Latest and Greatest

The biggest restaurant openings (and reopenings) across the Twin Cities

Images by TJ Turner

By Lisa Marchand

The dining scene in the Twin Cities is an ever-changing horizon. New concepts pop up in up-and-coming neighborhoods and food lovers from every corner of the area flock to get a delicious bite. Check out some of our favorite spots that either recently opened or reopened their doors in the past few years.

Cedar + Stone, Urban Table
Mall of America recently underwent a major expansion that not only added to its mammoth list of stores but also to its culinary repertoire. Once you enter the bright, spacious dining room—courtesy of floor-to-ceiling windows—at Cedar + Stone, Urban Table it’s easy to forget you’re dining in the JW Marriott attached to the nation’s largest mall. The restaurant leverages relationships with local farmers, sourcing most menu ingredients from farms within 200 miles. Open for breakfast, lunch, dinner and weekend brunch, you’ll find dishes such as Baked French Toast, Blackened Walleye Sandwich, Baked Gouda Mac & Cheese, 12-Hour Braised Beef Short Rib and more. The bar also uses farm-to-table ingredients for a healthier spin on cocktails, mixing up drinks with fresh juices, raw honey and garnishes from local gardens. | 2141 Lindau Lane, Bloomington, 612-615-0124,

The Commodore Bar & Restaurant
Once the watering hole of F. Scott Fitzgerald and his wife Zelda, this Art Deco stunner in St. Paul’s Cathedral Hill neighborhood was recently revived after years of renovation. Built in 1920, The Commodore witnessed decades of change, from Prohibition to the age of Hollywood glamour and beyond, and its rich history is evident throughout. The bar itself was designed by a 1930s Hollywood set designer who drew inspiration from ocean liners, and the black-and-white checkered floors lie beneath gold leaf ceilings. Although the space is grandiose, the menu is approachable and affordable, including plates like Parmesan Fried Risotto, Curried Cauliflower and Pan Roasted Ribeye, plus a delectable dessert menu. But no former speakeasy would shine without a standout drink menu, which is why much of the liquor is sourced from local distilleries. Order the Fitzgerald if gin is your spirit of choice, otherwise ask for the Zelda for a champagne cocktail or the Root n Rye for their spin on the Old Fashioned. | 79 Western Ave. N., St. Paul, 651-330-5999,

Dark Horse Bar & Eatery

Lowertown quickly became one of the area’s hottest neighborhoods for dining. In fact, some of the capital city’s best restaurants have opened there in the past few years, including this American-meets-Asian-meets-pub fare establishment. The historic nature of the building is evident in exposed-brick walls and a hint of industrial chic décor, plus a towering wall of bottles that can only be reached by a moving ladder you would find in a lavish library—but this is by no means a pipe-and-smoking jacket sort of place. The menu runs the gamut, including Chinese steamed dumplings; the Dark Horse Burger with smoked gouda, thousand island dressing and bacon; a variety of pizzas; plus a hearty weekend brunch menu. Order any bourbon, whiskey or scotch your heart desires, or get a pint from their lengthy local beer list. | 250 E. Seventh St., St. Paul, 651-313-7960,

The Commodore Bar & Restaurant

Hi-Lo Diner
The hype surrounding this restaurant opening was well deserved—the 1957 diner car was transported here from Pennsylvania. Slide into a preserved vinyl booth and prepare yourself for a whole new level of diner fare. Curb that carb craving with a signature Hi-Top: This truly fresh hot “dough” (think of a donut without the hole) is piled high with savory toppings like braised Korean short rib, applebacon slaw and wasabi micro-greens, or sweet stuff like baked apples, sea salt caramel, crème fraiche and candied pecans. They also serve up a mean huevos rancheros for breakfast and a classic country style meatloaf for dinner, among a sea of other great menu items. Go out on a limb and order an ice cream cocktail like The Upside Down, made with brandy, apricot liqueur, baked apples, goat cheese, bitters and vanilla bean ice cream, or stick with a nondairy cocktail if that’s more your style. | 4020 E. Lake St., Minneapolis, 612-353-6568,

Proving that Twin Citians can’t get enough Italian fare, Monello recently opened in the luxurious Hotel Ivy in downtown Minneapolis. Their menu features different sizes of traditional pasta dishes and several crudo plates, all of which marry seafood with complementary flavors and textures. After enjoying the meal, descend into lower level Constantine for a handcrafted cocktail. | 1115 Second Ave. S., Minneapolis, 612-353-6207,

