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Deli recommendations?

I have a friend visiting from New York this weekend and he's fully aware we won't have the same style delis he's used to but wanted to try out one of our best. I looked through the archives and it seems Mort's isn't the best and Be'wiched was hit and miss. I've been to Cecil's enough and really want to try some place new and delicious. Please...any help?

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  1. Kramarczuk's. More uniquely "us," and your friend may not have a reference point for comparison (such as he would with a place like Mort's or Cecil's).

    1. Not exactly a deli (even though it calls itself one), but how about Cheeky Monkey Deli? Also Buon Giorno in Lilydale. Surdyk's?


      Cheeky Monkey Deli
      525 Selby Ave, St Paul, MN 55102

      5 Replies
      1. re: The Dairy Queen

        i don't think there is anywhere to sit and eat at Surdyk's is there? Maybe i assumed that's what the poster is looking for. Also, since it's a liquor store they are closed on Sunday.

        1. re: Bobannon

          Correct, no place to sit at Surdyk's.


        2. re: The Dairy Queen

          "Not exactly a deli." I think a lot of places that use deli in their name play loose and fast with the "rules." I certainly don't consider a place like Buon Giorno, who sells more pasta bar and pizzas than sandwiches, a deli.

          Was more thinking of someplace an out-of-towner might appreciate.

          1. re: Brad Ballinger

            Yeah, you're probably right. I still think Surdyk's and Cheeky Monkey give you a sense of their respective cities, if that's something an out of towner is curious about, especially since the OP has conceded that delis are different here.


            1. re: The Dairy Queen

              I'd third the Cheeky Monkey and Surdyk's recs as examples of high quality and innovative sandwiches in the Twin Cities. I'd also second the Kramarczuk's recommendation for something that's different, and in a way highlights a significant heritage of the Twin Cities. Buon Giorno is one of my go-to places for sandwiches, but I wouldn't say there's anything special there.

        3. There are no great Jewish delis in the Twin Cities. There are a handful of places that do decent jobs with a small number of deli standards, like matzoh ball soup or pastrami on rye.

          I would second the vote for Kramarczuk's, which is an Eastern European (but not Jewish) deli.

          1 Reply
          1. re: Jordan

            I'd take them to Brother's Deli in downtown Minneapolis. It's not a pure Jewish deli like Jordan says, but they do make some pretty tasty food. They used to have an open-face turkey sandwich with garlic mashed potatoes on Wednesdays that was my go-to meal when I worked downtown.

              1. re: rp1760

                Speaking of Heartland's Farm Direct Market, I just went there for lunch today. I had a Pastrami sandwich with homemade sauerkraut, and my girlfriend had the chicken salad. Both were excellent. We split the vichyssoise, which was fantastic, a real standout. While their selections are limited, the food is really notch.

                As a side note, I sometimes think that Heartland's message gets lost on some folks because of the emphasis - in part their doing, in part it's what folks say about them - on "farm fresh and local ingredients". Yeah, that's all great and all, but it's what the chefs do with the ingredients that's really important. In bad hands, the freshest local ingredients can yield a crap dish. On the other hand, I have to believe that all of the top chefs are using high quality ingredients. What specific farm they came from doesn't matter much to me - it's what they do with them that's important. With Heartland, what they do with the ingredients is fantastic, as evidenced by the relatively simple sandwiches and soup we had today, but that tasted fantastic. I think too much emphasis is sometimes placed on "farm fresh and local", to the point where menus and restaurants are ingredient driven, rather than finished-product and talent driven.

                1. re: foreverhungry

                  I just picked up lunch to go from the Heartland. One half chicken braised in green chile sauce with corn and black beans. Came with grilled patty pan and summer squash. Also ordered a pint of pickled cabbage slaw. The chicken was so very tasty. Just a bit of a hint of heat, a light sauce - perfect for a lunchtime meal. The squash tasted like it had just been picked and thrown over the grill (which it probably was). The slaw was slightly tart, and I'm having trouble placing one of the seasonings but I think it was cinnamon! Very, very good. With a slew of food trucks on Monday (Exchange Street), Wednesday (Wabasha) and The Heartland Farm Market Tuesday - Friday, we're having one fine eating summer!

                  p.s. Their produce counter is spectacular. I picked up a pound of HUGE blueberries - $10 - and a few heirloom tomatoes ($3 a pound). I only had cash, and no storage for the beautiful fresh fish, otherwise I could have done some serious damage to my budget.

              2. Cross roads deli in minnetonka is good, great corned beef and pastrami, matso ball soup is the best. Daily lunch special of beef on weck is outstanding.

                2 Replies
                1. re: bboss

                  Wow. Thanks so much for the excellent responses! You were all a great help. I'm deciding between Kramarczuks and Heartland.

                  1. re: petributt

                    That's a seriously difficult call. There are probably other Eastern European delis elsewherwe, but Heartland is pretty unique to MN in the sense that Chef Russo is hyper-local. But, you never know what he's going to have. Kramarczuk's is a little more predictable if you want to be able to anticipate what they'll have so you can make a recommendation to your friend. If you go to Kramarczuk's, make sure to get a kolache! Either poppy seed or cream cheese. So good!


                2. I beg to differ about Be'wiched. I've been there several dozen times, and have always loved my food. They have great sandwiches, good salads, and the best soups in town. But they're not a classic Jewish-style deli, so perhaps that's where the "hit or miss" reviews come from.

                  If I had a friend from New York who requested a deli, that's where I'd take my friend - after first making sure that they didn't expect New York deli food. The pastrami isn't classic NYC, but I love the stuff anyway. But my favorite is the sandwich of tuna confit (poached in oil) with preserved lemons - wow!

                  Heartland would probably be my second choice, if my friend wanted to experience the creme de la creme of locally-sourced food. However, if my friend wanted super-casual middle-European food, I'd go to Kramarczuk's.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: AnneInMpls

                    Be'wiched has never thrilled me. On paper, it's everything I love. The execution has not been good when I've gone there. The sandwich combinations are not to my taste, which is a personal thing (although I'm really not very picky), but the biggest thing is that the corned beef has been more fat than anything else every time! This comes from someone who understands that fat is good.