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Aug 2, 2007 02:20 PM

other recs near Izzy's in ST. Paul

My heart goes out to all those in the Twin Cities for your terrible tragedy. I was so glad though to read the support you MN hounds are offering to each other during these sad days. Please know that the whole nation mourns with you.

I am wondering as I get ready to travel to Stillwater MN later this month, where I should have dinner in St. Paul to be followed up by dessert at Izzy's? Is Izzy's in a neighborhood you can walk around? We will have our 7 and 8 year old with us but we are open to any type of great dining experience.

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  1. Thank you for your kind words.

    I can't think of much near Izzy's that's walkable. There's Trotter's Cafe around the corner which focuses on locally-sourced ingredients--mostly soups and salad and such. There's a place (can't remember the name right now) a couple of doors down from Izzy's that does "classic" Americanized Chinese. There's Legacy Chocolates, which is wonderful, but not dinner, alas.

    I think you may have to hop in a car. Given you're going to hop in a car, that's going to open your options up a bit. Any preferences for cuisine or price range, etc?

    Another option is to go to Grand Ole Creamery on Grand Avenue. It's not as wonderful as Izzy's, but the neighborhood is much more walkable. (You are from San Fran, I'm guessing from your posting history? Grand Avenue is like St. Paul's version of Union Street, only, less dense, not quite as upscale.)


    1. Yes, Izzy's is a nice neighborhood for walking. I used to live close by and we would criss-cross the St. Thomas campus down to the river overlooks with Izzy's in hand.

      There are quite a few restaurants very convenient to Izzy's. Are you looking for:

      - Fine dining, medium, casual, neighborhood tavern that's still kid-appropriate?
      - Ethnic, non-ethnic?
      - Within walking distance, or would a 1-5 mile drive be OK?

      A great night out, not killing the budget and pleasing to my kids, would be neapolitan pizzas at Punch (less than 5 miles south of Izzy's on Cleveland Avenue) followed by Izzy's.

      4 Replies
      1. re: MSPD

        Oh, MSPD's definition of "walkable" is much more ambitious than mine. If you have a radius that large, you'll have many terrific options.


        1. re: The Dairy Queen

          We are staying over just one night in the Twin Cities after our drive from our home in Rapid City SD (I used to live in SF). So with kids we could do a good 45 minute walk round trip. We are open to any excellent food. Given the kid factor, we are not interested in extremely high end or romantic dining. That aside - we are trying to raise little chowhounds and love to expose them to great food. Price is not really a consideration. We all love Asian especially -Thai and Vietnamese. But would not rule out any cuisine. I guess the ultimate question is location in terms of neighborhoods in order to have a great meal, a nice walk and excellent ice cream - with a short drive thrown in to get to either the meal or the dessert.

          1. re: prairiehound

            I've echoed Anne's suggestion many times on here before re: Longfellow Grill.

            I'd be curious what other 'hounds think about dinner at either of the following (maybe 2-3 miles from Izzy's), all family-friendly and interesting food:

            Khyber Pass (Afghani) at Snelling and Grand
            Puerta Azul (Puerto Rican) at Selby and Fairview

            Edit: Looks like Anne and I were typing at the same time re: Puerta Azul

            1. re: MSPD

              Great minds think alike! Khyber Pass is another great suggestion - it's probably over a mile away, but they have great food.


              Khyber Pass Cafe
              1571 Grand Ave, Saint Paul, MN 55105

      2. If you're all good walkers, you could eat at the Longfellow Grill, which is on the same street just across the river . Then you could walk across the Lake Street Bridge and up Marshall Avenue, past the golf course and lots of nice old houses, to Izzy's.

        (The Lake Street Bridge has MULTIPLE supports in the river - not a clear span like the 35W bridge - and looked comfortingly sturdy as I drove by today...)

        But the walk to Izzy's is uphill, and is about a mile. So a round-trip trek would be two miles - but think of all the extra ice cream you could eat!


