Lunches in St Paul
I teach at two schools right now, and I have to trek from downtown St. Paul to Maplewood each day. It's a pain, but it's the first time I've ever been able to eat out at lunch. I've been bringing sandwiches, but I thought for these last few weeks I'm going to treat myself and try some new places. I had a really nice half sandwich with roast beef and goat cheese at the Black Dog Cafe the other day, and yesterday I had my first experience with Tanpopo. I was surprised at how wonderful and simple it was. I tried Chris and Rob's (not so hot). My first school is right next to the Day by Day and my second school is off of White Bear (so I conveniently pass the Tea House every day!). Any suggestions of places to hit? I have about an hour to eat and to get from one side of town to the other.
Yarusso's on Payne Avenue serves really really good Italian fare - family-owned - reasonable prices - go for the dago. Here are their lunch specials - don't you just love the "no substitutions in cap letters???
11:00 - 4:30 - NO SUBSTITUTIONS
#1-Dago & French Fries $7.50
#2-Dago & Spaghetti $7.50
#3-Dago & Cheese Stixs or Garlic Cheese Toast $7.50
#4-Dago & Soup or Salad $7.00
#5-Spaghetti, Soup or Salad $7.50
#6-Spaghetti, ¼ Chicken $7.50
#7-Spaghetti, Cheese Stixs or Garlic Cheese Toast $7.50
#8-¼ Chicken, Soup or Salad $7.00
#9-Two Meatballs & your choice of Fries, Cheese Stixs, Soup, Salad or Garlic Cheese Toast $7.00
#10-Luncheon Size Lasagna $7.50
Hmm, so you need to get your food and eat it pretty fast. Here's what comes to mind:
Hot City Pizza has a pretty nice meatball hoagie, if that's your kind of thing. It includes nice salty pickled veggies that really compliment the meatballs and sauce. If you call ahead, it will probably be ready when you get there, then you can eat and hop on 35E.
Another place you could try is the Swede Hollow Cafe - although I would call their lunch fare (soups, sandwiches, etc.) "good, not great," their baked goods ARE pretty great, and when the weather's nice you can enjoy your break on their nice patio. Then zip onto 94 or 35E.
Buon Giorno Express at University and 35E has pretty good sandwiches too - I particularly enjoy the Italian Combo. And it's conveniently located for your commute.
You could also probably hit Saigon at University and Dale for banh mi, pho, or a salad - their service is consistently lightning fast, and the chow is cheap and divine. If it's crowded and no tables are available, you can just get take-out. Bonus: If you stick to a banh mi, you'll probably spend less eating out at Saigon than you will if you bring your own lunch!
Swede Hollow Cafe
725 7th St E, Saint Paul, MN 55106
Buon Giorno Express
335 University Ave E, Saint Paul, MN 55130
Hot City Pizza - duplicate
1017 7th St, W St Paul, MN
Saigon Restaurant & Bakery - duplicate
601 University Ave, W St Paul, MN
Update, just had a meatball hoagie at Hot City last night and found it too salty for my liking. Maybe it was just me (I am pregnant and did eat a lot of salt before getting to Hot City yesteday), or maybe I hit them on an off day. I hope so. Anyway, just wanted to warn those less salt-loving that they might not like it!
For a classic old St. Paul experience, I recommend indulging in the all-you-can-eat lunch "buffet" (not really, as the dishes are brought around to your table one by one) at Leo's Chow Mein in Dayton's Bluff. You'll see a slice of working class St. Paul, and the food is pretty good in that greasy spoon low-budget Chinese food kind of way. I believe it'll run you 5 bucks, including a drink.... Leo's is at the corner of Earl and Hudson, right by the Mounds Theater.
Leo's Chow Mein
1059 Hudson Rd, St Paul, MN