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MSP - Golden Valley, MN

Well....since I'm no longer among the resident experts of Eagan, MN, I thought I'd open up a thread about chow in my new neck of the woods (career-wise...don't worry, I've still got Burnsville/Apple Valley/Lakeville covered). Golden Valley, MN and environs.

So far, it hasn't been all bad. It helps that the cafeteria foodservice in my building is actually pretty darned good.

I'm really going to enjoy the outpost of Uncle Franky's off Highway 55 just into Plymouth. It took me all of four days before I headed over and inhaled a Chicago beef. There really wasn't any mystery for me there.

www.unclefrankys.com

As mentioned in the Be'wiched thread, that's going to be a really great resource for lunches. At first glance Golden Valley is your typical sea of chains but the Warehouse District is a mere 4-5 miles from the heart of GV. If you hit the stoplights right, you can even dine in and be back within an allotted hour lunch break. I look forward to learning more about the lunch scene at some of the places along Washington Ave (Monte Carlo, Jager House, JD Hoyt's, and a few others I can't think of off-hand).

www.bewicheddeli.com

The talk of sable has me excited to be close to Fishman's (never thought I'd say that), but I completely forgot that it also means I'm close to Yum!, a very good lunch spot whose name I abhor. Their tuna melt is top-notch. I was a little disappointed by the carrot cake, though. I'll check back when I've worked my way further down through the menu.

Next up will probably be a trip to the D'Amico outpost just up 55 from the office (I've been to enough of the others and enjoy them).

I would encourage anyone in that neck of the woods to add thoughts to this thread and help me find stuff to eat. Otherwise, I'll just occasionally post a "State of the Valley" addition to it hoping someone finds it useful like my Eagan stuff.

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  1. Depending on where in GV you are, your neighborhood may be close to ours. (Golden Valley certainly covers a lot of ground!) We're in Robbinsdale, and there's actually some decent chow in our little town.

    First and foremost is Athen's Cafe at 41st and Broadway, in the same shopping center as Walgreen's and Bill's gun shop. Basic Mediterranian with huge portions and low prices. My personal favorite is the Kofta, but the lamb kabobs are quite good as well. The sandwiches are a bit too big for their own good - stick with the entrees, and you'll do very well. (They also have some options not on the menu. In addition to the spinach pie, there is often cheese pie and veggie pie. Just ask if they have any. They also have a spicy felafel - like the regular stuff, but stuffed with a mixture of hot peppers.)

    Also in Robbinsdale is Hackenmueller's Meats - they have a wide variety of sausages, and are also my source for lump charcoal and woods for smoking. My favorites are their brats - cook 'em up on a HOT grill or broil them for a real treat. Dara raved about their Yard sausage a few years ago as well - that thing is a sight to be seen!

    There's also St. Petersburg for Russian Food. On the weekends, they host a lot of parties for the local Russian community - that means there's entertainment! You haven't lived until you've heard the house band perform "Fields of Gold" with a Russian accent!

    Don't forget the other stuff in Plymouth too. If you're at Uncle Frankie's, you're a stone's throw from Tea House and Pineda Tacos

    -----
    Tea House Chinese Restaurant
    88 Nathan Ln N, Minneapolis, MN 55441

    Athens Cafe
    4080 W Broadway Ave Ste 141, Minneapolis, MN 55422

    St Petersburg Restaurant
    3610 France Ave N, Minneapolis, MN 55422

    Hackenmueller's Liquor
    11850 62nd St Ne, Albertville, MN

    2 Replies
    1. re: Danny

      Much appreciated. I'm actually almost in the dead center of GV according to my map. Near the Highway 55 and Highway 100 intersection.

      I should have mentioned Tea House -- definitely a favorite even dating back to the last time I worked in Golden Valley (only for a short time, then we moved downtown). That will be a staple.

      I look forward to checking the others out -- they're certainly in reach over the lunch hour.

