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Best Reuben you've had in the Twin Cities?

I didn't really eat these sandwiches until fairly recently--and man--I was sure missing out all this time! Delicious! But I've only had the sandwich at Cecil's Deli on Cleveland Ave in Highland Park, and I have the distinct impression that place is overrated.

I think there must be better out there.

I'm looking for corned beef that is sliced thick (as opposed to shaved, as Cecil's does it), and MORE of it on the sandwich. The sauerkraut and cheese need to be there, and sauce should be Russian, though I think dijon might be better.

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  1. The best I've had is at Kaladi's in Hudson, WI.

    1. I grew up with Cecil's and love it. Especially the sour cream in the sauerkraut.

      1 Reply
      1. re: Haricotsv2

        Ditto on Cecil's. I also lover their seriously old-fashioned potato salad.

      2. I've had both great and only OK at Victory 44 thick cut meat comes with killer fries. Don't like the new slaw they are putting on it now, it is trying to be a uncured sauerkraut. I have not had it isn quite a while so it might have changed again.

        Victory 44
        2203 44th Ave N, Minneapolis, MN

        3 Replies
        1. re: ibew292

          Oooh, yes... I have heard great things of Victory 44. I must go there and try it out.

          1. re: ibew292

            Wait... am I understanding what you wrote above correctly? They're putting slaw--coleslaw--on their reubens? Not sauerkraut?

            1. re: Special Dish

              I have not had it in a long while. I stopped because it was more like a slaw than a sauerkraut and was hooked on their tasting menu. Wasn't bad just different. I don't know how the make it now. Anyone had one lately?

          2. +1 in the Cecils is HIGHLY overrated camp. Bletch. I had the reuben there not long ago and decided that and everything else is nursing home food. Nothing about anything I ate was good and the reuben was almost inedible. The meat was like shoe leather.

            The Narrows out by Lake Mtka puts chunks of corned beef in their reuben, IIRC. It doesn't work for me because they serve it with some weird overtly mayo type of sauce vs. Russian or thousand island, but it's decent and so is their side of slaw should you choose that.
            You might try the Jake's chain as a closer alternative if you're not into the drive to Navarre.
            Champs used to make a decent reuben, but I haven't been there in several years. I think their meat was sliced.

            The best ones I've had I make at home, that way there's always enough kraut and they're good and sloppy with homemade thousand island dressing--extra for dipping please. It's all about the sour/salty/sweet contrast for me, and it's gotta be on decent/great rye which is getting harder and harder to find. I also do a reuben pizza from my wood-fired oven that is kinda killer.

            1. I've said it here before and I'll say it again - McGarry's Pub in Maple Plain is the place for great corned beef. It has a great fat to meat ratio which renders it juicy and tender. The Reuben comes with big hunks of it on grilled dark rye with sauerkraut, swiss and thousand island dressing. The bread holds up well to the kraut and dressing so it's not a big slopfest.

              The atmosphere at McGarry's is charming in an Irish Pub kind of way. We like to get a table by the fireplace in the bar area. It's a nice way to relax on a rainy or snowy Saturday afternoon.

              3 Replies
              1. re: justalex

                Oh, that sounds very promising... but I just can't justify a 30 mile drive for a reuben sandwich! LOL

                1. re: justalex

                  I can second McGarry's Pub for a lot of reasons.

                  1. re: Davydd

                    I can also vouch for McGarry's. Mac's Industrial in NE Mpls. has a thick sliced Reuben but the problem is, at least the two times I went there, there was very little corned beef in the sandwich.

                2. Cherokee Sirloin in West St. Paul. It is served open faced, but one of the better ones I've had.

                  1. I am no reuben expert but I had an excellent one for lunch last spring at Bank in downtown Minneapolis. They made their own corned beef and it was unbelievably tasty. I usually don't eat a whole sandwich but I ate the whole thing because it was so good.

