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MSP restaurants that source local ingredients

hi all!

i'm ripping this topic from one on the l.a. boards, but it is one which--i for one-- am really interested in:

which msp restaurants source ingredients locally? looking for both restaurants that serve one locally sourced signature dish (walleye etc) and those that actively source many ingredients locally. here's a list of places i can think of off the top of my head, that arguably might be doing the best job at this.

minneapolis: lucia's, birchwood, restaurant alma, cafe brenda & spoonriver, cue, craftsman, corner table,

st paul: heartland, tanpopo, trotters, ummmm. . . .

i KNOW that this short list can't be everything! please weigh in with some of your faves!

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  1. By "source" do you mean "use"? All the verbing of nouns confuses me.

    1. gotta add FireLake. They are doing a whole bunch of things with local asparagus this
      month, including a yummy asparagus soup with thyme creme fraiche.

      1. I'm assuming that "source" means "create dishes from local ingredients," not "being the source for the basic ingredients" (like raising goats or making cheese).

        Check out the Mpls St. Paul magazine (although this might be where you got your original list:-).


        And this thread on locally owned restaurants and local food:



        2 Replies
        1. re: AnneInMpls

          yes, Anne, that's what i meant by "source." great links.

          1. re: AnneInMpls

            Rehashing with a transplanted perspective:

            "Sourcing" means purchasing with special regard to the origin or source of the product. It doesn't inherently have to do with the distance the food travels, but rather specific knowledge about where it's from and who grew it. It also has nothing inherently to do with specific growing methods, or husbandry techniques.

            "Local Sourcing" means locally grown.

            "Organic" means USDA labeled, or other organic governing agency labeling. Certification is a big extra step for small producers, so many have opted out of organic labeling.

            "Sustainable" is a broadly defined term that means caring for the land is paramount, which amounts to a reinvestment in the soil with compost and other amendments other than chemical fertilizers, and also techniques for reducing the environmental load on the land.

            "Locally Grown" does not specify use of herbicides, fungicides, pesticides. Ask the grower if you're at the farmer's market.

            It's important to realize that local, organic, sustainable sourcing is not an end in itself. The skill of the cook is the critical link. The higher ethics equate to higher price, but personal health and environmental health are in the balance.

          2. Soupkitten, it's a subject near and dear to my heart, too, so thank you for bringing it up. (I was watching with envy that LA thread bounce about on the main Chowhound page.) Jeremy Iggers did a series on "ethical eating " in the Twin Cities about a year ago which addressed, at least in part, this topic. You might find this thread helpful:


            Of course, don't overlook the St. Paul Farmers Market and Mississippi Market (not restaurants, of course.



            3 Replies
            1. re: The Dairy Queen

              Erg. In the link I provided above, the first two links CookNKate provided to Strib articles are dead. But the others work. I'm going to type in the names of the restaurants from Igger's story from the working links before those links die, too. (I'm sure you can pay to get the articles from the Strib if you really wanted them):

              Restaurants that support area farmers by featuring their seasonal organic and subtainably grown foods:
              Cafe Brenda
              Bayport Cookery
              Cafe Minnesota (in the History Center in St. Paul. I really like their wild rice soup, by the way.)
              Muffuletta (of course! love this place)
              Corner Table

              Other top chefs and restaurants that support small local producers:
              Levain (listing this because I assume his new place will have the same emphasis)
              jp American Bistro
              the Dakota

              From his August 9, 2006 "update":
              Seward Cafe
              Crema Cafe
              Bryant Lake Bowl


              1. re: The Dairy Queen

                awesome additions to the list from all posters! i totally would never have thought of cafe minnesota, TDQ, that's a good one.

                keep them coming!

                1. re: The Dairy Queen

                  I'm seeing local foods on the menu at Levain a lot -- local mushrooms, local watercress soup -- and I know they're using Fischer Farms pork, Kadejan chicken, and sometimes Thousand Hills Beef. The new chef has blogged about slow food and the desire to use more local ingredients. (We have turned into big Levain fans lately.)

              2. Good resource:


                This just lists those places that are local members, but it's a start.

                1. Cafe Twenty-Eight in Linden Hills (43rd & Upton)... lovely little neighborhood restaurant with local ingredients. Had a really good organic burger there on one visit, with beef ground by Clancey's Meats and Fish up the street. From their website: "We are offering organic eggs and chicken from Larry Schultz’s farm down in Owatonna; we have Tim Fisher bringing in wonderful pork products from Fisher’s Purebred Hog Farm. Our grass fed steaks come to us from Thousand Hills Cattle Company out of Cannon Falls..." (Call for reservations if going at a popular time, it's a small place.)

                  8 Replies
                  1. re: fendel

                    I second Cafe Twenty-Eight, great little restaurant that is family run and huge on supporting local business and growers.

                    1. re: TruthBrew

                      Cafe Twenty-Eight is one of my favorites, too. I live in the neighborhood, so it's one of my favorite lunch/brunch spots. I've never been disappointed with a meal there, plus everything seems really well-priced to me. They recently started a late night happy hour (9-11, every night they're open, I think) with special small plates, that sounds really nice.

