The coffee scene in 2018 has never been better: excellent local roasters, incredibly creative baristas, and beautiful spaces to sit and drink and think. Here are my favorite coffee shops in Minneapolis.
- Parallel: This room is so beautiful I want to live here. Hennepin Made (the lighting manufacturers) created this coffee shop in their building, so it’s a showcase for great design. The beans rotate but they’ve been using VERVE out of California.
- Northern Coffeeworks: Another beautiful room within walking distance of US Bank Stadium and the Guthrie, they rotate coffee between Intelligentsia, Sweet Bloom and Ruby Roasters (from WI). Great classics, but also fun lattes with smoked sea salt or orange lavendar.
- Bachelor Farmer Coffee: The tile in here is totally Instagram famous, but the coffee might be even better. Bachelor Farmer has their own custom roast from Dogwood, and then they rotate the best beans from around the country. Right now it’s Parlor Coffee (from Brooklyn). Obviously the food and pastries here are phenomenal too.
- UP Cafe: The coffee shop of outstanding local roaster UP Roasters, the cafe uses the best expressions of the beans the roaster is creating. Nice sandwiches and baked goods, but really fantastic coffees, espressos and lattes.
- Urban Bean Coffee: Excellent coffee from Intelligentsia and Four Barrel, beautiful and perfect espresso preparations. Greg Martin’s team is trained in the classic preparation of your favorite coffees.
- Spyhouse: Spyhouse roasts their owns coffees and it is exceptional. I visit the North Loop shop the most, as it’s nestled in between some very cool Washington Avenue buildings, and they carry outstanding Black Walnut pastries.
- Dogwood Coffee: Dogwood has three coffee shops (East Lake, Calhoun Square and St. Paul), and Dogwood has always been one of my favorite local roasts. Beautiful quality and bright flavor. Same is true of their coffee shops.
- Five Watt Coffee: Five Watt is a heck of a small batch roaster, in fact the wild creativity of their coffee drinks sometimes conceals how good their plain old coffee beans are. A cold press drink with chicory; a latte with fennel bitters, the drinks are more like going to a great cocktail bar just with coffee.
- Peace Coffee – Capella Tower: This is the best coffee shop in downtown Minneapolis and it’s not even close. Beautiful surroundings, the only Alpha Dominche Steampunk 2.1 brewer in Minnesota, great espresso too.
- Penny’s Coffee: La Colombe beans from Philly at one of the most Instagrammed coffee shops in town. Penny’s does great matcha lattes, activated charcoal too – they also have lovely crepes and sandwiches.
- Anelace Coffee: This is the best coffee shop in Northeast Minneapolis: the room feels good, they rotate beans but you can often find Counter Culture Coffee (one of my favorites) here.
I love a Dairy Queen Blizzard. Feeling like candy swirled in that soft serve? Do it. How about cookies? Go for it. Fruit? That’s weird, but you do you. I’ve created a list of the Top 12 Dairy Queen Blizzard flavors – and while you should feel free to disagree in the comments, do so knowing that you are wrong.
- Chocolate-covered Cherries (it’s been discontinued – a couple pumps of chocolate formed almost a chocolate shell on the inside, combined with cherries – just perfection)
- Choco Cherry Love (This was my replacement for Chocolate-covered cherries. Also discontinued because Dairy Queen apparently hates me)
- Turtle Pecan Cluster (pecans with chocolate & caramel)
- Snickers Blizzard
- Oreo Blizzard
- Heath Bar Blizzard
- Salted Caramel Truffle (caramel bonbons plus toffee pieces, fudge, chocolate chunks)
Mint Oreo Blizzard Strawberry Cheesecake Blizzard (I made an error by not including this originally, the cheesecake chunks are delightful. It belongs on the list.)
- Butterfinger Blizzard
- Banana Split Blizzard (Banana splits are good, banana split blizzards are better)
- Reese’s Peanut Butter Blizzard (more peanut butter flavors, please!)
- Chocolate Xtreme Blizzard (negative points for the X in Xtreme)
November 3rd is National Sandwich Day, but to me, every day is sandwich day. What makes the ideal sandwich? It’s not easy to achieve. I want the perfect bread: easy to hold, full of flavor, but not overwhelming flavor. I want a hearty serving of meat or veggies: whatever the dominant flavor is supposed to be. Nice cheese, oh the best sandwiches almost always have nice cheese. And something pickled or spicy to balance the meaty flavor. If it were easy, everyone would have a killer sandwich. Here is my list of the Top 14 Sandwiches in the Twin Cities. Ranked in Order of greatness! What did I miss? Add your answers in the comments.
