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Jul 25, 2007 09:34 AM

Title: need best cheap eats in minnesota

Message: hi guys i'm gonna be on vacation in mid august and am looking for the best cheap eats in minesotta specifically i'll be near the metrodome and downtown minesotta . i don't wanna venture too far so what can you guys recommend.
thanks hungrymannyc

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  1. Just across the river, in the Northeast section of Minneapolis, one of the best cheep lunch joints that I know is Uncle Franky's:

    enjoy your visit!

    1. Downtown Minnesota ... thank you for the smile of the day.

      Judging from the three or four similar thread titles, and this reference to the Metrodome, are you on a baseball tour? How long will you be in Minneapolis? Will you have a car or are you relying on walkable distances and/or mass transit?

      Which meals are you hoping to cover? Is there anything you prefer/don't eat?

      8 Replies
      1. re: KTFoley

        I'll add another question: what do you consider to be cheap? Using burgers as an example, is a $2 burger what you're looking for, or do you consider a $6-$9 burger cheap, too?

        I have been listening to Rick Nelson's podcasts (everyone must do this, by the way! They have completely different content than the Counter Intelligence print column, and are great comments on MSP food), and he pointed out a place called Chick-Fil-A. I guess it's a chain down South, but we only have one here. It's located in the basement of Coffman Union at the U of MN-TC. It's pretty close to the Dome. Rick said the chicken sandwiches there are great, and cheap.

        It's not in places, but here is the address and phone number from their web site:

        University of Minnesota
        Unit #80314
        Call for directions, menu and hours of operation
        Minneapolis, MN 55414

        1. re: pgokey

          Fingers crossed

          S Meadowwood Ct, Minneapolis, MN 55444

          1. re: pgokey

            yea i'm actually on a baseball trip with a friend so new to this. mainly im looking for the best cheap restuarants in minesotta downtown and near metrodome. what are must see places or what are some stuff that u recommend.
            thanks guys

            1. re: hungrymannyc

              Band Box Diner. Walking distance from the Dome.

              Band Box Diner
              729 S 10th St, Minneapolis, MN 55404

              1. re: hungrymannyc

                I'm not super familiar with the area of Minneapolis that is around the Metrodome, but if you're at a Twin's Game, a pulled pork sandwich from Famous Dave's is probably your best choice. Not spectacular, but there aren't a lot of chowish options otherwise. (At least it's a local chain.) If you order a "dome dog," it will be a Hormel dog (Hormel is a company hq'd in Austin, MN) with "Old Dutch" potato chips. Old Dutch is HQ'd in Roseville, MN (a suburb of St. Paul.) Gluek's (an acquired taste) and Summit are the local brands of beer they'll have on tap.

                Churchka also recommends the "macho nachos"

                Have fun. Go Twins!


                1. re: The Dairy Queen

                  It's not the cheapest place, but I am not sure how cheap you're looking. Spoonriver, however, is really close to the Dome and it features a lot of local ingredients.

                  750 S 2nd St, Minneapolis, MN 55401

                  1. re: The Dairy Queen

                    near the Metrodome, you could go to Sawatdee.

                  2. re: hungrymannyc

                    Minneapolis. Downtown Minneapolis. The Metrodome is in the city of Minneapolis. The residents of all the other cities & towns in Minnesota are grinning, except for those in St. Paul who sustained concussions while smacking themselves in the forehead repeatedly from trying to give people driving directions... :)

                    Walk down Nicollet Avenue to south of 12th Street. (Minneapolis is on a grid system. Streets generally run east-west; the center of the east-west axis is Nicollet Ave, so street names and house numbers go up from there. Avenues generally run north-south and the center of the north-south axis is Washington, so avenue names and house numbers go up from there.)

                    Anyway, yes, walk down Nicollet Ave to 12th Street and keep going further south. This is the neighborhood of Minneapolis known as Eat Street. Plenty of good, interesting and inexpensive restaurants there. To start you off:

                    Jasmine Deli for bahn mi
                    Evergreen Restaurant for terrific chinese dishes

            2. ok well i should mention im gonna be on a budget about 15-20 bucks im looking to spend on dinner each day. so far some helpful suggestions guys. please keep them coming.