                    15 Replies
                    1. re: suburban_mom

                      Skinner's hands down. Agree on Cecil's being overrated, overpriced nursing home food.

                      1. re: Fudist

                        I got lost on this thread. Where is Skinner's and why is their Reuben great? Never did think of Cecil's as nursing home food, by the way. Just good old-fashioned comfort food. But I am wanting to find a new Reuben!

                        Funny thing about this thread, though. NO mention of the new Rye in Mpls. With good reason.

                        1. re: SarahInMinneapolis

                          Skinners is on Randolph in St. Paul. I've only their Reuben once, and it was for take-out, but it didn't knock my socks off. Then again, I'm not much of a Reuben lover. I do recall thinking that it had a lot of meat on it.


                          1. re: The Dairy Queen

                            Skinners Reuben has a ton of meat. But yeah I don't think I have ever had a sandwich anywhere that knocked my socks off.

                            1. re: The Dairy Queen

                              It wouldn't even occur to me to get just food from Skinner's. The place seems like a bar, first and foremost, with food being very secondary. I might be wrong--is it the other way around?

                              1. re: Special Dish

                                Skinner's is really 2 places in 1. The restaurant is almost always full of families eating pizza, fried chicken, reuben's...all if which is pretty good. The bar is, well, a bar. Once the dinner crowd is gone, the crowd gets a little suspect...

                                1. re: Special Dish

                                  Skinners is a good place to have in your neighborhood but I wouldn't drive across town for it. I happen to like their fried chicken and toast.


                                  1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                    Agreed. I live in Mac Groveland so Skinners is pretty close and convenient. Everything I have had there is good but if I wasn't in the area I wouldn't make the trip.

                                    1. re: Fudist

                                      Maybe I didn't get a good batch, but the fried chicken at Skinner's really let me down. They obviously take their time and have pride in it, but the breading seemed very shake and bake to me and the meat quality just seemed poor. The flavor was not good.

                                    2. re: The Dairy Queen

                                      I'm in Minnetonka so I did drive across town for it and I thought it was a good enough Reuben to back for. The problem with Skinners is the place is filthy.

                                      1. re: mifish

                                        Very true. It's really a dive.

                                        Really? You thought that sandwich was worth driving from Minnetonka for? Wow. What did you like about it? You're the second person in this thread to recommend it, but all we know about this sandwich so far is is that there's a ton of meat, (and that comment was from me, an admitted non-Reuben lover! ) Let's hear more details from someone who likes it, please!

                                        Kathie Jenkins at the Pioneer Press also recommends Skinner's Reuben, by the way.


                                        1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                          I had heard about Skinners and since I love Reubens I took a ride over. I've had Reubens in *almost* every place that serves them in town and too many of them are put together wrong. Some have no cheese, some have no dressing, some have too little corned beef, some used wet saurkraut, some come on ungrilled bread, some are on undergrilled (soggy) bread, some are revisionist. So my criteria is pretty basic: the sandwich has to be put together correctly and it has to be big and it has to be traditional. And by big I mean you have to pull some of the corned beef out and eat it separately in order to fit the sandwich in your mouth. Skinner's fit those criteria so I was happy. Plus it came with fries instead of chips! Sadly, this article appeared in the StarTrib about a week after I was there.

                                          I thought another very good Reuben was at Bunny's in St. Louis Park. Culver's sells a Reuben, too. It's not very good, but it's not bad in a pinch!

                                          1. re: mifish

                                            Thanks for spelling out your criteria.

                                            That strib link is rather disturbing. Surprised to see WA Frost on the list!


                                      2. re: The Dairy Queen

                                        I'm sorry. This made me laugh. I don't think I've ever seen a toast recommendation before. LOL

                                        1. re: Seige

                                          Oh, well, also check out Mancinis and Obbs. For toast. ;-) Also, Hell's Kitchen. Not for the toast, but for the stuff you get to put on the toast.


                            2. I suspect most of you are not old enough to have experienced the Reuben at the long closed Bernie's Deli in St. Louis Park. That one was the best in the Twin Cities by far.