                    2. re: fendel

                      I recently saw the Fisher’s Purebred Hog Farm mentioned in a Strib article but had no luck hunting them down. Their products sound like quite a treat. Anyone else heard of them--do they have a website?

                      1. re: Enso

                        Try searching on Fischer Farms Natural Pork or Tim Fischer. I've never been able to come up with a website. I'm not sure how he made out with all of the flooding last year.

                        One of the best things I have ever put in my mouth was a piece of Fischer Farms bacon atop the Korean BBQ Burger at Craftsman. The burger was OK but that bacon was transcendental.

                        1. re: Enso

                          i believe lucia's restaurant also frequently features the fischer products-- hams & bacons. the menus change weekly so check frequently. the benedict with the fischer ham, on the brunch menu from time to time, is heavenly.

                          1. re: Enso

                            Tim's operation is wholesale only. There was talk of selling Fischer Bacon at the Birchwood Cafe, so you might want to give them a call. His products are featured all over town (Muffeletta, Cue, Heartland, Lucia's, Craftsman, Jay's Cafe to name a few). I'm certain that he'd find a warm retail audience through the Wedge or Clancy's. I'll ask him if that's a possibility and report back. Disclaimer: I work at Jay's.

                            1. re: keg

                              The article author claimed she received a box of pork products from Fischer's for a xmas present...that doesn't sound wholesale to me.

                              1. re: keg

                                I ordered a half ham and two pounds of bacon from the Birchwood over the winter holidays. Am 96% sure they were Fischer. Am 100% sure I'd buy them again.

                          2. In St. Paul, on Fairview near Randolph, Ristorante Luci. http://www.ristoranteluci.com/food.htm


                            1. Just ate at Barbette and Dakota Jazz Club. Due to this blog, I've been more cognizant of whether the restaurant uses local ingredients. Both do - and our meals were fantastic! Thanks for bringing up the awareness to this issue for me soupkitten.

                              1. chang bang in midtown global market uses produce from local hmong farmers in the summers-- same owner of the former yummy on eat street-- i'm blanking on the name of the restaurant right now, but i'd imagine the same farmers supply both places

                                1. Signature Cafe also uses as much locally sourced ingredients as possible.

                                  1. Ngon Bistro on University and Avon in St. Paul sources a lot of their ingredients locally-- we've talked to the owner to confirm this. They do order spices from Vietnam, but perhaps the fact that their beer list is all from Minnesota breweries makes up for this!

                                    1. thanks to everyone for all the great responses. according to MariQ the new B.A.N.K. restaurant also sources locally-- we're getting a great list!

                                      1. Galactic Pizza has a CSA pizza. Per their website:
                                        THE CSA PIZZA — We have contracted with the Natural Harvest CSA to buy their fresh seasonal crops for this pizza. The crops rotate so this pizza changes with the output on the farm. Please ask what the current CSA pizza is. Also, if you would like information on what Community Supported Agriculture is, or how you can join the CSA program at Natural Harvest, please ask us and we’ll let you know.

                                        2 Replies
                                        1. re: churchka

                                          ***soupkitten smacking forehead and making obnoxious, loud DUH-type noise***

                                          of course--how the heck could i forget about galactic pizza? i guess my head was totally in "fine dining mode!" :)

                                          1. re: churchka

                                            I guess I know what I'm having for dinner tonight.

                                          2. I'm adding Jay's Cafe in the Midway (Raymond Avenue, off of University) to this list. Here's my recent post about it: http://www.chowhound.com/topics/34570...


                                            Jay's Cafe
                                            791 Raymond Ave, Saint Paul, MN 55114

                                            1. Adding a newly-opened restaurant: Brasa.

                                              A City Pages preview summarized it as combining "the Peruvian model of wood-charcoal roasted meats with the American Southern soul-food model of a meal in which your choice of meat is paired with three side dishes."

                                              Here's my post from a visit the day after it opened: http://www.chowhound.com/topics/416594 .


                                              Brasa Rotisserie
                                              600 E Hennepin Ave, Minneapolis, MN 55414

                                              1. As long as this thread is active, I'll add a few places links for the restaurants mentioned above.


                                                Lucia's Restaurant
                                                1432 W 31st St, Minneapolis, MN 55408

                                                Restaurant Alma
                                                528 University Ave SE, Minneapolis, MN 55414

                                                Birchwood Cafe
                                                3311 E 25th St, Minneapolis, MN 55406

                                                Cue At the Guthrie
                                                818 S 2nd St, Minneapolis, MN 55415

                                                Cafe Brenda
                                                300 1st Ave N, Minneapolis, MN 55401

                                                Craftsman Restaurant
                                                4300 Lake Street, Minneapolis, MN 55406

                                                Corner Table
                                                4257 Nicollet Ave, Minneapolis, MN 55409

                                                5 Replies
                                                1. re: AnneInMpls

                                                  More places links.


