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Dec 19, 2011 07:38 PM

What's missing from MSP's culinary landscape?

I was having an interesting conversation with my friends in regards to food in MSP. Everyone seems to feel like its got it all. Me? I'm skeptical. I did notice plenty of Mexi-Latin flavors. Lots of South Asian spots. Seen the African, Indian, Middle Eastern. Obviously got the American - farm to table, burger, pub grub. Food trucks galore. What doesn't it have? I'm inclined to say not a whole lot of great Korean food spots. Japanese - sushi, ramen, etc is all right but nothing like the NYC, LA, SF spots. Is MSP lacking in the Japanese/Korean/Chinese dept? Maybe fried chicken?

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  1. If I were to pull answers from previous threads bemoaning the lack of a particular item or cuisine, the quickest answers might be pizza like in NY, cheese steaks like in Philly, fried chicken like in the south, lobster like in New England (although Smack Shack has made an inroad there), epic markets like at Reading Terminal, greek diners like in New Jersey and Long Island, a decent deli like in ohdon'tgetmestarted, kosher places like used to be more prevalent here, Tex-Mex like in wherever folks most fondly remember green chili.

    I tamp my own complaints down to wistfulness, knowing for example that NY pizza needs a New York street to close all the gaps in what the aficianados are really missing. But my northeastern soul misses ... Dunkin Donuts.

    50 Replies
    1. re: KTFoley

      Great Seafood, Ramen, Soul Food, Hot Dogs, Chili Shacks, Dim Sum.

      1. re: KTFoley

        To me, NY pizza belongs in NY, Texas barbecue belongs in Texas...etc.

        I would love a Scandinavian-focused restaurant, like Aquavit...but less stuffy. I miss the Mpls outpost as it was a terrific destination for entertaining out-of-towners.

        I know Bachelor Farmer has some elements of this, but not like Aquavit.

        1. re: Foureyes137

          100% agreed. There's really no point in trying to reproduce NY pizza or Philly cheese steaks; the people from there aren't going to be happy unless they're there, anyway. It's far more important to me that we try to forge our own culinary identity than that we try to fill in some imagined gap.

          We do well on restaurants from current immigrant communities, it seems like, but not so great on previous ones. I'd definitely like to see more northern and eastern European foods. Scandinavian food seems to be getting trendy, anyway, so it's a shame we don't have more of it.

          There was a Finnish cafe on Como in St. Paul, I think. Not an area that I go to often, so I don't know if it's still there. I think it was run by Solveig Tofte, who is now at Sun Street Breads.

          1. re: LiaM

            Finnish Bistro is still there, attached to a Dunn's about as Finnish as it is a bistro, which is to say, not very.

            1. re: LiaM

              Nuh-uh. Finnish Bistro was Soile Anderson, who used to do the great Scandinavian brunch at the Minnesota Museum in downtown St. Paul that closed about 15 years ago. She started the Finnish Bistro on Como, and I can't remember if it was part of the business she sold off several years ago or not. She still does private catering.

              1. re: Rowdy

                soile is still there. she still has the catering biz as well, called deco catering. soile probably won't stop until she drops dead ;-P

              2. re: LiaM

                I do agree that Fin/Swede/Dutch is the new "cool" in food trends and I am surprised that there isn't more of that happening. Especially in MN. Would love to see that. Aquavit is great and if Minneapolis could have something like that would be awesome.

                1. re: Petey McNichols

                  again. could have something like that ***again***. :)

              3. re: Foureyes137

                "To me, NY pizza belongs in NY, Texas barbecue belongs in Texas...etc."

                We are in agreement.

                1. re: Foureyes137

                  >> To me, NY pizza belongs in NY, Texas barbecue belongs in Texas...etc.

                  The problem with that statement is, according to that credo, there should be no Thai food in MSP (or anywhere else outside of Thailand), no Chinese food in MSP, no Italian food in MSP, etc. Just sayin'... :)

                  1. re: nsxtasy

                    No, there would be those things, and there are, just no one would expect the flavor and experience to mirror what it is in Thailand...which we don't (because they don't). No one seems to expect the som tum experience here to mimic what it is on a dingy street corner in Bangkok...diesel fumes stinging your why pizza or brisket?

