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Where to take a non-Westerner for the most "American" food experiences? Must be baby-friendly.

The Dairy Queen Aug 12, 2011 06:26 AM

So, I am hosting a visitor from out of the country in the mid-fall and I want to take her to experience some typical American food that she hears about all of the time. Maybe Vietnamese food, too. East African food is out, though. I'd like these to be independently owned places, if possible. And they must be baby friendly, so I imagine we'll be dining at some pretty casual places.

I don't necessarily need the "best" in each category, but the one that would give her the best sense of a typical American experience might be. For instance, I would normally say Meritage has the best burger and fries in the Metro Area, but I would in this case probably prefer to take her to the Nook or something instead because I think that's a more typical "burger" experience. (Although, I might take her to Meritage for oysters!) I love Hell's Kitchen, but I'd rather take her someplace where she could get more typical pancakes. Al's would be perfect, except that I don't think that's baby friendly.

I have probably a week's worth of meals and breakfast, lunch and dinner are all fair game. Anywhere in Minneapolis, St. Paul, or Bloomington would work for us, though who knows, we might be out and about to the Minnesota Zoo or Stillwater, Afton, apple picking, etc.

So, what typical American food experiences does she need to have and where shall we take her? Burgers? Pizza? Ice cream? Mexican Food? Poutine (Canadian food, eh?) Barbeque? Mac and cheese? Pancakes? Pie?

EDIT: would the corn stand at El Burrito Mercado still be operating in early to mid-fall? I'm thinking corn is pretty American.

~TDQ

-----
Hell's Kitchen
80 South 9th Street, Minneapolis, MN 55402

Meritage
410 Saint Peter St, Saint Paul, MN 55102

  1. f
    ffthought Aug 12, 2011 08:41 AM

    TDQ - call me crazy, but I can think of few people more well-suited to answer your question other than you. . .
    but from the parent perspective, i may be somewhat helpful. we have taken our kids everywhere since they were infants and some places are just more accommodating.
    first place that jumps to mind for American with kids is the Malt Shop at 50th and Bryant. Always packed with families and the burgers and malts are very good.
    Kinda sounds silly, but for Minnesota-American with kids, Ikea is fun. You can show off what the locals eat while in the environment of overblown American consumerism. Double win.
    Believe it or not, sitting in the upstairs dining room at 112 for an early dinner durnig the week has gone well with little ones.
    The Pizza Farm in Stockholm, WI, on Tuesday nights seems pretty American to me. Don't know how late in the season they run, though.
    Black Sheep is always super nice to kids too.
    I think Milda's on Glenwood is a great American breakfast example.
    Hope some of this helps. . .

    1 Reply
    1. re: ffthought
      The Dairy Queen Aug 12, 2011 09:03 AM

      Great ideas, thank you. Oh the pizza farm would be such a wonderful experience. I shall have to check into that. I've never even heard of Milda's!

      ~TDQ

    2. k
      KTFoley Aug 12, 2011 08:54 AM

      I was going down the path of how America is an amalgam of the cultures & foodways brought in by all its populations from elsewhere and adapted to the land of the First Nations, but then my brain exploded.

      But what would be more American than a drive-in? Seriously, take them someplace to eat in the car! Dari-ette, perhaps?

      11 Replies
      1. re: KTFoley
        The Dairy Queen Aug 12, 2011 09:01 AM

        This can be a head-exploding question for sure. Why do you think I posted about it?! For the most part, she's probably experienced Italian, Subcontinent Indian, East African. I think pretty much anything else is wide open. What I'm mostly hoping to achieve is when her friends back home say, "What did you eat in America, did you try a hamburger? or a hot dog? or a ?" she'll have the satisfaction of having experienced these things and be able to tell her friends about it.

        Dari-ette is a must-do, I agree, assuming it's still open for the season. Fingers crossed!

        ~TDQ

        1. re: The Dairy Queen
          s
          soupkitten Aug 12, 2011 10:07 AM

          too bad the fair will probably be over! :)

          get tacos and burritos, these are extremely american! los ocampos, la sirena gordo. . you could do many other south/central/latin-american restaurants, that tend to be kid-friendly. how about chimborazo for ecuadorean?

          wouldn't a diner be fun? al's breakfast would be hard, but a snack at mickey's diner would work. . .

          gotta go for pizza, maybe even getting 2 different pizza styles/scenes like at mama's in st paul for red sauce square cut, and then psycho suzie's on the big patio for the hipster hangout and the deep dish chicago-style pie, or black sheep pizza, pick your fave types.

          you could go to sea salt and get catfish po' boys, or the "oil can" assortment of american seafoods, or just some peel and eat shrimp, and see the falls and the park.

          yes, and ice cream. not just the msp artisan stuff, but some of the more old-fashioned classic american desserts like hot fudge sundaes and banana splits and thick malts.

          i also hate to say it, but several folks from cross the big pond have been, erm. . . impressed and. . . struck. . . by american drive through culture, the whole order through the speaker, drive to window, exchange money, go to next window, receive bag of greasy food, proceed to consume meal while driving in car, thing. "incredible," said a young french fellow about it. LMAO! so you may want to do this and just get some fries or something even if you don't normally get fast food, it is an "experience."

          i'll keep thinking!

