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Sep 7, 2007 02:27 PM

MSP: Sourcing fine food and drink

I am new to this board and have been trying to check out as many threads as possible, but I wanted to start one and it may redundant with previous postings. I have a toddler at home so fine dining is a far rarer privilege these days for me and as a result I cook more. I like the good stuff and I feel like I know where to source most anything I need, but I want to know if I am missing anything out there in the TC. I thought I would start by listing what I know and hopefully people can fill in the gaps or give me alternatives.

Hook me up:

Meats: Clancey's in Linden Hills- They may not always have what you are looking for, but if you can't put together a good meal out of their butcher case you got no skillz!

Subset Sausage: Kramurzyk or Clancey's

Seafood: Coastal- Do they really have any competition?

Produce: Co-op (mine is Linden Hills), Kowalski's (I have refused to contribute to the stroller hell that is the Mpls Farmer's market)

Italian Deli: Broder's Deli (they even now carry Salumi products from Seattle)

Cheese: Premier Cheese Market, or Surdyk's (okay I'll admit that I buy cheese at Costco too, but I need a 3 lb wedge of St. Andre like I need a hole in the head)

Asian Grocery: United Noodles, there also a couple I can't name on Eat Street

Middle Eastern/Mediterranean Grocery- Bill's Imported foods or Holy Land

Scandinavian Grocery: Ingebretsen's

Latin grocery: Midtown Global Market (I think I have a serious gap in this department)

Bakery: Rustica, Turtle Bread or Franklin Street

Spices: Penzey's

Beverage: South Lyndale serves most of my needs, but occasionally France 44 or Surdyks

What am I missing? or do I have this town wired?

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  1. Well, personally, I prefer shopping and dining in my neighborhood, especially if I can walk or even cycle (it's good for the earth, it's good for the community. You can get some wonderful chow and make friends with your neighbors). I like frequenting neighborhood merchants, co-ops, and farmers' markets. In fact, the way I see it, farmers' markets are what's most glaringly absent from your list as a source of produce, certainly, but also of cheeses and meats and such. I see that you're not a fan of the Minneapolis Farmers' Market, but there are other farmers' markets, including Mill City and St. Paul that might meet your needs (here's a recent thread with some great links by foureyes and Mpls Mary


    I think the answer can be dependent on how far you're willing to travel and where you live.

    St. Paul-centric perspective:

    ~St. Paul Farmers' Market, downtown (produce, cheese, various meats).
    ~Widmer's (St. Clair) is a great old-fashioned butcher.
    ~Coastal Seafoods (Snelling) for, yes, seafood.
    ~Buon Giorno (in Lilydale) is a fantastic Italian deli (with adjoining wine shop) and Cossetta's (W. 7th) is good, (cheese, deli meats, breads, pantry staples...).
    ~International Hmong Market (near the Capitol) for Asian-produce/farmers' market
    ~Dragon Star Market (Southeast Asian).
    ~Kims Oriental Foods and gifts, Snelling (Korean).
    ~Trung Nam Bakery, University Ave (for Vietnamese-style baguettes).
    ~El Burrito Mercado (Mexican).
    ~Haskell's (Ford Parkway) or Wine Thief (St. Clair) or Solo Vino (Selby) for wine.
    ~Bakery--I haven't found one I love in St. Paul--Cossetta's has pretty good breads. Also, there's Great Harvest Bakery (Selby,) Caffe Latte (Grand Ave), or Breadsmith (various locations, including Snelling).
    ~Golden Fig, Grand Ave (misc Midwestern-raised products, such as hand-crafted marshmallows).
    ~Kiev Foods (West 7th) Russian Deli (maybe more for the experience than the chow).
    ~University of MN (St. Paul campus, very limited days and hours) for dairy products (fresh cheese curds!) and meats.
    ~Mississippi Market, (Selby or Randolph) for co-op.
    ~Nelson's Cheese & Deli (Snelling)--very small selection of cheese and such in their deli case, but I like to have a peek when I'm in the neighborhood.

    When I'm on the other side of the great river: Kramarczuk's, Caspian Bistro's market (Persian, Turkish, etc.), Surdyk's, Ingebretsen's (or Cafe Finspang, their much-scaled down outpost in Midtown Global Market), Mercado Central (Mexican bakery, butcher, fresh corn tortillas, etc.), Mill City Farmers' Market (everything!).

    RE: spices. I like getting them fresh at the farmers' markets this time of year...

    There is so much I'm sure I forgot...but, these are some of my favorites.


