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MSP: Conventioneers on a Budget

I'm trying to line up a hearty slate of Minneapolis-St. Paul restaurants that GOP conventioneers should make sure to check out while they're in town, with an eye toward volunteers and junior staffers, not the fat cats who will probably book Manny's solid for the duration of the meeting.

Any suggestions...? Places that show off local color, are convenient to the Xcel Energy Center, can handle large groups, serve tasty booze, and/or dip into any of the various ethnic scenes are particularly good...

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    1. I went digging around to see what's out there for conventioneers and boy will you be doing them a great service. The web page that supposedly has information on dining is a mess. http://www.mspmag.com/msp2008/index.html which is all about bars, not restaurants.

      Send em down Grand Avenue for dessert after they've had their fill of Vietnamese food on University. Kind of a good little loop. My taste runs to these establishments specifically: I like Mai Village though I know it doesn't appeal to everyone; Cafe Latte (though I know they'll be swamped during the convention), has the chocolate-y desserts I crave.

      1. Downtown: Gopher Bar for Chili Dogs and more local color than you can shake a hockey stick at, Cossetta's, El Burrito Mercado, Tanpopo, Sakura,

        Down 7th to the west: Day by Day Cafe, Chicago Taste Authority, Famous Dave's

        University: Hoa Bien, Little Szechuan, Mai Village, Saigon Bakery for Bahn Mi (feed an army for $100)

        Grand: Dixies, Billy's on Grand and The Wild Onion

        Selby Dale: Sweeny's has local color and 25-yr olds love the place.

        1. I'm guessing anyting around Xcel will be crowded beyond belief. So unless it's at an off time, Cossetta's. Great Waters, McGovern's, Matty B's, will all be difficult for keeping your group together. But you can always try.

          Your better bet is to head west on University Avenue to take in the Asian places. Mai Village, for example, while maybe not having the best food on the avenue, has pretty good food and an incredible amount of room.

          Thinking beyond Xcel and St. Paul... where are the people you have in mind staying? Are they local? Are they all in the same hotel? You may want to find a place around the hotel instead of around Xcel. Just a thought.

          1. Christo's - Greek - at the Downtown Depot is walking distance from Excel but opposite direction of most of the craziness. Check out restaurants on Selby in addtion to Grand.

            Joseph's Grill - a short walk on Wabasha across the river - has basic bar food - good burgers, comfort food. They also have a decidedly Mexican bent on several dishes - which in my opinion are their best. Huevos Rancheros or Chorizo and eggs for breakfast. Fajitas - large enough for 2 or maybe even 3 to share - at $10.95 - with homemade tortillas and FABULOUS home made salsa.