In the seemingly ever-changing world of dining, newer places often get all the inky glory. But amid the flashy splash there exist wallflower places, such as Eli’s Food & Cocktails, that have been sadly overlooked yet quietly pleasing for years. No doubt in its 50 years, Eli’s has had some ups and downs, but new owners took over in 2005 and saw the core of something great, changing very little of the winsome space. In an almost Kenny Shopsin–like style they upgraded and expanded the menu to nearly 70 items, running the gamut from Frou-Frou (morel mushroom ragout) to Guau-Guau (twin hot dogs with Cajun spices, onion tomato, and avocado). They also began using local sources such as Wild Acres and Footjoy Farms. Amazingly—with no small nod to making the most of a tiny kitchen—almost everything is tasty and well executed. It seems a good bet that Eli’s will be around for the next 50 years.
1225 Hennepin Ave., Mpls., 612-332-9997, elisfoodandcocktails.com