Restaurants North Minneapolis
House-cured meats and artisanal cheeses at Be'Wiched.
As its ubiquitous, chic loft condominiums suggest, the North Loop is quickly becoming a hot spot for trendy Minneapolitans. Bordered by the new Twins Stadium to the southwest, Hennepin Avenue to the southeast, Plymouth Avenue to the northwest, and the Mississippi River to the northeast, the heart of this warehouse-district-in-metamorphosis is increasingly popular for its budding food scene, which includes a number of Best Of winners. In case you've missed all the excitement, here are our 10 favorite spots to grab a bite in the North Loop.
Much of the renaissance of the North Loop can be attributed to the location of Target Field, and nothing goes with sports quite so well as wings and beer. Luckily, Runyon's is located just a short walk away from the home of the Twins, and it features some of the best hot wings this side of Buffalo. They come slicked with a spicy, vinegary sauce that offers a more authentic experience than your local Buffalo Wild Wings. A half order of wings with a half order of fries should be enough to fill most bellies, but ordering the full plate with a group of friends on the way to the game is the ideal experience.
Moose & Sadie's has been in the North Loop for years, and transformed right along with it. When it opened up in 1991, in a part of town then better known as the Warehouse District, it was the first coffee shop around. When Birchwood Cafe alum Susan Muskat came on board as chef in 2005, it became one of the only area lunch spots serving up fare beyond tots and tacos. Today, the airy cafe remains a kind of palate cleanser between the fancier restaurants sprouting up around it, a place for a casual brunch, a working lunch, or just a quick cup of coffee from the counter. While Moose & Sadie's offers a comfortable hang-out spot and a reliable internet connection, it also serves up fresh pastries from its bakery, locally sourced ingredients, and full breakfast, lunch, and dinner menus that rotate weekly. Up this week: sweet corn polenta, roasted pork loin sandwiches, and pizza specials overflowing with seasonal veggies. Don't say this neighborhood standby can't keep up with the new kids.
Most of the time the very idea of lunch meat is so unappealing it makes you steer clear of a deli sandwich, but at Be'Wiched on Washington, it's the main draw. All the amazingly peppery pastrami for the classic New York-style rye sandwich is house-cured; the turkey that's paired with bacon, goat cheese, and medjool dates is smoked on premises; and the tuna confit goes straight from their kitchen to a slice of focaccia with olives. Every sandwich comes with a scoop of some cold salad, like the mildly Moroccan-spiced cous cous, but their minestrone is a knockout and goes especially well with the Italian hero. Just recently, the deli added brunch and dinner service as well as a mess of creative, crave-able daily specials. If you're ever there when turducken sliders with soft quark cheese and braised ramps are on the menu, you know what to do.
Getting a little smudge of char on your face is inevitable when you're messily digging into a slice of Black Sheep's outstanding pizza, but if you're a true blue North Looper you'll wear it like a badge of honor. The unique technique of using super hot, but virtually emission-free coal-fired ovens give the sturdy but chewy crust not only its characteristic char but also its lingering smoky quality. It's a flavor that goes well with everything from massive Italian-style meatballs, to exotic roasted oyster mushrooms, to chicken and pickled peppers, to hot salami, all of which are available toppings here. If you like something a little fresh and light with your pie, the Farmers Market salad is reliably good, whether it's a pile of shaved and dressed fennel and oranges, a melange of roasted root vegetables, or a classic caprese with sweet local cherry tomatoes.
Lahbster, dahling. It's a luxury that we landlocked folks certainly know how to appreciate, and there's one place that boasts some of the best seafood in the Twin Cities. While Smack Shack started wowing eaters as a food truck, they definitely deliver the goods at their brick-and-mortar spot in the North Loop. If you're lusting after lobster, try staying traditional with the lobster boil - always a winner - or go modern with the mac and cheese - served with pillowy hunks of lobster and a creamy cheese sauce that tastes like a dream. There's ample opportunity to try other seafood, too, from fried oyster po'boys on crispy baguettes and soft-shell crab rolls to the Boston Clam Chowda and steamed mussels. We suggest you make a reservation in advance since waiting near the 100-gallon steam kettle can be sweet, delicious-smelling torture... or just the thing that gets you yearning for a taste of the ocean.
There's a reason that Origami nabs the big awards each year, including quite a few City Pages Best Ofs. This joint has been serving up some of the best sushi in town since 1990. Salmon, tuna, and eel rolls are easy to appreciate, while more challenging items like sea scallops and off-menu delicacies will excite those looking for a tasty adventure. Daily happy hour from 5 to 6:30 p.m. is worth checking out as well, with drink specials and plates ranging from $3 to $8.
Michelle Leon and Steve Neuharth
The always-bustling Bar La Grassa is a North Loop mainstay for good reason. They have the trifecta of fabulous handmade pasta, perfect negronis, and high standards of service that diners look for in an Italian restaurant. James Beard award-winning chef and owner Isaac Becker, the man behind other venerable Minneapolis institutions like 112 Eatery and Burch Steakhouse, has said that he simply set out to create the kind of pasta place that he would want to frequent, a place with bold flavors, reasonable prices (especially if you go for the half portions), and an upscale yet comfortable feel. Many of BLG's dry and fresh pasta dishes have already become modern Minneapolis classics, such as the inky, briny pasta negra with sea urchin, chilies, and mussels, and the irresistibly rich paccheri with braised chicken and saffron milk. Still, the big robust cuts of meat are not to be missed, so don't shy away from the Berkshire pork or the St. Louis-style spare ribs. Unexpected options for an Italian menu? Sure. Super delicious? Absolutely.
The name says it all for this restaurant at the edge of the North Loop. Haute Dish is quintessentially Minnesotan, with an artistic chef touch and a fine dining filter. Landon Schoenefeld has made quite a name for himself during his storied career, perhaps most notably the moniker "Colonel Mustard, " after he doused a bartender with the yellow stuff. Aside from the antics, he routinely delights diners with dishes like his General Tso's sweetbreads, and the eponymous hot dish. With his hot dish, Schoenefeld draws on Midwestern memories of cream of something soup, but re-imagines the standby as luscious morsels of short ribs, umami-packed porcini mushrooms and "tots" that taste more like pure puffs of potato heaven, crusty edges with plush interiors. Add in a killer brunch and one of the best vegetarian tasting menus in town, and it's no wonder Haute Dish is still a hot ticket.