Pimento Jamaican Kitchen
After winning Food Network’s Food Court Wars in 2013, the team behind this eatery branched out from their suburban location in Burnsville and opened a long-awaited spot on Minneapolis’ Eat Street. The authentic menu includes Jamaican favorites like Kingston Style Jerk Chicken, Sweet Fried Plantains, Coco Bread, Curry Goat and more, kicked up with a range of housemade sauces for all sorts of spice lovers. (Don’t worry, ask for the Neutralizer sauce for no heat and plenty of flavor.) Order a Red Stripe beer, and this meal might be the next best thing to a trip to the Caribbean island. | 2524 Nicollet Ave., Minneapolis, 612-345-5637 1178 Burnsville Center, Burnsville, 952-435-5637,

Ramen Kazama
The Twin Cities’ latest ramen-centric eatery has quickly made a name for itself along Minneapolis’ famous Eat Street. In 2016, Bon Appetit magazine featured the restaurant as one of the best places in the country to get a drool-worthy bowl of ramen, and that’s no lie. Order the Gyoza or Kimchi as an appetizer followed by Shoyu “Old School” ramen if you want something simple; otherwise, ask for the Karamiso “Magma” for a steaming bowl of spicy goodness. They have a fairly broad selection of Japanese sake and a small list of draft and bottle beers, plus kombucha and Japanese soda. The interior is simple and seating can be scarce on busy nights, but it’s always worth the wait. | 3400 Nicollet Ave., Minneapolis, 612-353-6160,

Perfect Pairings

Surly Brewer’s TableA plate of food sitting next to a pint of Surly beer in the Minneapolis brewery's Brewer's Table restaurant.
Located on the upper floor of Surly Brewing Co., this restaurant is a fine dining addition to the Twin Cities’ popular destination taproom. If you are looking for the perfect place to enjoy a pint of craft beer with delectable food, this is the spot to be. The restaurant is a collaboration between chef and brewer, harmonizing the flavors of Surly’s one-of-a-kind craft beer with a gourmet four-course meal. | 520 Malcolm Ave. S.E., Minneapolis, 763-999-4040,

The Classics
These Twin Cities Restaurants are tried and true and absolutely beloved by locals.

For Breakfast
Al’s Breakfast
Not only is this the narrowest restaurant in Minneapolis (yes, really), it also flips some of the greatest pancakes and bacon waffles in the metro. With only 14 stools, it’s best to come patient as well as hungry.

For a Greasy Spoon
Mickey’s Diner
What do this eatery and Emilio Estevez have in common? They’ve both been in all “Mighty Ducks” movies—reason enough to belly up to the bar at any hour of the day. Order a malt, fries and a juicy hamburger, and you’re all set.

For Some Red Meat
Steeped in history, this downtown Minneapolis steakhouse proudly resides in one of the city’s oldest buildings. They are famous for their Silver Butter Knife steak, and the restaurant is an excellent spot to hit before a Twins or Timberwolves game or a night at the theater.

For Steak & Seafood
Jax Cafe
This Northeast establishment has been passed down the Kozlak family for generations. Their focus remains on delicious steak and seafood, the latter of which is a whole new level of fresh—you can catch your own trout from their garden stream April through October.

For Italian
Cossetta Alimentari
Known as St. Paul’s Little Italy, this building in downtown St. Paul houses a main floor 300-seat restaurant, a pasticceria, a market, and the third-floor Louis Ristorante & Bar—plus a rooftop patio. It has come a long way since its humble food market beginnings in 1911.

For Something Different
Kramarczuk’s East European Deli
Every sausage, meatball, loaf of bread and piroshk is made by hand here, just as it was when the doors first opened. Original owner s Wasyl and Anna Kramarczuk emigrated here in the 1940s and left a lifelong legend in Northeast Minneapolis.

For Dessert
Milkjam Creamery
The ice cream here is so tasty that people form a line outside in the dead of winter to get a taste. Try the Pikachu for a mango chili ice cream or take it one step further and get the Jam Bun: any ice cream you want between two Glam Doll donuts (another Twin Cities favorite). 

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