                    1. re: Foureyes137

                      "No one seems to expect the som tum experience here to mimic what it is on a dingy street corner in Bangkok...diesel fumes stinging your why pizza or brisket?"

                      If you're talking about the experience, then clearly the experience of a regional food can only be had in its region. But if you're talking taste, or execution of the dish, then there are few reasons it can't be had anywhere. A good bagel can be made anywhere. Same with NY style pizza, or pulled pork. Some dishes do rely on local ingredients that can be very tough to find outside the region, and some dishes require practice, experience, and an art that may be tough to find outside the region. Pizza and cheesesteaks ain't it, though. Those require simple ingredients, and a relatively simple technique.

                      I'd get a cheesesteak for lunch on most days when I lived in Philly, and ate it in my office. I can reproduce the "eating in my office" experience anywhere. There's nothing special about that. What's missing today from that equation is the cheesesteak.

                      1. re: foreverhungry

                        Although my NY friends would love to disagree and state something along the lines of," you can't make NY bagels or pizza because the water in NYC is special".

                        1. re: foreverhungry

                          "Pizza and cheesesteaks ain't it, though. Those require simple ingredients, and a relatively simple technique."

                          Then explain it. Give a better explanation as to why everyone seems to think no one can get a decent NY version of pizza or a cheesesteak here (PS, 10 people will argue that the buns make the cheesesteak and you can't get the buns outside eastern PA, or that NYC water matters (even though places like Grimaldi's and Lombari's use bottled water anyway))...I disagree with them, you can get a NY style pizza here that is better than 90% of the Ray's crap you get in NYC, but I'd be crucified for saying so.

                          I stand by it, where you are when you get/order/eat the food is as much about its flavor as the experience imparted by the ingredients to your tongue...unless someone has a better idea.

                          1. re: Foureyes137

                            A valid point, but I have to side with FH on this one. I might concede that your surroundings play a role in how you remember a food experience, but that doesn't say anything about the food itself. That cheesesteak would have tasted a hell of a lot better in the Lake Harriet bandshell than at an office desk, but it would have been the same cheesesteak

                            NY'ers have been trying to push that water terroir argument for way too long. It's horsecrap.

                            If you want an explanation, I would agree with the idea that Mitch posited below; we don't have the clientele to support pizza by the slice without ruining it with time and hot lamps.

                            That's what's missing from our culinary landscape in general. We just don't have enough people who would be willing to support a lot of these great ideas to make them economically feasible.

                            1. re: Foureyes137

                              "Then explain it."

                              Cheesesteaks - Yes, the bun is important. Heck, there are only 4 ingredients (bread, steak, onion, and cheese), so each of them is important. It's as important as a good rye bread is to a good pastrami sandwich. In Philly, the Amoroso rolls are used for cheesesteaks and hoagies, so they are easy to find. It's not easy to find a good sub roll of that same style here. Just like good rye and pumpernickel is easy to find in the NYC area, and great sourdough is easy to find in SF, but those can be more difficult to find outside those areas. Not impossible, but difficult. The steak is ribeye, sliced thin, and cooked. Easy. Onions are chopped and browned. Easy. Cheese varies - Pat's uses cheese whiz, others use slices of american, some provolone. It depends on where you go. I've made very good cheesesteaks at home, but the bun is the weakest component.

                              Pizza - it's not the water. Someone did some experiments with that, can't remember who. Pizza made with different waters (NYC versus other cities vs bottled) tastes the same. Anyone can make the sauce, and the cheese is industrial mozz. Nothing special. Part of it is technique - making a NY style pizza employs different techniques than does when making a deep dish or Neopolitan. Make 300 pies a day, 5 days a week, you get pretty good at making that style. That style isn't popular here, so few places make it, so it's hard to get good at it. Andrea's near Mears Park in STP does a very good job with NY style. They have high turnover of pizzas.

                              I get what you're saying about surroundings. In some cases, it's very impactful. But in the case of a cheesesteak, whether I'm eating it in my living room in front of the TV in my apartment in Philly or house in Minneapolis, it doesn't matter much. Ditto with pizza - if I'm sitting at a counter staring a wall with pictures of old movie stars, it doesn't matter much what city I'm in, as long as the pizza is good.