      By the way Danny (and I'm crossing over from the Ribs & Tres Leche thread), have you ever stopped in El Amin's Fish House (or whatever the name is) at the same intersection of Broadway where the rib guy was? (Or has anyone been in there besides Danny?) It really looks intriguing. "One bite and you're hooked" according to the sign. It looks like a rundown version of Mac's Fish & Chips over in Roseville.

      1. re: MSPD

        If you're there, take 100 to the exit for 42nd, and you're pretty close to Athen's Cafe.

        You'll also pass Thistles, which I always want to love, but never seem to be able to. I've had some good meals, but there's always been *SOMETHING* wrong. But, it is as close as you'll get to fine dining, the room is lovely, and the prices are a fraction of what you'd pay for the same thing downtown.

        I haven't been to El Amin's, or anywhere else on that stretch of W. Broadway (except for that rib guy). I'd love to hear if any of those places are worth visiting.

        As for the pizzas mentioned in this thread - Joey Nova's and Italian Pie Shoppe are okay, but I'd drive to the Uptown Punch instead. You can either take 100, or if you want a very pretty drive (especially this time of year) take 55 to Theo Wirth Parkway, and drive through the park. A right turn at the traffic light by the Greenway will put you onto France Avenue - leading you to Lake Street only a couple of blocks from Punch. (Theo Wirth has some really nice picnic areas, when the weather is nice, that'll be a good place to lunch away from work.)

    2. Italian Pie Shoppe has an outpost in the New Hope Bowling Alley -just east of Winnetka on 42nd. I suppose you get plenty of that living in Eagan, but it's a good choice.

      1 Reply
      1. re: mnitchals

        Actually, I only worked in Eagan (live in Burnsville). Funny thing is, in the four years I was there, I never once went to that Italian Pie Shoppe location (although I was there prior to that and have done the others). Not because I don't like it, I just rarely did pizza alone (most of my lunch runs are solo).

        Thanks for the tip though -- I'll have to get over there at some point.

      2. Same strip mall area as Frankies, Joey Novas, great NYC style pizza/

        3 Replies
        1. re: stymie

          Stymie, I saw the place and have heard about it...do they sell by the slice?

          1. re: MSPD

            slice, or whole pie or delivery. I'm from north jersey and this is my favorite pizza here in MN.

          2. re: stymie

            I also work at the corner of 55 & 100 and can tell you that Joey Novas is a standby for many of the folks that go out to lunch here. It's not like DiFara (RIP) or Grimaldi's or Lombardi's or any of the pizza places I eat at in NYC, but people here like it.

            Also, I wouldn't write-off all of the "chains" in the neighborhood. I find we're pretty lucky to have a D'Amico within a few blocks of here, and Chipotle still makes a good taco.

          3. For good, basic mexican try Pineda Tacos - it is in the same strip mall as the Tea House. They have all the standards - tacos, burritos, quesdillas, tortas, etc. - and a nice variety of meats. Good, friendly, fast service and they are happy to make any of their items to order.

            Also, I really think that Latuff's (11255 Hwy 55) does a nice job with their pizza. Thin crust and, unlike just about every other place in town, I don't have to ask them to cook it well done - it comes nicely browned and crispy.

            1. Useless to resist. Despite dutifully packing a lunch today, I cruised over to Joey Nova's for a slice (sorry Lean Pocket and soup...you'll be tomorrow's lunch).

              The good, the bad and the ugly:

              Good: Pepperoni by the slice. Outstanding! The slice was enormous -- a good foot from crust to tip and 9" wide. It really bothers me that 99.9% of by-the-slice offerings around town have a distinct "cooked this morning and reheated" quality. I've had a hard time finding offerings better than Cosetta's in this category (which come out fresh because of their volume/turnover). It may have been luck in timing, but this one was clearly fresh off the pie out of the oven.

