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One brunch/lunch in Minneapolis

I'm stumped on this one. Friends of my grandmothers are coming into town over Labor Day weekend for a wedding and I offered them a tour of the city and brunch or lunch. They're in their late 70s/early 80s but quite adventurous and travel frequently. They're midwest natives but now live in Florida. What would be an impressive, but not extravagant spot that's accessible and comfortable? I would hate to have them wait in line for a table at a place like Hell's Kitchen. I have also really enjoyed Zumbro Cafe in Linden Hills but I know they also frequently have a long wait. Minneapolis is preferred since they're staying downtown and we won't want to deal with fair/construction traffic on 94.

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  1. I haven't tried it myself, but I've heard people (including, I think, Dara) rave wildly about the brunch at 20.21 in the Walker.

    2 Replies
    1. re: mcgeary

      Oh, they would absolutely love that. For some reason I recall that the brunch buffet is a little over the top. Anyone know?

      Edited to add: looks like the do buffet brunch on Sunday and I think Saturday is better for this couple. The lunch menu looks good but quite pricey. Other ideas are welcome!

      1. re: katebauer

        Check out Jay's Cafe on Raymond and University, just over the Mpls border about two blocks east of 280. Check out the menu at
        http://www.jays-cafe.com/home .
        Great food, local sourcers (one Sunday, we were actually eating our breakfast when we saw one of the cooks/owners arrive with bags of fresh veggies from the St. Paul's Farmer's market), nice atmosphere - meaning nothing kitschy or cute or pushy or whatever - pretty laid back overall, but very nice regarding attitudes and food quality. Not big, but you could call ahead to reserve a space I imagine - but don't quote me on that because the group I breakfast with on Sundays shows up about 8:30 am so we almost never, ever have problems with seating.

    2. I know you wanted to stay iN Mpls, but what about The Lexington in St. Paul? The atmospshere woudl be perfect for them...

      www.the-lexington.com

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      The Lexington
      1096 Grand Avenue, St. Paul, MN 55105

      5 Replies
      1. re: tastebudtart

        I'm trying to figure out how to say this without being snarky . . . The Lex is okay for what it is, but I hope that if and when I'm in my late 70s/early 80s and still an adventurous eater, people don't try to take me to places they think are good for old people. <grin>

        Less stuffy options with great food in Minneapolis: Spoonriver, Barbette, Lucia's . . .

        1. re: mcgeary

          Lucia's! That's absolutely perfect and I believe you can get a reservation there plus they have dedicated parking.

          1. re: katebauer

            You know, I just remembered that you can make reservations at Hell's Kitchen, too, so if you think they'd get a kick out of it that might be the way to go. There's also that big surface lot across the street, if you don't mind paying for parking.

        2. re: tastebudtart

          no! sorry, but no, no no! the lexington's offerings are similar to old country buffet's offerings, in my experience, the only difference is you can drink a cocktail instead of bad coffee. . . even my kid brother, not a chowhound, could only describe his main as "well. . . very. . . chewable. . ."

          1. re: soupkitten

            Never had brunch at the Lex - but have had some fun dinners at the bar - and some excellent meals of comfort style food - which for me includes steaks & shrimp cocktails.

        3. Follow-up: If you do go to the Lexington, you woudl be able to drive down Summit Ave., etc.

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          The Lexington
          1096 Grand Avenue, St. Paul, MN 55105

          1. They might enjoy The Local. It's downtown, accessible, affordable, comfortable, and (I thought) fairly impressive. I've only been there once, but I really enjoyed the corned beef hash. If the weather is pleasant, the outdoor seating makes for real good people watching too.

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            The Local
            931 Nicollet Mall, Minneapolis, MN 55402

            1. Jax Cafe in NE Minneapolis? It's not exactly adventurous, but they do a very nice weekend buffet brunch in a slightly formal atmosphere for a reasonable price.

              1 Reply
              1. re: Jordan

                I have to second Jax! Not adventurous, but good food in a nice atmosphere.

              2. How about the Nicollet Island Inn? I know the food has been a bit spotty in the past, but the last couple times I've been there it is quite good. I know you could get reservations, and it is a beautiful part of town to show people around. (I mean, of course, the actual historical part around St. Anthony Main, not the bridge collapse area.)

                Also, maybe not for this group, but we went to the Sample Room last Sunday for brunch, and it was really nice. Excellent french toast with bananas foster sauce.