Man can not live on fresh air alone; so while you’re exploring outdoor Minneapolis, save some time to stop in at some of their trademark eateries. From casual to classy, there’s an accessible dining choice for just about everyone in this fun foodie city.
Located at the base of Foshay Tower, the Keys Cafe and Bakery (612-339-6399, www.keyscafe.com) is a popular breakfast spot for the locals. And when the locals like it, you know you’ve got a winner. The philosophy at this downtown diner is simple — good food made from scratch, friendly service, and a taste of the “food you grew up with”.
There’s level access to the entrance and barrier-free access to the main seating area. Sometimes you may find a line, but that’s just another sign of good food. You can go heavy or light here, with everything from a poached egg on dry toast, to a sizable two-egg omelet, huevos rancheros and even chilaquiles. A word of warning though, the two-egg omelets are humungous! They also offer a number of daily specials, and if you’d like something on the sweet side, the bakery case is filled with tasty temptations.
Damn Good Brunch
If you’re in town on the weekend, then don’t miss brunch at Hell’s Kitchen (612-332-4700, www.hellskitcheninc.com). How can you pass on a place that advertises “damn good food”?
There’s level access to the building, but the restaurant itself is located down a flight of stairs. The elevator is tucked off to the right, and it’s easy to miss when you come in. Downstairs, there’s plenty of room to maneuver around, with good access to the tables.
The brunch menu features goodies such as a shrimp and crab cake topped with a poached egg and red bell pepper Hollandaise sauce. It’s very flavorful, and the sauce is served in a reasonable portion, not glopped on like at most restaurants. The vegetable frittata with pepper, broccoli and mozzarella cheese is equally enticing. Of course you can always go for the decadent caramel pecan roll. Whatever you do, make sure and sample some of their homemade peanut butter. Even if you’re not a huge peanut butter fan, you’ll love their honey flavored rendition.
Be sure and check out the goodies upstairs in the Angel Food Bakery (612-238-1435, www.angelfoodmn.com). Also owned by Hell’s Kitchen, this patisserie turns out some sinfully delicious cupcakes, pastries and other sweet treats. And if you’re too full to eat another bite, then you can always just ogle the delicacies.
Burger Jones (612-746-0800, www.burgerjones.com) is a great lunch option on a Grand Rounds National Scenic Byway drive. Not only do they serve the best burgers in town, but the restaurant is conveniently located near Lake Calhoun.
You can build your own custom burger or choose one of their specialty burgers. If you don’t eat beef, that’s fine, as any burger can be made with a chicken breast or even a veggie burger. Special orders are happily accommodated, even if it’s a “hold the bun” request. I totally enjoyed the green chile cheeseburger (made with a chicken breast) and topped with salsa, cheese and an onion ring. And as I mentioned, no bun. Charles had an equally yummy blue cheese burger topped with caramelized onions.
They also have onion rings and fries, and if you want a beer with your burger, they can make that happen too. The food is filling, and it’s definitely worth the wait.
Jazz it Up
Last but not least, if you like jazz, then plan to stop in for dinner at The Dakota (612-232-1010, www.dakotacooks.com). Located in downtown Minneapolis on Nicollet Mall, this jazz club and eatery is within rolling distance of many of the downtown hotels. The streets are wide, and there’s plenty of room to maneuver a wheelchair along the pedestrian mall.
Reservations are required at this very popular club, but then again, it’s not the type of a place you decide to go to at the last minute. Most folks try to visit when their favorite artists are playing. Be forewarned though, space sells out fast when the hometown groups play.
You can go heavy or light foodwise here too. If you just want a light bite with the early set they have a good selection of appetizers, including seared ahi tuna, French onion soup, steamed mussels and beef tartar. They also have some lighter entrees such as cedar planked salmon with carrot and pistachio slaw. And if you have a real hunger going, try the pork tenderloin or day boat scallops. Of course, they also have a full bar.
Although there’s barrier-free access to the lower seating area, it’s very important to state that you need wheelchair access when you make your reservation. They also have seating areas that are not accessible, so you want to make sure you’re seated in the right place.
Whether you have drinks and snacks or a full course dinner, you’ll have a very pleasant evening at The Dakota. A word of warning — you won’t be able to hear much after the music starts, so get all the small talk out of the way before the first set. Then settle in for a great evening of jazz.