                              5 Replies
                              1. re: Davydd

                                So true. Why can we not have a place like that now? I was hoping that Rye would fit the bill but last time I was there it did not. Anyone had something good there? There parking lot has a lot of cars in it.

                                1. re: Davydd

                                  You're right, I'm probably not old enough to know about Bernie's. But I am old enough to remember the Lincoln Del that used to be on Excelsior, and the other location off 494 in Bloomington. I wonder if they used to have a good reuben? Seems like a place that would. I miss their borscht.

                                  1. re: Special Dish

                                    The Lincoln Dels all closed a few years after I moved to the Twin Cities, probably around the mid-to-late 1990s. I had two friends who worked there and invited a crew of us there for one of the last nights. The chefs piled corn beef HIGH on a sandwich for me - I measured it from the bottom of my chin to my eyes. Unfortunately I didn't get an actual rueben but the sandwich was outstanding nonetheless. I wish that I'd have discovered that place sooner.

                                    1. re: GutGrease

                                      Yes, I do remember the Del's TALL sandwiches. I think I also remember they were sliced into quarters, like club sandwiches typically are, with a long toothpick with that colored plastic frizzy on the end.

                                      I also remember seeing like 4-layer tall cakes in the bakery case.

                                      It was sort of an odd place. But the one on Excelsior used to be packed at lunch hour. I think I was last there back in 1998, probably a year or two before that whole block was leveled for the condominium/retail complex that currently houses Trader Joe's.

                                    2. re: Special Dish

                                      The original Lincoln Del was on Lake Street (where it forks off from Highway 7) just a block east of Bernie's. They had a good Reuben as well but Bernie's Reuben and their onion rings were better. Bernie's was an absolute old Jewish delicatessen classic. Lincoln Del was more hip and modern. They built another Lincoln Del on the southwest quadrant of Highway 12 (now I-394) and Highway 100 and a third in Bloomington. All are gone sad to say. Having both Lincoln Del and Bernie's just a few blocks of my home was Heaven especially for the pastries. Everything today in the Twin Cities is a shadow of those two. Any young restaurateur would not know how to recreate them as they would have no way of measuring and comparing. BTW, I have New York friends who feel much the same about Jewish delicatessens in NYC as well.

                                  2. You should try Mac's Industrial's version of the Reuben. It is the best I have had in the TC - chunks (as opposed to sliced) corned beef, just the right proportions of meat/cheese/kraut and grilled bread that is not greasy. The Victory 44 version was once a close second, but the last few times I had it was not good - the flavors were off and it was cooked on a panini press. If you go to Mac's and like spicy onion rings, get the Rings of Fire - ultra thin onions lightly battered and fried. Spicy, salty, oniony goodness.

                                    5 Replies
                                    1. re: SkaTmon

                                      Had to look up Mac's Industrial. Looks like it's at 312 Central Ave SE, so that is definitely nice and close. They describe their reuben thusly: "Slow roasted pulled corned beef, topped with sauerkraut, Thousand Island dressing and Swiss cheese on grilled marble rye bread. 'Voted Best Reuben in Town' by everyone who isn't an idiot. $9.50." Might have to stop in there.

                                      1. re: Special Dish

                                        Mac's Industrial used to be across the street before they built the monster Lunds/hi-rise building. It was MacNamera's. They used to have great mushroom & swiss burgers. I've only been to Mac's Industrial once since they took over the bar/restaurant that used to be there. It was good, so I wouldn't doubt that they have a good rueben too.

                                        1. re: Special Dish

                                          LOL. iirc that menu description refers to a city pages "best of" feature on reubens, where the popular consensus was that mac's was the best, or among the best, reuben in town-- but the critic, rachel hutton, chose to go w another establishment's reuben, and her reasoning came down to something like there was too much meat on the sandwich at mac's, and a sandwich should have more bread than meat, or something. didn't we talk about this in an old thread? anybody?

