Bike to dinner: St. Paul edition

Dawn Brodey
The chariot of the dining bicyclist.

Dare we say it -- summer has finally arrived -- and as it does, increased numbers of weather-weary Twin Citians are taking to their bicycles and hitting the town. They pedal the Lakes, the Grand Rounds, the Greenway, or any of the many urban bike lanes. It is for good reason that we are regularly voted among the most bike-friendly cities in the country.

But bike-friendly isn't the only feather in our cap -- we are also regularly voted among the best cities for foodies. So why not combine the two?

A few weeks ago Hot Dish brought you a course for your courses -- a bike-friendly route with recommended stops for appetizers, dinner and dessert. Beginning and ending in Minneapolis, the 10-mile course was a big hit.

Now Hot Dish pedals East and presents a course for your courses in St. Paul. This seven-mile route hits some of Saint Paul's classic locations and new favorites -- and burns a lot of calories along the way.

Drinks and Appetizers
Heartland Restaurant
289 E. 5th Street

The Lounge at Heartland Restaurant.

Lowertown is a lovely and logical place to start your course. Not only is it easily accessible from many bike paths, but there are also several Nice Ride stations in the area. This should accommodate those diners who are biking from home, those who are driving in from elsewhere with their bike in the car, and those who are jumping in bike-less.

Heartland Restaurant is a well-established Saint Paul culinary gem featuring an award-winning, farm-to-table dining experience, with an excellent wine list, a full bar, and a menu that changes daily depending on "what the farmers deliver." Heartland also boasts Chef Lenny Russo, a three-time finalist for the James Beard Foundation's Best Chef in the Midwest.

For you, the discerning diner on two-wheels, Hot Dish suggests you and your helmet take a seat in The Lounge section of Heartland. This area of the restaurant is located in the Market House atrium and has a great view. Enjoy a local brew or a mixed drink which is -- like everything else they serve -- made in-house from local sources. As this is just the beginning of your journey, we recommend a small plate or two: spring panzanella or asparagus soup are great choices.

Pace yourself, though, your next stop is dinner, a 15-20 minute ride (about three miles) away.

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