                                                  P.S. Many thanks to The Dairy Queen (and others) for getting all these places into the Places database!

                                                  750 S 2nd St, Minneapolis, MN 55401

                                                  Dakota Jazz Club & Restaurant
                                                  1010 Nicollet, Minneapolis, MN 55403

                                                  1806 St. Clair Avenue, St. Paul, MN 55105

                                                  W.A. Frost & Co
                                                  374 Selby Avenue, St. Paul, MN 55102

                                                  Tanpopo Noodle Shop
                                                  308 Prince St, Saint Paul, MN 55101

                                                  Ristorante Luci
                                                  470 Cleveland Ave S, Saint Paul, MN 55105

                                                  Signature Cafe & Catering
                                                  130 Warwick St SE, Minneapolis, MN 55414

                                                  Sapor Cafe-Bar
                                                  428 Washington Avenue North, Minneapolis, MN 55401

                                                  Crema Cafe
                                                  3403 Lyndale Ave S, Minneapolis, MN 55408

                                                  Galactic Pizza
                                                  2917 Lyndale Ave S, Minneapolis, MN 55408

                                                  Trotter's Cafe & Bakery
                                                  232 Cleveland Ave N, Saint Paul, MN 55104

                                                  Muffuletta In the Park
                                                  2260 Como Ave., Saint Paul, MN 55108

                                                  1600 W Lake St, Minneapolis, MN 55408

                                                  Seward Community Cafe
                                                  2129 E Franklin Ave, Minneapolis, MN 55404

                                                  J P American Bistro
                                                  2937 Lyndale Ave S, Minneapolis, MN 55408

                                                  Cafe Twenty-Eight
                                                  2724 W 43rd St, Minneapolis, MN 55410

                                                  Chang Bang
                                                  920 E Lake St, Minneapolis, MN 55407

                                                  1. re: AnneInMpls

                                                    A few more places that are mentioned in the links above.

                                                    Whew! TDQ, you're a super-star - adding places links is slow and fussy. Thanks again for all your work!


                                                    P.S. Note to self: Still to do (not in Places yet): Galactic Pizza, Bayport Cookery, Ngon Bistro, B.A.N.K., and Bryant-Lake Bowl.

                                                    Modern Cafe
                                                    337 13th Ave NE, Minneapolis, MN 55413

                                                    Zander Cafe [CLOSED]
                                                    525 Selby Ave, St Paul, MN 55102

                                                    31 South 7th Street, Minneapolis, MN 55402

                                                    1. re: AnneInMpls

                                                      The crazy thing is that I've already added Ngon Bistro. Why can't we access it?



                                                      1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                        It's part of the "beta" I suppose.

                                                        I edited your pin to Pho Ahn in the Ngon Bistro thread to change the name to Ngon and it seems to have disappeared as well.


                                                  2. thank you TDQ and all who are working on the places thingy-- i admit it's a little bit beyond me but i think it is neato & i can see that there are places closer to me than i thought!

                                                    thanks to all replies-- my summer mission: try them all!

                                                    1. Common Roots Cafe in Minneapolis:



                                                      Common Roots Cafe
                                                      2558 Lyndale Ave S, Minneapolis, MN 55405

                                                      1. There is a new restaurant in NE called The Red Stag Supperclub. It's a sister restaurant to Barbette and Bryant Lake Bowl. This one is actually the first LEED certified restuarant in Minnesota, so one of the requirements (I believe) to be certified is to source locally for as much as possible, especially the menu items/ingredients. Well whether or not it is required, they feature several farms from Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Canada. Try the Red Deer Stroganoff. Couldn't believe I was eating deer meat and LOVING it! Super dish. The venison was from a farm in wisconsin, can't recall it. My dinner date had the pork chop, from Larry Schultz farms. He was convinced it was the best pork chop he's had in the Twin Cities. It came with some amazing sides to accompany it including MN milled grits....so good and comforting. The menu even had a little closing statement thanking all the local farmers for making the menu possible.

                                                        Check out the Red Stag Supperclub: 509 1st Ave. NE. Mpls.

                                                        1 Reply
                                                        1. re: hotpocket

                                                          LEED (Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design) certification relates to how a building is constructed and is a product of the U.S. Green Building Council. After looking at their web site, I am 99.9% sure that LEED standards say nothing about what restaurants can or can't do.

                                                          While LEED may promote good standards, it's beginning to become a label that is not very helpful because of its misuse (see also "carbon-neutral").

                                                          To keep this on point regarding restaurants in the Twin Cities that source locally, I think it's great that Kim Bartmann is promoting locally sourced food at her restaurants. But, to echo Karl Gertenberger above, I'm even happier when the food is consistently good. I find that at Barbette for the most part. Less so with Bryant Lake Bowl. Haven't eaten at Red Stag yet, but have heard mixed things about its consistency.

                                                        2. The French Meadow is another restaurant that sources locally