Sometimes you've just gotta shake your head and say to yourself, "only in Minneapolis”. Usually it's after the Timberwolves do something stupid... but occasionally it’s when you get to explain to out-of-towners that MSP is littered with some of the best beer bars, dive bars, cocktail bars, and just damn fine restaurants in the country. Plus we’ve got hot dishes and cheese curds and juicy lucys… because when a city has this much snow and pungent lutefisk, it deserves to also have the most delicious and cheesiest signature dishes in the States.
Need even more places to eat and drink? Head to Thrillist Minneapolis for hot openings and the rest of our longtime favorites.
Why you're here: A double-punch of cuisines from a James Beard winner
What you're getting: A startlingly simple steakhouse up top and a cavernous, wood-fired pizzeria below, the everyman chef here, Isaac Becker, is a super-nice dude who just so happened to win a James Beard Award for sister concept 112 Eatery. Also, the only photo in the whole place is of Eazy-E.
Why you're here: Tasting menu experience with amazing cocktails
What you're getting: After the single most successful crowdfunding campaign in the history of crowdfunding campaigns (with the possible exception of "the great potato salad incident"), the folks at Travail launched the newest iteration of their iconic modernist restaurant.
Why you're here: The perfect balance between the classics and whimsical modernist desserts
What you're getting: Midwesterners take their donuts very, very seriously, but even the most skeptical purists have, in one short year, fallen in love with Glam Doll. Skeptics can find plenty to love in the fritters and Long Johns, while the more adventurous will fall in love with the Calendar Girl -- topped with salted caramel and chocolate -- and the peanut butter & Sriracha Chart Topper, which finally answers the question of what it would taste like to make out with Jimmy Carter after dinner at a Thai place.
Why you're here: American Nuevo meets good, old-fashioned rock 'n’ roll, with a splash of bourbon
What you're getting: Lorin Zinter and Chef Jim Christiansen’s new spot is churning out inventive food, including a rabbit terrine coated in carrot “caramel”, with spectacular service in a space liberally decked out with Replacements quotes on the walls and reclaimed wood, so it’s about as Minneapolis as it gets.
Why you're here: One of the Twin Cities' top food trucks turned brick-and-mortar in 2013 and made our best new restaurants list in the process.
What you're getting: Originally just an award-winning food truck, WSK coldly turned its back on its middle name when it opened this sparsely modern Uptown location, which has three times the global street-eats menu of the truck, plus beer.
Why you're here: An organic menu rooted in the area's Nordic history, plus great cocktails downstairs
What you're getting: Housed in a circa 1881 NoLo warehouse, the Dayton bros' spot is a dichotomous bi-leveler, with a rustic farmhouse (The Bachelor Farmer) upstairs using local, organic ingredients, some of which are even grown on their innovative rooftop farm.
Why you're here: High-cuisine spin on classic Midwestern dishes
What you're getting: The much-lauded Dish rocks a menu with eats like an open-face banh mi with a pork & foie terrine, and something called the "Corn Button", plus other inspired items from Chef Landon Schoenefeld, who's bringing you his takes on classic Midwestern dishes, which you won't find in any of the pans at your church potluck.
Why you're here: Drinks at one of 2014's best new bars in America
What you're getting: From the folks behind the infamous Borough/Parlour came Coup d’état, a modern-American eatery in the heart of Uptown. They’ve got the food, they’ve got the cocktails, and they’ve got a whole lot of class.
Why you're here: Classic craft 'tails... plus a Tiki bar inside this bar
What you're getting: A regally appointed, craft-cocktailin' eatery, Eat Street's buried in heavy oak and granite, large booths aplenty, and inventive drink creations courtesy of a bar staff who also own craft bitters company Bittercube. As though that's not enough, the Torpedo Room -- one of our favorite new bars in 2013 -- is serving Tiki 'tails inside Eat Street.
Why you're here: It's one of the best cocktail bars in America -- and below one of our favorite restaurants.
What you're getting: Hidden in the basement of Bachelor Farmer, Marvel has the vibe of a classic speakeasy, including minimal signage, massive punchbowls, and a quasi-rustic lounge vibe. And while the place has all the trappings of a stuffy cocktail-snob magnet -- elaborate cocktails made like science projects with fancy equipment and the incorporation of crazy infusion ingredients served by mustachioed men who take drinks very seriously -- it takes great pains to stymie pretensions, thanks to Cheetos, the bar’s go-to snack offering.
Why you're here: It's the best spot in MSP for beer nerds to fill up.
