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Feeding and entertaining 10 teen girls in Minneapolis/MoA area

Traveling to Minneapolis for a volleyball tournament 6/28 - 7/2. Looking for ways to feed and entertain the team (8 girls ages 16-17) without breaking the bank. We are probably playing in the afternoons 1PM - 8PM.
Need ideas for:
Saturday evening for dinner, preferably with some entertainment and near Mall of America area.
Also need some mid-morning/lunch ideas preferably close to the convention center.
They've never been to Minnesota, so we'd like to see some local stuff too. Thanks!

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  1. For dinner, how about Buca di Beppo? It's a chain, but it started here, for what that's worth. The one in St. Paul is a short drive from the MOA. It's loud, the decor is entertaining, and all the food is served family style. Not too expensive, and you can load up hungry, athletic teens with pasta.

    Near the convention center (south end of downtown Minneapolis), I'd recommend breakfast or brunch at Key's Cafe in the Foshay Tower. Key's serves up big portions of traditional diner food -- eggs, pancakes, hot and cold sandwiches, etc. Nothing particularly exotic, but it's of decent quality and a good value. The Foshay Tower itself is an historic Depression-era skyscraper with an observation deck up top -- $5 for teenagers. Good way to get a panorama of the city area.

    Staying in the downtown area, with time to kill, I'd suggest a walk through Loring Park and the Walker Art Center outdoor sculpture garden (home of the iconic Spoonbridge and Cherry), or head the other direction toward the river and check out the St. Anthony Falls (visible from the pedestrian-only Stone Arch Bridge) and the Mill City Museum, also on the riverfront. That's a fun museum that should only take a few hours of your time. Izzy's award-winning ice cream is just a few blocks away.

    2 Replies
    1. re: Jordan

      Thanks Jordan, that's exactly the kind of advice I'm looking for!

      1. re: VolleyMom

        If you decide to go to Buca, go to their website and join their email club. They frequently issue good coupons.

    2. I would second Key's Cafe in the Foshay Tower for a good downtown option. I have two teenage daughters, and they go there with their friends all the time. Be aware there is a bar, but it is removed from the main dining area, and it's typically a pretty calm crowd. On Saturday morning the MIll City Farmer's Market is super-fun. Great food, live music, artisan products -- a real scene. Also check and see if the Twins are in town. Target Field is downtown and is a spectacular stadium with great food options. You can get cheap tx at Stubhub because the Twins are not very good!

      In the MOA area you could visit Pizzeria Lola -- really, really great pizza. Also don't forget Saint Paul. It is not that far from MOA. Cossetta in Saint Paul is a teen favorite hangout, and has an amazing array of Italian food (2 restaurants) plus deli, sweet shop, gelatto, etc.

      June in MN is awesome. Have a great visit.

      1 Reply
      1. re: Michael Florey

        While I agree that Pizzeria Lola is good, it's about 15-20 minutes from MOA and in an area where there's probably not too much of interest to 16 year old girls. In addition, Saturday evening might be a bit of a wait for a party of 8-12 people.

        Another place to think about around lunch time would be someplace in Uptown. The Tin Fish is right on Lake Calhoun which is a great place to rent boats or bikes or just hang out. In addition, it's right on the edge of Uptown, which has lots of restaurants of all types and expenses and lots of shops.

      2. If you don't want to travel too far, going to MOA for dinner is an option. There are a ton of restaurants there (you can look up all the menus online). The mall is great for walking around and people watching, plus Nick U is in the center.

        6 Replies
        1. re: meljohns

          Agreed. As much as some folks on here will poo-poo the notion of eating at MOA, there is a variety of restaurants and most teenage girls love shopping and going to a giant mall.

          As for a bigger crowd of teenage girls, I would recommend Ruby Tuesday if they are into the unlimited salad bar thing. Either of the food courts would work well too because everybody can find their own food. They opened a Benihana which could be fun for the girls. If they want pasta there is Tucci Bennuch - the staple Italian restaurant although a little pricey for a group. Crave is also pricey and a local chain, but you get more interesting food options. Near the south food court is Chipotle, Noodles & Company, and Masu (sushi) which might appeal the age range.

          Good luck

          1. re: GutGrease

            The food at the restaurant of whichever hotel is there (Radisson?) is pretty good, too, with lots of focus on local sourcing etc. Not cheap, though.

            ~TDQ

              1. re: Slightly Grey

                If FireLake at the Radisson sounds appealing, the OP should check to make sure it's open. The hotel and common spaces were being re-done and I'm not sure from the following article whether or not the restaurant was open through construction: http://www.startribune.com/local/minn...

                1. re: bob s

                  The replies in this thread were referring to the Fire Lake at the MOA Radisson Blu. Your post and linked article relate to the downtown Radisson that is being converted into a Radisson Blu.

                  1. re: GutGrease

                    I thought the Radisson at the MOA had already been converted to a Radisson Blu when I was last there. But it was hard to tell because it was at Christmas and there was a heck of a lot of red splashed everywhere. Really cool.

                    I don't think it can hurt to call ahead and confirm the restaurant is open just so there are no disappointments. We very much enjoyed the house-made pop tarts. :)

                    ~TDQ

        2. Near the convention center, on Nicollet Mall, there's a Chipotle. That usually works for volleyball teams.

          There are quite a number of restaurants in the Mall of America. Teenage girls sometimes get a kick out of Dick's Last Resort, depending on their sense of humor. If it's a parent-team dinner, I'd probably skip Dick's and go for Tucci Benuch or Twin City Grill.

          http://www.mallofamerica.com/dining/d...

          I'm not sure what the current policy is, but in the past I know that the Mall of America has banned teens unaccompanied by an adult after certain hours. Something to be aware of if you're thinking about sending the girls to the mall on their own.

          If the girls are up in the morning and bored at the hotel, head for the Minneapolis lakes. They are sort of on your way to the convention center. Lake Calhoun is probably the best bet. Park somewhere on the road circling the lake, get out and walk for a bit.

          There is also a Buca close to the Convention Center. During the weekdays at lunch, on Marquette between 7th and 9th, there will probably be 5-10 food trucks. That can be fun.