Every dive bar worth its salt has Johnny Cash on the jukebox. Why? Because dive bars are JLJC. Just Like Johnny Cash: dark, evocative, and, above all, egalitarian—a place to unwind without ever having to put on airs. But some are better than others, and that brings us to the door of Dusty’s in Northeast Minneapolis.
Dusty’s is a little shotgun of a spot across the street from the old Grainbelt Brewery. It has a tobacco-stained ceiling, a dark, deeply scarred wooden bar, and a few modern touches, such as wall-to-wall gold-glitter Formica in the men’s room. More recently, the kitchen was enlarged, which is a good thing, because Dusty’s makes a mean Dago, an Italian sausage patty with sweet red peppers, caramelized onions, and mozzarella on a little white church-basement bun, served completely unadorned on an equally white paper plate. That sort of simplicity is dive-bar-a-riffic, delicious, and, at $4.50, a bargain. The homemade sides ($1–$3) are great too—potato salad or chicken pasta salad, and if you are in the mood, soups and daily specials. As an added bonus, on weekends Dusty’s moves out the only booth and has live music, wonderful in that Neil Young Unplugged sort of way. There is even a small patio where the game of choice is pitching pennies against the wall of the adjacent antiques store in order to see who’s buying the next round of Premiums. Just look for the sign “Dusty’s—Home of the Dago.” And tell ’em Johnny sent ya.
1319 NE Marshall St., Mpls., 612-378-2118