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Sep 11, 2012 07:28 PM

Landmark Restaurants in Minneapolis

I have relatives visiting from San Diego soon who are looking for lunch at a "landmark" Minneapolis restaurant. Any ideas? Holes-in-the-wall would NOT be appropriate here.

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  1. I ... don't exactly know what is meant by a landmark restaurant..

    Landmark, as in a recognizable building? The new restaurant at the Weisman, or Sea Change at the Guthrie, are restaurants in landmark buildings. Downtown, the restaurnat in the Crystal Court that was in the Mary Tyler Moore Show's opening credits might qualify.

    Landmark, as in a recognizable restaurant? Are any of our James Beard nominees/winners open for lunch?

    2 Replies
    1. re: KTFoley

      Slightly off topic, there's a restaurant at the Weisman now?

      1. re: jaycooke

        My mistake ... that was a little brain lapse on the name of the museum by the sculpture garden. I meant the Walker.

    2. Well, the newly-remodeled Murray's comes to mind. So does Travail, which has made a few national lists as a sole Minnesota representative. Or the restaurants of James Beard Award winners, like Isaac Becker's 112 Eatery. Maybe Stewart Woodman's Heidi's 2.0 or Lenny Russo's Heartland, though they do not have quite the national profile Travail does.

      I'm guessing that despite its physical status as a landmark, Mickey's Diner is out of the running. :-)

      1 Reply
      1. re: steve_in_stpaul

        Murray's would be a good idea. It does meet those criteria for "lunch" "landmark" "Minneapolis".

      2. Wow, I used the wrong lingo!! Landmark as in a place that is established and has been in business for a very long time - their request.....

        Sorry about that!!!

        13 Replies
        1. re: sandylc

          How about your fav Lucias? Or are you thinking along the lines of The Lexington?


          1. re: The Dairy Queen

            Oops, I think you know me too well....!!!

            We are considering Lucia's, but were hoping for other ideas.

            Is the Lex good now or bad now? It's so hard to tell from the press these days......?

            1. re: sandylc

              Don't know, alas, since it doesn't seem to be the place to bring a toddler. It was written up in (I think) Bon Appetit in (I think) in the last year or two as a restaurant with staying power. Might be the sort of place your friends have in mind.

              Not that I've been to either of these places recently, either, but there's also WA Frost and Moscow on the Hill (has it actually been there forever or does it just seem like it?). Forepaugh's but that's always a crapshoot food-wise.They had a "hip" menu going there for awhile that seems to have been abandoned as far as I can tell from their website.

              DId you mean Minneapolis, Minneapolis or will the saintly city work, too?


              1. re: The Dairy Queen

                MPLS, MPLS.....they are cabbing it and are staying at the Hyatt...otherwise, the WA Frost idea would be a good one.

                1. re: sandylc

                  Jax Cafe in NE Minneapolis would be an excellent choice. The cab ride isn't long from downtown, and the place has been in business for about 80 years. They have a great patio if the weather is nice, and the indoor dining room is very sophisticated. It's a terrific lunch spot worthy of the word "landmark."

                2. re: The Dairy Queen

                  OK, this is probably so not what your friends had in mind, but I've been meaning to post about Fika at the ASI, especially vowing to mention it in response to anyone who asked for lunch or coffee recommendations in Minneapolis. The ASI is certainly a landmark, though Fika itself is located in atrium in the new addition. They open at 7am on weekdays, (later on weekends) and are open for lunch every day but Monday. They do dinner (which I think means they serve the lunch menu through the dinner hour) on Wednesdays, though I've never been. Closed Mondays.

                  For lunch, the food is beautiful and delicious and unique, but served in the teensiest most delicate portions. Don't go if you're famished or looking for something hearty or have my husband along with you.

                  Lovely soups (I think the day we went it was cauliflower with a swirl of basil or dill oil or something similar), light open faced sandwiches such as thinly sliced beets with goat cheese on a slice of some substantial-looking rye bread; roast beef piled with halves of tiny golden tomatoes; a small plate of gravlox topped with paper thin slices of red onion and a drizzle of something herby, probably dill oil + baby potatoes the size of marbles. Clearly I should have written about this sooner while I still remembered something of my meals but hopefully you're getting some kind of accurate impression.

                  Breakfast is good, too. Scones, quiche, that sort of thing, if you just want something to have with your coffee. They have an espresso machine and as far as I can tell (being completely unsophisticated about coffee among other things), they know how to use it.

                  It's all cafeteria style, so again, might not be what your friends had in mind, but it is lovely and different. And the adjoining mansion that is the heart of the ASI is really old, located on once-stately Park Ave in Minneapolis.

                  I agree with others that Murray's is probably the place to send them.


                  1. re: The Dairy Queen

                    Ooh! Thank you! I heard about it and have been wondering how it is. Not great for this group, but I am surely headed there when I am able.

                    Don't you have to get up with the offspring in like 5 or so hours?

                    1. re: sandylc

                      Yeah, I really should pack it now, but this is my only time to surf, except for a few stolen minutes here or there during the day while waiting for my print jobs to spew forth.

                      But now you know why I so enamored of FIka's 7am coffee.


                    2. re: The Dairy Queen

                      Sounds absolutely wonderful. We are putting this on our list. Thanks, DQ.

              2. re: sandylc

                Lunch availability in Minneapolis narrows it down. I would say Vincent, Zelo and Murray's.

                The Monte Carlo has been around forever. Tastes like it, too, but if established is the criterion.

                1. re: sandylc

                  Ohhhh -- a Minneapolis equivalent of the St. Paul Grill!

                  1. re: KTFoley

                    That's exactly what came to mind for me, but only after I pondered whether there was any decent chow/cute cafe in the Landmark Center. (None of which I am aware, was my conclusion, though you can see the Landmark Center from Meritage, and I wouldn't hesitate to recommend that to anyone. Meritage is in a landmark building, even though the restaurant itself is newish...!)


                    1. re: The Dairy Queen

                      Landmark has a cafeteria style place with salads and sandwiches and a daily entree. Good food for lunch when I worked downtown St. Paul, but probably not where I'd take out of town visitors. Love Jeff, the chef-owner.

                2. Murray's, Basil's (the Mary Tyler Moore restaurant), Macy's Oak Grill, and maybe Bank, which is a newer restaurant, but in an old bank building. Across the river, Jax Cafe and maybe Kramarczuk's, if they're not looking for ambiance?

                  1. Depending on how "foody" and what their likes are, Nye's has been around for over 60 years and the building for even longer. It's certainly a "classic" in many different waysl