                              As for Ray's - yes, there's a lot of crap Ray's, with dozens of imposters and imitators. You should be able to get a slice of NY style pizza in MPLS that's better - based solely on taste - than much of what's in NYC. But you can't. I think it's because the demand and needed expertise isn't here. With the cheesesteaks, it's partly the bread part, partly that there's no one here making 300 a day.

                              1. re: foreverhungry

                                From this, it appears we has little to nothing, really, to do with the food or ingredients themselves. There is no way to explain why these can't be reproduced...

                                The question then is: What is left? At it's heart, we're both saying it is something ethereal that cannot be reproduced...I just put a name to it.

                                1. re: Foureyes137

                                  It depends on what we're talking about.

                                  Pizza? No, not the ingredients, but rather A) the technique to make a NY style pizza as opposed to other styles, and B) enough of a demand for that style pizza.

                                  Cheesesteaks? Well, partly ingredients - the right bread choice is an essential component, and that, for whatever reason, is difficult or not possible to find in this area. And it's partly demand - how many cheesesteaks are eaten daily in MSP? 1? 10? Compared to thousands in the Philly area. Again, low demand means no restaurant/deli/whatever is going to keep ribeye, cheese whiz, and the same fresh buns in stock in case a single individual asks for a cheesesteak.

                                  What else? Bagels? That one puzzles me. The only thing I can guess is that folks here are content with Einstein/Brugger quality bagel, so there isn't the initiative for anyone to work on their technique to make a better one.

                                  Sure, eating roasted chestnuts on a NYC street corner while Christmas shopping is an experience that can't really be reproduced, even if you have high quality chestnuts and a roaster and the know-how. But that's not what I'm talking about. Eating a pizza/cheesesteak/bagel starring at a wall in Philly, NYC, north Jersey, MSP, or Wichita, there's no "ethereal" quality. If it's the same quality of food reproduced, I don't care what I'm looking at. For reasons of technique/ingredients/demand, some things just aren't reproduced here well. When folks (like me) wish they could get a good slice of NY pizza or a good cheesesteak, it's the food that matters, not being on a Philly streetcorner.

                              2. re: Foureyes137

                                Grimladi's, Ray's and Lombardi's is a type of NYC pie but not the type that hounds seek out. Think Motorino, Keste, Joe's, Patsy's and more etc. There are much better pies in the TC area that are better than Rays so you are right about that.

                                While NYC does have award-winning water, it is also the ovens (coal or brick) and flat dough pizzas that is the marker.

                                Lured in by the headline, I went and discovered it was no better than Ray's:

                                1. re: scoopG

                                  I agree that it's the technique, the ovens and the dough. For by the slice they par-bake the pie, then put it in the over for 2-3 minutes to finish baking after you pick out your slice. Something I've never seen here.

                                  1. re: NordeastB

                                    Mesa Pizza does it that way here. And one other place on Hennepin does it that way here, I think.

                                    1. re: jaycooke

                                      Taste of NY does it that way as well...and I believe Soho Cafe and the joint on 5th & Hennepin.

                                      Oh, and Sbarro, so it must be authentic ;-)

                                      1. re: Foureyes137

                                        and it has to start a good product to finish a good product, and have enough turn over to keep it fresh. flaws in every spot we have right there. Broder's does it too, but for a 1/2 sized slice, its already 3 bucks. Slice $$ = subway token in NYC.

                      2. re: KTFoley

                        I am over my love affair with Smack Shack lobster rolls. Lobster seems old, too much mayo, too much butter (or other grease) on the bread. I think there's a huge opening for someone who makes a true lobster roll. Which means fresh lobster cooked on the premises. No pollution from cucumbers (which is really functioning as cheap filler).

                        1. re: SarahInMinneapolis

                          I discovered the secret to the Smack Shack last summer: The Shrimp Po'Boy is the real star of the truck. I liked the Lobster roll, but the Po'Boy is spectacular. I don't know how true either one is to their respective coastal incarnations. Regardless, that Po Boy stands on its own as a really great sandwich.

