7 Minute Miles

Food

I eat out. A lot. It’s the primary reason I still try to exercise at all these days. One of my favorite restaurants is literally in my house. I read lots of food critics and keep a list of new places to try on my list of lists page. People ask me all the time where to go, so I decided to create the page you are on now. Bon appétit!

  • Cafe Latte – Grew up nearby, stopping in frequently for a sandwich and that amazing chocolate chocolate cake.
  • Carbone’s on Randolph – We were all worried when the original closed for remodeling, but the pizza ovens are still the same and the pizzas still taste great (pepperoni is my fave). The room lost it’s old charm, but the new look might eventually grow on me.
  • Cecil’s Deli – The best hot pastrami on egg white with Swiss sandwich I’ve had anywhere in the country. Love the guy who is always there too.
  • Cossetta Alimentari – Expanded and better than ever. This place would fit right in at a Disney park – great pizza slices and mostaccioli (always with Dr. Brown’s black cherry soda). The Pasticceria is one of a kind and we always get Christmas dinner supplies at the fully-stocked Italian market.
  • Grand Catch – Sameh Wadi comes to St. Paul and knocks it out of the park (especially if you like seafood boils). What’s Crackin’, indeed.
  • Grand Ole Creamery – Even though Minneapolis now has one too, the Grand Avenue spot that I grew up with will always be my favorite ice cream spot in the metro. Sweet Cream 4 Eva.
  • House of Wong – The Chinese restaurant of my childhood that somehow got me to like chicken chow mein (even though I was a super picky eater as a kid).
  • Key’s on Raymond – The original location will always be my favorite. Try the No.1 (and add some gigantic ham).
  • Kim’s Chow Mein – Ate here a lot when I worked for HSRA and some of the staff still remember me. The combo #3 with white rice is a winner.
  • Kyatchi – I’ve never been to the original Minneapolis spot, but Lowertown scored a big win when Sarah Peterson took over the Tanpopo spot. Everything here is good, but my favorites include the pork gyoza, kara-age, tsukune donburi, the yakisoba dog, any of the skewers and Donna’s cheesecake.
  • Mac’s Fish Chips Strips – the first spot near House of Wong was great, but now we like visiting the one on Snelling in Highland Park (and the one in Minneapolis near Lyndale and 54th).
  • Meritage – I’ve never met Russell and Desta Klein, but their downtown St. Paul restaurant is a classic. Four James Beard nominations tell you all you need to know if you are looking for French cuisine.
  • Mucci’s Italian – The Tim Niver empire is the best. At this spot near my old neighborhood, you will find Chef Chris, Sarge and the crew serving up fancy Italian dishes along with the most amazing montanara pizzas (fried crust!) that you can now also buy frozen at select grocery stores around town. Oh, and lots of donuts on weekend mornings.
  • Octo Fishbar – James Beard winner Tim McKee is back with his eighth restaurant, part of the wonderful Market House Collaborative (fish monger, butcher shop, bakery and brewhouse). Love the sunnies, fries and blowfish tails (CK loves the lobster roll). Plus GM Lorin Zinter was smart enough to hire one of my daughters when they opened.
  • Pajarito – Tyge Nelson and Stephan Hesse’s excellent Mexican joint on West Seventh (below the Czech and Slovak Sokol Hall). These Tim McKee protégés know what’s up – try the crispy chicken tacos.
  • Parlour – the burger at the newer St. Paul location didn’t seem the same to me as the original across the river, but the decor and atmosphere win hands down.
  • Revival – Haven’t been back to the original in Minneapolis since this one on Selby opened with a bigger room, full bar and a smoker out back. Same great chicken and cheeseburger (order them both and call it the Wilford Brimley), but also a solid pastrami sandwich special on Mondays and those good, good butter ribs. Best mac and cheese anywhere.
  • Rooster’s BBQ – Need to cater fried chicken for a party? We have first-hand experience that Rooster’s is a crowd pleaser.
  • Saint Dinette – It may be two floors down from my loft, but this Tim Niver joint is the best thing to happen to Lowertown since the Farmer’s Market. Great staff front to back, seasonal menu updates, awesome cocktails and the best cheeseburger in the country. Fight me.
  • Saint Paul Grill – Home to the movers and shakers of the capital city, the Grill has classic meat and potatoes down cold, plus a Scotch list that would make Ron Burgundy blush.
  • Tavern on Grand – Two words: walleye and Gorbachev.
  • The Buttered Tin – Smash hit from the time it opened in 2013. Love the TBT Ho Ho cupcakes and the Pig’s Eye breakfast.
  • The Lexington – Lovingly brought back to life (finally) by the Thoma-Fitzgerald-Riebel trio, this neighborhood institution hosted most of the major family milestones in my life.