              I didn't find the amount of cheese overwhelming, as has been mentioned by others on this board. It certainly is a different style of pizza than your Grimaldi's NYC style -- instead of patches of fresh mozzarella, it's a covered-in-shredded variety. I can see if you're expecting to visually see sauce between the patches of cheese why you'd say there's too much cheese. But it's just a different style in my view.

              The balance of ingredients was good, they all tasted like good quality and the crust was thick and chewy but not so much that it was hard to eat. For a slice that big, it's IMPERATIVE that you are able to fold it in half -- this one held together perfectly when folded unlike Fat Lorenzo's and other "top" by-the-slice competitors around MSP which tear in half when you fold them. Further proof of the freshness. Crust was done to perfection.

              Bad: Well...not really bad, but I don't like that they call it "Neapolitan". It's not at all reminiscent of, or prepared like neapolitan pizza. More accurately, they have "based on a 60 year-old Connecticut recipe" under the neapolitan nonsense -- I wish they would just say it's Connecticut style (although maybe not enough people would know what that is or would be expecting white pizza with clams or something). They offer an outstanding pizza, why open it up to criticism by labeling it neapolitan and accepting the tight preparation and ingredient controls that comes along with the breed?

              Ugly: The pre-made cannoli in the case were a complete mistake. Frankly, they didn't even have much visual appeal other than their size. But I'm a total sucker for cannoli. Unfortunately, they are just flat out wrong. Awful filling, totally soggy shell, gloppy and chewy chocolate coating on the end and stale pistachios. All and all a total and utter failure. Credit to the other cakes, etc. that actually looked much, much better.

              I'll definitely be back for pizza and to try some of the nice looking subs they were sending out of the kitchen. In the grand scheme of MSP chewy crust, "NY Style-ish" pizzas, they rank at or among the top in my mind.

              www.joeynovas.com

              6 Replies
              1. re: MSPD

                Joey Nova's is now a mini-chain since the first one was opened in Tonka Bay. I've gone through every specialty pizza they have to offer plus I compared Joey Nova's to Cafe Bicko's flagship pizza (45th and France) ingredient for ingredient and Cafe Bicko blows Joey Nova's away in my opinion. Now that they are relatively close you can compare for yourself. Hey, but that's my opinion. Joey Nova's essentially replaced the for Mike's Pizza Platter in the shopping center on Smithtown Rd and Manitou Rd (County Rd 19). I miss Mike's Pizza Platter.

                1. re: Davydd

                  crystal bistro afghani in crystal
                  el loro in crystal
                  schuller's tavern by the GVCC
                  Taste of India @ 394 & 100
                  Yangtze @ 394 & 100
                  Ju Yuan on Winnetka (BBQ boneless sparerib/ shrimpfriedrice combo is our standby guilty pleasure quasi-ethnic soulfoud dish)
                  Fat Nat's Eggs @ Winnetka & 36th...good diner
                  Joey's Seafood @ 55&Winnetka

                  1. re: g rote

                    Q, what is schuller's like? Full bar? If they serve food how is it and what is good? Thanks

                    1. re: stymie

                      Schullers has a full bar, pretty typical tavern food, and an up-North kind of feel. I haven't been in ~ a year, and I'm hearing that the new ownership is running some middle eastern type specials off the menu. Maybe I'll check it out when I play hookey next week.

                  2. re: Davydd

                    A comparison might be a challenge since Cafe Bicko closed (will be a Chatterbox Pub location shortly).

                    1. re: MSPD

                      Hmm, didn't know that. Too bad. It was kind of a strange place in that it was primarily a pizza joint with super pizza, but you would have never known that unless you actually stepped inside the place.

                      My three favorite pizza joints, Mike's Pizza Platter in Tonka Bay, Cafe Bicko and Chuck Martin's Pizza in Speedway, IN all closed because the owner's apparently were not very good businessmen. Chuck Martin's was 45 years ago, BTW. I worked there when in high school and was amazed how much care he put into preparing his sauce, dough, sausage and other ingredients from scratch all day long for a 5 PM opening every day.