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Minneaplis suggestions for family of 5

We are a family of 5 (3 teenage kids) and need some suggestions for restaurants while we are visiting there Easter weekend. Trying to keep the cost at a moderate level that has food the kids will like.
Any suggestions would be great. Ive made reservations for brunch Sunday so thats done; just need a lunch and 2 dinner suggestions. Thank you so much in advance :)

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  1. Where in Minneapolis are you staying, and will you have a car?

    1 Reply
    1. re: KTFoley

      We are at the Hilton Garden Inn Downtown at 1101 4th Ave.S. We will have our car.

    2. for lunch i would try Birchwood Cafe or Be'wiched deli. For dinner I would try Brassa or the Thai restaurant Sen Yai Sen Lek .Sen Yai Sen Lak has a great kids menu, and Brassa is family style meat and three type place with lots of great choices.

      1 Reply
      1. re: softserve

        As you have 3 teenagers, I suggest a place that has good food and would be interesting to them...Bryant Lake Bowl! A combination of cool diner and classic 50's bowling and an interesting and hip crowd.


      2. Masa on Nicollet Mall would be a good choice. Walkable from the Hilton, and the food and cocktails are very good. It is higher-end Mexican food. The guacamole is tasty, and they have salads and seafood dishes. The interior is nice.

        1. Thank you so much for the referrals! If anyone is ever in Madison WI, I know some great places to eat here :)

          1. I would suggest a visit to the Midtown Market at East Lake Street and just east of Chicago Avenue. It's less than two miles from your hotel, just south of the downtown area. It's inexpensive and family oriented. Great people watching. You can choose anything from "street food" to award winning cuisine. Welcome to MInneapolis, and I hope you have a great time.

            1 Reply
            1. re: bettylarue

              I had that on my list as a place to go not thinking to eat! Thanks so much for the suggestion :)

            2. I chose M Street Cafe in St.Paul for Easter Brunch. If you know of one closer to our hotel that would be comparable and takes reservations that would be great as well.

              4 Replies
              1. re: trixie09

                I love dining at the St. Paul Hotel, but I have only eaten in the restaurant at the front door, not the other one. I would assume you would be happy there. There is a place in downtown Minneapolis called Hell's KItchen, where they specialize in breakfasts and the food is great, but I wouldn't call it holiday brunch exactly.

                1. re: trixie09

                  I've done Easter at M Street. Really quite decent (although it is in the hotel basement -- no windows). Typical "nice" midwestern brunch. Not gourmet, but the food is well-prepared, the selection is large, and the service is friendly.

                  A similar experience closer to your hotel would be Nicollet Island Inn.

                  1. re: Michael Florey

                    Better view at Nicollet Island Inn, for sure. I've never been blown away by their food but haven't been disgusted either. It's good for large family brunches, we used to do that, until my mother finally admitted that their interpretations of classics were too modern for her (when she orders eggs benedict she doesn't want the hollandaise to be anything other than plain old-fashioned hollandaise, for example). But it's a lovely old space and I'm never sure, exactly, how they survive.

                    We did mother's day brunch and Grand Cafe in Minneapolis last year and that was really nice. Basically a neighborhood (Lyndale? Kingfield? I'm a little fuzzy on south Minneapolis neighborhoods!) spot, not in downtown. I always like to see different neighborhoods when I'm not in my home town .... and this includes Minneapolis since I live in St Paul (ha!).

                    Otherwise, +1 for Brasa. Depending on if your kids like Asian food, I'd recommend one of the Pho places - perhaps Quang on Nicollet, weekends they have the sea bass pho that everyone raves about. I don't know how much Vietnamese you have in Madison but we do it very well here in the Twin Cities! that strecth of NIcollet is called "Eat Street" - lots of good places. Maybe if the teenagers want to eat somewhere else... ??? don't know how old they are! :) have fun!

                  2. re: trixie09

                    We have friends in Madison. Love going to your Farmer's Market at the capitol every year! But I digress....

                    For Easter do you want a buffet or just a nice meal? I have had the best holiday meals at Cosmos which wouldn't be too far from your hotel. The only caveat is that it's typically not cheap. Prix fixe for $45/pp, but it's really good food. I've had some horrendous holiday meals out (cold turkey at Kincaid's in St. Paul for Thanksgiving one year... blech!), so I know some places are not at their best on a holiday. Cosmos has always been spectacular.

                    As for a fun place to take the kids - we took our niece to Victory 44 for her 15th birthday and she LOVED it. She's a little bit of a foodie though and pretty adventurous. That said, they have a darn good burger that her 10 year old sister also loved, so there's good stuff there for everyone.