  • 112 Eatery – Haven’t been to this Isaac Becker award-winner since they remodeled, but we loved our last visit. More Beard sightings.
  • Alma (Cafe and Restaurant) – You can’t lose on either side of this newly-expanded space (plus a hotel – wow). Yet another Beard sighting.
  • Al’s Breakfast – Smallest place you will likely ever visit. All about the short stacks for me.
  • Anchor Fish and Chips – the Minneapolis answer to Mac’s. Also roll as a food truck. Armon says these are the best fish and chips in town.
  • Annie’s Parlour – Seems like they changed the cheese on the burgers, but the fries and phosphates are still killer.
  • Band Box Diner – the fact this place has a detailed Wikipedia page says a lot about this 1939 greasy spoon. A+ hand-cut fries.
  • Barbette – This was my favorite restaurant in Minneapolis for a long time. Winner of Best Fries multiple times, the Steak Frites (dinner) and Croque Monsieur (brunch) are perfect matches for those hand-cut beauties (DO NOT SKIP the saffron aioli).
  • Bellecour – Technically not Minneapolis, this Wayzata outpost is home to Gavin Kaysen’s second Minnesota restaurant. Pretty bakery up front that I’m sure was shaped by the incredibly talented Diane Yang.
  • Black Forest Inn – my high school German class took a field trip here, so you know it’s some authentic schnitzel.
  • Borough/Parlour Bar – Borough upstairs, Parlour down. Probably the second or third best burger in town.
  • Broders’ Pasta Bar – Don’t know why I don’t go here more often. Combined with Cucina Italiana across the street, not a better place for carbonara.
  • Bull’s Horn Food & Drink – Doug and Amy’s awesome dive bar. Kitschy atmosphere + chef quality food + pull tabs + jukebox + bubble hockey = winner.
  • Burch Steak & Pizza Bar – More Beard awards. Really good steak by Mr. Becker. Have never tried the pizza.
  • Butcher & The Boar – Best new restaurant under the original owners (hey there, Jack), Beard finalist and a penny-lined bar floor that you need to see to believe.
  • Day Block Brewing Company – nice spot near the stadium with a solid pepperoni pizza.
  • Eli’s Food and Cocktails – Best spot for late night food when you are downtown (the one at 1225 Hennepin, not the other one). Will always remember our server who sang This Is How We Do It.
  • Esker Grove – Fancy Doug Flicker menu for a fancy spot at the newly remodeled Walker.
  • George and the Dragon – Armon said I had to put this one on the list. ?
  • Grand Cafe – Chef Jamie Malone makes her own mark (again) on Minneapolis. Yet another Tim McKee protégé. Helped make Sea Change great.
  • Hello Pizza – Ann Kim joint #2. I can never remember exactly where this place is (Minneapolis? Edina?), but I will always remember the little pools of grease in the tiny little pepperonis. Yum.
  • Hi-Lo Diner – Beautiful old diner they bought in Pennsylvania and shipped to Lake Street to be restored. Try the Gary Cooper or Mac Rib Hi-Tops with any of the ice cream cocktails.
  • Ike’s Food and Cocktails – the burger at Ike’s downtown was a star long before anyone ever heard of Parlour or the others.
  • Italian Eatery – First impressions mean a lot and the first time we hit ie, Doug Flicker was sitting at the table next to us. What’s good enough for Flicker is good enough for everybody.
  • Lake & Irving – Try the cheeseburger, then try the buttermilk chicken sandwich. Ponder which one is better. I’ll wait.
  • Lyn 65 – Also not technically Minneapolis, don’t let the Richfield strip mall location fool you. Ben Rients left Alma to start his own place in 2014. Try the fried chicken and anything from the bar. Their “Wyn 65” food truck is often spotted downtown near U.S. Bank Plaza.
  • Manny’s Steakhouse – To be honest, I’ve always been a Murray’s over Manny’s guy, but they both have their charms. Parasole exec Phil Roberts has a great blog and their top servers reportedly earn six figures a year. Bring your corporate card and fill out that expense report.
  • Martina – To say Daniel del Prado has a hit on his hands is the understatement of the year. Try both dinner and weekend brunch. Creative cocktails, potato “churros” and reportedly a great double cheeseburger.
  • Maxwell’s American Pub – One of my favorite spots within walking distance of the stadium. Always friendly staff and a perfect fish and chips platter.
  • McKinney Roe – Dermot Cowley (Jake O’Connor’s Public House in Excelsior, Lola’s Lakehouse in Waconia) opened this beautiful space in the new Wells Fargo towers and it quickly became a favorite of workers in Downtown East. Former Corner Table chef Scott Pampuch just took over the kitchen and the new menu is packing the place at lunch. Also has one of the nicest hostesses anywhere.