What you're getting: When it opened in 2011 with 30-plus pro-picked taps, Matty O'Reilly's smartly sudsed rejigger of former party bar Sgt Preston's was a top-five beer bar. But now it just might be top-o-the list: they've jacked their lines up to 56 (plus a beer engine) and become the home of both the Better Beer University (a veritable Cicerone-making machine), and beer geeky events such as Where The Wild Beers are.
Why you're here: 14+ Belgian bottles and 36 solid taps paired with an old-timey tavern menu
What you're getting: After helping St. Paul see double for years, the man behind beeropolis Muddy Pig finally opened his first Westside jam: Pig & Fiddle, which boasts a mega-impressive suds stable with everything from Southern Tier to Belgian specialties and plates "rustic" eats, like Welsh rarebit & mussels steamed with Wittekerke beer & bacon, in a space with dark wood trimmings and a massive fireplace.
Why you're here: It's a quintessential dive... meaning it's one of our favorites in the country.
What you're getting: Nye's has an "old side" and a "new side", though neither looks like they've changed much since the '60s. You're assured one thing at both places: music you'll want to drink to. On Friday and Saturday nights, it'll be polka on the "old side" and piano players serenading you on the "new". On either side, pair the booze with pierogies, a fine complement to the beer prices that have recently risen slightly.
Why you're here: Grumpy's remembers that burger toppings can be glorious.
What you're getting: Grumpy's doesn't do anything extravagant inside their Lucys, but they do top those suckers with creative options like guacamole, jalapeño bacon, and butter that's made from the other thing that made Lucy famous: peanuts.
Why you're here: They've got versions like the pepper jack-and-bacon-stuffed Guy's Bug Bite Burger
What you're getting: One taste of a Juicy Nookie, and you'll understand what Fred Durst did it all for... except maybe trying to make a comeback in 2012, and thinking Napster was a good idea, and...
Why you're here: Matt's Bar firmly believes themselves to be the true inventor of the Juicy Lucy.
What you're getting: As they call it, you'll be ordering a "Jucy Lucy", which this no-frills dive cooks on a grill sitting right behind the bar.
Why you're here: The Blucy Burger...
What you're getting: While you can get it with classic American cheese, their speciality is melted blue cheese (get it now!?). The real treat here, though, might be their deep-fried Spam Bites. Never has fried meat in a can been so good.
Why you're here: The other spot that claims to have invented the Juicy Lucy
What you're getting: The 5-8 Club started as a speakeasy back in 1928, and even though their beer's legal now, maybe their burgers -- which in addition to cheddar, are stuffed with bacon and topped with onion straws -- shouldn't be.
1. Heyday2700 Lyndale Ave S, Minneapolis
2. Travail Kitchen & Amusements4124 W Broadway Ave, Robbinsdale
3. The Bachelor Farmer and Marvel Bar50 2nd Ave N, Minneapolis
4. Burch1933 Colfax Ave S, Minneapolis
5. HauteDish119 Washington Ave N, Minneapolis
6. World Street Kitchen2743 Lyndale Ave S, Minneapolis
7. Glam Doll Donuts2605 Nicollet Ave S, Minneapolis
8. Republic221 Cedar Ave S, Minneapolis
9. Pig & Fiddle3808 W 50th St, Minneapolis
10. Coup d'état2923 Girard Ave N, Minneapolis
11. Eat Street Social18 West 26th St, Minneapolis
12. Nye's Polonaise Bar112 E Hennepin Ave, Minneapolis
13. Rookery4124 West Broadway, Robbinsdale
14. The Nook492 S Hamline Ave, St. Paul
15. Grumpy's Bar2200 4th St NE, Minneapolis
16. 5-8 Club5800 Cedar Ave S, Minneapolis
17. Matt's Bar3500 Cedar Ave S, Minneapolis
18. The Blue Door Pub3448 42nd Ave S, Minneapolis
When it comes to affordable yet elegant cuisine, Heyday is your spot. It's easily one of the best restaurants in the Twin Cities, if not the country. Head to this rustic-chic space (it sports exposed brick and a gorgeous wooden-beamed ceiling) for favorites like the chicken liver tart, chilled blue mussels, and grilled quail, which all help to create a downright exquisite menu. Be sure to leave room for at least one of the inventive desserts including pea shell sorbet, and wash it all down with a creative cocktail like the Don't Think Twice with pisco, aperol, grapefruit, and elderflower.
The gastropub rocking a chalkboard menu oft-scrawled with duck, quail, and rabbit (all of which's perpetually served by the chefs themselves) serves up a rotating selection of adventurous eats in Robbinsdale.