        Izzy's Ice Cream Cafe
        2034 Marshall Ave, Saint Paul, MN 55104

        Longfellow Grill
        2990 W River Pkwy, Minneapolis, MN 55406

        1 Reply
        1. re: AnneInMpls

          Oh! I remembered a nice restaurant that's within easy walking distance of Izzy's: Puerta Azul, at Selby and Fairview.

          Puerta Azul is a cozy neighborhood bistro with Latin/Puerto Rican food. The menu is small, but everything I've had there has been excellent. The black beans are amazing.

          Best of all, it's about 6-7 blocks from Izzy's, and you could walk down Dayton Ave - a nice residential street.

          Here's a GoogleMaps link (it's long, so I hope it comes through):


          Puerta Azul (closed
          )1811 Selby Ave, St Paul, MN 55104

        2. this is a good thread about the broader neighborhood near izzy's.

          I heartily third Puerta Azul it's very good and unique, fried plantains.

          Also, Punch, it's maybe my favorite restaurant in town, honestly. And good for the kids as well if they just want a cheese pizza, which will still be amazing. PUNCH!!! salads, bread, pizza, everything here is amazing, very nice ambience/service yet casual and reasonably priced.

          Taste of Thailand is also on Selby (couple blocks further east than puerta azul), it's a bit rundown but tasty, lots of plants inside. Pad Thai on Grand is also delicious, has a slicker, pretty interior.

          Across the street from Pad Thai is the Italian Pie Shoppe (adequate pizza, not that amazing), Shish (sooo good, mediterranean food, great gyros, lamb, falafel, tabouli, also burgers and fries), Coffee News (a cafe with a good sandwish/salad menu, but maybe not worth it if you're just in town for an evening


          A bunch further down Grand (a short drive) is Tavern on Grand for some tasty midwestern/minnesotan food, famous for their walleye!

          here are the place links:

          Tavern On Grand
          656 Grand Ave, Saint Paul, MN 55105

          Punch Neapolitan Pizza
          704 Cleveland Ave S, Saint Paul, MN 55116

          Puerta Azul (closed)
          1811 Selby Ave, St Paul, MN 55104

          Taste of Thailand
          1669 Selby Ave, Saint Paul, MN 55104

          Pad Thai Restaurant
          1659 Grand Ave, Saint Paul, MN 55105

          9 Replies
          1. re: dahliachewswell

            For Thai, my daughter (who's been in training for years as a chowhound, and is finally showing excellent results and tastes) and I like Taste of Thai on Selby - about 6 blocks from Izzy's walking. They have excellent spring rolls (so far, the best I've eaten), and I like their curry and my daughter thinks their pad thai is the best she's eaten in the cities so far. It's divy, and the service is slow, but the food is very good. Also, your kids would fit in fine there, I think.

            As for Puerto Azul, I've eaten there a few times and like their food, but I find it very salty for my preferences. However, when I've been there, my dining companions have loved it. That's not quite 4 blocks from Izzy's. (Taste of Thailand is only about 2 more blocks east on the same street.) Longfellow grill is the only other one I can think of where you could walk to, and that's about 3 or 4 blocks down toward the river and then over the bridge - so, probably 6 or 7 or so blocks walking.

            If you want other directions to places to eat (Thai or Vietnamese) where you can drive to, and then drive to Izzy's, just let us know.

            1. re: tart1

              Thank you all for the great recs and the map. I checked out the other thread that was mentioned above and am now wondering about breakfast places, not brunch because we will be leaving before that, on Sunday. Nothing seemed to stand out on the other thread although maybe St. Clair Broiler and maybe the bakery next to the Irish shop? A great bakery would be perfect. What is the name of this neighborhood or area? Thanks again for all your input.

              1. re: prairiehound

                Izzy's is in the Merriam Park neighborhood. Some of the recommendations (including St. Clair Broiler) fall into Macalester/Groveland and further to the south is Highland Park.

                Trotters cafe, mentioned earlier and just around the corner from Izzy's is an excellent breakfast spot. Highland Grill at Cleveland Avenue and Ford Parkway is also very good, although not for anything bakery.

