Visitors to Minneapolis might recognize Nicollet Avenue from its prominence on the Mary Tyler Moore Show's iconic opening sequence, but to locals, it's better known for Eat Street. Dozens of locally-owned bars, restaurants, and cafes of all culinary persuasions occupy a multi-block stretch of Nicollet Avenue south of downtown, giving the area its nickname. This public-private plan was engineered in the late '90s and is a cross-section of the city's rich diversity. Long-time Minnesotans set up shop alongside transplants and immigrants to offer up what can only be called the tastiest stretch in the city. And with the Children's Theater Company, Minneapolis Institute of Art, and Jungle Theater all nearby, it's also an important cultural hub that's well worth the visit. See the best Eat Street has to offer by hitting up these five eateries.
Choosing a favorite bakery on Eat Street is a tough gig, but Sun Street Breads is definitely a contender. This bakery and cafe is perhaps best known for its downtowners: cinnamon rolls made from croissant dough that, yes, are as heavenly as they sound. Almost everything is made from scratch in-house and often with locally-sourced ingredients. Founder and head baker, Solveig Tofte prides herself on using modern ingredients and techniques to transform traditional recipes.
Sun Street Breads is first and foremost a breakfast spot. Breakfast is available late every day—as in, well into lunch—so you can have brunch seven days a week. The shop is only open in the evening one night a week for Thursday pizza nights.
Pro-tip: Be sure to take home some bread with you on your way out of the cafe. The lunchbox bread, in particular, is great for parents who yearn for something hearty, as well as kids who might otherwise stick up their noses at a fancy bread. Made with steel-cut oats and whole wheat flour, it's soft enough to be sliceable, sweet enough for young palates, and wholesome enough to win over picky parents. It'll give a standard peanut butter and jelly a much-deserved upgrade.
For hot dogs with an Asian twist—you read that right—look no further than Kyatchi. Long-time baseball fan and restaurant chef Hide Tozawa used to cook for former Twins player Tsuyoshi Nishioka, so a Japanese twist on a Dome Dog makes a lot of sense. The franks come piled high with grilled shishito peppers, red ginger, and stir-fried soba noodles, and then drizzled with some yuzu-laced mayo. It's fusion food at its finest.
The hot dogs themselves, however, pale in comparison to the restaurant's seafood and sushi. The menu features a selection of rolls, nigiri, and sashimi, as well as noodle bowls and skewers. All of the fish and other meats served at Kyatchi are sustainably—and often locally—sourced. The result is fresh, well-prepared food you can feel good about eating.
Pro-tip: For a special treat, try the Donna's Cheesecake for dessert. You have the choice of getting it with chocolate or miso caramel, but do yourself a favor and go for the miso. It's delicious.
With an eclectic mix of Southern cooking with some European flair, Corner Table is a fun place for a splurge or date night. The quality, prices, and decor make this spot decidedly upscale, but it's not stuffy. And the ambiance makes you feel cozy and right at home. Food here is largely locally sourced and seasonal, and there's always something new to try.
And try you will. The menu consists entirely of two different tasting menus and a few sharable dishes. The prix fixe menu allows you to pick your dishes for each individual course. But if you truly want to go all out, order the 10-course tasting menu for the whole table with the wine pairing. The wines really bring out the flavors in the dishes, and some of the flavor combinations might surprise you. Whatever you do, however, be sure to try the sweet potato donuts. They're a favorite among regular patrons.
Pro-tip: If you want the quality without the high cost, try Corner Table during Minneapolis' Restaurant Weeks for the same quality at reduced prices.
This fast-casual restaurant located near the Minneapolis College of Art and Design is the real deal. The jerk chicken is roasted for a full 24 hours, and it shows. The spices are bold, and the meat is juicy and tender. Many of the dishes are served with sweet plantains and crispy slaw. For a true taste of the Caribbean, order a Ting, a Jamaican pop that tastes just like grapefruit.
Fair warning, the spices in the meats here pack a punch newcomers might not be expecting. If you have a low tolerance for spicy foods, order your dish with a side of ranch dressing to help dial back some of the heat.
This farmer-chic cafe embraces Minnesota's agrarian roots with down-home, country cooking. Best known for its brunch, the biscuits here are made from scratch, the portions huge, and the mimosas bottomless. Drinks are served in mason jars, and rustic decor make you feel like you walked into your grandma's kitchen. It's glorious.
But this spot isn't just great for breakfast. Night owls can swing by in the evening for happy hour when wine is just $3 a glass, and cocktails are $5. If you get a little peckish, the happy hour menu offers a tasty meat and cheese marriage board, as well as deviled eggs and a $2 homemade pretzel that's out of this world.
Like many of the top places on Eat Street, much of the food is locally sourced and made fresh and from scratch in-house. If you love what you try, grab the Copper Hen Cookbook and try your hand at home.