1st time in Minneapolis-St. Paul, looking for breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks - all for under $10 a pop.
Never been to the twin cities and will be around for a long visit, hence the search for the less expensive. In Los Angeles, we have a fair share of cheap eats but some of my traveling companions prefer the less gritty - so some ambience is greatly appreciated - obviously at this price point, clean and inviting is fine. Lastly, would love to find places that have memorable owners/staff. Folks who maybe go the extra mile when they know you are an out of towner.
Thanks so much.
For a great snack, stop in Two Smart Cookies in St. Paul. The two women that own the shop are hilarious. They've got a variety of daily cookies and weekly specials, like red velvet cake, peanut butter hideaway, and usually a bar or two. Yesterday I bought a cinnamon roll bar. It was excellent.
Some that come to mind:
Harry Singh's on Nicollet Ave in Mpls - Very friendly guy and tasty Caribbean food.
Quang's, also Nicollet Ave - Tasty and cheap Vietnamese food.
iPho by Saigon is also very good as Jim mentioned.
Nook or Blue Door Pub for burgers. Both in St. Paul, and get quite busy.
Kafe 421 in Dinkytown is great and has reasonably priced Mediterranean food if you stick with the small plates and sandwiches.
Shish on Grand Ave in St. Paul is also solid Mediterranean food.
Otherwise, hit up the Midtown Global Market - plenty of reasonable ethnic eats in a unique setting.
Super memorable owners, but limited lunch hours only:
Russian Tea House St. Paul: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Russian-Tea-House/191899097497921
Lunch at Babanis, the owner is quite a character:
The owners at Himalayan are really sweet:
Brasa! (locations in both St. Paul and Mpls) http://brasa.us/menus_eat.aspx
(no owner in sight, alas, but great food)
Or, happy hour at Jasmine 26, Minneapolis? The happy hour menu is available almost all the time... The owner is quite a character.
How about Happy Hour at Ngon Bistro, St. Paul?
(I don't think the owners are especially available).
Maverick's, St. Paul for roast beef or brisket sandwiches (everything else not worthwhile)
Tacos at Sea Salt Eatery (this is in a picnic shelter in a local park--maybe a little rustic for your friends, not sure), Minneapolis:
Snacks, Izzy's Ice cream, St. Paul
It's been forever since I've been to Cafe Latte, but I'll bet it would fit your budget:
Colossal Cafe, breakfast:
Maria's corn pancakes are great for breakfast:
Bravo Bakery St. Paul for fantastic cream puffs, if they aren't sold out:
Breakfast at Sun Street Breads: http://www.sunstreetbreads.com/
Lunch or dinner at On's Thai Kitchen (no web site)
Tacos at Andale: http://www.andaletaqueriaymercado.com...
And if you do decide to go to Blue Door Pub, happy hour prices on beer (2-6) are among the best in town ($2/pint).
Monday through Friday, try to find a food truck. Some will run you $12 or more, but for guaranteed under $10, I'd hit Hola Arepa (also open weekends at farmers markets), Nate Dogs (can't think of a nicer, chattier food truck owner), Foxy Falafel, or Neatos Burgers. Here is one directory: http://mspstreetfood.com/food-trucks/ and another http://heavytable.com/minneapolis-st-....
I'd also echo the recommendation of hitting Midtown Global Market - especially a sweet treat from Salty Tart.
Shish, Maverick's Roast Beef, Black Sheep and Punch, mentioned above are all regular stops for me.
I'm worried Shish might be faltering. During my last visit about 10 days ago, I ordered a veggie burger. It was so burnt I actually had to send my food back, which I can count on one hand the times I've done that. The replacement wasn't much better. First, they just replaced the patty, they returned my once-bitten bun and plate of fries with ketchup on it. They did dump some fresh fries on top, but I thought this was exceedingly lazy. I thought of "Hell's Kitchen" and Gordon Ramsay going berserk for such a move. I ate about two more bites of the veggie burger which tasted like mud. I gave up.
I like Maverick's, and in that same vein--but in Bloomington instead of St. Paul--is Wally's Roast Beef. Those sandwiches are delicious and cheap, and the staff is SO nice. It's kind of in a weird location in an office building, and they have kind of weird hours, so it's only an option for lunch Monday-Saturday.
Sea Salt for tacos (I prefer the scallop or calamari) and a Surly! (the beer may put you a bit over $10)
Masa in DT Mpls has a great $10 "choose three" lunch, but with tax, tip and drink it would put you over $10
just about any food truck, but Hola Arepas is a favorite
Sonora Grill in Midtown Global Market