Edit ModuleShow Tags

First Look: 612 Cafe

A catering crew opens its doors for lunch


photo courtesy of 612 cafe

Recently opened Midtown lunch spot 612’s name is the first indication of an allegiance to all things Minnesota, from  the use of local beer as an ingredient to a menu filled with Midwestern favorites (tater tots, hot dish, wild rice salad). Owner Danica Liebelt, who began by catering custom-made menus for weddings with 612 Catering, explains that the unique results of the café’s menu were a team effort. She and her sister set out to make food that was “fun, different, and unique,” with tastebud testing from the rest of the family to determine which experiments made the cut.

With its jazzed-up take on local lunchtime favorites, the café does seem to hold more promise than its nearby contenders (the Golden Arches, Subway, and Asian buffets edge the scene). Take the Chili Fury — this classic cold-weather dish gets an extra kick from Surly Brewing Co.’s ferociously hoppy Furious IPA. The same goes for the catering company’s house salads, dressed with a Surly Cynic and cherry-flavored vinaigrette (made in house, of course) to reinvigorate the mélange of local farm-fresh greens.

These options help the health-conscious eater justify gorging on the true highlights of the 612, which the café sent over for tasting. By far the most surprising dish was the Skyline, a pair of soft taco shells stuffed with beer-battered and deep-fried Avocado strips, a tangy salsa spread, and hints of beer barbecue sauce (homemade using another local brew). When read aloud, combining salsa with barbecue sauce didn’t quite add up in my head—but that was before I tasted the surprisingly delicious blend of flavors all tucked beneath a melted layer of Asiago cheese. The Viking club, a 612 signature, is a carnivore’s paradise of prosciutto, turkey, and salami packed between savory house-made cheddar bacon buns.

Had it opened up in the skyway, 612 Café might not pull apart from the busy lunchtime pack. But where the café could raise its flag is with a fresh twist that keeps unique to its surroundings.

311 E. Lake St., 612-353-5175, 612cafe.com

Edit ModuleShow Tags

About This Blog

Minnesota Monthly's Taste Blog answers your restaurant and dining questions, dishes on latest discoveries, reflects on breaking news, and generally brings the plate to the page with a skilled crew of experts: Learn more about the Taste bloggers.

Have a food-related question? Email rhutton@mnmo.com

Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags

More »Taste Blog

Oatmeal Irish Soda Bread Recipe

Fresh, homemade bread is faster and easier than you think with dough that mixes in five minutes and needs no time to rise

Hello Pizza Turns 5, Ann Kim Short-listed for James Beard Award

Hello Pizza might have middle-child syndrome next to Ann Kim's other pizza shops—but this is what makes it worth revisiting

2018 James Beard Award Finalists

Minnesota chefs stay prominent in the James Beard shortlist

Brews for Good

Guinness is donating $1 to charity for each adult that dons a ‘stache and shares on social media now through March 31, 2018

3 Reasons to Brunch This Weekend

Elegant N/A drinks, outstanding oeufs, and the best of ’80s hair rock this weekend

Blueberry-Walnut Squares Recipe

Enjoy a double-dose of antioxidants with walnuts and blueberries in this treat

Oscar Party Appetizers

Elevate your table with a trio of jazzed up party bites for a win in the best supporting snacks category

Exploring Washington Wines

Sample and discover delicious wines from our country’s second-largest wine-producing area at the Food & Wine Experience March 3 and 4

27 Best Twin Cities Restaurants For Wine

From big-name wine experts to surprising hidden gems, here's where you can always get a glass of great wine
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags