Minneapolis is a great theatre city. Everyone who's ever worked or lived there will tell you that. From the fantastic audiences that trek out even in blizzard conditions to the inspiring new work being fostered by experimental theatre ensembles, this tremendous theatre town is a place you're likely find yourself in at least once in your career, and, my God, will you have a lot to explore.
So. Listen. The food in Minneapolis is pretty special, and the options seem boundless. So, this section is divided up into two categories that most places fall easily into (with a couple of noted exceptions.) The "Special Night Out" spots, it should be said, can be more affordably enjoyed by sidling up to the bar and ordering a small plate or two with a beer; however, consider at least one outing while in Minneapolis where you allow yourself to go to town with friends, family, and/or castmates. It will be 100% worth it at these spots. I promise.
Special Night Out:
In Minneapolis' sexy North Loop neighborhood, Bachelor Farmer has comfortably made its home in an old warehouse space where a highly select menu of local and seasonal produce has kept this restaurant hoppin' ever since it opened. In a sleek but homey restaurant space, sit down for a menu that is best enjoyed by a small group sharing the plates all around. Or head to your left into their bright, intimate bar area, where wine is king. The love and devotion poured into this wine menu by the staff is second to none, and without pomp or snobbery. They just want your wine to be delicious. With many off-the-menu wines available as well, strike up a conversation with your server, and grab some snacks to go along with your vino. This is a "special night out" spot, but know that Bachelor Farmer has a homey, friendly, easy-going vibe that will fully put you at ease to revel in this delicious food and drink.
50 N 2nd Ave, Minneapolis, MN 55401 HOURS: Mon- Thurs 5:30PM- 9:30PM Fri- Sat 5:30PM- 10:30PM Sun 5PM- 9:30PM thebachelorfarmer.com
Bar La Grassa
Bar LaGrassa's sister restaurants, 112 Eatery and Burch, are well worth a visit as well, but this simple, exquisite Italian eatery is a must-go while you're in Minneapolis. Chef Isaac Baker won the James' Beard Award for Best Chef, Midwest in 2011 and Outstanding Chef in 2014, and his perfect, hand-made pastas at Bar LaGrassa will quickly help you to understand why. The decor at Bar LaGrassa is rustic and intimate, but, if you decide to make the trip on your own, the large bar area is an ideal spot for a plate of pasta and a glass of wine. I highly recommend the Smoked Spaghetti Alla Chitarra with brown butter and lobster, the Mushroom and Taleggio Agnolotti, as well as the Scallops with apple, leek, speck, and carrot beurre blanc. (And the best part is, many of their pastas come in half portions!) So come by on a day off or late in the evening after a show (they serve late!) It's a very special spot.
800 N Washington Ave, Minneapolis, MN 55401 HOURS: Sun 5PM- 10PM Mon- Thurs 5PM- 12AM Fri- Sat 5PM- 1AM barlagrassa.com
Spoon and Stable
The flagship of another James Beard Award-winning chef, Spoon and Stable is another gorgeous restaurant that has made it's home in the North Loop warehouse district. Chef Gavin Kaysen won Best Chef Midwest in 2018 and this menu is an exceptional array of what this talented young chef has to offer. But, yet again, my advice is to pull up a seat at the bar and order a couple small things (even just a dessert) to get a sample of what this special restaurant has to offer without breaking the bank. That being said, this is an IDEAL place to bring family in town. Dimly lit, with a dark, industrial feel, the staff here compliments the sleek digs with warmth and heart and attention.
211 N 1st St, Minneapolis, MN 55401 HOURS: Mon- Thurs 4PM- 12AM Fri- Sat 4PM- 1AM Sun 10AM- 2PM; 4PM- 12AM spoonandstable.com
A cafe, a hotel, and a restaurant. That's how ALMA describes herself. The hotel is lovely, the cafe is heavenly, but the restaurant here is divine. At $62 for three seasonally-inspired courses, be prepared to be dazzled by this remarkable young chef and his creativity. I cannot recommend this restaurant enough as a special occasion evening that will feel as if you spent three times the amount on dinner given the care and attention and quality of each dish (plus little surprise treats littered throughout the evening.) The wine pairing for $36 is an exceptional option as well, with a master sommelier who pairs gorgeous and unique flavors with each dish. So make this a solo treat or a very special night out with family or friends in town.
528 University Ave SE, Minneapolis, MN 55414 HOURS: Sun- Thurs 5AM- 9PM Fri- Sat 5AM- 10PM almampls.com
Kyatchi will fulfill all your dreams of fresh, flavorful sushi deliciousness. Sourcing from local vendors committed to the highest quality ingredients, this sushi place knows that the quality of their products will make all the difference. In clean, bright digs both in Minneapolis and St. Paul, take advantage of their Happy Hour, if you can, to pair that sushi with some affordable and delicious sake and appetizer options and then go to town with as much fresh fish as you can handle. Your body will thank you.
