Minneapolis Eats and Hotels

After nearly fifty years, I am returning to the city of my childhood this summer. We'll be spending a few nights in a hotel, taking in a show at the Guthrie, a visit to the Walker, as well as visiting the old 'hood (Prospect Park), and my elementary school near Dinkytown. Any thoughts about places to stay? We have a tentative reservation at the University Inn, but from what I can tell online,it's cheap but decidedly lacking in charm and rather spartan. I think downtown offers richer lodging options, but what I have found online makes all the downtown hotels sound alike (tho' not all offer free parking, which is a definite plus). We are not planning on a ballgame or a lot of shopping, so we don't have to be right on top of sports venues, etc. Where should we stay and where to catch coffee, lunch, brunch, supper? Any ideas much appreciated!



calendargirl August 17, 2013
Thank you to all... just back from Minneapolis trip and had a terrific time, but will have to return to hit more of these spots. Managed a dinner at Spoonriver, and a couple of breakfasts at The Newsroom and Hell's Kitchen. Totally agree about the attitude/atmosphere at Hell's Kitchen, but the wild rice porridge was just so good! I am going to try to replicate it. Also had meals in private homes, which is the best of all, so a future trip will have to provide an opportunity for more dining out. Highlight was being able to go inside my childhood home... many aspects, including the kitchen, were totally unchanged! Surreal and so
satisfying. Again, many thanks for the terrific suggestions.
TobiT June 11, 2013
I would definitely second the St Paul Hotel suggestion. As I wrote earlier, I live here so don't get a chance to stay in hotels much, but I have stayed at SPH a few times over the years, and it was wonderful - lots of character (which you willll probably not find over the river in Mpls) and very service-oriented. Good food, too - they catered my wedding and to this day, a decade later, people still comment about the food at my wedding! Great old-school bar, too, with a very good scotch selection.
I also second the suggestions for Patisserie 46 and Rustica - the only places in town that have great baked goods. Kopplins does have good coffee (and the last time I checked their baked goods come from Rustica), although they take themselves a bit too seriously: they do not offer decaf or skim milk because they "insult" the quality of the coffee (that's what the guy said to me!). Couple doors down from Izzy's ice cream, though!
PS I love reading everyone's suggestions. Makes me think about all the places I don't get to very often! Also, I moved here from Boston and have spent a lot of time in Scandinavia, so it was fun to see mention of yours and others' paths crossing.
calendargirl June 11, 2013
Love hearing about wedding food commentary a decade down the road! I hope you got to eat at yours since it sounds as though the food was terrific. I hardly had a bite at my own. Hope we'll get to take advantage of many of your food suggestions. Right now I am working on a Sunday brunch spot, using the lists above. I will report back after the trip --it's in early August, so still a while away. Thanks so much again!
fiveandspice June 10, 2013
I grew up in Prospect Park! Say hi to the witch's hat tower from me! If you want fun luxe lodgings, stay in the historic St. Paul hotel. It's right by the Ordway and the Meritage, which really does have wonderful food. Definitely visit Linden Hills and go to Tilia's - it's really good for breakfast, lunch, or dinner. Then go to the Wild Rumpus children's bookstore, which is right down the street, to pet the chickens, cats, and chinchilla. You can pick up ice cream from Sebastian Joe's right there, and definitely go for a walk around the lakes. Rustica - near Lake Calhoun, and Patisserie 46 - back down not far from Lake Harriet, both have great bread, pastries, lunch, coffee, etc. Kopplin's may have the best coffee in the area. They're in St. Paul. For dinner, I highly recommend the Bachelor Farmer - my husband and I just went there last week for the first time and really enjoyed it. And you can also go to the Marvel Bar, which is hidden behind a purple door kind of outside and below the restaurant, for awesome cocktails. I also really like 112 Eatery (downtown) for dinner. Restaurant Alma (near the University) is really fabulous. And I second the Piccolo recommendation; it's also great.
calendargirl June 10, 2013
Amazing coincidence, Emily! We seem to have traveled in similar arcs (I wrote you about Boston and Norge a while back; I lived in Cambridge for years and studied in Lillehammer during college). I grew up having picnics at Tower Hill, seeing the witch's hat tower on Google Earth was just so neat. We lived on Orlin Ave and Melbourne Ave. Thanks a bunch for the tips, I already realize there won't be enough time to do it all. And thanks, too, for making me think about St. Paul lodgings instead of only Mpls.
fiveandspice June 11, 2013
Definitely crazy similar trajectories! :)
Amy G. June 9, 2013
Element Pizza, Brasa (southern rotisserie), and Anchor Fish and Chips in Northeast Minneapolis for lunches or dinners, Hells Kitchen for breakfast downtown, Matts Bar for the best Jucy Lucy hamburger (bring cash!!), Common Roots for coffee shop (get their flourless chocolate cake!, Cupcake is right next to Prospect Park - worth a stop for a cupcake and coffee, but they have great lunch too! If you want to make the trek to St. Paul, Cheeky Monkey Deli is my favorite place for brunch. Amazing french toast!
calendargirl June 10, 2013
Amy G, thank you so much for the ideas! Am making notes.
TobiT June 9, 2013
I live in the Twin Cities so don't use the hotels much, BUT the food scene is great. Here are some ideas:
Breakfast/brunch/lunch at the Birchwood Cafe in Seward, across the river from Prospect Park area. Hell's Kitchen has good food but oppressive atmosphere (no pun intended).
Very near the Guthrie: Spoon River is delish for lunch or dinner.
Dinner ideas (and most could work for lunch): Butcher and the Boar, Bachelor Farmer newer and trendy but quite good.
Best meal in town is probably La Belle Vie. Also, Heidi's and Piccollo (tiny, need res).
Tilia in Linden Hills is great and fun - good for breakfast then a walk around Lake Harriet - or in reverse order for dinner.
And two of my favorites are in St Paul: Meritage and the Strip Club (great steakhouse,but updated - kind if off the beaten path).
There is really no Italian food to speak if, other than Broder's Pasta Bar, which is excellent.
More casual is Sea Salt, near Minnehaha Falls.
Ice cream: Izzy's or Sebastian Joe's.
Lots of great theater too. In addition to the Guthrie, try Park Square (St Paul) or the Jungle (Uptown area). Penumbra as well.
Other Culture: Walker Art Museum (do NOT miss the Sculpture Garden), Minneapolis Institute of Arts.
Have a great trip!

calendargirl June 10, 2013
Wow TobiT, I really appreciate your thoughts! I think we may try for dinner at Spoon River before our play at the Guthrie. Have been reading the Birchwood's website and will follow up on Piccollo, too. Someone in my elementary school class used to hold birthday parties at the Walker! Am eager to return.
JLErickson June 9, 2013
The Nicollet Mall area is a nice options with some good hotels. I like Doubletree by Hilton. Great restaurants in the area include Zelo, Masa, Butcher and the Boar. Fun watering hole is Brits Pub. Breakfasts at The News Room are great. Enjoy your return. Minneapolis has become quite a food-oriented city - lots to enjoy.
calendargirl June 10, 2013
Thank you so much, JLErickson! It is great to learn there is such a lively food scene in Minneapolis/St.Paul.
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