              1 Reply
              1. re: hungrymannyc

                Eat Street gives you lots of options. Nicollet Avenue all the way from 6th or 7th, all the way down to 54th, actually, has lots and lots of restaurants that are good and can be enjoyed at that price.

                Here are some of my favorites:

                Evergreen for Chinese/Taiwanese. At 24th and Nic in the basement.

                Quang and Pho 79 for Vietnamese - 27th and 25th, respectively.

                Bad Waitress for diner food at 26th.

                Christos for Greek at 26th.

                Salsa a la salsa at 14th.

                Market BBQ at 14th.

                Jerusalem's on 15th serves good Middle Eastern.

                My choice for Mexican is Pancho Villa at 25th.

                Go to Northeast Minneapolis (cross the river North on Hennepin) and you get a couple of good choices there, all basically right around Hennepin and University.

                Kramarczuk's is a good deli and has good polish food.

                Bulldog NE has glorious bar food - my favorite burger in town (so far)

                Then there is the war of the neapolitan pizzas - Punch and Pizza Nea. Both are good, but everyone has their favorite.

                For breakfast, head to Hell's Kitchen, on 10th and Nicollet.

                Hell's Kitchen
                80 South 9th Street, Minneapolis, MN 55402

                Quang Pastry & Deli
                2719 Nicollet Ave, Minneapolis, MN 55408

                Evergreen Chinese Restaurant
                2424 Nicollet Ave, Minneapolis, MN 55404

                Punch Neapolitan Pizza
                210 E Hennepin Ave, Minneapolis, MN 55414

                Bulldog NE
                401 E Hennepin Ave, Minneapolis, MN 55414

                Market Bar-B-Que
                1414 Nicollet Ave, Minneapolis, MN 55403

                Pancho Villa Restaurant
                2539 Nicollet Ave, Minneapolis, MN 55404

                Salsa A La Salsa
                1420 Nicollet Ave, Minneapolis, MN 55403

                Jerusalem's Restaurant
                1518 Nicollet Ave, Minneapolis, MN 55403

                Pho 79 Restaurant
                2529 Nicollet Ave, Minneapolis, MN 55404

                Bad Waitress Coffee Shop
                2 E 26th St, Minneapolis, MN 55404

                Christos Greek Restaurant
                2632 Nicollet Ave, Minneapolis, MN 55408

                Pizza Nea
                306 E Hennepin Ave, Minneapolis, MN 55414

              2. Here's an old "near the Metrodome" post that you might find helpful even thought it doesn't specifically address cheap eats. I still heartily recommend Kramarczuks.


                15 Replies
                1. re: The Dairy Queen

                  We agree, and I forgot the places link.

                  Kramarczuk Sausage Co
                  215 E Hennepin Ave, Minneapolis, MN

                  1. re: pgokey

                    Duh. The most obvious concentration of cheap eats is Midtown Global Market. Sort of a food court, but nothing like they are in a mall. Good, good food that's really cheap. Tons of choices. Lake and Chicago. I have a friend who lives downtown, and she bikes there in about 15 minutes.

                    Just a few blocks up the street (Bloomington and Lake) is Mercado Central. Several Mexican food stalls. I love the food there.

                    Mercado Central
                    1515 E Lake St, Minneapolis, MN 55407

                    1. re: pgokey

                      Forgive me, but pgokey, as you certainly must know by my voluminous postings about Midtown Global Market and Mercado Central, I too love the chow at those places. However, I do worry that they may be a bit far flung for hungryman, who "Doesn't want to venture too far." My Minneapolis geography is a bit challenged (yeah, yeah, it's the other side of the river), but aren't these a bit far from the Metrodome? Same with Eat Street?