                          1. re: Diana_mn

                            Thanks, Diana, I'll try it. Best Po'Boy I've had in Mpls. is the oyster one at Sea Salt. Yum. Been wondering about the Shack shrimp one. Will try.

                        2. re: KTFoley

                          My question with the whole NY style pizza or Philly cheesesteak is always, what is authentic? In NY style pizza example, does being NY-style mean that it has to be by the slice or just of that type of crust, etc.? I'd imagine if you get any 10 people together and ask them what they consider a good representation of that to be, you're probably going to get 10 different answers, most likely representative of what the poster grew up or is familiar with - unless you're speaking of the best of what that city or style has to offer, in which case I'd think that's covered by the depth of field/supply and demand argument, such as with exotic food (I don't know if it's Midwesterners in general, but I know Minnesotans in specific tend to have a problem with trying novel foods). Also in the sense of lacking, does it mean that it simply doesn't exist (no one's even trying) or that what does exist doesn't fall into the good, great, exceptional range of the spectrum?

                          Per the comments later in the thread regarding the Korean charcoal/cook at your own table sort of food, the impression I've gotten from speaking to a few people at Korean restaurants is that it's not allowed under current restaurant regulations.

                          What I would love to see is any sort of good, non-chain, 24-hour restaurant or coffee shop.

                          1. re: schizoidyun

                            What are you looking for in a non-chain, 24-hour restaurant? Stockmen's Truckstop in South St. Paul is open 24-hours and is chock full of great comfort foods. Almost everything they cook is from scratch and they have (I'm guessing) more than 150 different items on the menu.

                            1. re: MSPD

                              Thanks all for the suggestions (and the link to the old thread). I'd never heard of Stockmen's before (realized after posting that I knew of Mickey's, but that was about it. Also, thanks for the thoughts on the difference between the locations, I've only been to the St. Paul one). Most of the info I've gotten on 24-hour places, so to speak, has been from reading the "late night" threads here on Chow. As for the number one thing I'm looking for, at least at that time of night, is a decent cup of coffee. Any thoughts on which, between Mickey's, Hard Times, and Stockmen's has the best?

                              1. re: schizoidyun

                                Wow, decent coffee is a tall order for a middle of the night kind of thing... Seems to me the one that would be the best is the one that made the coffee most recently. If you sweet talked the waitress at Mickey's, they might make you a fresh pot.... But the coffee there is certainly not anything special (to say the least).

                                1. re: schizoidyun

                                  Sort of like your "NYC Pizza" confusion downthread, a "decent cup of coffee" can mean a million different things. I prefer bold coffees prepared in a French press, so none of those really qualify as "decent coffee" to me.

                                  But I can confirm that Stockmen's is hot and the pots never sit for long. It's your basic diner/truck stop coffee with the quirk that you'll be only 1/3 done with the cup and the waitress will fly by and top it off before you get your nose out of the newspaper. (Which ruins the cream and sugar-to-coffee ratio if you use cream and sugar).

                                  1. re: schizoidyun

                                    hard times, for sure! now, it's a grungy sort of place, but it also serves a very strong cup of coffee (small cups), decent french press, etc. at about 3 in the morning it's all insomniacs, cab drivers, folks trying to sober up to get home, me... are you good at chess? hard times is the center for street chess masters.... :)

                                    it is a collectively owned place, so the middle-of-the-night, post bar-close service can occasionally be on the surly side, but nothing that a smile and a tip can't fix. interesting vegetarian/vegan tex-mex + breakfast menu, too,

                                    1. re: soupkitten

                                      I stand corrected. I don't know why I mentally glossed over that.

                                2. re: schizoidyun

                                  For 24-hour non-chain restaurants, this thread might be helpful (if a bit old):

                                  For sure, Mickey's is still around (so is the "other" Mickey's on West 7th in St. Paul). I prefer the downtown-St. Paul Mickey's and value the ambience as much as the food.