  • Meyvn – The Tim Niver empire crosses the river (with Laurel Elm and Adam Eaton) to open a bagel deli with booze (and more) in Uptown. The hot pastrami sandwich is a contender and Armon swears by the egg sandwich.
  • Monello – Following the trend of several other joints in town, this Hotel Ivy location gives you a restaurant up top, with a bar (Constantine) down below. This one has the advantage of chef Mike DeCamp (aka Young Chef) and bartender Jesse Held as part of the deal. Best of all, though, may be the Mama DeCampo’s throwback pop-up on Sunday nights. It’s brilliant.
  • Murray’s Steakhouse – Since 1946. The Silver Butter Knife Steak might be the best steak I’ve ever had. The luncheon steak with au gratin potatoes is definitely one of the best $20 values in town. Tim Murray is a perfect gentleman and host.
  • Nighthawks Diner & Bar – Every single thing I’ve had here has been good. Still miss seeing Landon behind the counter.
  • Pizzeria Lola – We had a terrible first experience here (and CK still refuses to go back), but the My Sha-roni! at Ann Kim’s first place is one of my favorite pizzas in town.
  • Psycho Suzi’s Motor Lounge – Best Tiki Bar on the (upper) Mississippi. Just get a pupu platter (or two) and be done with it.
  • Q-Fanatic BBQ – This used to require a journey up to Champlain, but now you only have to get to south Minneapolis. Closed Mondays and Tuesdays, so plan ahead.
  • Rainbow Chinese – Chef and Owner Tammy Wong is a local icon. The starters are my favorites, while my daughter likes to create her own bowl of deliciousness.
  • Red Wagon Pizza Company – Peter and Jacquie Campbell (with investor Steven Brown) have quietly built an outstanding menu that expands beyond pizza to include great appetizers, salads and pastas.
  • Saint Genevieve – Steven Brown (yeah, him again) has miraculously recreated Paris in south Minneapolis. The madame tartine is wonderful.
  • Sandcastle – Amy and Doug are building an empire and this is the summer home. Hurry and get your fill of Dog Flickers before the Nokomis lake season ends. Eat Like A King indeed.
  • Sea Change – Tim McKee helped the Guthrie expand their new riverside building with the opening of Sea Change. Another favorite place to walk for lunch from the stadium, I always have trouble choosing between the fish sandwich, the cheeseburger and the fabulous spaghetti carbonara.
  • Sea Salt Eatery – The Minneapolis Park Board did good when they awarded this concession in Minnehaha Park. You will find long lines pretty much the entire April through October season.
  • Spoon and Stable – James Beard winner Gavin Kaysen famously left the kitchen of mentor Daniel Boulud in New York to return home to Minnesota and open this spot across the street from The Bachelor Farmer. Not 100% sure, but I think it’s worked out OK.
  • The Bachelor Farmer/Marvel Bar – This was our favorite Minneapolis restaurant for a long time. James Beard winner Paul Berglund has left for the Ann Kim empire, though, and superstar bartender Pip Hanson is no longer downstairs. Still, Erin Rolek and the Dayton boys opened the new cafe up front, the wine chalkboard remains and the menu still has toasts, warm popovers and a rotating selection of local ingredients. Some of the most precise service in town.
  • The Depot Tavern – First Avenue did it right when they decided to add a food joint next door to the Entry and the Mainroom. Great for pre-show dinners or late-night snacks.
  • The Lowry – Probably our favorite Blue Plate Restaurant Company spot (and they are all pretty strong). Great mac n cheese and clever cocktails, but it looks like the Buffalo chips appetizer may be history.
  • Tilia – Steven Brown’s Linden Hills original. Sometimes I wish I lived in Linden Hills.
  • Travail Kitchen and Amusements – These guys are all nuts, in a good way. If you are scared (like we were), either try the family meal option or head down the street and hit up Pig Ate My Pizza. Also, you need to head to Robbinsdale, not Minneapolis.
  • Uncle Franky’s – It’s like being back in Chicago. Or Coney Island.
  • Wienery – Kinda like Uncle Franky’s, but next to the Cedar Cultural Center (and we sat next to the guys from Trampled By Turtles there once).
  • World Street Kitchen/Milkjam Creamery– Sameh Wadi had a food truck, then a bricks and mortar location, then an ice cream shop – all with long lines of customers. It is futile to resist.
  • Young Joni – Ann Kim, part three. A beautiful room. James Beard nomination. Restaurant of the Year in 2017. She’s clearly on to something here. Still need to visit the secret back bar.
  • Zen Box Izakaya – Just a *bit* too far to walk from the stadium, this place has killer Japanese knick-knacks and about ten million things I want to order off the menu every time I visit.