                      1. re: The Dairy Queen

                        Harry's Supper Club is about 3 blocks due West from the Metrodome, and fits your cheapish eats / goodish food needs. It just opened last week, so they might be working out a few kinks, but the chef is locally renowned.


                        1. re: g rote

                          Good call. Didn't Dara do a little write-up on them in yesterday's City Pages? In addition to Danny's post about them in the best burger thread?


                        2. re: The Dairy Queen

                          He never really did specific a range nor did he state if he had a car. If he has a car, he's good to go. If he's walking, you're right that they wouldn't be the best. I am working on guesswork.

                          The distance between the Dome and MGM is 2.5 miles. That's awfully close, just not walkable. Coming from The Dome, it's a really, really quick trip. 5-10 minutes, depending on traffic. Mercado Central is only about 6 blocks further. I guess your geography is a little off, I suppose.

                          I was not the first to raise Eat Street here - that was KT Foley. I was expanding on her suggestion. If he has a car and simply doesn't want to drive any long distances, it's a great place for lots of chow.

                          He has mapquest and all the addresses. I was going to leave it to him to figure out what's too out of range. If I were taking a trip, that is certainly what I would do with any recommendation - mapquest and see if it's too far out for me.

                          Also not specified is type of food preference, and how many days he'll be here. There aren't enough places to eat within walking distance of the Dome to sustain someone for more than a day, really.

                          I was going for lots of options. I could see calling me out if I was suggesting places in the Burbs or St. Paul. I don't think these suggestions are at all out of line.

                          1. re: pgokey

                            Not calling you out--it was just a question. In my little St. Paul centric mind, Lake Street (where MGMkt and Mercado Central are) doesn't register as being very near the Metrodome and while it might be only 2.5 miles, I think it's a confusing 2.5 miles. At least in my little St. Paul centric mind. I'm at the Metrodome rather often and would never think of swinging by Lake Street for chow afterwards. But, maybe that's just me.

                            But, if he does end up at Midtown Global Market or Lake Street in general, here's some good threads to get him started based on several chowdowns I organized. I'm actually very familiar with that stretch of Lake Street and think there's some fantastic chow to be had.


                            Eat Street, while still not "near" the Metrodome in my mind, seems like it might be more accessible from the Metrodome than Lake Street. For what it's worth.


                            1. re: The Dairy Queen

                              The Metrodome has its own light rail stop, which is the cheapest way to get around (a limited cross-section of) town. That makes the downtown/warehouse district area accessible, as well as parts of East Franklin, East Lake, and the Mall of America.

                              1. re: Jordan

                                It would be wonderful to provide him some recommendations along the light rail line. I personally wouldn't walk from the "East Lake" light rail line to Midtown Global Market, though.


                                1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                  Right, but you could walk from there to Manny's Tortas, Town Talk Diner, and a few other places.

                                  1. re: Jordan

                                    I love Manny's cubana torta!

                                    Note to hungryman: Town Talk Diner might sound cheap because of the "diner" in its title, but it's unfortunately not what I'd consider cheap eats. Still, the chow is good (I love their kitchen sink burger, for instance.) EDIT: their menu is on their website if you want to check the prices for yourself--click on the places link.


                                    Town Talk Diner
                                    2707 E Lake St, Minneapolis, MN 55406

                                    Manny's Tortas
                                    2700 E Lake St, Minneapolis, MN 55406

                              2. re: The Dairy Queen

                                "Calling you out" has loaded meaning I didn't intend, sorry. I did not see your post as hostile. For the record, having people spar about recommendations is good for the whole, in my mind.

                                No, getting from the Dome to East Lake is not at all confusing. Take Portland South to Lake Street. Viola.

                            2. re: The Dairy Queen

                              Actually, the Midtown Global Market and the Metrodome are both on the 5 busline. It is very fast and super easy to get from one place to the other on the bus.