Upstairs, at the Bachelor Farmer, you'll find a friendly brick-and-wood restaurant offering a variety of organic dishes made with ingredients from its rooftop garden and other local growers, while downstairs is a dimly lit speakeasy with expertly crafted cocktails. There, at Marvel Bar, you'll want to order the signature cocktail, Oliveto, which features olive oil, egg white, lemon, Licor 43, and Gordon’s gin.
James Beard-nominated chef Isaac Becker is behind this steakhouse-slash-pizzeria in Minneapolis. On the first floor, Burch Steakhouse serves an eclectic menu filled with raw bar options, prime beef and domestic Wagyu, and a variety of European-style dumplings. In the basement, the Pizza Bar bangs out Neapolitan-style pies from a white oak-fueled pizza oven. Every pizza comes with an exciting combination of toppings -- hey, there aren't many places you can get pizza topped with a lobster claw.
The revered HauteDish, between the Warehouse and Gateway districts, rocks a menu with artfully presented, reinvented takes on Midwestern classics like mac & cheese with king crab and truffle oil, blackened fish tacos, and steak & potatoes. Perfect for empty stomachs at any hour, Haute offers choices for breakfast (go for the chicken & waffles), lunch, and dinner, but if you go in later hours, you'll be able to choose from a long list of house-made cocktails and dozens of draft beers from nearby breweries, too.
WSK offers a beautiful amalgam of global flavors that introduces Uptown diners to tastes of the Middle East, Asia, and the Mediterranean with additional American and Mexican influences, all in a fast-casual brick and mortar version of their food truck that started it all. “Fusion” menu items include Bangkok burritos, yum yum rice bowls, and the sweet onion stuffed falafel burger. It’s a family-run joint, and the Wadi family certainly has done an awful lot to progress food culture in the Twin Cities via its restaurants, food truck and cookbook.
The first time you walk through the door of Glam Doll Donuts may be the last time in awhile you do so, considering you'll have to try more than one (7-8?) of their delicious confections, available in a number of sizes, shapes and flavors.
With more than 30 reasonably priced brews on draught, 30-foot oak bar, and gastropub-quality food, Republic will find its way into your heart quicker than its gastropub-quality food.
After helping St. Paul see double for years, the man behind beeropolis Muddy Pig is now seeing twos himself with the opening of his first westside jam: Pig & Fiddle, which's stocking a mega-impressive suds stable in the former Pearson's 50th/France digs, and plating "rustic" eats amongst dark wood trimmings and a massive fireplace -- so yeah, get stoked.
Coup d’etat, a modern American eatery in the heart of Uptown serves food and cocktails with a whole lot of class.
Although they have quite a menu for brunch, lunch and dinner, Eat Street's real claim to fame are their drinkables, like their original soda fountain creations and their expertly concocted brunch booze and seasonal cocktails. For a more kitschy experience, hit up the Tiki Bar in the back for fruity, garnished drinks. Every day, Eat Street Social features different drink specials, so make frequent trips to this casual but elegant place to experience it all.
This dive bar has become so famous that we aren't sure it's even a dive bar anymore. It's still got teh red vinyl booths, but sadly the suds are going to run you a bit more.
This Robbinsdael spot serves a great brunch that includes dishes like mussels with fennel, apple, and orange, and an egg dog -- which is ecactly what you think it is: eggs stuffed in a casing posing as sausage.
With possibly the best Juicy Lucy in all of the Twin Cities, St. Paul's The Nook is a cozy Irish bar featuring drink specials every night of the week.
This classic Downtown boozer's got traditional American diner fare with outposts in Northeast and Roseville.
Founded in 1928, the 5-8 Club was originally a speakeasy, but though their beer is now legal, their burgers are so lethally filled with cheese and bacon, they probably shouldn't be. They're one of two restaurants who claim to have invented the notorious Juicy Lucy.
Matt's is your classic small town dive bar serving up a killer version of Minneapolis's famed Juicy Lucy. This spot actually claims to have invented the knockout burger. Take a very careful first bite and let all of the molten cheese speak for itself. After, grab a PBR or a pint of Premium to help relieve you from your imminent cheese burns.
The Blue Door Pub might look like your typical Midwest watering hole — wooden booths, twinkle lights, flat-screen tv — but you wouldn't gather from its looks, or lack thereof, is that this is home to the best pub grub in the Twin Cities. Specifically, we're talking about the Blucy Burger, two beef patties stuffed with whatever cheese your order requires (the classic has bleu cheese and garlic, the Cajun Redux have five-pepper, and the Picnic has colby jack).