Best lunch places- anywhere in Twin Cities
Meritage in St. Paul (braised lamb shoulder).
Stockmen's Truckstop in South St. Paul (corned beef and/or pancakes).
The Nook (get there right when they open at 11..order Nookie Supreme and fries).
World Street Kitchen Food Truck on Marquette Avenue on weekdays usually (go for the caramelized lamb tacos if you can).
Be'wiched Deli on Washington Ave (pastrami "New York" style). Soups are great.
Hmongtown Marketplace off Como.
Mercado Central (Lake and Bloomington) for either al pastor tacos at La Hacienda or Cubana Torta at Manny's.
Left Handed Cook (pork belly rice bowl) at Midtown Global Market or Sonora Grill (anything).
Sea Salt Eatery in Minnehaha Park (I like the calamari and/or halibut tacos)
Nate Dogs (location varies...you can find him on Twitter)
Mannys has a surprisingly approachable lunch menu. (Entree salads, burgers, or steak for 1/2 the price you'd pay at dinner).
Fogo de Chao (again, cheaper at lunch).
Wally's Roast Beef in Bloomington (but can be a bit crowded at peak lunch hour).
Windmill Cafe in Savage (omelets and hash browns).
Dumpy halal market at the corner of Lyndale Ave and Bloomington Ave for sambusas and gyros.
El Burrito Mercado (anything).
Masa on Nicollet Mall has an inexpensive prix fixe lunch deal that's good and you can sit outside. Several other Nicollet Mall places have outside seating (Brit's, Vincent, Local, Barrio, Zelo, etc.)
Tanpopo in Lowertown (saba teishoku is my favorite).
Ted Cook's (38th and Hiawatha in South Mpls). Stick with the rib tips or ribs.
Icehouse on Nicollet (I like their burger).
Briano's in Eagan for their Italian Beef or meatball sub (take-out only).
True, it's hard to know if "with my family" means she's bringing along her young kids? Or that's she's a twenty-something adult being taken out by her parents and grandmother? But, maybe she's not sure what she wants and she just wants a big brainstorm of a list to chose from.
Without knowing any of the OP's preferences for price range or atmosphere, I'd add Brasa. And, Ngon Bistro, especially now that we're coming upon patio season. Someone below added Fika, which I think is a fantastic choice if you want to try lots of elegant small plates.
I also like Jasmine 26 which is affordable food (Vietnamese) in a stylish setting. They have a full bar, though I confess I've never had a mixed drink there for lunch. Eat Street Social over that way is good too. (Good to know about the burger at Icehouse! I've been wanting to check that place out.) I think ESS and Icehouse both have patios, don't they? It was not patio season last time I was there so it was hard to imagine it.
WA Frost's patio is lovely and I'd love it if someone took me there for lunch.
But, really, MSPD could have stopped at Meritage, which would be my #1 choice.
Tilia- Dinner/lunch menu is one and the same. Lots of small plate offerings for sharing but also full dinners.
Victory 44- Ever changing day menu. Coffee drinks are a specialty if you want to linger. Nice patio too.
Lucia's Wine Bar- Their menu is posted online weekly. Not the best choice for carnivores. I like the patio but your group may be too large.
Fika- In the Swedish Institute. Soup, sandwiches and small plates but very creative stuff.
Parka- I've only been there a couple of times but the food and service were top notch. I had breakfast items which are available during lunch too. To me, that's a plus.
Ward 6- Burger, Reuben, pot roast sandwich. Liked them all. Probably not the best choice for vegetarians. Excellent service. If you haven't been there yet, go.