just named it best Mediterranean:
        ~The Nook on Randolph at Hamline (jucy lucy's!)--a favorite of the kids at the High School across the street, be careful about the timing.
        ~Also, if you need coffee after lunch to get you through the rest of your day, next to the Nook is Kopplin's coffee house which has been getting tons of favorable press. I haven't been there myself (and I'm not that discriminating when it comes to coffee anyway,) so I can't offer a personal recommendation. teamkitty wrote about her experience there awhile back.

        If you keep going farther East on Snelling is Roosters (I find their chicken and fries abominable, but City Pages just mentioned them again.) It's too long a wait for lunch for the chicken anyway, unless you called ahead--but, City Pages said in their best of issue, as did another 'hound recently (sorry I dont' remember who and haven't yet gone back to test them myself) that their ribs are awesome; maybe the wait for ribs isn't long. For this place, you'll want to do take-out only (they do have a couple of table, but you'll feel like you're misted in grease by the end of your meal.) Better yet for fried chicken is a little far East on Randolph, is Skinner's. It's a dive, neighborhoody bar, but they have a new patio. It can be a long wait for chicken, though, so, again, not a good lunch option unless you can call ahead or something.

        There is one notable avoid on that Snelling & Randolph corner--the place with the glorious patio and I'm sure you'll get lured in at least once on a nice, sunny day, but I've never liked the food there. (You'll know which one I mean...



        7 Replies
        1. re: The Dairy Queen

          Cecil's deli - on cleveland, near Talbots.

          There is a little pastry shop at the corner of sn/ran behind the irish shop which is quite good.

          PJ Murphys bakery on Randolf - closer to edgecumbe is excellent for office donuts etc. Cupcakes are to die for for 60 or 75 cents?

          Kortes market is past the intersection of Randolf & Hamline - I don't know what they really have for lunch or anything - but its a good place to grab a gallon of milk on the way home?

          Whole foods - Grand and Fairview - excellent salad bar & a decent size case of prepared foods, and pizza as well

          Grandview cafe (grand and fariview) excellent breakfast & lunches.

          Across from the St Clair Broiler - there is the St Paul Corner Drug where you can get and ice cream cone for a dollar or so!

          Carmellos is near that intersection too - they were doing lunch for awhile & I think they still do - sit down Italian. or take out.

          I highly recommend Shish on Grand - mentioned above. Very very very yummy. and super friendly.

          Italian pie shop & coffee news cafe are on that same block as well.

          At the corner of Snelling & Grand there is a breadsmith, Dunn Bros (best one in the chain IMHO) and a jamba juice.

          Gobys is right near the corner of Ran/Sn & I've never been, nor ever heard of anyone dining there. Plums is on the corner & stick to a beer on the patio and don't order food.

          Blodies is right there and was mentioned above as well. I've only heard rave reviews about that place. I've never been (although I drive by there a million tmes in a week)

          Arbys and little ceasers are south of Ran/sn - please don't go :)

          Did anybody mention Highland Grill - near corner of ford & cleveland?

          Punch is fab - as mentioned above.

          1. re: St Paul Susie

            I just want to say that I think that Saint Paul Susie’s list is spot on, but I would like to put in a word for the Broiler...

            I love the food there. Of course I may not be very objective. I’ve been eating there all my life, almost 50 years now... It was THE place my parents would take us kids when we went out for dinner. And a lot of the menu is the same today as it was then. So I guess for me it’s a kind of comfort food. I’ll always love a Big George burger. I just wish they still had the chocolate phosphates they had when I was a kid;-)

            Even if you didn’t grow up here, it may remind you of some place you did grow up with.... I think it’s worth checking out.

            Uncle Ira

            1. re: Uncle Ira

              Ira - Its funny because St Clair B is "my type" of place. Breakfast served all day! Meatloaf etc. but it doesn't work for us - kids food is really horrible (greasy pancakes?) and its not the type of place we'd go if we had a sitter.

              But I will say - they have an OUTSTANDING pie case. I'm really not happy I just thought of that!

              And I know its just us - our neighbors like it a lot.

              1. re: St Paul Susie

                AnneInMpls was just looking for good pie...


                1. re: The Dairy Queen

                  Oooh, thanks! I have to check out the Saint Clair Broiler's pie. I've only ever gotten banana-chocolate malts...


            2. re: St Paul Susie

              I've been to Goby's. It's typical bar food, burgers and such. Nothing special, but not awful either. Really, Goby's is just a neighborhood bar.

              The bakery (Patisserie, I think it's called) next to the Irish shop on Randolph is okay, but nothing special.

              I love love love the cupcakes at PJ Murphy's. Also, their "monster" cookies are adorable.

              I like Italian Pie Shoppe, but is it quick enough for lunch?

              Also, not for lunch, but Coastal Seafoods is on Snelling just South of Grand-- not too far from where you'll be working. Would make a great stop on your way home from work if you want to pick up some fresh fish for dinner.


              Also not for lunch, but Heartland Wine Bar is on St. Clair, just West of Snelling.


            3. re: The Dairy Queen

              Ditto on TDQ said about St Clair Broiler. They do make an amazing strawberry malt & its very popular, but the food is a little "just ok" to me. Never bad, but never great.

            4. How could I forget??? Acme Deli - near the corner of snelling and st clair, on st clair, 1 block east of the intersection. Great sandwiches & soups.

              2 Replies
              1. re: St Paul Susie

                I've always wondered about this place! Good to know, thank you!


                1. re: St Paul Susie

                  I second the recommendation for Acme Deli. Huge, tasty sandwiches and great prices.

                2. You've got a lot to go on here!

                  The only add I can come up with is J&S Bean Factory two blocks east of Snelling on Randolph, if you need a caffeine fix. Their regular brewed coffee is usually (though not always) good, their brew-by-the-cup "brew bar" coffee is always good, and their espresso drinks are reliable. It's a nice place to spend an hour too. Food options are limited, but they do have soup and sandwiches.

                  6 Replies
                  1. re: diesel

                    They look like they have a nice patio in back, too. Sadly, I've never been in because I always seem to drive by it to or from The Nook.


                    1. re: The Dairy Queen

                      TDQ - have you been to the new Nook yet? Shamrocks? I haven't... yet...

                      1. re: St Paul Susie

                        Yeah, I have. I posted about it obliquely in some thread, although, I cannot now remember where (maybe the outdoor dining thread?). It was, unfortunately, not very good. The burger was a little too pink inside and didn't have that almost crispy exterior a jucy lucy gets. The real problem, though was that it was so greasy that the bun was completely soaked, which was not aided by the fact that they served it with a side about 700 (okay an exaggeration, but, maybe 20) dill pickle slices.

                        The fries were good.

                        The space was huge, which means no wait, which would be terrific if the food were only better. It looks like they might even have a patio outback. (Wasn't open yet when I was there.)

                        I love the Nook and really wanted to love this place, too, because I'm impatient and hate waiting, even for good chow, and this place has TONS of space. But, I can't say I recommend this place until they work the kinks out in the kitchen.


                        1. re: The Dairy Queen

                          Got it - thanks for an update/report. Kinks will hopefully go away!

                          1. re: St Paul Susie


                            I've been to Shamrock's and my burgers (and fries) were identical to those at the Nook (my burger paradise). Lucky me I guess.

                            1. re: MSPD

                              This is encouraging, indeed. Maybe we'll give it another try, sooner rather than later. And ask them to hold the pickles. ;-) (Except, of course, for the one pickle they spear to the top of the bun with a toothpick to make it look Shamrock'ish!)