                    Have fun here and I'll hold you to that Madison recs offer! ;)

                  3. I know this isn't an actual meal, but you really ought to take them to get ice cream at one of the great ice cream shops here - Izzy's is my favorite, but Sebastian Joe's or Grand Ole Creamery are also excellent.

                    7 Replies
                    1. re: gildeddawn

                      +1 for ice cream. Though I'd put Pumphouse Creamery far above any of the others you mentioned. Izzy's, Sonny's, and Seb Joe's all have some good flavors. Grand Ole Creamery is, in my opinion, thoroughly forgettable.

                      1. re: mtullius

                        And Pumphouse won't cost you $50+ for 5 as opposed to Izzy's.

                        1. re: semanticantics

                          Get five single sugar-or-cake cones at Izzy's, rather than five double scoops in handmade waffle cones, and it'll be about half that amount. And well worth it, in my opinion.

                          1. re: AnneInMpls

                            Agreed. I get a "Double" cup every time I'm there. $6.50 (give or take 0.10) after tax. That's $32.50.

                            I don't want to ignite the "best" ice cream firestorm, but Pumphouse and Izzy's may as well be two completely different foods. Just like the burgers and pizzas, it's doing a disservice to send people there on a recommendation without describing the product (Izzy's = decadent, in-your-face, rich; Pumphouse = local ingredients, very very subtle flavors, not rich; Sebastian Joe's = in between but closer to Izzy's; Grand 'Ol Creamery = more "traditional" ice cream).

                            Pumphouse doesn't interest me at all -- I find it tremendously uninspired and like more flavor options when I go for ice cream. Izzy's is, as far as I am concerned, as good as any ice cream I've had anywhere. But that's just as much my personal preference as anything else.

                            1. re: MSPD

                              Thanks, MSPD, for a great summary of the Twin Cities' premium ice cream spots! Me, I believe that a kiddie-size (or Izzy-size) scoop of top ice cream is always better than a ton of the more mediocre stuff. And i agree with you on your personal preferences - but again, that's a personal thing.

                              To get back to the OP's request for "teenager friendly" food - it completely depends on your teenagers, of course, as well as where you're staying in Minneapolis. I assume your kids aren't into exotica (like the best sushi or trying Hmong or Somali food), or else you would have mentioned it. So, assuming the standard burgers/pizza fare, I highly recommend the following inexpensive-to-moderate places:

                              - Trotters in St. Paul for awesome burgers (buffalo,not beef), great salads, and fabulous baked goods. Plus, it's on the same block as Izzy's Ice Cream Cafe.

                              - Brasa for chicken, pork, braised beef, and and fabulous southern sides. There's one in N.E. Minneapolis, close to the downtown area, as well as one in St. Paul (Grand Ave).

                              - Pizza at a place like Punch or Nea or Lola. Punch is all over the Twin Cities (the closest one to downtown Mpls is in on Hennepin in N.E. Mpls, just past the river). Pizza Nea is virtually next door. Pizzeria Lola is in S. Mpls, I think (I've never been there).

                              - Lunch or a very casual dinner at Birchwood Cafe (near Franklin Ave & West River Blvd in Mpls) - this is one of my favorite casual places for any age or culinary preference. They always have a great - and very creative - turkey burger on the menu. Plus some interesting pizza options (including a standard pepperoni pizza that's one of my favorites). Best of all, your kids might spy some aging hippies like myself for a historical/cultural lesson!

                              But if you REALLY want hippies - aging or current - you should go to the Seward Cafe on Franklin near Minnehaha (in Minneapolis). They have the best black beans in town. Wave if you see me - I'm a very aging hippie wearing a tie-dye T-shirt and grooving to those awesome black beans.

                              1. re: MSPD

                                I completely agree that Izzy's and Pumphouse are very different, though I'd disagree with your descriptions a bit. Pumphouse's ice cream is certainly "rich" in the sense of containing a lot of butterfat. But what I think you're getting at is that Pumphouse generally uses less sugar. Some of the flavors are subtle, but others are practically bursting with whatever flavor is featured. Especially the sorbets, which to me are like eating a concentrated form of the fruit in question.

                                Personal taste, as you imply, is the key-- for me, Pumphouse is the only option, and Izzy's doesn't do anything at all, such that I've quit trying it..

                                1. re: mtullius

                                  The take-away message, for the OP and anyone else reading along, is that the Twin Cities is so blessed with fantastic, creative gourmet ice cream shops that we can afford to argue about which one is best!

                                  Go to any place described above and you'll have great ice cream. Enjoy!

                      2. A good lunch spot would be Black Sheep Pizza on N Washington. Our family of 5 really liked it.