- Clancey’s Meats: Roast Beef Sandwich
- Saint Dinette: Fried Bologna Sandwich
- Be’wiched Deli: Tuna Confit Sandwich
- St. Paul Cheese Shop: Surprise sandwich ($9 for something awesome)
- Half Time Rec’s Paddy Shack: Corned Beef Sandwich [WCCO Story]
- Terzo Wine Bar: Calabrian Porchetta Sandwich
- Tilia: Fish Taco Torta
- Borough: Catfish Sandwich: [WCCO Story]
- Hola Arepa: Chorizo Sausage Arepa [WCCO Story]
- Surdyk’s Cheese Shop Minneaple Melt (lingonberries, brie, turkey, apples)
- Chris and Rob’s Chicago Taste Authority: Italian Beef Sandwich
- The Buttered Tin: Tuna Melt (Thanksgiving Sandwich when available) [WCCO Story]
- Quang Restaurant: Thit Nguoi Banh Mi (roast pork, ham, pate, pork patty for $5)
- Manny’s Tortas: 3 Little Pigs Torta (pork tenderloin, bacon, ham)
I spend a lot of time enjoying fine dining spots, finer dining spots, and on the opposite end – the hole in the wall. But Jamie’s question on Twitter struck a chord with me.
I have lived here for 5 months and get depressed about the lack of places up my alley. We’re not much for fancy dining out, but love spicy and adventurous cuisine.
Jamie – I know my readers will have more suggestions in the comments, but here are some places I think you’ll love.
- Hola Arepa – Great brunch, great dinner, awesome drinks. I love the Shiitake Cachapa, the Chimichurri Chicken and Adobo Chicken Arepas
- Sonora Grill – Shrimp Temprua and Chicken Al Pastor Caramelos, don’t miss the eggplant fries.
- On’s Kitchen – Nice Thai spot, great Spicy Laab salad and
- Marla’s Carribean Cuisine – Jamaican Jerk Shrimp or Chicken (go Marla’s Hot if you dare)
- Harry Singh’s Carribean – Jerk Chicken Roti is awesome, get your own Carribean Fire Pepper Sauce too.
- Krung Thep Thai – Spicy Papaya Salad, Roasted Duck Curry, get it as hot as you like.
- Brasa – the beef has a nice spicy note, but their pork is my favorite. Collard Greens or Yams & Andoille are my favorite sides
- Pineda Tacos – one of the most underrated Mexican spots. Great burrito, great chimichanga (the chipotle chicken is legit).
Other sources on this topic:
Heavy Table’s Central Avenue checklist is awesome. Many ethnic treasures up and down this corridor.
MSP Magazine’s Peter Lillenthal is one of the best ethnic restaurant minds in town, he knows how to find the hidden treasures. His Spiciest Global Eats list is right on the money.
Is there anything hotter than burgers right now? No, there is not. Why is this the case? Burgers are delicious. It’s pretty simple. The hot trend right now is the simple, diner-style burger: thin patties, nice char, simple toppings. It’s a great trend! A great trend!
Because you love burgers, I’ll be updating this list periodically with my Top 12 Burgers in Minneapolis and St. Paul.
- Saint Dinette
- Strip Club Meat & Fish
- Haute Dish
- Paddy Shack [WCCO Story]
- Bulldog NE
- The Nook/Shamrock’s: [WCCO story]
- Victory 44
- Blue Door Pub
- Red Cow [WCCO story]
My Must-Try List:
- Nighthawks (Update 8/4 – tried it and loved it. Excellent burger. Will likely make next list.)
- il Foro
What else should be on the must-try list? What else should be in my Top 12?
UPDATE 7/17: Tried the Tilia Burger – the cheese sauce is quite dominant, but a very, very good burger.
Target Field has set the standard when it comes to stadium food. They’ve embraced local, original restaurants and set them up inside the stadium – giving people a chance to really experience some of the best of Minnesota. If you’re headed to a game this summer, here are my can’t miss spots inside Target Field:
- Hot Indian Foods (Section 120)- chicken tikka rice bowl is awesome, but the vegan Aloo Gobi is my favorite. Spicy and delicious. ($11)
- AZ Canteen (Section 114) – The incredible hunk of pork belly sandwich ($10), the smoked meat is killer ($12), but the new Korean Chicken Sandwich is my fave. ($13)
- Red Cow (Section 126) – 60/40 burger: 60% beef, 40% ground bacon, topped with cheddar, beer mustard, and candied bacon. Yes. ($8.50)
- Butcher & The Boar (section 140) – perfect BBQ rib tips ($14), get it served with a can of Indeed beer and a shot of whiskey.
- Kramarczuk’s (112, 117, 312) – The brat is wonderful, the Polish is better. Get it with kraut, peppers and onions. ($8)
What are your favorites? Add them in the comments!