  • 1919 Root Beer – Corner of Dan Patch and Underwood. Get the big cup.
  • Corn Roast – Kid one worked here a couple years; owned by the family of her grade school gym teacher.
  • Dairy Goodness Bar – The vanilla malts pair perfectly with the Fresh French Fries across the street.
  • Danielson Onion Rings – One of my oldest favorites (and I don’t really like onions in anything else). Salty.
  • Fresh French Fries – I think there was a tie to Sun Country at some point. Really, really good. Like, really, really good.
  • LuLu’s Pubic House – Get the mac & cheese on a stick and the beef Cajun bites (formerly known as Axel’s when they were outside the Food Building).
  • Mouth Trap Cheese Curds – Still can’t believe they kicked out the other one.
  • Pronto Pups – Far and away my favorite fair food. Could eat these all day. NEVER CORN DOGS.
  • Sweet Martha’s Cookies – Martha is a rich woman for a reason.

  • Arby’s – They have the meats. Every slider is killer. Always potato cakes.
  • Chick-Fil-A – The newness has worn off that we finally have this here, but the quality of the chicken is still A-OK (just remember the Sunday thing).
  • Culver’s – A gift from our cheesehead neighbors to the east, the Butterburger is solid, but I love when they do the for-a-limited-time walleye sandwiches.
  • Davanni’s – A Minnesota success story, this local chain now has 21 locations, but the original at Grand and Cleveland will always be my favorite. Like the garlic cheese bread and ham hoagies more than the pizza.
  • Fuddruckers – Obviously national, Fuddruckers used to have several Minnesota locations. Now it’s down to one in Bloomington, but I’m good with that. Order a 1/2 pound burger plain, then load up on that cheese sauce and dip away. My favorite chain burger.
  • Leeann Chin – Another Minnesota success story, I’ve loved their lemon chicken since I was in high school (you could even buy the sauce in grocery stores). Now they have like ten variations of chicken (RIP House Special Chicken), all good.
  • McDonald’s – Knock it all you want, the clown has the best fries anywhere. The egg McMuffin is my go-to quick breakfast item and I’m warming up to the new-style quarter pounder with cheese.
  • Noodles & Company – This ubiquitous Colorado chain is great for catering larger groups that want some damn fine mac and cheese.
  • Punch Neapolitan Pizza – This local chain now has 11 locations, after starting in 1996 with the Highland Park spot. They treat their staff right and my order is always a Napoli with prosciutto.
  • Raising Canes – When this Louisiana chain came to Apple Valley, it was an instant hit. Easily my favorite overall fast food option, the 3 Finger Combo with lemonade is to die for. Love it all: the Texas toast, fries, Cane’s sauce, little ice cubes and always-perfect chicken.
  • Smashburger – Another Colorado invader, I’ve been a fan ever since the Eagan location opened. Häagen-Dazs in the shakes.
  • Zantigo – A Minnesota classic during my childhood, it went away, came back, expanded, contracted and now re-opened the original St. Paul location I grew up with (although we still prefer the Woodbury spot). Mild chilito with extra cheese, ‘Tigo fries, chips and cheese and occasionally a hard shell taco. But mainly chilitos.
 

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Personal Records & Mileage

  • Mile - 6:10
  • 5K - 21:42
  • 10K - 44:40
  • Half - 1:38:40
  • Marathon - 3:43:32
  • 2018 Run Mileage: 138.7
  • 2018 Bike Mileage: 971.1

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