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Nov 30, 2007 03:48 PM

MSP - something different for lunch?

Located in South St Paul/Newport area. We really appreciate Tinnucci's for lunch but we're looking for something different within a 8 mile radius or less.

We wish to avoid the chain restaurants, sports bars, burgers, etc. A couple of different places we've been to include Khoury's and El Burrito Mercado (pushing the envelope for time). Any other suggestions for good, fast, different, and relatively cheap in the area?

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  1. ribena, South Robert Street is worth a look. Pineda Tacos and Beirut come to mind right off the bat. There are also a couple hole-in-the-wall Mexican joints as you get a little farther north. Stop in Granny Donuts for an apple fritter -- they are the best in MSP in my book and the shop is one of the last of a dying breed (independent, old-school donut shops). Owners are very, very nice. There's also JT's Hamburgers if you like slider-style burgers.

    About four miles west on Highway 110 from Robert St/494 is E's Cheese and Sage Market and Wine Bar (110 and Dodd). E's has some very good panini sandwiches highlighting their cheese and you can nosh on cheese samples as well as some excellent truffles they have shipped in from a place in NY (I'm at home...I don't have my card with the names..I keep that at the office). Sage Market is a mini Kowalski's and they have a good variety of lunch stuff to go. Soups, hot entrees, etc. The wine bar, if you want to sit down, is open at lunchtime.

    If you take a left on Dodd and go up over the hill, there's a coffee shop on the left in what looks like an old auto repair garage building. Again, I can't recall the name off-hand (this is why I collect restaurant receipts/business cards/etc.), but they have good coffee, soups, etc. I have no idea why anyone would place a business there -- I was just randomly driving around looking at houses and happened upon it. Lucky me.

    Old World Pizza at Highway 52 and Upper 55th St (actually Blaine and Upper 55th) has a pizza lunch buffet which is fine but their Top of the Line pizza (not on the buffet when I've been there) is very good. And monstrous. Only if you like thin crust, cut-into-squares style though...if that's your style it's right up there with Brianno's (west Eagan) as the best in MSP.

    That's all I can think of right now. Since I don't work in Eagan any more that part of town is already starting to get a bit fuzzy. Hope that helps.

    5 Replies
    1. re: MSPD


      I’ve driven by that little place on Dodd, the one that looks like an old garage, and wondered the same thing as you... “What the heck is that doing here???” I’ve always been on my way somewhere else and haven’t had a chance to check it out. I’m glad to hear you like it. I’ll have to try to get over there some time.....

      Also, I had a kind of disappointing sandwich at Sage when they first opened, (very, very bland, as I recall..), but it did seem as if the place had potential. Thanks for reminding me about it.... I’ll give it another try soon.

      Uncle Ira

      1. re: Uncle Ira

        That's the Fischerville Coffee Shop, in what used to be an old filling station. I was out that way shortly after they opened a couple of years ago, and stopped by. I remember decent coffee and panini, and very pleasant people. I also vaguely remember reading some articles on the wall about the intersection and the shop. I think the area at one time was known as Fischerville, and the building was a combination filling station/small grocery run by the Fischer family.

        1. re: clepro

          Thank you both for confirming my history there hasn't been an odd recurring dream. Yes, Fischerville Coffee Shop...and I agree the people/vibe were very nice.

          How about another trivia item -- there's the butcher shop on the east side of South Robert Street that serves some good roast beef sandwiches. Kind of a neighborhood secret that got revealed in the Pioneer Press, Strib or CityPages a few years ago. I can't seem to locate a card -- anyone? That's a worthwhile lunch outing.

          And as long as I'm throwing out recommendations without names, at 935 S Robert, in the old house where Tamalandia used to be, there is another authentic Mexican place that does excellent huaraches. Again, no clue on the name. It's on the west side of South Robert. Very friendly people as well.

          1. re: MSPD

            That's our wonderful, local Mike's Butcher Shop, very near the Bernard and Robert intersection, in the 1100 block. I bet you're thinking about the blurb a few years back in the Mpls St. Paul magazine. The 935 S. restaurant is Asi Es. And, while we're roaming around Robert St., try El Taquito, which is another little family run Mexican restaurant in the 1400 block, east side of the street...I've always enjoyed it. Nothing outstanding, just fresh, simple food with lots of chopped onions and cilantro, similar to what my ESL students have prepared for me in their homes. The woman who usually runs the front counter does not speak much English, but she is very patient with we (us?) monolingualists.

            1. re: clepro

              Yes, yes and oh yeah...El Taquito too. Thanks for picking up the slack for me (and then some).