Minneapolis St. Paul 3758 Nicollet Ave, Minneapolis, MN 55409 308 E Prince St #140, St Paul, MN 55101 HAPPY HOUR: Mon- Sun 4PM- 6PM; 10PM- 12AM HAPPY HOUR: Mon- Sun 4PM- 6PM HOURS: Mon- Fri 4PM- 12AM HOURS: Sun- Thurs 4PM- 9PM Sat- Sun 12PM- 12AM Fri- Sat 4PM- 10PM kyatchi.com
From the chef who brought you Bar LaGrassa, 112 Eatery is the more upscale big sister restaurant who hosts only a handful of small bistro tables around its intimate bar area, so make a reservation ahead of time or come late (post show) to snag a spot. But all that effort will be well worth it when you take in what this menu has to offer. Every single item at 112 Eatery is completely delicious. Try their Sweet burrata toast with walnut pesto, or the Tagliatelle with foie gras meatballs, or their savory Game Hen with farro risotto.
112 N 3rd St, Minneapolis, MN 55401 HOURS: Sun 5PM- 10PM Mon- Thurs 5PM- 12AM Fri- Sat 5PM- 1AM 112eatery.com
Maria's Cafe is a Colombian restaurant that was recommended by local food aficionado, Ryan Colbert, and my God does it live up to the hype. The unassuming exterior lets you know right away that they keep things simple here. It's all about the food. Everything here is made from scratch and every flavor and texture is absolutely spot on. A Cachapas Venezolanas (or corn pancake) with Cotija Cheese is an absolute MUST, and my recommendation is to pair that alongside a savory dish option like their Calentao on Huevos (Colombian Breakfast) with rice and pinto beans served with an egg, Colombian chorizo link, arepa, and aji colombiano or their excellent Breakfast Sandwich. You will be deeply satisfied. I promise. 800 N Washington Ave, Minneapolis, MN 55401 HOURS: Mon- Thurs 5PM- 12AM Fri- Sat 5PM- 1AM Sun 5PM- 10PM barlagrassa.com
Centro at Popol Vuh
Northeast Minneapolis is the hip, artistic hub of Minneapolis where many of the city's best breweries and distilleries live as well as lots of art exhibitions and music venus. Scattered throughout you will also find great food (and I mean great food) and one in particular that is well worth a visit (especially on a day off while wandering from brewery to brewery) is Centro at Popol Vuh. Popol Vuh translates to "Book of the People", and it is the name of the higher-end Mexican restaurant that is directly next door to Centro (which I strongly encourage you to visit as well.) Centro, however, resides in brighter, more casual digs and serves up a small menu of the basics: guac and chips, tacos, nachos, but nothing about the quality here is basic. The slow-braised meats, the fresh peppers and salsas and marinades are all top of the line, a bright, brilliant explosion of flavors and combinations. I can honestly say that not a thing here will disappoint, so swing through with a friend or on your own, choose three or four tacos and a mezcal or tequila drink and go to town.
1414 Quincy St NE, Minneapolis, MN 55413 HOURS: Sun 10AM- 12AM Mon- Thurs 11AM- 12AM Fri- Sat 11AM- 1AM popolvuhmpls.com
Brasa Premium Rotisserie
Brasa Premium Rotisserie combines flavors from Mexico, the Caribbean, and the Southern U.S. to bring you homey, stick to your ribs, hot and spicy comfort food that will make your stomach so so very happy. They also go the extra mile here with organic ingredients and 100% natural meats, eggs, and dairy. As their name would suggest, the Rotisserie Chicken here is exceptional, as is The Smoked Beef as well their Roasted Yams with Andouille and their Crispy Yuca with citrus and garlic mayo. This place is best enjoyed with a companion who's willing to split a few plates and get the most of our what this special place can offer.
Cafe Racer is a bright, cozy Latin restaurant serving up delicious dishes like Arroz Con Pollo with saffron roasted chicken quarter, criollo rice, yucca frita, and sweet plantains and Carne a la Parrilla with chimichurri marinated flank steak, yucca frita, sweet plantains, and black beans and rice. Every aspect of the plates they serve at Cafe Racer is carefully handmade with enough flavor and texture variety to satisfy even the harshest critic. I HIGHLY recommend making a sojourn to this (mostly residential) neighborhood for a lunch from heaven.
