How to Live a More Examined Life: Eating Crab Legs in a Minnesota Dive Bar

Gaal Levine
Fortune does not always favor the bold.

Cuzzy's Grill & Bar is a great place to get poisonously drunk.

It's darkly lit, and the furniture has a distinct "purchased at an office closing we found on Craigslist" feel. The walls are lined with dingy, marked-up dollar bills, and I half expect to see Charles Bukowski in the back corner misogynizing his waitress. There's not a drop of sea spray within a thousand miles.

Not the kind of place you wanna get fruits de mer.

See also:More »

Where to Eat on Payne Avenue, St. Paul's New Dining Destination

Benjamin Carter Grimes
Chef Leondard Anderson of Tongue in Cheek

St. Paul's Payne Avenue is shaping up to be a restaurant strip worth a second, third, and even fourth look.

Something of a latecomer to the gentrification game, the city's East Side has long been blighted by vacant and boarded homes, symbols of declining industry. But thanks to some forward-thinking entrepreneurs, along with an infusion of city money, Payne Avenue is looking like the new "eat street" to keep an eye on. Here are four places to add to your restaurant rotation.

See also:
First look: Cook St. Paul, a new brunch star in Payne-Phalen

More »

8-year-old Dylan Spoering's second venture, Pirate Restaurant, launched this weekend

Emily Eveland

Readers may remember eight-year-old Dylan Spoering from the piano recital he held in his south Minneapolis front porch on a rainy day in July. Musician Tommy Rehbein (Farewell Continental, International Karate, Party House) caught wind of his young neighbor's event and sent out a Facebook invite, attracting hundreds of residents and members of the local media who stood beneath umbrellas, cheering on young Spoering.

On Saturday and Sunday from 11 a.m. until 6:30 p.m., Spoering made his triumphant return to the DIY scene with his "Pirate Restaurant." He recruited kids from around his neighborhood to be servers, cashiers, and food runners. Spoering's own name tag read "Dylan the boss."

See also:
This eight-year-old boy just saved the piano recital from itself

More »

Heyday, Lucia's, and Nico's Tacos make top 100 neighborhood gems list

Alma Guzman
Heyday's bar area, complete with a nod to the Replacements
We love our neighborhood restaurants here in the Twin Cities, and apparently the rest of the country does too. OpenTable just released its 2014 list of the 100 best neighborhood gems in the United States, and three Twin Cities restaurants make the cut: Heyday, Lucia's Restaurant & Wine Bar, and Nico's Tacos.

See also: Signature Dish: Lucia's chef Lucia Watson

More »

Suburban Bites: The 7 best places to eat in the Stillwater area

Jana Friebrand
A big ol hunk o' meat at Smalley's Caribbean Barbeque and Pirate Bar in Stillwater

Stillwater, Minnesota, and Hudson, Wisconsin, both located within about a half-hour drive from most launchpads in the Twin Cities, are practically busting at the seams with antiquey, boutiquey, bed-and-breakfast charm. Their prime location in the St. Croix River Valley means there are lots of hiking trails with impressive vistas (and even better secret picnic spots), warm-weather festivals (just say yes when someone asks you to go to Lumberjack Days), and a ton of waterfront bars and restaurants. 

That last item is, of course, the one that interests us most, and while neither Stillwater nor Hudson is technically a suburb, they are indeed perfect places for a mini road trip and some destination dining. So with the weekend upon us and humidity levels expected to reach tropical highs, let us suggest a few places to go eat and drink in the Stillwater area.  

See also:

More »

UPDATE: Bradstreet Craftshouse will move into former Rye Deli space

Photo courtesy of Bradstreet Craftshouse
For those of you whose hearts stopped beating earlier this week when it was announced that craft cocktail pioneer Bradstreet Craftshouse was closing up shop with the sale of the Graves Hotel, you can breathe a sigh of relief. We learned late yesterday afternoon that while they'll indeed be closing their doors at the Graves, they'll be reopening them in the location that was, until very recently, occupied by Rye Deli.