    12 Replies
    1. re: The Dairy Queen

      The midtown farmers market (I'm just heading out the door there now) is a place where you can take strollers without it causing hell. And they have a lot of local produce there - in fact, I think it's all local produce. Plus, Brett and Mary sell wonderful homemade breads there, and you can get delicious crepes made on the spot from market ingredients. 22nd and Lake Streeet, in the parking lot of the school. Parking is much, much easier than the downtown one. Thursdays from 4-8 and Saturdays until 1.

      1. re: The Dairy Queen

        Great list TDQ, I love all those places.

        1. re: The Dairy Queen


          What's this about dairy and meats on the St. Paul campus of the U of M? I live on the lap of the campus and must have beans growing in my ears for not hearing of this! Do tell more!

          1. re: cayjohan

            Refer to the posts in this thread (starting with Chris Mitra) about the "secret" dairy shop on the UofM campus. There is an equally "secret" meat shop there...



              1. re: The Dairy Queen

                The "secret" dairy makes some of the best havarti I have ever had. If you know anyone that works at the U, definitely exploit this resource!

                1. re: Foureyes137

                  The Dairy Food Products Salesroom is open to the public on Wednesdays from 3 to 5 p.m. It’s located in Room 166 of the Andrew Boss Lab of Meat Science, 1354 Eckles Ave., on the St. Paul campus. Also the meat lab/sales is in the basement and open the same hours.

                  1. re: ibew292

                    Ibew, I've checked this out after TDQ's post and am very intigued. Great prices for some things, and it gives a whole new meaning to "local" since it's a few blocks away! Have you purchased any meat there? Reports? These are meats with some oversight, correct?

                    4eyes' review of the havarti at the U has me planning my Wednesdays. Thanks to those of you in the know!

                    1. re: cayjohan

                      Sorry it took so long but I was out of town. Great bacon, good chicken' eggs, and lamb. Seems like some of there items are a great deal and as a bonus taste good also. I didn't think the Havarti I had was that good but could have been a off week. At the prices for the cheese you can't go wrong even if some are not great.

            1. re: The Dairy Queen

              Fun fact. According to the guy behind the counter, Widmer's uses the same supplier as Lunds, but charges a LOT less.

              1. re: Terrieltr

                But are the cuts the same? I've compared the two, Lunds v Widmers, and there's a noticeable difference.

              2. re: The Dairy Queen

                Granted Widmer’s has the look and feel of an old time butcher, however, I find their meat sub-par. I live a few blocks away and have tried and tried to like their steaks – I just can’t get there. I’ve tried every cut from the tenderloin to the ribeye.

                In the neighborhood, I’d rank meat in this order: Lunds, Von Hansen’s, Whole Foods, then Widmer’s.

                I wish I liked Widmer’s, it would save me a trip to the Village when grilling…

              3. I won't totally bash Coastal Seafoods, but I will say this: they are definitely NOT 'always' the place to go. Some days they are. But remember that being this far inland can sometimes make seafood buying a real crapshoot, and Coastal's quality sometimes screams "we know we don't have competition!"

                All I'm saying is, keep your options wide open when it comes to seafood and don't give Coastal *that* much credit. Yes: sometimes they *are* the only joint in town selling littlenecks or decent char on a given day. But I've had some really pleasant surprises from the fish departments at Whole Foods, The Wedge, Byerly's and Lund's. Don't completely disregard them because they're grocery stores....sometimes their seafood kicks the crap out of Coastal. Just sayin'.

                1 Reply
                1. re: Mellu

                  I'm about 85% sure that Costal supplies Lund's/Byerly's with their fresh seafood.

                2. Between GastronautMN's list and TDQ's list, I think most of the best is covered.

                  I live in the SE Mpls area, so my main places are Seward Co-op, Caspian Bistro, Midtown Global Market, United Noodles, Coastal Seafood, and Holy Land.

                  It's a pain to schlep across town for specialty goods, but the trek is definitely worth it for Clancey's and Solo Vino (best selection of rose' in the state!).


                  P.S. In case of future searches, it's the sausage place is Kramarczuk. They have lots more than just meats and sausage. (Like Russian candy, German mustard, fresh horseradish, kolaches, and cream puffs.)


                  1. I've had good luck with the seafood at the Wedge, it is expensive but it is always really fresh.

                    1. I found a cool new joint to add to my list.

                      Marcel's Coffee and Gourmet distribution. They are a supplier for coffee shops that have recently opened to the public and they have a really nice space. In house coffee roaster, 5000 square foot bakery specializing in biscotti, specialty sodas and every conceivable syrup for coffees. It's in a little industrial park in Bloomington, 8301 Grand Ave S.