2929 East 25th Street, Minneapolis, MN 55406 HAPPY HOUR: Tues- Sat 3PM- 5PM; 8PM-9PM Sun 2PM- 3PM HOURS: Mon CLOSED Tues- Fri 11AM- 9PM Sat 10AM- 9PM Sun 10AM- 3PM caferacermn.com
Pimento Jamaican Kitchen
Pimento Jamaica Kitchen is a good, old-fashioned labor of love. This Minneapolis restaurant found its roots in a kitchen of West Kingston when matriarch, Sylvia “Baby Lue” Jones, taught her grandson, Tomme “Young General” Beevas, how to cook, and, my God, have those lessons paid off. The food here is absolutely exceptional. Expect generous portions, too, enough to share or at least take some home, and the spice level is just perfect. This affordable, charming neighborhood joint immediately makes you feel right at home and then the food knocks your socks off. (And remember to come back one evening and try their Rum Bar next door where live music and a lovely back patio make it a local favorite.)
With a gorgeous stone patio area under trees and overlooking the Mississippi, Aster Cafe could rest on its laurels of location-location-location, but this eatery has a delicious menu of simple, fresh bites and an extensive wine list to go along with the exquisite views. Consistently voted a "best first date" spot, come here on a gorgeous early evening and soak it all in.
125 SE Main St, Minneapolis, MN 55414 HAPPY HOUR: Mon- Fri 3PM-6PM HOURS: Mon- Fri 11AM- 11PM Sat 10AM- 12AM Sun 10AM- 11PM astercafe.com
Seward Co-op Creamery Cafe
Building on over 45 years of relationships, Seward Co-op Creamery Cafe is a beautiful collection of local farmers and producers who create a seasonal menu at this casual, friendly eatery that is as welcoming as it is delicious. Pair any of their delicious menu items with their locally made ice creams and sorbets, and you'll be happy.
2601 E Franklin Ave, Minneapolis, MN 55406 HAPPY HOUR: Wed- Sat 2PM- 6PM ($1 beer and wine and a $10 burger schedule) HOURS: Sun- Thurs 8AM- 3PM Fri- Sat 8AM- 9PM coopcreamery.coop
The Sheridan Room
The Sheridan Room is a chicken place- Beer Can Chicken, Fried Chicken- both paired perfectly with sides like beer mac n' cheese, curried pumpkin and chickpea, and roasted cauliflower gratin. This divey, unassuming spot in the Northeast is perfect for some late night comfort food alongside some local craft beer.
Moto-i self identifies as a Ramen and Sake House, and this hip, uptown, multi-floored spot is ideal for a bite and a drink. Located across the street from The Jungle Theatre, this fun, loud bar and restaurant brews all its own sakes on site and frequently hosts live music in its upstairs space. Their House Made "Benny Buns" with panko fried poached egg, candied miso bacon, scallion, chili powder, and miso bearnaise on homemade steamed buns are absolutely scrumptious, and that house made sake is very very worth a try. And, if you can time it right, swing by for their early or late night happy hour menu and get delicious bites for a fraction of the cost.
2940 Lyndale Ave S, Minneapolis, MN 55408 HAPPY HOUR: Mon- Sun 2:20PM- 6PM ($4 sake and beer and $3.50-$7 snacks) Sun- Thurs 10PM- 2M HOURS: Mon- Fri 12PM- 2AM Sat- Sun 11AM- 2AM moto-i.com
Ryan Colbert gets another shout out here for turning me on to Afro. New Yorkers, this is your go to when you crave that utterly delicious chicken and rice dish served up by the best Halal food trucks in New York, and what they've got here, I dare say, is even better. These delicious dishes combine flavors of Africa and Mediterranean into complex, flavorful rice bowl, salads, and wraps. Can't quite recommend this highly enough.
720 Washington Ave SE, Minneapolis, MN 55454 HOURS: Mon- Sat 10AM- 9PM Sun 11AM- 9PM afrodeli.com
Alright, here you go, it's 12am, and your cast has been drinking and debriefing since the curtain came down and now you're starving. In some cities, your only option (if there even is one) will be the greasiest of greasiest spoons, but, in Minneapolis, you have Pizza Luce. This phenomenal collection of Minneapolis pizza spots has been serving absolutely pitch perfect pies to the community for years, and the salads and appetizer options are well worth a try as well!
119 N 4th St, Minneapolis, MN 55401 2200 E Franklin Ave, Minneapolis, MN 55404 HOURS: Mon- Thurs 11AM- 2:30AM HOURS: Mon- Fri 11AM- 2:30AM Fri 11AM- 3:30AM Sat- Sun 8AM- 2:30AM Sat 10AM- 3:30AM Sun 10AM- 2:30AM pizzaluce.com
Victor's 1959 Cafe
Victor's 1959 Cafe advertises itself as a little piece of Cuba in South Minneapolis, and it is just that. This independently owned and operated institution has been featured on the Food Network and gained national recognition, but don't expect anything less than a friendly, neighborhood feel here. Enjoy pulled pork that's been roasted for hours in lime juice and garlic as well as perfect fried plantains, fresh Cuban chicken stew, as well as homemade Empanadas. You really can't go wrong with anything on the menu, and alongside Happy Hour drink specials, this will be a favorite of yours in Minneapolis.