          1. re: soupkitten
            The Dairy Queen Aug 12, 2011 10:12 AM

            HA! I'll tell you, when I first moved here I was impressed by MINNESOTA'S drive through culture. Drive-through pharmacy, ATM, grocery store, library/coffee shop, so, yes, you're right, it is a unique experience.

            I think she might faint upon seeing the quantity of food on the "oil can" at Sea Salt. What an experience that would be. I hope Sea Salt is still open for the season when she's here. It will be right on the edge, I think.

            All those other Latin restaurants are great ideas.

            ~TDQ

            1. re: The Dairy Queen
              s
              soupkitten Aug 12, 2011 10:34 AM

              :) thinking of that guy's visit, he was interested in new orleans/creole food-- don't remember where we ended up taking him. he was also curious about cowboy culture and didn't really get that the us is so big, w distinct regions-- we had to tell him it would take us about a week to drive to "the desert" from here. so maybe check beforehand w your friend to see if you could help her find the maine lobster roll or dish of poke she may be yearning for, but we may not come up w off the bat.

              this visitor was also fascinated by "american breakfast"-- eggs, toast, bacon, pancakes etc.

              fall will be a good time to get some american soup like clam chowder or chili or local wild rice soup. it might be fun to cook an "american thanksgiving dinner" at home, even if she isn't here for the holiday.

              1. re: soupkitten
                The Dairy Queen Aug 12, 2011 12:44 PM

                Where do you think a good "typical" breakfast spot is in MSP for just bacon, eggs, toast, maybe pancakes?

                I actually love the Thanksgiving idea! You know, turkey is very American. Maybe a visit to McGovern's is in order.

                I will definitely ask her what she wants to eat and visit. I am certain I will need to consult all of those Mall of America threads.

                ~TDQ

                1. re: The Dairy Queen
                  s
                  soupkitten Aug 13, 2011 03:22 PM

                  "typical"... probably one of those joints on south lyndale minneapolis that i'm *so* over..... hmmm. something like keys, if keys were good...... (and i know some of the locations are better). more thinking.

                  love the recs for brasa!

                  i still think the food at the moa is complete and utter crap, and it's expensive food court crap, at that! however. there is a good gelato establishment at moa! it's called paciugo, i believe it's a chain out of austin tx. but the gelato is quite decent.

                  1. re: soupkitten
                    nsxtasy Aug 14, 2011 06:44 AM

                    >> i still think the food at the moa is complete and utter crap, and it's expensive food court crap, at that! however. there is a good gelato establishment at moa! it's called paciugo, i believe it's a chain out of austin tx. but the gelato is quite decent.

                    If you take them to MOA, it's to show them the big big big shopping center, not for the food. Don't forget to point out home plate and the seat where Killebrew's home run landed!

                    1. re: nsxtasy
                      b
                      BigE Aug 15, 2011 06:55 AM

                      While I would agree that nearly all of the offerings at MOA are decidedly un-chowish, it is worth noting that Tucci Benucch is now headed by Asher Miller, most recently of 20.21. I trust he has made some positive impact on the experience there.

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                      Tucci Benucch
                      Mall of America, Minneapolis, MN 55420

            2. re: soupkitten
              s
              Seige Aug 12, 2011 10:50 AM

              +1 for Psycho Suzi's. I can think of nothing more American than that completely kitschy decor and things like deviled eggs, mini cocktail weiners and pickle roll-ups.

              What about an afternoon of food trucks in Minneapolis or St. Paul?

              I think cupcake bakeries are also becoming a pretty American thing and there's certainly a few of those to choose from.

              1. re: Seige
                The Dairy Queen Aug 12, 2011 12:48 PM

                There is nothing hotter in America right now that food trucks! Cupcakes will be easy to do. Good idea.

                ~TDQ

                1. re: The Dairy Queen
                  t
                  type2runner Aug 12, 2011 03:18 PM

                  I had a hot dog and a brat from Nate Dog's food truck and both were great! You mentioned hot dogs eariler...find out where he is going to be.

                  http://natedogs.com/

        2. Uisge Aug 12, 2011 09:52 AM

          Thinking in my neighborhood,
          Day by Day Cafe is very baby friendly, especially the patio but also the library room.
          Mancini's, if she wants an old school vibe. Not super baby friendly, but if you go for an early dinner, you'll be fine.
          How about Chris and Robs for a hot dog. Agreed, that's classic American and needs to be tried.
          I'm a fan of Burger Moe's hamburgers. And their patio is gorgeous. They've got good milkshakes and fries, too.

          Pity she won't be here during the State Fair.

