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Dining up and down University Avenue

  • r

With the street all torn up for light rail construction all the way from the capitol in St. Paul into Minneapolis, DH and I resolved to support the local businesses by dining at a University Avenue establishment at least once a week, and taking friends along with us for a bigger impact.

What are your favorite places along University Avenue, and are there any tricks to getting through the construction to get to them?

I'll start by mentioning Caffe Biaggio, whose front door is closed off by chain link fencing, as apparently most businesses will be eventually (or at least access will be severely limited). Best way to get to Biaggio is to get on Raymond Avenue north of University, head south on Raymond until you cross University, turn left at the first opportunity after you're across University, go the end of the building, then turn left again and you're in Biaggio's parking lot with their side door at the far end of the building.

Anyone else want to take the pledge?

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Caffe Biaggio
2356 University Ave W, Saint Paul, MN 55114

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  1. Count me in. Cheng Heng and Saigon will be my lunch stops every week. This construction is going to kill many business. Cheng Heng Chicken Soup works on my wife's colds, and it is very good, so lets keep it open.

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    Cheng Heng Restaurant
    448 University Ave W, Saint Paul, MN 55103

    6 Replies
    1. re: ibew292

      Love Cheng Heng, though DH doesn't. Is Saigon the same restaurant that was in Bandana Square for many years?

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      Cheng Heng Restaurant
      448 University Ave W, Saint Paul, MN 55103

        1. re: Rowdy

          You're very close! The restaurant that was in Bandana Square for years was "Saigon City". I haven't been inside Bandana for years so I'm not sure whether they're still there--somehow I doubt it.

        2. re: ibew292

          We used to be huge Cheng Heng fans, but the last time we went the food was completely different. We ordered the same things we always do and they barely resembled what we used to get and we didn't like it as much. We haven't been back.

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          Cheng Heng Restaurant
          448 University Ave W, Saint Paul, MN 55103

          1. re: sarahcooks

            The owners go back to Cambodia every so often and while they are gone the food is different. Last week it was as good as ever. Support the Avenue where ever it is you go. Times are going to get tougher for business on University.

            1. re: ibew292

              Oh wow, good to know! We were so sad that one of our favorite restaurants had changed so much! We'll definitely give it another try, I've really missed it!

        3. on a related topic.. porky's made the right decision. rather than let the construction kill them they just shut down.

          1. I generally do so anyway, as I work near there. Insofar as the whole purpose of LTR, in the grand scheme of things, is to yield yet another Crave location in a mixed-condo type deal, it seems futile to resist progress.

            On the other hand, I will be eating at Hoa Bien, Ngon, Bangkok Thai Deli, Big Daddy's, Black Sea. Sole Cafe and Asian Deli with some frequency, and will do my best to report on the remainder.

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            Black Sea Restaurant
            737 Snelling Ave N, Saint Paul, MN 55104

            Asian Deli
            388 Western Ave N, St Paul, MN 55103

            1. Just had dinner at Mai Village (I know, but it's a family favorite). I would be more than happy to rotate among any of the following (alphabetical): Cheng Heng, Hickory Hut (not the best 'que in St. Paul but great Art Song's wings and a pretty decent deal), Hoa Bien, and Ngon.

              I would add On's to the list, but I haven't been there yet.

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              Cheng Heng Restaurant
              448 University Ave W, Saint Paul, MN 55103

              Mai Village
              394 University Ave W, Saint Paul, MN 55103

              The Hickory Hut
              647 University Ave W, Saint Paul, MN 55104

              1. I usually alternate weekly between Little Szechuan, Trieu Chau and Saigon. Great idea btw.

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                Little Szechuan - West End
                5377 16th Street, St. Louis Park, MN 55416

                Trieu Chau Restaurant
                500 University Ave W, Saint Paul, MN 55103

                2 Replies
                1. re: Fudist

                  Please tell us more about Trieu Chau. I see it's been mentioned in a couple of threads, but I haven't been there and don't know much about it.

                  Thanks for liking the idea.

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                  Trieu Chau Restaurant
                  500 University Ave W, Saint Paul, MN 55103

                  1. re: Rowdy

                    I stopped in a couple of weeks ago and had a good bowl of pho that I thought was comparable to Quang and Saigon. Super-nice people there.