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May 25, 2007 12:13 PM

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.