                                          the reuben at mac's is very good imo.

                                        2. re: SkaTmon

                                          I finally stopped in at Mac's yesterday. It's been a while. I had their lunch reuben, which is a half sandwich plus one side. The reuben was tasty, and as advertised, surprisingly not greasy. I was impressed.

                                          1. re: GutGrease

                                            I stopped by Macs this afternoon. Yes, it was definitely the most delicious Reuben i've had in a long time. I liked the rings of fire about a quarter of the way in and then I had to stop. They were far too salty. Don't get them unless you're drinking beer and are very hungry. But that Reuben. Yes.

                                        3. My fave is the Black Forest Inn. Good amount of corned beef. Crispy grilled bread. Lots of sauce. Oh and a big a$$ Hacker Pschorr Dark on tap makes it a great meal.

                                          1 Reply
                                          1. re: erics667

                                            Excellent suggestion, thanks. I haven't been to Black Forest "Inn ages". LOL

                                          2. I haven't been there in years, but back in my grad student days I was a big fan of The Reuben at Stub & Herb's in Stadium Village. House cured corned beef, nice and fatty (but not overly so), and nice potent rye bread. Anyone had that one recently?

                                            1 Reply
                                            1. re: keithinmpls

                                              I have never been to Stub & Herbs ever. Something always turned me off about the place for some reason. Probably not really fair.

                                            2. Anyone had the version at Key's? I went to the WBL location Tuesday for lunch and one of my co-workers raved about the reuben. It was on the thick cut (1/4" or slightly larger) side and the meat looked quite good.

                                              1. Crossroads has the best one and I always get a cup of their Matzo Ball Soup instead of fries... so so good!

                                                1. Tonka gal from many moons ago...I remember going to Lincoln del in ST Louis park....still trying to find one in Houston

                                                  1. I don't eat Reubens but I had dinner with friends at Stanley's NE a few weekds ago and everyone agreed they serve an outstanding Reuben. They make a good pork chop too.


                                                    1. I had a wonderful reuben yesterday at Gigi's in Minneapolis. Please note that this cafe will have a new name soon.

                                                      1. I've really enjoyed the Reuben at Wilde Roast the last few times I've had it. I had to take a look at their menu to check, and they describe the sandwich as having "special sauce" rather than Russian dressing, but I still like it.

                                                        1. Merlins Rest 3601 E Lake St Mpls
                                                          I love Ruebens and this is the best ever.
                                                          The Neighborhood Cafe on Selby in St, Paul is a close second.
                                                          They both slow cook the corned beef and place it on the sandwich in chunks.

                                                            1. For me, in terms of authenticity it's Morts and nothing else really comes close.

                                                              A few place like V44 will do an Rueben inspired sandwich, but if you are looking for something that you would find in New York, its morts by a mile

                                                              3 Replies
                                                              1. re: DukeFan

                                                                Mort's failed the authenticity test with the bread, first they asked me what kind of bread I wanted, of course I wanted rye, then it came with some kind of ersatz rye swirled bread that was sliced about 3/4 inch thick. Regular sliced sour Jewish rye will do fine, thanks.

                                                                1. re: DukeFan

                                                                  The fact that Mort's is still open is a mystery to me and proves that either I apparently know nothing about restaurants or the Twin Cities knows nothing about delis. I tried their Reuben and I left half of it uneaten. The bread wasn't rye, the corned beef was tastless and tough and while Reubens aren't the neatest sandwiches in the world, this one, even though I ordered it closed, was such a sloppy mess that the only way I could eat it was to open it up and use a fork. This is just my opinion, but I think Culver's has a better Reuben than Mort's.

                                                                  1. re: mifish

                                                                    We went to Mort's once when it opened. Didn't finish our food and will never go back. Terrible.

                                                                2. I love Ward 6's over on Payne Avenue. Not sure it meets all the authenticity tests that have been posed here, but it's one damn fine sandwich.