          1 Reply
          1. re: Uisge
            The Dairy Queen Aug 12, 2011 09:55 AM

            I really wish she could experience the State Fair. Oh well.

            Great ideas, thank you. Don't know why I didn't think of Chris and Robs! And that Diner car they are in can't be beat for exposure to Americana!

            I was wondering about Mancini's. I don't think I've ever seen a child of any age there, though perhaps I've never gone early enough or paid enough attention.

            ~TDQ

          2. b
            Bobannon Aug 12, 2011 10:18 AM

            I like your idea of the Nook for the burger and fries experience, but I think Convention Grill is also a good choice.

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            Convention Grill
            3912 Sunnyside Rd, Minneapolis, MN 55424

            2 Replies
            1. re: Bobannon
              The Dairy Queen Aug 12, 2011 10:23 AM

              I'm not at all sold on the Nook--definitely open to other "hamburger" experiences. Is the Convention Grill baby friendly? I haven't admit that I've never been there!

              ~TDQ

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              Convention Grill
              3912 Sunnyside Rd, Minneapolis, MN 55424

              1. re: The Dairy Queen
                b
                baronworm Aug 12, 2011 07:28 PM

                A big +1 for the Convention Grill, which is is certainly kid-friendly, and definitely fits the bill both in terms of delicious food and "American" ambiance/menu.

                -----
                Convention Grill
                3912 Sunnyside Rd, Minneapolis, MN 55424

            2. raytamsgv Aug 12, 2011 10:40 AM

              Where is the person from?

              1. nsxtasy Aug 12, 2011 10:43 AM

                By "American", are you referring to our entire hemisphere, or to the United States? Because if you're referring to the United States, I would not consider Mexican and other Latin American cuisines to be American. They are cuisines from other countries that have become part of our multi-ethnic fabric of life, and are not very different from how they are served in their originating countries. I feel the same way about Italian food, French cuisine, Vietnamese, Chinese, Thai, etc. They are not *that* different from the same foods served in their native countries as well as other countries around the world. Of course, one of the joys of living in the States is that we have so many other national cuisines available as well as our own home-grown ones, and if your intent is to demonstrate that, then by all means go for it. But if the intent is to show off foods and experiences that originated or were largely developed in the States, then I'd stick with American foods like burgers, barbecue, etc. You could add a nice meal at an upscale "contemporary American" restaurant if you like. One of the strengths of American food is that we still have regional specialties in our society, so don't be afraid to go somewhere with good chicken and wild rice soup. I also wouldn't rule out Hell's Kitchen, for the porridge (a regional dish) as well as for the overall unique experience, demonstrating a uniquely American whimsical sensibility. I also like soupkitten's suggestion of various kinds of pizza, many of which are different from those served overseas. Another suggestion is for places whose setting is unique, including Sea Salt near the falls. I don't know if there are MSP restaurants in the middle of a park or at the top of a tall building, but those would qualify too. And going to a game at Target Field, either having hot dogs and beer in the stands or one of their restaurants overlooking the playing field. And I gotta believe that a really, really big shopping center is a typical American experience (love it or hate it); I seem to recall you have one of those in the Cities. :)

                1 Reply
                1. re: nsxtasy
                  The Dairy Queen Aug 12, 2011 12:36 PM

                  I consider "American" to be pretty broad, so, the USA would be my highest priority to cover, then after covering that, I would broaden it to include Canadian and Mexican and maybe even other Latin American. I'm casting a pretty broad net.

                  ~TDQ

                2. LiaM Aug 12, 2011 11:21 AM

                  Getting some good brats or other sausages at Kramarczuk and grilling outside seems like a very USA kind of meal to me, if you get a day with nice weather.

                  1. drew13000 Aug 12, 2011 01:08 PM

                    What a fun thread!
                    Classic pancake breakfast: Al's or Colossal Cafe
                    BBQ: I'm not really a huge BBQ person. Maybe Ted Cook's? Get takeout and go to Minnehaha Falls.
                    Burger and malt: The Nook or Convention Grill (bonus to the Nook is they have awesome cheese curds, too!)
                    Ice Cream: DQ AND Grand Old Cafe
                    Sea Salt, if the weather is nice
                    Gluttonous steak dinner: Manny's or Murray's. Maybe Murray's is more kid-friendly.
                    Roast beef or brisket sandwich at Maverick's
                    Too bad your guests won't be around for the state fair. What a trip that would be!

                    -----
                    Convention Grill
                    3912 Sunnyside Rd, Minneapolis, MN 55424

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: drew13000
                      b
                      bethanyg Aug 12, 2011 02:12 PM

                      Burger and malt: Annie's Parlor is the quintessential, in my book. Or Snuffy's.

                      What about high-er end, local eating American? Like Blackbird or the Lowbrau or Cafe Maude or Common Roots? All are kid-friendly and nice for you too, and highlight local eating. Uptown Cafeteria and Support Group (can be mixed on the food experience, but kid-friendly).