                                  1. re: schizoidyun

                                    With some foods, I agree, there's lots of room for interpretation - tiramisu, lasagna, bouillabaisse. But NY style pizza is NY style pizza. There's lots of different style pizzas found in NYC, just like there are different styles found in MSP. But there's still one NY style pizza. Some do it well, some don't, but most folks can agree on what that style is supposed to be.

                                    DItto with a cheesesteak. Some are good, some aren't. There's some variance in how the meat is done - some is chopped thin, some sliced. Differences in cheese - Whiz, American, provolone. But the basic elements are the same.

                                    As for the sense of lacking - for NY style pizza, there's some that try, few that do it OK, and none that do it very well. Not to beat a dad horse, but for me, Slice of NY and Andrea's come somewhat close for pizza. For cheesesteaks, many try, all fail, though there's a joint in Dinkytown (in the Dinkytown mall?) that does a fairly decent job, given that he probably gets 10 orders a day, compared to 1000 for a good cheesesteak joint in Philly.

                                    Interesting about the regulations.

                                    24-hour place - you mean Mickey's? The one on W 7th closer to MPLS is leagues better than the one in downtown StP. But that's just me.

                                    1. re: foreverhungry

                                      I think that the bread products - pizza crust, sandwich rolls, bagels, etc. - across the board at your average place in the Twin Cities are decidedly inferior.

                                      1. re: sandylc

                                        Agreed. I think that's a great way of summing it up. With the exception of high quality bakeries that make breads, there's a dearth of the other bread products. Again, I think it's not because there isn't the talent or ingredients, but rather because there isn't the demand. Most folks on the coasts area want sandwiches on decent bread - whether it be a great kaiser or rye or sub roll or other good quality bread. Most folks here are happy with crappy mass produced white bread.

                                          1. re: foreverhungry

                                            I'm from NY and I happened on this thread, and I have to say that I have never known what NY pizza is. I assure you that there are TONS of arguments on the various NY boards about this. The crust at this place is too thick, but over there, it's too thin; this place doesn't have enough cheese, but that place makes its pizza too cheesy. And now, the proliferation of artisinal pizza joints has muddied the water even further since you have corner places having pizzas with fresh mozzarella as well as other ingredients that define the "fancier" pizzerias! You may bemoan your lack of good pizza, but I have to say that I'm not sure if it's NY pizza you're after since I really don't know what it is anymore!!

                                            1. re: roxlet

                                              NYC or NY State? In general the NYC pizza is defined by having a thin crust, baked in a coal or brick oven.

                                              Serious Eats Top Ten:

                                              And of course Lady G has her fave:

                                              1. re: scoopG

                                                I think this is a wide open question - the style you describe is more Neopolitan style, which, while served in NYC, is served in every major city in the US.

                                                The style that, I believe, most people identify with the NYC metro area, is that of the Rays/FamousRays/RaysFamousOriginal/by_the_slice_foldable_eat_as_you_walk style pizza.

                                                Not the style that you are likely to find topped with frisee, a sunnyside up egg, brussels sprouts, or guanciale.

                                                1. re: foreverhungry

                                                  Thin crust Neopolitan style baked in coal or brick ovens? In NYC these type of ovens are no longer allowed to be built. Rays/Original Rays etc. are never mentioned on the Manhattan or OB Board as any possible type of place to enjoy pizza.

                                                  1. re: scoopG

                                                    Re: ovens: I'm not sure what your point is, other than to say that these ovens are no longer being built in NYC because of regulations. Thin crust Neopolitan style pizzas are being served in several MSP pizzerias, all cranked out in wood or coal ovens.

                                                    Re: Rays/Original Rays etc. - I would never claim that Rays or RO or RFO, or any other derivation of the name, is one of the best representations of such a style. Nor would I ever claim that that style of pizza is haute cuisine, just like a cheesesteak isn't haute cuisine. Maybe they're not talked about on Chowhound boards, but it doesn't mean that they aren't popular, and that folks don't have their very strong preferences.

                                                    All pizzas don't have to come out of a wood oven, be topped with artisanal ingredients, and cost >$15 bucks for someone to like it.

