By Crystal Grobe
An advantage to living in Minneapolis is we have access to a ton of great food. Since most of my family lives in the suburbs, we enjoy exposing our nieces and nephews to a slightly different life. Whenever they sleepover, we walk the neighborhood, take them out to eat and find city activities to do. After an exceptionally busy weekend of running around including dinner at Icehouse and brunch at Bonfire, one of our nephews asked, “Do you just eat out ALL of the time?” Well, buddy, the answer is yes, sometimes, but not all the time.
October was one of those months where restaurants fueled us more than home cooking and sometimes, that’s just the way it goes. Here are a few highlights of the food that kept us full:
Mercury Dining Room and Rail is a newish restaurant in downtown Minneapolis (it opened last year) and it is a great spot for a business meeting. At 7:45am on a Wednesday, it wasn’t busy and it has an extensive menu that satisfies both adventurous and traditional eaters. On my visit, I went with the classic American breakfast of 2 eggs (over easy), toast (white), choice of meat (sausage links), potatoes, and I added a side of avocado, one of my favorite pairings with eggs. Service was great, the food was great, and I’m keeping it in mind for future breakfast meet ups.
Lettuce Wrapped Little Cheeseburger at Five Guys Burgers and Fries
I haven’t been to Five Guys since it first came to the Twin Cities years ago and I remember it being only okay, but friends continue to rave about it. So when a serious burger craving hit, we walked a mile to our nearest Five Guys to check it out again. I was pretty excited when I saw they serve a lettuce wrapped burger, just like my favorite at In-n-Out, and it DID NOT DISAPPOINT! Loaded with pickles, onions, tomatoes, ketchup, mayonnaise, and mustard, it can get a little messy, but I can’t stop thinking about how good it was. I might have just converted to a Five Guys fan.
If you haven’t been to Young Joni yet, you’re missing out. It’s good. Really good. And cozy. And warm. And hard to get into last minute unless you have a reservation or leave work at 3:45pm to grab a table when they open at 4pm like we did. Hunkering down amongst the wood-fire ovens while it snowed outside proved to be a great choice to end our week and it’s hard to go wrong with cocktails and pizza. The real showstopper though, was the grilled confit mushrooms in chestnut miso butter. Earthy, smoky, and packed full of umami, I can’t believe I’ve never ordered these before. Plus, it’s quite a beautiful dish.
Pro tip: Be sure to visit the back bar around the corner next to the red light. It’s just like your parent’s basement with mismatched furniture, vintage glassware, and tasty cocktails from bartender Adam Gorski of La Belle Vie fame. Even if there’s a wait, the host/door guy is great at getting you in quickly as soon as there is room.