                      Ice cream - Izzy's, hands down.

                      What about American coffee shops for that experience, like Anodyne or Kopplins?

                      Steak - Hangar Room? Just lost their chef, but on Groupon today. Strip Club.

                      Breakfast - Gotta take them to Isle Buns and Coffee. I also like the Neighborhood Cafe on Selby.

                      -----
                      Common Roots Cafe
                      2558 Lyndale Ave S, Minneapolis, MN 55405

                      Cafe Maude
                      5411 Penn Avenue South, Minneapolis, MN 55419

                      The Strip Club
                      378 Maria Ave, Saint Paul, MN 55106

                    2. s
                      stymie Aug 12, 2011 02:39 PM

                      Mickey's Diner. For breakfast with American Fries, drive out thru farm country and find a small town cafe. Turkey dinner, bbq and apple pie.

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                      Mickey's Diner
                      36 7th St W, Saint Paul, MN 55102

                      1. g
                        getgot211 Aug 12, 2011 05:29 PM

                        Breakfast: Turtle bread on Chicago, Colossal

                        Burgers: I think Snuffy's is a good option.

                        bakeries maybe, for donuts or something, Yoyo Donut, Bakers wife, Common Roots for bagels, maybe Bars for some of their super rich/sweet stuff.

                        Mesa Pizza to see some crazy American concoctions.

                        Brasa to gorge on wonderful meats.

                        -----
                        Common Roots Cafe
                        2558 Lyndale Ave S, Minneapolis, MN 55405

                        9 Replies
                        1. re: getgot211
                          t
                          turtlebella Aug 13, 2011 06:59 AM

                          +1 on Brasa. Very baby/kid-friendly, especially the St Paul one, although back when our baby was really little only the Mpls one existed and we went there with her plenty. Depending on the age of the baby & feeding-of-baby custom, the kiddo can even eat. Ever since our daughter started eating solid food, she's eaten Brasa (spinach, grits - no longer on the regular menu, beans, chicken....).

                          +1 Dari-ette for old-tyme drive-in ambiance, and their Italiano ... awesome Italian-American (never in my travels in Italy have I ever seen/eaten anything like that, so I think it's pretty damn American, maybe American-Italian...) and ice cream. They usually close in early-mid October (and that's a sad sad day in our house), so you might possibly make it, depending on the timing of the visit.

                          You could do Day by Day for breakfast. The food is not spectacular but I like the funky vibe and if it's still warmish you could sit in the garden. I love that garden/patio.

                          Depending on age of baby, Al's is do-able. If baby is able to hold up head, etc and parent is able to eat with one hand... well, that's what we did! :)

                          1. re: turtlebella
                            The Dairy Queen Aug 13, 2011 07:16 AM

                            Will they still bring you the grits if you ask?

                            I suppose eating on-handed is pretty much every restaurant experience I've had with baby anyway. But, you are oh so stuck if baby needs to leave. There's no taking a quick break to change a diaper and coming back, but still, where there's a will, there's a way.

                            You guys are all coming up with terrific ideas! I'm refraining on commenting on every suggestion because I don't want to clutter up the thread too much.

                            For baby friendliness, what do you think of Red Stag? And, I hate to ask, but Cafe Levain?

                            ~TDQ

                            1. re: The Dairy Queen
                              mtullius Aug 13, 2011 10:05 AM

                              If I were going to suggest a resto of the type you mentioned in your last paragraph, I'd go with The Strip Club-- that was the first place we took our baby (6 weeks old, I believe). Very friendly staff, good food.... and a cool old American ambience (not to mention the best view of the St. Paul skyline of any restaurant in town). Brunch is great, dinner too.

                              -----
                              The Strip Club
                              378 Maria Ave, Saint Paul, MN 55106

                              1. re: mtullius
                                s
                                Seige Aug 13, 2011 01:59 PM

                                I love the Strip Club, but I don't think it's baby friendly - except for brunch possibly. It's so busy in the evenings and a pretty small space.

                                -----
                                The Strip Club
                                378 Maria Ave, Saint Paul, MN 55106

                                1. re: Seige
                                  s
                                  soupkitten Aug 13, 2011 03:17 PM

                                  i've seen little kids at tsc. the staff was very kind to our little nephews (2 and 4) during an evening service, we were a 10-top. there was also a tween in the party who had "the best burger ever!" :)

                                  but i know TDQ isn't fond of the chef's humor at tsc :-/ still the food is great...

                                  1. re: soupkitten
                                    s
                                    Seige Aug 13, 2011 05:14 PM

                                    My tween niece recently had "the best burger ever" at Victory 44. :) Gotta' love the tweens! LOL Speaking of which - Victory 44 or Travail might be fun for said visitor. Not sure it's American per se, but definitely different.

                                    Another option might be the Bachelor Farmer. I've not been there yet, so I can't comment on food quality, but the Scandinavian food angle they're going for is decidedly Minnesotan.

