Local Café & Bar with Mediterranean Flair: Augustine’s Bar & Bakery
It’s not every day that you find a combination bar and bakery, but this is exactly what is served up at the Twin Cities very own Augustine’s Bar & Bakery. Located just blocks off of the historic Snelling Avenue, this neighborhood establishment is already a hit. What was once an old laundromat, is now home to this Mediterranean-themed restaurant. Named after St. Augustine of Hippo, you will find quite a few hippos gracing this place.
There are 40 craft beers on tap at any given time. Stop by for Happy Hour served Sunday through Thursday featuring small plates and large beers. The bakery serves “made from scratch daily” breads, pastries, and desserts. Each day of the week has a special bread such as Olive Bread on Mondays and Cranberry Pecan on Tuesdays, plus daily favorites.
Augustine’s serves lunch and dinner through the week and brunch on the weekends. The menu details traditional favorites like Caesar Salad and a selection of burgers plus Mediterranean dishes like Curried Falafel and Moroccan Chickpea Ragout.
Hippos or not, Augustine’s is a great place to meet family and friends.
Fresh Prince of Bel Air: Crisp & Green
Located across the street from the beautiful Wayzata Bay on Lake Minnetonka is a new take on healthy eating – Crisp & Green. Their philosophy is to offer fresh healthy ingredients, fast. As the name indicates this place is about salads, soups and smoothies.
Offering many gluten free and vegan options, the menu offers tasty salads with a twist on the name to indicate their take on the traditional salad. The No Prob Cob has locally sourced ingredients and fresh homemade jalapeño green goddess salad dressing. They also offer grain bowls such as the Fiesta Bowl which has a base of brown rice with roasted chicken and a variety of topping with a lime vinaigrette dressing. Seasonal soups are served daily. There is also a “Create Your Own” option where you walk down the bar of ingredients and choose what you want to make your own tasty creation.
The smoothie bar has several great selections such as the Purple Rain (paying homage to Minneapolis hometown singer, Prince).
Crisp & Green, serving up fresh!
Eclectic Flavors: Esker Grove
Located at the entrance to the renowned Walker Art Center, Esker Grove has a cuisine focused on vegetables and grain. Their philosophy is the art of food includes taste, eye appeal, texture and aroma. They have some unique menu items that live up to their values. Serving lunch and dinner, they offer a full service bar and brunch on Saturday and Sunday. Patio seating is available in the warmer month.
Esker Grove is an eclectic restaurant with some unique dishes and flavors not typically found in a Midwestern town. For example, the Esker Grove Salad with herbs and seaweeds; or the Celery Root Tart, the Spit Roasted Sturgeon. The setting is bright and airy. The dining room is open and has an upscale café feel. It is warm and friendly.
Esker Grove is perfect for dining before or after your visit to the Walker Art Center or great for a casual dinner date. Don’t leave it to chance; make it a date at Esker Grove.
In the Jungle, the Mighty: Jungle Kitchen
The newest authentic Asian kitchen to the Twin Cities metro area is Jungle Kitchen. Take a step out of the jungle of a busy life and into the peaceful atmosphere of Jungle Kitchen where you can enjoy great Asian cuisine and conversation with friends and family. Serving lunch and dinner daily, they bring you the distinct and bold flavors known in Asian cuisine. There is plenty of seating indoors and out. The restaurant is bright and has a simple refreshing décor.
The menu is large and varied serving daily lunch specials; spring rolls that are large, fresh and beautiful with bright vegetables; rice platters that feature the flavors of Thai basil, a selection of marinated meats and fried rice; and for the curry lovers there are several entrées with yellow and red curry and ginger. The menu is still going with Pho and Noodle dishes, 19 in all to choose from. Top off your meal with one of the several desserts.
Dining at the Jungle Kitchen will bring you some relaxation while you dine and leave the jungle of life outside for just a moment.
All Aboard! At the Mercury Dining Room and Rail
Located in an historic railroad building in the heart of downtown Minneapolis, just a block off of the famous Nicollet Mall is the Mercury Dining Room & Rail. The “Rail” part of the name can be because of the building, because is sits near the Blue & Green Light Rail System or because it has a long bar that resembles a rail; no matter how the name was derived the Mercury has a full service bar and a fabulous diner.
Serving breakfast, lunch and dinner, this dining room has impeccable taste. The atmosphere is casual chic, warm and inviting. The service is friendly and helpful. The full menu leaves the diner wondering what to choose. There is something for everyone here: salads, soups, entrées, desserts, and more. Try the Beef Stroganoff or the Roasted Salmon. How about Cheddar Popovers or White Truffle Parmesan Fries? They also have a late night menu if you stop in after a show or sporting event
To be sure, you will want to be aboard the Mercury Dining Room & Rail on your next trip to Minneapolis.
