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Jun 9, 2012 01:39 PM

Mendota Heights--any interesting cheap-ish eats?

I searched through old messages, and came up with very little. I'm looking for reasonably-priced (less than $15/person) infant-friendly restaurants in or very near Mendota Heights (. It will be for a single late lunch/early dinner.

I was hoping to find "real" Mexican (as opposed to Tex-Mex), Somalian, Thai. . . something like that would be great, though I'd be OK with pretty much anything that's delicious and isn't a national chain. Even a good burger place that isn't a bar would be great.

Osteria I Nonni is out of our price range. Sage Market appears to be closed and I can't find any information about it's replacement, Mendoberri.

My friend will likely bring her one-year old child, so the infant-friendly part is pretty important.

I'm sort of considering Punch or On's Thai Kitchen--they're both less than 15 minutes from MH, but I'm concerned that may still be too far a drive for my friend.

Any other suggestions?

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  1. Teresa's is OK.

    anybody been to steak night at the Vasatka-Goers WWII VFW Post 6690 ? they are at 1323 Sibley Memorial Highway Mendota, MN.

    in any case i like On's Thai Kitchen best.

    by the way Teresa's is only a semi-national chain...

    2 Replies
    1. re: zfwp

      How about Los Arcos? It's in West St. Paul, very close to Mendota Hts. We like their food. DD, who's been in Mexico a lot, says it's fairly authentic Mexican.

    2. The original comment has been removed
      1. I have heard good things about Beirut, but have not been there myself. You also are not far from Burrito Mercado.

        1. I'll echo the Burrito Mercado thought, I'm also a fan of the Taco House down that way. The Coop in South St. Paul has amazing fried chicken - and it's close to Mendota Heights.

          1. I'd go to Teresa's. They serve the best carnitas I've ever tasted. Order them with sides of sliced avocado, tomato, and cilantro; put these into your tortillas along with the delicious pork, and make yourself the BEST tacos you'll ever have.

            14 Replies
            1. re: Freeze666

              Dissent. Teresa's is your standard local chain Mexican. If the idea was to stay away from Tex-Mex, this would have to be a worse option. I can't imagine anyone thinking the carnitas are better than a couple of miles away at El Burrito Mercado. More fresh tortillas, fresh vegetables, multiple cheeses, salsas, and so on. To each their own I guess.

              From Mendota Heights, it's so easy to get just about anywhere in the West St. Paul area. Gives you all of the Mexican places around El Burrito Mercado. Beirut, mentioned by kevin47 is good.

              Follow @tcstreetfood and every morning you'll get a listing of the food trucks in St. Paul. Wednesdays (I think) they do the weekly food truck court. You can get there within 5-10 minutes from any point in Mendota Heights.

              Mendoberri was fine the one time I tried it. I wouldn't go out of my way for it.

              1. re: MSPD

                As a Mexican American born and raised on the West Side of St Paul I think I need to chime in here. El Burrito Mercado's Carnitas are good but Teresa's are leaps and bounds better. I haven't returned to El Burrito since I have tried Teresa's last year. While on the subject Pineda Tacos also has better Authentic Mexican than El Burrito. It is located on Robert Street in the old Embers building.

                1. re: MSPD

                  You OBVIOUSLY haven't tried the carnitas at both places.

                  Try the carnitas at Teresa's and tell me that they're not the best you've had.

                  1. re: Freeze666

                    If the carnitas are the same as the ones I had at Teresa's Lakeville location within the last six months, I respectfully disagree.

                    Andale in Bloomington, Cinco de Mayo at 37th and Nicollet in south Mpls, and the unknown Mexican market next to Richfield Floral on 66th in Richfield (I can't even remember the name, but I've had the carnitas a few times) are higher up on my list for grabbing carnitas, fresh tortillas and whatever accoutrements you want in my opinion. This is a frequent meal for me. But....that doesn't help the OP, so I guess I'll just stick with what I said earlier. Neither are horrible, but I prefer EBM.