                If you like breakfast burritos, the Grandview Grill at Fairview Avenue and Grand Avenue is a must. Their "tex mex" is legendary, praiseworthy and enormous. The rest of the place is standard breakfast joint fare.

                There are a few other places but those are the ones that come to mind right away.

                1. re: prairiehound

                  I don't recommend the bakery (Patisserie) next to the Irish shop, nor do I recommend St. Clair Broiler. I echo MSPD's recommendations for Highland Grill (which is in the Highland Park neighborhood) or the Grandview.

                  Highland Grill and Longfellow Grill are sister restaurants and have very similar menus, so, if you end up walking to one for dinner, you might want to pass on going to the other for breakfast. Although I like the breakfasts and dinners at both places, it might be overkill to do them back to back.

                  Also, on Grand Avenue a block or two West of Snelling is the Coffee News Cafe--decent bakery items, coffee, and scrambles. More of a cafe atmosphere and menu than a diner atmosphere and menu.


                  1. re: prairiehound


                    I would vote Coffee News Cafe & Grandview Or Louisana

                    Louisana Cafe is owned by same folks as Grandview & it has better parking & many more seats - on Selby at Dale. 3 miles from izzys. And they have sweet potato fries which they don't have at grandview.

                    When I have my kids (slightly younger than yours) I tend to hit grandview - you get seated instead of trying to push a few tables together etc. (coffe news has you order, get a number and then find a seat - they bring you your food - but you can sometimes have a challenge finding a good seat)

                    Neighborhood Cafe is good when its good - just "ok" when its not.

                    St Clair Broiler- I just don't ever get good food or service there. - other folks love it - I just walk out of there thinking "I can make better at home" and my kids don't like the pancakes there.

                    a Great bakery is slightly further - for all sorts of donuts & sweets - PJ Murphys on Randolf - east of Hamline by a few blocks. Check their hours before heading there - they close early on sundays? perhaps?

                    1. re: St Paul Susie

                      Louisana Cafe has sweet potato fries? (Note: so do Highland and Longfellow Grills...) Yum! I'll have to try them--can you get them for breakfast, too?

                      Another bakery option in Highland Park might be Highland Cafe, which is pretty new and not yet 100% vetted by chowhounds, but early indications are favorable. They are open early'ish on Sundays. They make their own rhubarb jam and homemade bread (for toast!) Their caramel rolls are decadent.


                      Highland Cafe and Bakery
                      2012 Ford Pkwy, Saint Paul, MN 55116

                      1. re: The Dairy Queen

                        I can't say that I've ever been one of the first folks in line - but when I've been there they've had the sweet potato fries.

                        Here are some links to the spots I'd recommend.

                        I'll be checking out the Highland Cafe someday.... We go out to breakfast more in the winter.

                        Coffee News Cafe
                        1662 Grand Ave, Saint Paul, MN 55105

                        P J Murphy's Bakery
                        1279 Randolph Ave, St Paul, MN 55105

                        Grandview Grill
                        1818 Grand Ave, Saint Paul, MN 55105

                        Louisiana Cafe
                        613 Selby Ave, Saint Paul, MN 55102

                        1. re: St Paul Susie

                          I popped in to add one more thing about the Highland Cafe and Bakery--don't expect a lively atmosphere, the way you might expect at Highland Grill or Grandview and don't expect a hip atmosphere, either. The food's the main draw.


                      2. re: St Paul Susie

                        I will never understand the hoopla surrounding St.Clair Broiler. Everything I have had there was un-tasty. Also IMO The Uptowner Cafe Tex-Mex is much better then the one found at Grandview. Plus The Uptowner uses fresh made salsa not Pace Picante like Grandview.