                                    I'd also suggest a lunch/dinner of a homemade hotdish. That's pretty American. :)

                                    -----
                                    Victory 44
                                    2203 44th Ave N, Minneapolis, MN

                                    1. re: soupkitten
                                      The Dairy Queen Aug 13, 2011 08:05 PM

                                      I still mean to get there for brunch one of these days!

                                      ~TDQ

                                      1. re: The Dairy Queen
                                        d
                                        Danny Aug 22, 2011 08:17 AM

                                        Victory 44 is finally serving breakfast again! Had it over the weekend. If you decide to head over there, drop me a line - we can walk there from our house!

                                        -----
                                        Victory 44
                                        2203 44th Ave N, Minneapolis, MN

                                2. re: The Dairy Queen
                                  s
                                  Seige Aug 13, 2011 05:24 PM

                                  I don't know why they took away the grits. Seems like a bad idea to me, but the last time we were there they said they're still served occasionally as a "special" item. I got the sense that they wouldn't do them unless they're on the menu, but maybe they'd make an exception for a special out of town guest? Or you could call ahead and see if they're planned as a special on a particular day before you go.

                            2. s
                              sarahcooks Aug 12, 2011 07:08 PM

                              When our friends from England visited us for a few days, we took them to Key's Cafe, Chimborazo, Burrito Mercado, and Jasmine Deli. We have a 1 year old and a 4 year old and it was all fine. We also made good steaks on the grill with corn on the cob, because steak in England is quite expensive.

                              1. j
                                justalex Aug 12, 2011 08:46 PM

                                I hesitate to add this as it's a bit out of your range and I'm not sure if the time frame will work. Oh well, here goes! :)

                                The Peppermint Twist is a great old-fashioned drive-in in Delano with really good fresh raspberry shakes and handmade pork tenderloin sandwiches. They have a "Teddy Bear Park" which is kind of a cheezy slice of Americana but it's great for kids to run around. I'm not certain how late they are open for the season, however.

                                The crowning jewel to a trip to the west metro is Fall Harvest Orchard which is just a couple of miles from The Twist. I know I've written about this place on this board before, because I just think it's such a treasure. FHO is a real working farm and when you drive up and park in the field you'll notice the abundance of beautiful chickens running around all over. Children can visit the hen house and gather a free half dozen eggs. There are hayrides, baby pigs, cows you can feed (with a corncob through a special fitted hole in the fence - so they don't chomp your hand off?), and pumpkins in a rainbow of colors. Their little shop features local honey, jams, jellies and pies. We've spent a lot of time there picking apples. They have a very good selection and it's so much fun peering through the branches looking for the perfect ones.

                                It's also a beautiful drive from the metro in autumn. I'm dreading the end of summer, but after writing this I'm now actually looking forward to fall. LOL

                                There is so much great food at the restaurants in the Twin Cities proper, but I think it would be great to include a bit of a more rural experience that incorporates the source of our food and showcases the natural beauty of our area.

                                Whatever you do, have a wonderful time!

                                1. nsxtasy Aug 12, 2011 09:26 PM

                                  Nobody has yet mentioned Midtown Global Market. I think that's fun. Granted, public markets are bigger and more diversified and maybe more robust in many other parts of the world, but it's still nice to see one here.

                                  1 Reply
                                  1. re: nsxtasy
                                    The Dairy Queen Aug 13, 2011 07:17 AM

                                    I'm thinking Midtown Global Market for bubble tea (Pham's), pastries (Salty Tart & whatever that Mexican bakery is in the corner), and lefse (Cafe Finspang). And if I can't break away to go to one of the stand-alone Los Ocampo locations...

                                    ~TDQ

                                    -----
                                    Midtown Global Market
                                    920 E Lake St, Minneapolis, MN 55407

                                  2. p
                                    penelopek Aug 13, 2011 10:13 AM

                                    Ribs and ice cream cones! If you go apple picking in Afton or Stillwater, there is Bayport BBQ. Used to be a good ice cream place, Selma's, in Afton, but if it's still closed, try Knoke's in Hudson right across the river. Knoke's is set up like an old-tyme candy shop, with gummies in jars and twirly lollipops on the counter.

                                    -----
                                    Bayport BBQ
                                    328 5th Ave N, Bayport, MN 55003

                                    2 Replies
                                    1. re: penelopek
                                      BigSal Aug 14, 2011 10:06 AM

                                      Ribs (or Barbecue) is a great idea. Perhaps some ribs and chicken from Big Daddy's and enjoy a summer barbecue in your backyard or in a park.

                                      -----
                                      Big Daddy's Saturday Barbecue
                                      609 University Ave W, Saint Paul, MN 55103

                                      1. re: BigSal
                                        j
                                        JimGrinsfelder Aug 24, 2011 02:07 PM

                                        I second Big Daddy's and Brasa and Se Salt.

                                        And one of the following: Nook, Blue Door, Matt's, Club 58 or The Bulldog for burgers. The nook might be the most kid-friendly choice of the 5 of them.