Pull No Punches at Punch Neapolitan Pizza – Vadnais Heights
Everyone enjoys a great pizza pie and what you get at Punch Neapolitan Pizza is a fantastic, wood fired pizza. The wood fired oven and kitchen are open to the dining room. Watch pizzas being made and then put is a beautifully tiled brick oven. The décor is somewhat industrial with open ceilings and magical at the same time with numerous lights of various shapes hanging down from the ceiling. The atmosphere is casual yet with high energy. There is mosaic tiled artwork on the walls along with colorful posters and other unique arts.
Put Punch’s up to any other pizza joint and Punch’s will win hands down. The foundation of the pizza is the crust all bubbly and charred; crushed tomatoes; and fresh mozzarella cheese. Mastering the wood burning oven is an art that takes years to perfect. They serve up many classic pizza pies and some with no crushed tomatoes. You can also make your own pizza by adding any toppings you desire. For those who like some greens with their meal, Punch’s offers a nice selection of salads.
Next time you are looking for dinner with some punch, try Punch’s Neapolitan Pizza!
History & Bread: Rustica Eden Prairie
Located in a little piece of history known as the Smith Douglas More House, the Rustica Eden Prairie is a lovely bakery, coffee shop and café. A perfect use for an historic home is to open it up for public use that makes it living history. Folks can enjoy sitting in the house, enjoying the tea, coffee or wine and visiting with friends and colleagues, while immersed in a bit of history. The stylish red brick home has been restored to its full glory and serves as the dining space of the café. An addition was built on to house the bakery and kitchen along with more seating. The outdoor patio makes great seating in the warmer months of the year.
The bakery sells a great selection of European-style breads and pastries. Carry out from the bakery or choose to eat in and enjoy many of their delightful dishes. Salads, soups and hand-helds all put together with the freshest ingredients, sourced locally when possible.
Be sure to stop by Rustica for some great bread, lovely desserts and so much more!
Romancing the Stone at Stone Arch
Don't be looking for a stone arch; this establishment is set apart by the huge, mammoth distiller that sits at the entrance to the Stone Arch and over the circular bar. Located inside the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport (MSP) between concourses F and G, this place offers craft beers and eats. In fact, Stone Arch has the biggest selection of Minnesota brewed craft beer in cans, bottles and on tap. They offer a variety of beer flight options so you can try out several different ones. Aside from beer they also offer a full service bar that serves up some hand-crafted specialties.
Aside from beer, this place also is home to a bakery where there are artisan bakers making their creations right before your eyes. There are plenty of eats including some Minnesota fish like blue gill and trout; great burgers; comfort food entrees such as meatloaf, rib eye, and beer brined chicken. Salad favorites, too, find a spot on the menu, such as Cobb salad, wedge salad, and more. Other Minnesota favorites include cheese curds, chicken wild rice soup, and breakfast dishes like eggs Benedict.
Plenty of beers and eats to romance at this MSP restaurant. Plan to stop by on your lay over.
Taste of Asia at Tori Ramen
Most of us have had top ramen noodles, if they are "top", the Tori Ramen is premier. These noodle dishes are chock full of delicious ingredients and Asian flavors. One differentiator is they do not serve any pork. It is their hope to embrace all cultures and have chosen to stick with chicken, duck and pheasant. They do have gluten free, vegan and vegetarian options as well.
The menu is simple offering 10 different varieties of ramen. Some dishes are spicy like the Kor Dee Yuh (Korean). Others are mild and considered for beginners such as the Bali! Bali! (Tantanmen). Flavors such as sesame, chili, scallion, garlic, tahini and others make these dishes so flavorful. Some of the vegetables include carrot, leek, celery, sprouts, seaweed, mushrooms, and burdock. For drinks there is a selection of beer, wine and soft drinks. Don't forget the kombucha!
The decor is rustic with old tin ceilings and rough-cut wood. The kitchen is facing the dining room so you can watch the ramen master at work.
Fulfill your cravings for excellent Asian food at Tori Ramen!
Mixing it Up at Young Joni
Looking for a pizzeria with a Korean twist? Young Joni is it! They use a wood fired grill for their meats and pizzas. Open facing kitchen and wood grill are center stage. The decor is rustic and modern at the same time with glass, concrete and wood. There are a lot of tables in various configurations that can handle small or large groups. Or you can sit at the kitchen bar and watch your food being prepared. The service is par excellence!
The menu is extensive. You can start with a salad with Korean flair such as the Persimmon and Purple Daikon. There are several choices of vegetables such as cauliflower, mushrooms and Brussels sprouts. The pizzas have toppings such as fennel sausage, bacon, anchovies, pepperoni, mushrooms, onion and more. They also do a gluten free crust! It pizza is not your thing, they have entrees such as Korean Beef Short Ribs, Thai Sausage, and Market Fish. Finish your meal with a sweet treat or after dinner cocktail. The full service bar has a nice selection of beer, wine and cocktails.
This place needs to be on your list of places to try. They are mixing it up at Young Joni with Asian cuisine and pizzas.