                2. On Selby about half a block east of snelling is the neighborhood cafe, (this is the same street which has puerta azul and taste of thailand on it) which has a very similar menu to the grandview cafe. i personally love the neighborhood cafe and go there all the time, but also live right next to it. the grandview, i have found, is freezing cold due to overzealous air conditioning. neighborhood has great omelettes, hashbrowns, pancakes, french toast and lots more, cajun scramble is good, eggs benedict, and big breakfast burrito, plus more. they also have lunch fare (like burgers and sandwiches and soup) a very neighborhood place but really clean and bright inside.

                  highly recommended!

                  Neighborhood Cafe
                  1570 Selby Ave, Saint Paul, MN 55104

                  3 Replies
                  1. re: dahliachewswell

                    I've been to Neighborhood Cafe only once about a month ago on a Sunday morning at about 9am. It's as cute as can be and has a lovely patio, if there's room and you don't mind that people might be smoking on the patio or on the patio next door. I thought the food was okay, not great (I think the cheese on my egg sandwich was Kraft American Cheese...), not awful, but my real complaint from my one and only visit is that it attracts a really rowdy, boisterous crowd, which is too much for me in such a small space early Sunday. I get the impression that the morning shift for the O'Gara's bar next door likes to breakfast together at Neighborhood Cafe before work. The O'Gara's gals weren't the only loud bunch, either. So, if you're going to go to Neighborhood Cafe for breakfast on a Sunday morning, and you like a little peace and quiet with your coffee and eggs, earlier is probably better, I think. If you got there by 8am, you'd probably be fine (meaning, you'll probably avoid the O'Gara's gals--I don't know about the other loud patrons. They seemed to be wrapping up as the O'Gara gals were coming in. While I get the impression the O'Gara's gals were regulars, I wasn't able to determine whether the other ones were.)


                    1. re: The Dairy Queen

                      Sorry for your bad experience TDQ. Like Dahliachewswell, I live close to the Neighborhood Cafe and have been there many times and like it. Even my parents (aged 80 years) and my kids (aged in their 20's ) like it. I've also been there with my friends and they liked it as well, and we (my friends and I) tend to "do breakfast" 2 or 3 times a month on Sundays.

                      As for your "American cheese" experience, I tend to be very picky about when and if I have any cheese for breakfast, and am definitely sensitive to American cheese for ANY meal. To be honest, if I get an entree with cheese, I always verify the cheese with the wait staff. If it's American or another fake cheese, I forgo the cheese completely. To date, I've never encountered anything at the Neighborhood Cafe that has had anything other than "real" cheese. At the same time, I've never encountered anything other than a regular, generational mix of a crowd for breakfast for any given Sunday I've been there (probably 8 Sundays in the past year between the hours of 9 and 10 am). Granted, I've never tried the patio seating, so maybe THAT is the difference in experiences. Otherwise, I think it's a GREAT place for a breakfast and they are VERY accommodating to kids of all ages. From my experience, it's a multi-generational type of breakfast place.

                      1. re: tart1

                        I'm glad to my experience was a one-off as far as the crowd was concerned. For the record, I wasn't sitting on the patio (someone was smoking out there, so we declined to seat ourselves out there), but indoors, which made the boisterousness of the other patrons all the more disruptive. If the food were great, it might be worth a repeat visit, but I found it just average. St. Paul is a breakfast kind of town and there are many above average alternatives. If it were in my neighborhood, I'd probably go back and give it another chance, but it's not worth crossing town for. And, if I'm in that neighborhood, I'd rather go to Coffee News Cafe--where I've always had good food over the course of many repeat visits-- which is a few blocks away, on the other side of Snelling.

                        The plastic-y cheese was on the McMerriam sandwich, which was otherwise uninspired--nothing special about the English muffin (didn't appear to be house- or bakery-made), not even a particularly good slice of meat (I can't now remember whether it was ham or Canadian bacon), nothing special about the presentation (in fact, it was rather sad looking in the center of a big plate all by itself.) I had expected that perhaps the one way they might make an egg sandwich unique is to put a slice of good cheese on it, but, they went the other direction and put lousy cheese on it. (I'm kind of an egg sandwich fanatic--see this thread: My dining companion had pancakes and bacon and thought the pancakes were good.