                    BTW, I'm Polish-Ukrainian American married to a blond Scandinavian. If that somehow makes me more or less an authority on which carnitas taste good, I figured I'd put it out there.

                    re: Pineda, I agree that Pineda is good, but I've had a few disappointments at the Robert Street location. Their Minneapolis spots seem more consistent. I'm not sure if that's due to better traffic or what, but I've had some dud meals at Pineda on Robert (albeit clearly not enough to have me stop going there). Unfortunately what I thought was the best of the Pineda locations (Lake Street next to the Hiawatha light rail) closed a long time ago. I'd be curious to hear from others that hit all of their different locations if there's any merit to that or if it's just my bad luck with that particular spot.

                    1. re: MSPD

                      hey! if you want a chink's perspective i thought Teresa's was pretty good.

                      1. re: MSPD

                        Is that the same Pineda that is in the strip mall on the north side Lake Street just west of the Hiawatha Station? Every time I drive up Lake Street, which is pretty often, I tell myself I need to stop in. The signage is still up and I buzzed by the storefront itself a couple of months ago to see if they were open for breakfast (they weren't) and it sure looked like there was a restaurant operating there. Is this the same spot?

                        I've not been impressed by the carnitas at EBM, but it's been at least 5-6 years since I've had them there. I haven't tried Teresas, but apparently I should. And I'm decended from Royalty of the Dairy variety if that makes any difference. ;-).


                        1. re: The Dairy Queen

                          While some of the menu is your standard, americanized BS you can find at countless Mexican chains, you can't go wrong with the Carnitas at Teresa's. I've never had better. The deliciously savory, slightly sweet pork is truly the best mexican food you can get.

                          Be warned the portion is HUGE! I don't know many who could eat it by themselves, and the 3 tortillas they give you with it is nowhere near enough. My wife and I always share an order and get one extra order of tortillas, along with the sides of avocado, tomato, and cilantro I order to suit my fancy.

                          I'm talking myself into going there tonight! Sooooo yummy...

                          1. re: Freeze666

                            I love the way they come to the table with a little char on the outside.

                          2. re: The Dairy Queen

                            There are a few Pineda's around the Metro but the one I spoke of is located in West St Paul. Teresa's are divine. Juicy, flavorful shredded pork with just the right crispiness on the outside.

                            1. re: Fudist

                              Yep, Pineda #2 or #3 (can't remember which), right on Robert St. by JT's Hamburgers, Dino's, etc. Back when I worked up the road a few miles by the river I would swing down to that Pineda for lunch. I really loved their burritos, although I don't recall any specific meat being outstanding.

                              I'll have to check out Teresa's next time I am around that area. Never been, and by the sounds of it I am missing out.

                              Edit: Is Teresa's a chain? I just checked their website and it looks like there is another location in Lakeville and Golden Valley.


                              1. re: magz0r

                                magz0r, yes, it's a chain. From the sounds of it, there's a big difference from the Mendota Heights one to the Lakeville one. The carnitas at Lakeville are standard stuff with run-of-the-mill tortillas and so on. Nothing at all like freeze and fudist are describing so maybe the MH location is much better.

                            2. re: The Dairy Queen

                              Thanks TDQ. You know, I just checked and I NEVER knew they re-opened in the strip mall behind. It used to be a free-standing place closer to the street. Learn something new every day. I'm usually headed west at that point, so I never noticed.

                              1. re: MSPD

                                OK, next time I'm in the area I'll make a special point to swing by and make sure they really are open...


                        2. re: MSPD

                          I went to Mendoberri for a piece of pie. They get a delivery (I think it is weekly) from the Stockholm Pie Company. I had some of their pies at the Stockholm, and found out recently they get them at Mendoberri. Unfortunately, the only slice they had left was a double lemon which was probably a week old. The delivery I had been told they were expecting was a few hours late. As the one slice of pie was $6.50, I would never buy it again unless I was there within a day of delivery.