                              1. re: churchka

                                Great idea! I think it's worth a short bus ride to check out Midtown Global Market. Lots of great, affordable chow. (the whole, deep fried tilapia at la Sirena Gorda, the al pastor huaraches at Taqueria Los Ocampo, the sabusi at Starlight deli, the veggie momos at Everest Cafe, the cubana torta at Manny's, the barbacoa chiva at Bymore meats...) Super cheap tamales at La Loma (or is it Las Lomas?)--they aren't the world's best tamales, but they're pretty good and pretty cheap.

                                Great place for food gifts, too. One caution is that many of the vendors at Midtown Global Market pack it up by 8pm. There are a couple Chang Bang and A La Salsa, I think, that stay open a little later, but those are the ones with table service and, therefore, aren't the cheapest ones.


                      2. Grumpy's Bar is a 5 minute walk from the Dome at 1111 Washington Ave South:


                        They have many beers on tap, a huge menu, and nothing is that expensive. Ordering a burger and sandwich and a beer will run you about $11-12 plus tip. It's bar food and sandwiches mostly, but it's good and sounds from your post like it might be up your alley. They also serve tater tots, which is one of the reasons my friends and I go there since they are so much better when deep fried, and I can get them alongside my pastrami on rye... There are not many other places in MSP that serve pastrami on rye. Try the local Surly brand brew on tap. Oh, and there is free parking! Just don't try to park there during the game.

                        You could also walk up to Washington Ave (it runs east-west) and go east (make a right). Walk over the highway and you'll be in Seven Corners, an intersection with several restaurants and bars. Try the Town Hall, a brewpub with more dinner entrees than Grumpy's, like ribs and fish, etc. The burger is okay... but the beer is great! Almost everything on tap is made in house. Love the oatmeal stout. There is also a pizza place on one corner that is pretty good (forget the name) and an Indian restaurant that my friends have deemed alright. I recommend the Town Hall for delicious beer and okay food; I can't strongly recommend the other options, but they are there.

                        15 Replies
                        1. re: slowfoodgrrl

                          wow u guys are very awesome i appreciate all the help from everyone. yea like i said i'll be going to a twins game and checking out sights so i wanna stay near metro dome and as close to downtown. i'm mainly looking for places for dinner and perhaps lunch. if that changes anything no car access so i dont want to go to far. as well i appreciate everyones helpful suggestion. if u wanna hang out while im in minny let me know. maybe u can join me and my bud for a twins game or be a personal guide lol. once again much appreciation to the minesotta people here.

                          1. re: hungrymannyc

                            ok guys finally had a chance to look at all the infomation carefully. can someone tell me what they recommend as far as the best choices for uncle frankys, chik a filas spoon river kramarczuks, harrys supper club and grumpys bar. whats the best choices u reccomend for these.
                            thanks again.

                            1. re: hungrymannyc

                              Kramarczuks, definitely. Grumpy's is good for beer and tater tots if you want to head somewhere very close to the Metrodome.

                              1. re: katebauer

                                Just note that you can't walk to Kramarchuk's. From the Dome, it is a hike. Perhaps it's closer to your hotel.

                                But Kate's right in that it's the best intersection of good and cheap.

                                1. re: pgokey

                                  I would think it would only be a 30 minute walk or so to Kramarchuks. A quick hop over to 3rd Ave then up the Central Ave bridge. I used to work across from the dome and walked to NE and back over lunch often.

                                  1. re: pgokey

                                    Previously mentioned, but Spoonriver is walkable from the dome--it's only a few blocks, but they are long blocks... Unfortunately, there isn't a lot that is VERY close to the dome.

                                    I wouldn't say Spoonriver is cheap, but they do have a "take-out" fridge case with salads and such that's likely to be budget-friendly. Spoonriver does focus on the fresh/seasonal/local and veggie friendly cuisine, so, keep that in mind. There's Gold Medal park nearby if you want to sit and eat your take-out meal. I think the Guthrie even has a few tables strewn about that you might be able to sit at outside.


                                    Next door to Spoonriver, is the new Guthrie theater. They have a casual restaurant "Level Five" and a take-out counter "Level 5 Express" for sandwiches and such. I've never tried it, but it might be an option. Be careful about timing, though, the restaurant hours can be very specifically oriented to theater performances...