Bradstreet will close at the Graves by the end of the month and will reopen in Lowry Hill sometime in August. Here's what you can expect from the new incarnation of Bradstreet Craftshouse.

See also:
Bradstreet Craftshouse set to close as the Graves 601 Hotel changes handsMore »

Canteen brings toast bar trend to Minneapolis

Canteen has moved into the Urban Bean location and plans to introduce artisan toast in late June
If you've been paying attention, you know the national food scene is all atwitter with talk of toast. Cafes and bars dedicated to crispy slices and various spreads have been celebrated and mocked. Food trendsters have hailed it as the next big thing, and skeptics have whipped themselves into a powerful counter-frenzy.

Last week, MSP Magazine's Dara Moskowitz Grumdahl broke the news that Minnesota was about to get its very own toast bar. Located in the former home of Urban Bean at the intersection of 33rd and Bryant, Canteen is now officially open for business and will unveil its toast menu sometime closer to the end of June.

We had a chance to meet up with Liz Abene, owner of Canteen Girl baked goods and longtime Urban Bean veteran, to learn a little bit more about her new venture, the ideas behind it, and what exactly we can expect from Minneapolis's very first toast bar.

See also:
Haute Dish will soon get a BBQ joint makeover
More »

First Look: Lago Tacos in Lyn-Lake

David McCrindle
When you consider the high concentration of bars in Uptown and the tendency for people to be out late and on foot, there's an alarming lack of tacos in that neighborhood. Or there was until very recently, when World Street Kitchen debuted their lamb belly and jerk beef fusion ones and Nico's Tacos moved into the former Birdhouse space on Hennepin.

Now Lago Tacos, a mid-range Mexican restaurant with a store in Excelsior, has opened in the former Heidi's space on Lyndale. Is it in any way significant that both of Stewart Woodman's shuttered restaurants became taco spots? Probably just a coincidence. But it certainly seems that the slightly upscale taqueria concept is just what the neighborhood was hungry for. We stopped by this weekend to get a first taste and check out the overhaul of the patio and interior.

See also:
More »

Chef Tim McKee dishes on his new Uptown restaurant, Libertine

Photo courtesy of Libertine
Uptown's newest restaurant, Libertine, to open its doors on July 16
If the past few years have seen a boom in the North Loop's dining options, this year might be Uptown's time to shine. And with restaurants like Coup d'Etat and Hammer & Sickle, plus nearby World Street Kitchen and the newly opened Heyday, it's no surprise that the big dog himself, James Beard Award-winning chef Tim McKee, has set his sights on launching his newest concept, Libertine, right smack in the middle of it all.

McKee, who is best known for his prized fine-dining restaurant La Belle Vie, has been consulting with Parasole Restaurant Holdings for a while, and this new concept will take shape in what was once Uptown Cafeteria. The new concept is designed to better suit the maturing neighborhood, and we had a chance to chat with McKee himself about what exactly Libertine will be bringing into the mix.

See also:
Kyatchi's Hide Tozawa on Minnesota sushi bars: "Most aren't doing it right"
More »

Suburban Bites: The 7 best places to eat in Roseville

Ed Neaton
Serious spice at Szechuan on Snelling Avenue

Whether you live in the suburbs, or find yourself outside your regular stomping grounds in search of restaurant options, there's value in knowing more about all the great eats beyond Minneapolis and St. Paul's most covered neighborhoods. In our Suburban Bites series, we'll explore the best places to eat and drink in the greater metro area.

What brings you to Roseville, dear Hot Dish reader? Are you here trying to find your way out of the gigantic Forever 21 at Rosedale Mall? Maybe you're strapping on skates and feeding your childhood Olympic dreams at the Roseville Oval or just going for a Target run at arguably the best and most consistently stocked store in the Twin Cities? In any one of these scenarios, you're going to end up hungry, so we've compiled a list of some of our favorite places to eat in this little north-of-St. Paul gem.

See also:

More »