Certain meals are less about what you’re eating than where you’re seated and whom you’re breaking bread with. Call it see-and-be-seen or see-and-not-be-seen, this is the Twin Cities power dining scene.
GOOD DAY CAFE
Perpetually crowded, this I-394 barn of a restaurant serves an unassuming menu of updated breakfast classics and pancake-house staples to professionals and professional eaters throughout the west metro. It’s a particular favorite of athletes and the personalities from the nearby Clear Channel radio hub.
MANNY'S STEAK HOUSE
Not everyone knows Manny’s serves breakfast, yet it successfully melds the Manny’s power ambience with luxury versions of breakfast staples. It’s popular with visiting celebs and downtown corporate high-fliers. Head to one of the checkered-tablecloth booths by the bar.
The lunchtime buzz west of 169 is at Dean Vlahos’s tile-walled, R&B- booming commissary. Michel at the bar makes everyone feel like a regular, while the Lake Minnetonka crowd migrates here during the workday to sit on the patio and count the hours till they’re back on the water.
The expense-account crowd in search of what’s next has already migrated to the new Oceanaire at Sixth and Nicollet. The sexy room is attracting a surfeit of female power players dining on a slightly downscaled version of the restaurant’s dinner standards.
THE ST. PAUL GRILL
Downtown St. Paul’s legendary bar and grill dominates the city’s power scene. City and county pols, lobbyists and clients, and Capitol power players congregate here for classic steakhouse fare. The bar is the highlight, its collection of scotches and veteran bartenders beloved east of the Mississippi.
The three-chardonnay lunch remains in full force at 50th and France. Salut is popular with real estate players, retirees, the indolent self-employed, and Edina’s glitterati, who pick the proteins from the salad and leave the rest.
Start at Victory 44
with a drippy, messy eggwich spread with garlicky aioli and stacked with a fat pork sausage, alongside crispy addictive bacon fries.
Stop at Rustica Bakery
for a hand-pulled latte made with Dogwood coffee (and perhaps an airy gougere au jambon
Ask for grand moules frites
. Follow it with a round at the raw bar including stone crab claws, a rack of raw oysters, littleneck clams, and a bloody mary.
Order an Of the Older Fashioned with the Old Weller Antique bourbon, Muscovado syrup, and Bittercube Trinity bitters at Eat Street Social
It's the kitchen bar at Tilia
for silky potted meats, beer cheese soup, pasta with smoked cauliflower and bagna cuada
, braised beef cheeks with chestnut polenta, and charred figs.
Give in to the cavalcade of nitro-cholcoate and tableside ice cream experiments at Travail
. The dessert tasting is both a religious experience and a bargain at $15.
LATE-NIGHT PIT STOP
Savor the fried magic of The Anchor's fish 'n chips (plus a Helicopter burger if you're quite peckish).
Lutefisk at Ingebretsen
Bitter bamboo soup at the Hmong Farmers Market
Pickled pigfoot and scrambled brown egg with truffle at Piccolo
Szechuan spicy pork intestine at Szechuan Spice
Organ grinder sandwich at Travail
Wild boar head cheese at Butcher & the Boar
Beef tendon with peppercorn at Tea House Chinese Restaurants
Pickled pork ear at Little Szechuan
Original Twins Dog at Target Field
Blood sulze at Kramarczuk
Chef Landon Schoenefeld
“Matt’s is in our neighborhood, so that’s our spot. I get the double cheeseburger—not the Jucy Lucy. I think it’s a meatier experience. That, a Summit Extra Pale Ale, and a double order of French fries—get them in the bag. Tear it open at the table and have at it.” —J.D. Fratzke
, The Strip Club
PHO TAU BAY
“If I’m on my own in the afternoon, it’s got to be Pho Tau Bay for some raw beef pho. I love all the flavors in Vietnamese, and that soup just has it all.” —Jamie Malone
, Sea Change
BRODER'S CUCINA ITALIANA
“You can ask to get a pizza not all the way baked, so I do that, half mushroom, half peppers—I don’t like them to mix. I don’t know why, I just don’t. Then, a salad, a bit of charcuterie, take it all home and crisp the pizza in the oven. That’s all you need for a good Sunday night.” —Vincent Francoual
, Vincent A Restaurant
TAQUERIA LA HACIENDA
“Tuesdays are my day off, and most Tuesdays you’ll find me sometime or other at Taqueria La Hacienda—it’s just good.” —Landon Schoenefeld
VICTORIANO'S NEW YORK STYLE PIZZA & PASTA
“This is a cool spot for a little straight-out-of-Brooklyn flavor in Stillwater, which can get homogenized. I get a sausage slice and a cannoli—it’s a breath of fresh air. And they’re open late for the after-bar crowd, which also works great for a cook keeping restaurant hours.” —Jim Kyndberg
, Crave America
Tater Tot Hot Dish
Jeno's Pizza Rolls
The king of stick cuisine
• PICKLE DOG
Pickle on a stick, so easy, so classic
• PIZZA KEBOB
Multi-flavoed pizza rolls on a stick
• PUFF DADDY
Thai sausage wrapped in puff pastry
• BREAKFAST LOLLIPOP
Good morning sausage patty dipped in corn muffin batter, deep-fried with maple syrup dip
• PORCUPINE MEATBALLS
Pork and wild rice in a marriage on a stick
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