12 Great Neighborhoods
An insider's guide to the Twin Cities nodes you need to know
(page 6 of 9)
6. WEST END
UPTOWN FOR ADULTS
• Character: Not to be confused with London’s West End (and sorry, you won’t be), this complex of shops, restaurants, and entertainment venues opened in St. Louis Park in late 2009. It’s designed as an urban village, with a sidewalk-lined street running through the center. Until recently, it’s been relentlessly commercial, but the addition of several hundred residential units just north of the main buildings promises to infuse the area with permanent residents later this year. Though the West End has struggled to fill all its retail space, it’s not lacking for visitors—you’ll park on the ramp’s roof on a Saturday night—and this may be the year it fully flowers.
• Food: Cooper, an Irish pub conceived by the Kieran’s brain trust, has worthy fish and chips and a wide selection of beers and whiskeys, attracting a boisterous crowd on weekends—everyone who sipped Guinness at The Local 10 years ago. Come early to stake out patio seats. Little Szechuan and Raku Sushi serve up spicy noodles and fresh sashimi, respectively. Crave caters to every desire, sushi to burgers, while the resurrected Figlio has all the social vibe of the Uptown original, with perhaps fewer pick-up lines and more gossiping about babysitters. You’ll want a reservation now.
• Shopping: For the fashionably fit, this is their closet-in-waiting. Yogis wriggle into something sweat-wicking at Lululemon, while moms-to-be browse Hot Mama. A mix of high-end and affordable clothing is spread across Apricot Lane, Anthropologie, Charming Charlie, Primp, and White House/Black Market. Guys pick up suits and sweaters at JoS. A. Bank.
• Culture: There’s something sci-fi about the Icon and its quiet corridors of theaters, everyone ducking in to be entertained. It also occasionally hosts film festivals. Suburban cowboys and girls in tight jeans and tall boots pack Toby Keith’s I Love This Bar & Grill, recently nominated by the Academy of Country Music for nightclub of the year.
• Green space: Parks? Not so much. Parking? Plenty.
WHY I LOVE THIS PLACE
Zach Sussman, marketing director for Crave Hospitality
Crave was the second business in the West End, after the Icon theater. The theater is hugely important: there are a lot of options for movie theaters in the west metro, but Icon has the VIP seating, advance ticketing, lots of screens. It makes the West End a destination. We get a lot of business people from General Mills and Allianz. We see ladies who lunch and moms with strollers, women heading to Lululemon and Anthropologie. Happy hours fill up with young professionals in that 25-to-35 range—the cocktail crowd. And there’s heavy dinner business, even on a Monday or Tuesday. I’d say the West End is the new Uptown for the 30-plus crowd. It’s one of the reasons we felt so confident about bringing Figlio here. We knew people had strong feelings about that brand. This is the group that lived in Uptown 10 or 20 years ago, and now they’ve moved out to the suburbs. This is their new playground.