                                                    1. re: foreverhungry

                                                      Rays/Original Rays are not what New Yorkers talk about when we talk good NYC pizza - Rays cannot be a part of that discussion. Rays represents the typical NYC neighborhood slice joint with generic thick cardboard crust and gloppy cheese. When visitors ask on the Manhattan Board about pizza, no one is recommending Rays!

                                                      I never mentioned wood ovens. I think coal and brick ovens can reach much higher temps and impart a type of flavor and give the crust a good char. For fire safety, NYC has banned them but existing ones are grandfathered in. I understand Black Sheep in downtown Mpls. may come closest to the Neopolitan NYC style pie.

                                                      1. re: scoopG

                                                        "Rays/Original Rays are not what New Yorkers talk about when we talk good NYC pizza" - Right. That's not the question. Style, not shop.

                                                        "When visitors ask on the Manhattan Board about pizza, no one is recommending Rays!" - Agreed. Again, not the question.

                                                        "I understand Black Sheep in downtown Mpls. may come closest to the Neopolitan NYC style pie." - Not sure what NYC Neopolitan is, but if you mean "Neopolitan", then nope. Punch Pizza in St. Paul is the only MSP pizzeria with the Neopolitan Pizza DOC label. Black Sheep is coal fired, not wood. Strictly speaking, Neopolitan DOC Pizza is wood fired, not coal.

                                                        As an aside, my local favorite is Black Sheep, followed by Punch.

                                        1. re: foreverhungry

                                          I guess my confusion on it is probably more due to lack of knowledge than anything else. I don't know what defines NY-style pizza other than its thinner crust. Maybe this has ended up being because there don't seem to be any standouts, so flavor-wise there's nothing that really needs to be there. Ditto on the cheesesteak. I've had a few at restaurants around and they've generally been pretty mediocre (chewy meat, etc.), but other than good meat, I don't know what would make it more authentic/better.

                                          1. re: schizoidyun

                                            Different folks may have different opinions, but to me there are a few things that define NY style pizza, as opposed to Neopolitan, deep dish, bar style (cracker crust), etc.
                                            1) Thickness - about 1/4 to 3/8 inch thick. Even 3/8 is pushing it, getting a little thick. Closer to a 1/4 inch,
                                            2) Crust - Not crisp, some chew, well browned on bottom
                                            3) Sauce - Not sweet. Not chunky. Just pureed tomatoes, almost like tomato paste but thinned, with a hint of salt, pepper, and maybe some oregano. That's it. Leave the sugar for the cannoli.
                                            4) Crust:sauce:cheese ratio - in balance, meaning not one dominates. If all you taste is cheese, there's too much cheese. We're talking thin layers of each, so much so that when hot, the cheese can slide right off the slice, showing the rippled white crust underneath, with just a thin veneer of sauce through which you can easily see the crust.
                                            5) Cut - in slices, not squares
                                            6) Foldable - thin and flexible enough that you can grab a slice, crease the crust end and fold it, and the tip flops down just a bit.

                                            As for cheesesteaks, there aren't any big secrets:
                                            1) Meat - thin sliced ribeye steak. I suspect lots of local places here use lower quality cuts of meat. Then again, lots of Philly food trucks make great cheesesteaks, and they likely don't use ribeye.
                                            2) Meat#2 - it can be chopped thin, or sliced. Some like it chunkier, in which case you're likely to pull a piece out. Some (like me) like it more chopped
                                            3) The bun - This is a bigger deal than some folks think. Fresh is good - there's only 3 or 4 ingredients in a cheesesteak, so the bread needs to be good. Also, it has to be thick enough to stand up to the juices and not sog through and fall apart, but not so thick that it dominates and all you taste is bread. It's a harder balancing act than many folks realize.
                                            4) The cheese - use whatever you want. Total personal preference.
                                            5) Onions - though not strictly necessary, most folks get fried onions - chopped and browned. Raw is too pungent, carmelized too sweet. There's the right middle ground.
                                            6) Ratio - again, the right ratio of meat:bread:onions:cheese. A few I've had around here are skimpy on the meat, or too heavy on the onions, or use a thick bread.