                                        If you want to go upscale, Craftsman or Alma or Piccolo or 112 or Grand Cafe.

                                        I'd go with Day By Day over Mickey's every time.

                                        -----
                                        Day By Day Cafe
                                        477 7th St W, Saint Paul, MN 55102

                                    2. g
                                      Grandview Aug 13, 2011 08:02 PM

                                      Duh!... CULVERS!

                                      1. AnneInMpls Aug 14, 2011 10:50 AM

                                        How about Carol's in Blaine? Think Key's-style food but much better. And lots of pies! I've only been there twice - had the open-faced hot turkey sandwich both times - but they do breakfast, lunch, and dinner. I hear that the pies are good. Though I tried some chocolate cake once (a piece so huge it was almost obscene) that was OK but not great. The decor is craft-boutique kitschy, and the place is very baby-friendly.

                                        Speaking of pies, if you get to Stockholm WI (the drive down the river is my fave thing for a foreign visitor), you MUST go to the Stockholm Pie Company! BEST PIES EVER!

                                        1. AnneInMpls Aug 14, 2011 11:00 AM

                                          P.S. I recall seeing El Burrito's corn stand in early spring, so odds are good that it'll be around through the fall until it's too cold to stand around outside. But it'll probably be weekends only.

                                          1. danionavenue Aug 14, 2011 11:59 AM

                                            The Nook. I also like Mickey's dinner downtown for breakfast or burger/blt and fries joint. I like the trolley aspect of it. The strip club would be nice. If you go to Afton, stop at Thanh Truc in Woodbury for Vietnamese. I love Red Savoy's for pizza. Izzy's for ice cream for sure. I love the salted caramel flavor. Key's cafe has the best oven roasted turkey dinner with mashed potatoes and cranberry sauce. They have to get that. Chatterbox has some good mac n cheese. Have a nice visit!

                                            -----
                                            Thanh Truc
                                            2230 Eagle Creek Ln, Saint Paul, MN 55129

                                            Woodbury Cafe
                                            803 Bielenberg Dr, Saint Paul, MN 55125

                                            1 Reply
                                            1. re: danionavenue
                                              m
                                              MNLawGirl Aug 14, 2011 02:06 PM

                                              Malts and Burgers: One of my favorite memories growing up was visiting the Malt Shop for a butterscotch malt. Convention grill is also a great choice. I would also add Bridgemans near Hiawatha to the mix. If you are just thinking ice cream, izzys or sebastian joes.

                                              BBQ: If you are at the Mall of America, why not Famous Dave's? Nothing is more American then a chain restaurant. Plus it is located above Lego Land for the kids. Also Market Barbecue is fun and good food.

                                              Other ideas:
                                              - Victors 1959 Cafe for decent Cuban fare
                                              - Hazels Northeast for the turkey commercial
                                              - Ideal Diner in NE for pancakes, eggs and bacon - no flashy business. Just simple, but greasy food.
                                              - Monte Carlo - take them to the oldest restaurant in Minnesota. Its a classic. Last time I was there, a family with 3 kids was seated next to me.
                                              - Mickey's diner for breakfast, then go to the Children's museum which is just down the road!

                                              -----
                                              Monte Carlo Bar & Cafe
                                              219 3rd Avenue North, Minneapolis, MN 55401

                                              Ideal Diner
                                              1314 Central Ave NE, Minneapolis, MN 55413

                                            2. moomon Aug 14, 2011 08:37 PM

                                              Breakfast ..
                                              - Fat Nat's - very casual with pretty good greasy breakfast food
                                              - Wilde Roast Cafe - amazing new location cos it's by the St Anthony Main and you can easily walk to Guthrie, Mill City Museum, stone arch bridge, and see great skyline downtown view but i didnt really care for the food that much though

                                              Midtown Global Market
                                              - I would highly recommend this wonderful place cos you can try so many things at the same visit. .. La Sirena Gorda, Salty Tart, Pham's Deli, Holy Land, Cafe Finspang, Italian Ice, Manny's Tortas, Los Ocompo, etc..

                                              Mercardo Central
                                              - I havent been here by have always heard good things about the place, so it could be a fun stop too.

                                              How about Hmong Village or International Hmong Market in St Paul?
                                              - I know Hmong is not American but Minnesota has the third largest Hmong population in the country so i think Hmong somehow is a part of Minnesotan (well mainly Twin Cities) culture now.