                                    Saturday mornings and Thursday evenings is the Mill City Farmers Market--sandwiched between the Guthrie and the Mill City Museum. There are actually some pretty good noshing opportunities at the Mill City Farmers Market.


                                    D'amico runs the cafe at Mill City Museum. Again, just sandwiches and such and you'll need to check the hours, but it's a place you can go sit and have a sandwich. You can access the cafe without paying the museum admission.



                                    1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                      Adding some "places" links.


                                      750 S 2nd St, Minneapolis, MN 55401

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

                                      Mill City Museum
                                      704 S 2nd St, Minneapolis, MN 55401

                                      900 S 5th St, Minneapolis, MN 55415

                                      1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                        I would actually discourage the poster from going to Spoonriver (and it has nothing to do with my feeling that their food is bland). I've gotten takeout salads from there and they're quite expensive for what you get. You can easily spend $12 on a salad and drink and be hungry 3 hours later - the salads at least are mostly veggies so little protein or fat to satisfy you. They're very good but I'd have to get a soup along with it to fill up until dinner.

                                        1. re: katebauer

                                          I have to correct kate on this, as we originally discussed the Spoonriver takeout case several months back. They've revamped their takeout offerings. Salads are now in the much more reasonable $7 range and usually include decent protein like tuna and chicken. Baguette sandwiches (often brie and arugula) are $6.50. This is a much better value than before.

                                          1. re: Jordan

                                            Ah, good to know. I haven't been by there in the past 6 month or so.

                                2. re: hungrymannyc

                                  I'd take Chix a fila off the list - its a pretty widely availible southern chain.

                                  Based on recent postings I'd give Harry's a shot

                                  Kramarczuks is worth the walk! Plus you can get some local flavor at Nye's Polanaise after dinner.

                                  Have fun

                                  Go Twins

                                  1. re: St Paul Susie

                                    Chain or not, he was looking for cheap eats close to the Dome, and those who aren't in the South a lot, it's a least novel. (add in) Also, if it's good enough to get Rick Nelson to sing its praises on his podcast, it's worth a suggestion here (IMHO).

                                    It's actually Chick-Fil-A - "chick fillet"

                                  2. re: hungrymannyc

                                    Can't speak to all of those places but:

                                    Uncle Franky's is a "Chicago style" place. The Chicago beef is far and away the highlight there.

                                    Chik-Fil-A isn't worth the bother. Our one location is buried in a U of M building on campus (Coffman Union) which means you have to pay to park or walk a long way from the Dome (meanwhile you'd be passing several of the places mentioned here, all of which are better). If you do trek over there, be warned that they don't offer the full menu of the rest of the Chik-Fil-A chain and it's in a cafeteria style setup -- they premake the sandwiches and slide them down the chute where they can sit for some time before someone grabs one. Chik-Fil-A is fine for a chain but wait until you're in the south or southeast to try it.

                                    I like everything at Kramarczuks (I'm of eastern European heritage). My "usual" is the combo meal where you get a giant cabbage roll, some pierogis, sausages and kraut. It's about $12 but it's a LOT of food. If I'm not that hungry I get a sausage and a few pierogis.

                                    If you get a craving for wings, Runyon's (Washington Ave and N 2nd St I think) is very good.

                                    I also noticed few people recommended burgers. I've been off-line for a week but notice a lengthy burger thread on here (haven't read yet). Ike's downtown is probably in there.

                                    Have fun here.

                                  3. re: hungrymannyc

                                    Grumpy's vegetarian food is excellent. I suggest the mock duck BBQ sandwich for veggies and meat eaters alike.

                                    1. re: churchka

                                      What is the deal with mock duck in Minnesota? I've lived and eaten in lots of places, and except for Chinatown in NYC, I don't think anyone else in the US has even heard of the stuff, but here in MSP it's all over the place. What gives?