One of the best things about moving back to Minnesota after four years down south is my (almost) weekly lunch date with my father. Sometimes it’s just us. Sometimes my kids, my spouse, or one of my siblings joins us. Writing about Cafe Ena last night reminded me a lunch date there. Thus, today’s Daily Dozen for Shop Small Saturday is dedicated to some of my favorite lunch spots with my dad.
Grand Café gives you a wonderful feeling when you walk inside. The window plants add a nice touch, as well. And the food is delicious. 3804 Grand Avenue South, Minneapolis
Across the street is a candy store. Just candy. Candy arranged like shoes in the Oval Room. Sugar Sugar Candy makes candy beautiful, as well as tasty. Peak at their amazing website to see the rock candy chandelier.
When I first moved to St. Paul, Muffuletta’s was the one of the only places my dad knew how to find. A huge fan of New Orleans, we went for their signature sandwich and couldn’t finish it! Milton Square, 2260 Como Avenue, St. Paul
When I miss grits and greens, we visit Dixie’s on Grand. As southern as you can get in Minnesota; each month they feature a different locale. Don’t forget to watch the train that circles the bar. 695 Grand Avenue, Saint Paul
W.A. Frost & Co. is for celebrating. It’s also for summer nights on the most extraordinary patio in the world and for mussels and Muscadet. In the summer it’s cool and elegant and in the winter, warm and inviting. I don’t ever need a reason to go here. My favorite thing? Expert dessert and spirit pairings. 374 Selby Avenue, Saint Paul
When I want to explain the charm of St. Paul, we go to the Groveland Tap. It’s home to of one of the best happy hours and excuses to visit in town. This fact is lost on my dad who doesn’t veer much beyond St. Pauli Girl and Stella Artois, but I love the beer selection and spicy fries. 1834 St. Clair Avenue, Saint Paul
Mocha Monkey is the defacto town hall in Waconia (see I do leave the city!). Funky atmosphere, great food, and live music. 115 South Olive Street, Waconia
While you’re there, you ought to visit Waconia Farm Supply which has the best toys in town. It’s like a mini Fleet Farm where everyone knows your name. You name it; they carry it. 801 Hwy 284, Waconia
Jake O’Connor’s Public House energized the Excelsior scene. Not that the Dock Cinema and many antique stores aren’t quaint, but they lack spunk. Of course, I am a fan of Irish bars, so maybe that accounts for something. I have no idea if it’s “authentic,” but I love the semi-private dining booths. I also can’t resist their fish and chips and perfectly poured pints. 200 Water Street, Excelsior
Enjoy stunning lake views from Haskell’s Port of Excelsior. It’s bar food, but you can buy a bottle of amazing wine next door for the tiny $3 corkage fee to quaff with your grilled cheese-tomato sandwich. One Water Street, Excelsior
Here’s to lunch with your dad or mom!