                                              Pizza
                                              - Punch or Pizza Luce .. always great pizza
                                              - Pizzeria Lola - never been there but heard a lot of good things and the location is good too cos you can stroll around the area afterwards

                                              Ice cream
                                              - Izzy, Sebastian Joe's, Grand Ole

                                              Bakery
                                              - Sweets Bakeshop, Sweet Retreat, Coco & Fig, Chez Arnaud

                                              Central Ave
                                              - so many great small local joints
                                              - El Taco Riendo, Chimborazo, Crescent Moon Bakery, Ideal Diner

                                              Northeast MPLS
                                              - Jax for brunch?
                                              - Brasa - you've gotta love their rotisserie chicken
                                              - Anchor fish and chips - well not really American but it's still good food
                                              - Surdyks - check out some cheese and wine
                                              - Uncle Franky's - pretty small but really good hotdogs and sandwiches

                                              How about Sea Salt or Tin Fish?
                                              - depending on how late in the Fall your visitors will be coming I guess. The food might not be the best but you cant really beat the atmosphere.

                                              -----
                                              Midtown Global Market
                                              920 E Lake St, Minneapolis, MN 55407

                                              The Tin Fish
                                              3000 E Calhoun Pkwy, Minneapolis, MN 55408

                                              Jax Cafe
                                              1928 University Avenue, Minneapolis, MN 55418

                                              La Sirena Gorda
                                              920 E Lake St, Minneapolis, MN 55407

                                              Mill City Museum
                                              704 S 2nd St, Minneapolis, MN 55401

                                              Sebastian Joe's
                                              4321 Upton Ave S, Minneapolis, MN 55410

                                              International Hmong Market
                                              217 Como Ave, St Paul, MN 55103

                                              Crescent Moon Bakery
                                              2339 Central Ave NE, Minneapolis, MN 55418

                                              Wilde Roast Cafe
                                              518 E Hennepin Ave, Minneapolis, MN 55414

                                              Salty Tart
                                              920 E Lake St Ste 158, Minneapolis, MN 55407

                                              Ideal Diner
                                              1314 Central Ave NE, Minneapolis, MN 55413

                                              Manny's Tortas
                                              920 E Lake St Ste 125, Minneapolis, MN 55407

                                              Cafe Finspang
                                              920 E Lake St Ste 148, Minneapolis, MN 55407

                                              Uncle Franky's
                                              1316 4th St SE, Minneapolis, MN 55414

                                              El Taco Riendo
                                              2416 Central Ave NE, Minneapolis, MN 55418

                                              1 Reply
                                              1. re: moomon
                                                b
                                                baronworm Aug 18, 2011 09:50 AM

                                                @moomon
                                                While I agree that Pizzeria Lola is delicious, I'm not sure I'd agree that it's a good "stroll around" location. From Lola, you'd be walking at least a mile north to get to 50th & France or south to get to Southdale mall.

                                                Unless you happen to be a fan of windowshopping at a gas station and a drycleaner. :-)

                                              2. John E. Aug 14, 2011 09:02 PM

                                                I only scanned the responses, but I would take your guest somewhere for fried chicken. I suppose you know a restaurant in your area with good broasted chicken, if not, The Countryside in Roseville. (The decor is a little tired, but the chicken is top notch).

                                                http://www.countrysidechicken.com/

                                                1 Reply
                                                1. re: John E.
                                                  The Dairy Queen Aug 15, 2011 07:11 AM

                                                  I've been meaning to try the Countryside. This will be just my excuse, thank you!

                                                  ~TDQ

                                                2. danionavenue Aug 15, 2011 07:37 AM

                                                  Oh the best pie I ever had as at Bon Vie in St. Paul.

                                                  -----
                                                  Bon Vie
                                                  518 Selby Ave, Saint Paul, MN 55102

                                                  1. MSPD Aug 15, 2011 08:16 AM

                                                    Nothing in Minnesota is more genuinely American than Stockmen's Truck Stop in S. St. Paul.

                                                    The food is very good and almost all made from scratch. Bonus for the shopping opportunities. I can't think of a country in the world that wouldn't be a tiny bit better with more Yosemite Sam "Back Off!" mud flaps.

                                                    Oh...it's baby/kid friendly. I've taken my kids there many times.

                                                    1. k
                                                      keithinmpls Aug 18, 2011 05:18 PM

                                                      If you do happen to find yourself out in Stillwater, you might want to check out Patriot's Tavern for some colonial pub grub. I've never been, so I can't vouch for the place, but James Norton seemed to think it was a nice experience - http://heavytable.com/patriots-tavern...

                                                      I'm sure its no Williamsburg, but it would probably be a fun time. And roaming downtown Stillwater is a perfectly good way to spend an afternoon, to boot.

                                                      1. John E. Aug 18, 2011 06:33 PM

                                                        About 10 years ago a German friend came for our high school reunion. (He lived with my family as an exchange student). He had lived here for a year, but that was, ahem, a loooong time ago. The restaurant he wanted to return to was Godfather's Pizza. Fortunately, it is still open in my hometown .

                                                        Anyway, one of the places I took him to eat was a burrito place in the Northstar Center downtown. (I wonder if it is still open? This was before Chipotle came to town). I then took him to the top of the Foshay Tower to their observation deck.

