12 Great Neighborhoods
An insider's guide to the Twin Cities nodes you need to know
(page 3 of 9)
3. CATHEDRAL HILL
OLD WORLD MEETS AMERICANA
• Character: The author of The Great Gatsby couldn’t wait to leave (Fitz’s childhood home: 599 Summit), but most current residents feel differently. In fact, the area is besieged each spring by would-be buyers hoping to settle in one of the Cities’ oldest, most elegant neighborhoods, now with a hip strip at Selby-Dale.
• Food: The intersection of Selby and Dale is a veritable cafeteria, with W.A. Frost still representing genteel old St. Paul (the patio remains the Cities’ benchmark) and La Grolla hosting the kind of seasonal wine dinners that offer instant foodie cred. Cheeky Monkey Deli has pot-roast sandwiches and Amish-chicken dinners. The deli at Mississippi Market is the lone health-food stand, while the Muddy Pig, with 50 beers on tap nightly, is something of the opposite, drawing craft-beer pilgrims despite the stuff’s new ubiquity.
• Shopping: Boutiques and shops line Selby Avenue, including some of the most specialized anywhere: BlackBlue , where denim is a topic worthy of graduate study; Solo Vino, where 95 percent of the bottles are imported. Locals spruce up dinner parties with fresh tulips from Fleur de Lis and red-velvet cupcakes from A Piece of Cake bakery.
• Culture: The manse built by James J. Hill (in the shadow of the Cathedral of St. Paul, despite his hopes for a vice versa) hosts tours and semi-regular classical concerts, as though it were still 1900. At the opposite end of the cultural spectrum is the St. Paul Curling Club, where generations of locals have wielded brooms, stones, and a frostbitten faith that this Scottish shuffleboard-bocce hybrid is sport. Those who can really glide on their feet—or are hoping to learn—can be spotted salsa dancing in the glass storefront of Arthur Murray dance studio.
• Green space: Local kids run around charming Boyd Park (while their parents read Fitzgerald, presumably). Visitors are often taken to the terrace at Summit and Arundel to check out the view: St. Paul and the Mississippi laid out before you.
WHY I LOVE THIS PLACE
Sarah Von Bargen, blogger at yesandyes.org
I was working in Frogtown and living in Minneapolis when a co-worker invited me to dinner at her apartment in Cathedral Hill. I thought, This is amazing! It’s like America in the movies! Huge trees hanging over the street, old Victorian houses with flower beds, friendly neighbors who say hello while they’re out walking their dogs. It’s totally Meg Ryan-Tom Hanks territory. It’s very community-based. When I go to Nina’s Coffee Café, the baristas know what I usually order. When I go to Sweeney’s, they remember that I don’t like chicken on my nachos. Across I-94, on University Avenue, there’s great, cheap Vietnamese at Trieu Chau, the produce is really good at Sun Foods, and during the summer I can shop at the Hmong farmers’ market. Cheeky Monkey has great grits and $1.50 mimosas on Sunday mornings. There’s also history. I love knowing that F. Scott Fitzgerald grew up in my neighborhood.