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May 22, 2009 03:25 PM

Local/Regional Flavor - MSP

I need some suggestions. If you were going to host a group of 30-50 people from all over the country and wanted to host a meal at some restaurant in either St. Paul or Mpls that was reasonably priced and paid for by attendees for "per diem" meal budgets for a typical conference (I'm guessing in the $25-35 range w/o drinks), where would you suggest if you wanted to show them some Minnesota/Regional flavor? If you list some that are higher in cost, please include the higher estimates.

Also welcome are suggestions where conference per diem allotments would cover a meal, but there are only a few things on the menu that could be suggested to attendees as truly regional, and list the items you'd order.

Thanks in advance for any input.

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  1. Perhaps not what would come to mind for you right away, but I'd suggest Ngon Bistro. They say on their website that the dining room can be reserved for private parties. I imagine they would be willing to do a per diem thing if you asked. I don't know if 30-50 people is big enough for them. Ngon uses local sourcing right down to the wine and beer list and definitely captures the whole Southeast Asian flavor... I love all of their appetizers, especially the duck confit, and their cheesecake desserts. The main dishes are all great, too, and there's a huge variety of affordable ones.


    2 Replies
    1. re: The Dairy Queen

      For me, Ngon works wonders! However, this is for a bunch of people from different parts of the country - and there is a desire to promote cuisine from Minnesota - think wild rice soup, (good) walley, and since it's the middle of September, maybe some local squash ravioli?...Any "LOCAL" sourcing place that comes to mind for anyone that can produce for a crowd or 30-50??? (I originally suggest the State Fair, but that is not an option.)

      1. re: tart1

        Again I'm going to offer up Ngon Bistro.

        They use organic Peace Coffee, Thousand Hills Cattle Co beef, Grass Run Farms and Fischer Farms pork, produce from the St. Paul Farmers Market (that is, grown within 75 miles of St. Paul) and an entirely Minnesota beer list. Except for dairy, it doesn't get more Minnesotan than that. I've never tried it, but their menu also lists rabbit, elk, and pheasant.

        Walleye served in Minnesota restaurants is almost always from Canada.


    2. On the low side, I think Erte would fit the bill.

      On the higher end, Mission American Kitchen has great food and lots of experience with just this sort of event.

      1. heartland is most obvious, excellent, and might be just a titch on the high end of your price range

        lucia's is fantastic, should be right on the money (walleye on dinner menu right now-- but note that menu changes weekly)

        craftsman might be a good bet, great food, but i'd definitely check in advance, sometimes has a couple service issues

        i think ngon is a great pick, actually. check out the menu online before totally dismissing the place. i love the local beer list there.

        alma-- again on the high end of the price range, but i can't possibly leave it off the list, i heart alma.

        1 Reply
        1. re: soupkitten

          Heartland's nightly 3 course "flora" meal is $30, the "fauna" is $40. I've seen groups there, and I can't imagine that they couldn't work something out if you promised to bring in 30-50 people on an otherwise slow weeknight.

          Levain could do it, and Signature Cafe could probably work something as well.

          1. I would add Cafe Levain to that-- very reasonable pricing and locally sourced. Also, Corner Table is a local sourcer, but slightly higher priced than Levain. I would contact both places to see what they would do for a group of your size, since both places are smallish.

            Corner Table
            4257 Nicollet Ave, Minneapolis, MN 55409

            Cafe Levain
            4762 Chicago Ave, Minneapolis, MN 55407