                                            All this being said, we're talking pizza and cheesesteaks. These aren't perfectly grilled Sockeye salmon, or hand-made tortellini in a homemade chicken broth. It's street food, so I don't want to give the impression they are high cuisine. But at the same time, a well executed cheesesteak or NY style pizza is very, very good. And a poorly executed one is just meh.

                                        2. re: schizoidyun

                                          It might not appeal to absolutely everyone, but the Hard Times Cafe is open until 4 a.m. Which is not 24 hour, but certainly very late night.

                                          1. re: schizoidyun

                                            That's interesting about the Korean tableside BBQ. I didn't realize that it maybe regulated heavily.

                                        3. I wish we had more Eastern European. I love Kramarczuk's for a pierogi fix, but would love more options. I'm not a fan of Nye's for Polish food.

                                          And I really want an in-and-out burger. I want to see what all the fuss is about.

                                          4 Replies
                                          1. re: drew13000

                                            Go to Culver's, order a burger, close your eyes and imagine the fries are better, that they have a secret menu (that we all just order a double-double animal style from anyway) and there is creepy Christian scripture on the bottom of your cup: kapow: In-N-Out.

                                            1. re: Foureyes137

                                              My sentiments exactly, except you forgot "wait in line for a ridiculous amount of time".

                                            2. re: drew13000

                                              Being originally from California, In N Out has embedded itself into the So Cal lifestyle. Is it to die for? No. I've have far and away better burgers. But for a fast food joint, it is pretty nice. Five Guys, Smashburger are similar, although I do lean towards In N Out, must be the Cali Boy in me.

                                              1. re: drew13000

                                                There's a new store in N.E. Minneapolis called Ziach. It's on 17th and Washington St. They carry all kinds of Polish food from Chicago. Big selection of pierogi, sausge and ham.

                                              2. I think the biggest thing that we are missing is the population density to make some of these things feasible. NYC pizza needs the repetition and turnover to make consistently good pizza that doesn't die while sitting under a lamp, or in the window, and also make it reasonable to lower the price because there is more turnover. Same goes for Ramen, steak tacos, good dogs etc. To make everything the right way, there can't be anything reused day to day, and it has to be made from scratch fresh and kept fresh. There are peak moment's in a week that would be able to sustain this thought but not many and they are sporadic.... my 2 cents.

                                                1 Reply
                                                1. re: mitch cumstein

                                                  The Twin Cities has the population - problem is the area is a vast horizontal urban landscape requiring a car to navigate. NYC is vertical, autos not required. Also, NYC is the number one tourist destination in the USA, surpassing 50 million visitors this year for the first time. The Vietnamese scene in the Twin Cities far surpasses what NYC has to offer!

                                                2. I would second a late night korean bbq as well as some shabu shabu, a decent gyro that doesn't require sitting down and the overall burger execution quality just about everywhere (think burger not juicy lucy)
                                                  a real gastropub(a bar with good bar food i not a gastropub, pat's tap)
                                                  and maybe this
                                                  or this

                                                  3 Replies
                                                  1. re: mitch cumstein

                                                    Damn, Mitch, you're setting the bar high! Spotted Pig and Joe Beef are destination food spots. I wouldn't know what to do with myself if we had that kind of casual food and drink spot.

                                                    1. re: Petey McNichols

                                                      What you's be doing with yourself Petey is sitting there eating your deliciousness wondering why this place isn't packed and why you can always get a table.... in theory it would kill here but it wouldn't really kill here...

                                                  2. For me, it continues to be a great deli. Maybe I just haven't been the to the right one, but that is what I would love. Someone concentrating on nothing but great roast beef, turkey, ham, pastrami, etc and the breads to go with it.

                                                    Seems simple, but hasn't happened yet.

                                                    1 Reply
                                                    1. re: BigE

                                                      Totally agree on the great deli. I've lived in Indy, Raleigh and Minneapolis, and the former two have very good delis in the downtown proximity. I haven't found the complete deli package yet in MPLS. I consider MPLS to be better than those other two cities on every other dining attribute.

                                                      I can live with all of the minor shortcomings that come with being in the North and not near a coast. The local food scene is excellent and I never feel compelled to go to a chain restaurant. We shouldn't complain lest we be banished to Omaha or Oklahoma City...