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The Twin Cities' Greatest Hits 2012

The Twin Cities' Greatest Hits 2012

(page 7 of 13)

Year-Round Beer Garden

Butcher and the Boar

When Butcher and the Boar opened a year ago, we worried that there simply wasn’t enough space inside the Hennepin Avenue restaurant to hold the hordes agitating to try chef Jack Riebel’s excellent charcuterie, chops, and long rib. So when word spread that the acreage behind the dining room would be fenced in and transformed into a beer garden, we hoisted a pint in approval. (It didn’t take much—we’d already had a few Surlys.) What a transformation! You can drink a Weissbier under the stars on a summer night, watch a Twins game while devouring the Cities’ best footlong (a slender wurst served on a pretzel roll and topped with cilantro and French-fried onions) in fall, and—thanks to a recently installed, temporary tent roof—quaff a milk stout and warm your hands by the fire in the dead of winter. • 1121 Hennepin Ave., Mpls., 612-238-8888, butcherandtheboar.com

New  Food Truck

Sushi Fix

You can usually spot the newbies in line for their first Sushi Fix, fidgeting nervously with their cash, looking around as if about to bolt. It’s hard to blame them for being skeptical: something about the idea of fresh fish served from the side of a parked truck just seems, well, dangerous. And it is, but not for the reasons you might think. Since the spring debut of his truck, chef Enkhbileg “Billy” Tserenbat has made a business of turning skeptics into believers of his sushi. The alum of Fuji Ya and Yumi’s prepares gorgeous nigiri, sashimi, and salads worthy of a fancy sit-down dinner. Which is where the real danger lies: after spoiling yourself with this utterly satisfying lunch, making it back to work can be a challenge. • sushifix.net

Haute  Happy Hour


Most happy-hour deals are cheap for a reason: the house red comes in a bottle labeled with a cartoon critter, and the deep-fat fryer can do wonders disguising lesser-quality ingredients. But at the Walker Art Center’s restaurant, Gather, the Thursday evening happy hour offers the same stellar experience as the regular service: food and drink as artful as the museum itself. All the globally influenced small plates—short rib banh mi, gourmet grilled-cheese sandwiches, sweet-corn empanadas—are discounted to just $5, as is a seasonal cocktail. And when a guest chef is in residence, on the first Thursday of each month, a couple of his or her special creations are sent out free of charge. • Walker Art Center, 1750 Hennepin Ave., Mpls., 612-253-3410, gatherbydamico.com

Ice Cream Shop

Sebastian Joe’s sebastianjoes­icecream.com
Izzy’s izzysicecream.com
Grand Ole Creamery grandolecreamery.com
Crema Cafe cremacafe­minneapolis.com

Coffee Shop


When we were first introduced to Kopplins several years ago, we didn’t think it could get any better. Its youthful proprietor, Andrew Kopplin, approached his trade with a dedication that helped kick off the Twin Cities’ coffee revolution: sourcing rare beans, hosting cuppings, and turning latté foam into art. Kopplin showed us that coffee could have the depth and personality of wine, with flavors ranging from bright citrus notes to funky forest mushrooms. (Even cream addicts took their beverages black.) He introduced us to the innovative Clover brewing machine and the luxury of Rogue hot chocolate. And then, last year, Kopplin further improved our coffee-drinking experience by moving his business to bigger, more comfortable digs. • 2038 Marshall Ave., St. Paul, 651-698-0457, kopplinscoffee.com

Park Concessions

Bread & Pickle

The moment we knew the Twin Cities dining scene had truly become world-class occurred as we were peeking through the window of the Lake Harriet refectory, watching a cook zest limes. This seemingly unremarkable act was indicative of something larger: that even at this humblest of eateries—a place where one expects to be served only hot dogs and popcorn—real cooking was taking place, the kind that involves fresh ingredients and hyper-attention to detail. Kim Bartmann (owner of Barbette, Red Stag, etc.) even brought her sustainability-minded ethic to the lakefront stand (the packaging is compostable, the beef grass-fed), making Bread & Pickle one of the country’s greenest park concessions. The locavore picnic fare includes deep-fried cheese curds made from organic Wisconsin milk. Yum. • Lake Harriet Refectory, 4135 W. Lake Harriet Pkwy., Mpls., 612-767-9009, breadandpickle.com

Guilty Pleasure

Toby Keith’s—I Love This Bar & Grill

There’s a little cowboy in us all, and Toby Keith is trying to prove it. His theory: serve up classic American entrées, beer in mason jars, and live country music, and even the most blue-eyed of Swedes will soon be shouting YEEHAW! The recently opened St. Louis Park location of Toby Keith’s I Love This Bar & Grill provides a leave-your-problems-at-the-door atmosphere for Keith’s southern-fried brand of entertainment. And you really shouldn’t even try to resist it, because once you belly up to the 85-foot, guitar-shaped bar and let one of the whiskey girls pour you a few, you’ll soon be belting out the lyrics to “I Love This Bar” with the rest of us. • 1623 Park Place Blvd., St. Louis Park, 763-450-9999, countrybarmn.com

Best Donuts

Raspberry hibiscus—Donut Cooperative

2929 E. 25th St. Mpls. 612-516-3626

Crullers—Puffy Cream Donut Plus

3390 Coachman Rd. Eagan 651-686-8342

Beignets—Mojo Monkey

1169 W. Seventh St. St. Paul 651-224-0142

Maple-Bacon Long Johns—YoYo Donuts

5757 Sanibel Dr. Minnetonka 952-960-1800

Cinnamon Sugar—A Baker’s Wife

4200 28th Ave S. Mpls. 612-729-6898


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