Suburban Bites: The 7 best places to eat in Richfield
Sean McPherson The Mi Amá Especial from Mi Amá Mexican Restaurant and Grocery
It's hard to say exactly what a typical suburb is nowadays, but whatever your definition, we doubt Richfield fits it. Although Richfield has its share of big box retailers and cookie cutter houses, it is also home to several ethnic groceries, locally owned restaurants, and life threatening traffic circles. If you survive the traffic circles on your way to the TJ Maxx we recommend pulling off the road and rewarding yourself with some of the unique food Richfield has to offer.
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Sean McPherson Pastries from Mi Amá
Ignore Perkins, ignore Baker's Square and ignore your own family until you have tried the Mi Amá Especial from the breakfast menu at the Mi Ama Mexican Restaurant and Grocery. The description of Oaxaca cheese, pastor meat, and pineapple inside a flour tortilla sounded intriguing but we could see a lot of potential for disaster. Large chunks of pork al pastor competing with large chunks of pineapple swimming in cheese sounds like nothing we want a part of, especially for breakfast. But, in this case the pastor meat was finely cubed next to modest chunks of pineapple. The Oaxaca cheese was melty white perfection and it was impossible to get an overpowering bite from any of the three prime ingredients. The generous portion was served with lettuce, tomato, and simple sides of rice and beans. For $7.99 this breakfast will keep you full during the longest morning of errands. And if you are in a hurry grab a delicious Mexican pastele from their grocery side.
If you're in the mood for pho in Richfield, don't overlook this strip mall gem. Cadao Express serves Chinese-American standards like Kung Pao shrimp and General Tso's chicken, but the traditional Vietnamese dishes are the the best bets here. Get the bun rieu, a sweet and spicy tomato-based soup with crab or the beef bun bo hue for a bolder play on basic pho. And be sure to start your slurpy, soupy meal with an order of spring rolls because Cadao's have delicate, crepe-like wrappers and are stuffed to the gills with fresh herbs. A word to the wise: Get your pho to go. The dining room is tiny and cooking smells have a tendency to hang and then settle into your clothes and hair so you have that egg roll grease stink on you all day.
Sandy's Tavern calls itself a "neighborhood tavern that feels like it should be in a small town" and they are dead on. The spot doesn't look like much from the outside -- or inside, for that matter -- but their burgers are a favorite across the metro area. The quarter-pound burgers are a steal at $4.25 and you can make it a double for an extra couple bucks. The signature burger is the Sandy's Sizzler, which comes with pepper cheese, chipotle mayo and diced jalapenos. This is a good choice, but the winner is the olive burger with sour cream and green olives. One can't find this burger on too many menus in the Twin Cities, but it is a salty favorite at Sandy's and for good reason: The green olives sink into the sour cream and create a tapenade-like topping that can't be beat. When picking your side we recommend the thick, salty onion rings for $6 because you can never have enough salt.
Sean McPherson Thin-crust pizza from Fireside in Richfield
Fireside Pizza is the kind of spot you wish were right next to the cabin your friends rented. This sleepy sit down pizza joint is one of the warmest and most inviting spots we've found in the Twin Cities. On a recent Tuesday night we walked into a near empty dining room with two gentlemen performing Credence Clearwater Revival and Beatles tunes. The best part of the performance was the quietly discussed chord changes of 'Daytripper' and the hearty laughter from the performers during the song. This down-homey attitude has found its way into the kitchen and into the pricing at Fireside. We found a $29.99 special for a large 2-topping pizza, pitcher of beer and cheesebread advertised for Tuesdays which handily fed and inebriated our party of three. We ordered the cracker thin pizza with banana peppers and BBQ chicken. The pizza sauce, spicy and specked with delicious Italian seasoning, was spread thin across the pizza which is just right for a thin crust affair. The BBQ chicken was far from overbearing with just a bit of its own mesquite flavor contributing to most bites. The cheesebread leaves a lot to be desired, it is just stale French bread with heaps of mozzarella and a touch of cheddar with no seasoning. Next time we'll skip the cheese bread and focus on more of their delicious pizza. This also looks like a prime spot for a date; they have canopied booths that can be sealed for privacy with your hubby or for some private time with your pizza.