                                                        DQ, I'm not suggesting you take your guest to the burrito place, but the Foshay Tower thing is always pretty cool. I haven't been up there since the Foshay was turned into a hotel, but I just checked on-line and it is still open for visits in the afternoons/evenings but I would call ahead to confirm at 612-215-3700.
                                                        http://www.homeandabroad.com/c/55/Sit...

                                                        1 Reply
                                                        1. re: John E.
                                                          b
                                                          Bobannon Aug 19, 2011 12:21 PM

                                                          The burrito place was called El Burrito and last time I checked it was gone. I used to work across the street from that place and ate there at least once a week. It was awesome. I loved their chicken mole. They had another location in the TCF Bank building...I'm not sure if that one is still there.

                                                        2. d
                                                          Danny Aug 22, 2011 08:23 AM

                                                          Totally late to the party, but a really good spot might be Galaxy Drive-In. It has pretty much all the elements you're looking for. Over the top theming: check. Drive-in: check. Kid friendly: check American classic foods: check

                                                          And, the food has apparently gotten much better, now that the operations are being run by the family that runs the Blue Moon Drive In at the State Fair (and the sausages are now supplied by Kramarczuk's)

                                                          I haven't been there this year, but the s'mores kit and their firepit are a guilty pleasure.

                                                          4 Replies
                                                          1. re: Danny
                                                            The Dairy Queen Aug 22, 2011 08:28 AM

                                                            Sounds fun. Not to worry, you're not late to the party. The party hasn't even started! (We wouldn't start a party without you Danny!)

                                                            What does the Blue Moon family run aside from the Galexy drive-in? Just curious! And Kramarczuk's sausages shine in any venue, don't they?

                                                            ~TDQ

                                                            1. re: The Dairy Queen
                                                              d
                                                              Danny Aug 22, 2011 09:10 AM

                                                              Everything I know came from this: http://www.startribune.com/entertainm...

                                                              1. re: Danny
                                                                The Dairy Queen Aug 22, 2011 09:32 AM

                                                                Interesting! I think it's the Rainforest Cafe guy. http://www.schusslercreative.com/cont... And he apparently has done a lot more than that. Makes perfect sense for him to be the guy behind the drive-in concept and even the Blue Moon concept.

                                                                ~TDQ

                                                                1. re: The Dairy Queen
                                                                  d
                                                                  Danny Aug 22, 2011 01:50 PM

                                                                  Yes. Schussler's offices are across the street. He'd apparently been eyeing the Wagner's Drive Inn for years, and finally made the move to buy it and "remodel" it. He's not behind the Blue Moon concept, he just hired them to run it. (He is behind a TON of themed restaurants though)

                                                          2. a
                                                            annal Oct 5, 2011 11:47 PM

                                                            For lunches, two character-filled places near Seven Corners are the Wienery and the Hard Times Cafe. If you hit the Wienery a little after the lunch rush (after 1:30, maybe?), it shouldn't be a problem with a baby. And when I was in Hard Times last week, there was a lady in a fortune teller getup sitting across from an older gentleman with unusual facial hair and a top hat.

                                                            Oh, the fun you'll have!

                                                            -----
                                                            Wienery
                                                            414 Cedar Ave S, Minneapolis, MN 55454

                                                            Hard Times Cafe
                                                            1821 Cedar Avenue South, Minneapolis, MN

                                                            1. b
                                                              baronworm Feb 7, 2012 02:17 PM

                                                              TDQ - can we have a follow up on where you ended up taking your international visitors? I realize it's been a few months, but this is a thread that deserves an epilogue!

                                                              AtDhVaAnNkCsE !

                                                              2 Replies
                                                              1. re: baronworm
                                                                The Dairy Queen Feb 8, 2012 11:57 AM

                                                                Baronworm, thank you for the reminder. I keep meaning to report back and then get distracted and forget. I didn't up with as many meals as I thought and looking over all of your amazing recommendations there were so many places I wanted to take them that we couldn't fit in. (For instance, our guests were avoiding sweets so we didn't go for ice cream. We did, however, manage a stop at Candyland...)

                                                                Some choices were driven by proximity to errands we needed to run and what was open, etc., and we didn't always have the baby along, but here's where we ended up:

                                                                Sea Salt
                                                                Groveland Tap for (cheese curds and burgers)
                                                                Fire Lake Restaurant for (wild rice soup & walleye)
                                                                Candyland.
                                                                A la salsa
                                                                Jasmine 26
                                                                Tucci Benucch (MOA) for pizza
                                                                Keys Cafe
                                                                Chatterbox Pub (ribs and mac and cheese)

                                                                But, believe it or not, the favorite spot was some all you can eat Asian buffet that a friend took our guests to! They were blown away...

                                                                I feel like I'm missing one dinner and maybe one breakfast. I'll have to remember where those were...

                                                                ~TDQ

                                                                1. re: The Dairy Queen
                                                                  The Dairy Queen Feb 8, 2012 12:00 PM

                                                                  Oh, I know. We took them to a hockey game. I can't remember what they ate there.

                                                                  ~TDQ

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