MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – It’s almost Valentine’s Day, which means many people are thinking about an upcoming date.

Nearly one in three couples plans to celebrate the day with a night out on the town, which more than likely includes dinner.

If you still need ideas on where to go, and you want to avoid the rush of downtown, WCCO’s Ali Lucia scouted out some suburban spots for you and your loved one.

Greeting guests every morning, Carol’s Kitchen owner, Carol Brown serves up more than just these Carmel rolls.

“Carol is just so real. A genuine person, a caring person, a genuine person,” Sandy Brown said.

Brown is a long time regular. She visits the diner almost every week.

The Blaine breakfast-to-dinner diner offers up a whole lot of homemade comfort food. From hot cakes in the morning to your very own Thanksgiving surprise all year long.

“Everything is from scratch. Even our stuffing we make out of our homemade bread. Our sweet potatoes are baked and then we make a special sauce for them. Everything we do here,” Carol Brown said.

Brown has owned the restaurant in the Blaine location for 12 years.

And the love for the restaurant has stayed in the family.

Brown’s daughter helped fine-tune the rib sauce. The family run restaurant even named the popular dinner dish after her.

“My husband and I came up with the sauce. It’s just Teresa’s BBQ Ribs,” Teresa Benson, Carol’s daughter, said.

On a day that’s all about love you can’t leave without dessert.

“We have fabulous homemade banana cream pie, homemade coconut cream pie. Everything. And It’s always different. We have a coconut layer cake that everyone loves,” Brown said.

The pies and cakes are made fresh every morning.

But, if you’re honey doesn’t like sweet pies, we found another kind of pie they might enjoy – a pizza pie.

That’s exactly what they serve up every night at Pizzeria Pezzo in White Bear Lake.

“This our version of the meat lovers pizza,” General Manager Michael Chabot said.

The Wrigley, Bucktown or Gold Coast are your best options for protein.

“The sauce is all homemade, everything is fresh every day. We make hundreds of pounds of ground sausage and sauce every day,” Chabot said.

If you’re not feeling the meat, you can always try their vegetarian option – Lincoln Park.

Owner Keri Bougie’s late husband, Gary, worked for over a decade to make sure this crust is baked to perfection

“The pizza sauce is made from scratch, it’s a recipe of my husband’s that he put together. The dough also from scratch, a recipe that was done by my husband,” Bougie said.

After Gary’s death, Bougie is still learning the ins and outs of the restaurant business.

Gary died unexpectedly following routine gallbladder surgery last April, but that hasn’t slowed his business dream down. The family style pizzeria opened a little over a year ago and already made the “Hot 100″ national pizza restaurant list.

“We moved our family here from Chicago, we didn’t know how receptive Minneapolis and Minnesotans would be to deep dish and they love it. We were named in the Minneapolis-St. Paul Business Journal as one of the best deep dish pizza’s in the area and we’ve only been open a year,” Bougie said.

Her late husband also opened Slyce in Chicago a little over four years ago that has the same concept.

Either option could make a great choice for your holiday all about hearts, love, lust and smiles.

What’s great about Carol’s Kitchen is everything on the menu is fairly reasonable.

Also, if you didn’t get a card, you can pick up one on the spot, there is a gift shop connected to the restaurant. The cards can be for anyone, but most of the gifts are geared for women or home decor.

As the White Bear Lake’s Pizzeria Pezzo, they have a great bar. A deep dish pizza along with a salad could easily feed a family of four. If you don’t like deep dish they have coal fired pizzas and sandwiches. Also, Wednesday night is half price wine night.

Ali Lucia

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