Clockwise from far left: cannolis and Cossetta Salad from Cossetta, vodka shots with gherkin and Siberian pelmeni from Moscow on the Hill, stuffed cabbage roll with sausage and red cabbage side from Kramarczuk’s
photo by terry Brennan. Food styling by lara miklasevics
We are a nation built by immigrants, and one of the best ways to share one’s heritage is through a plate of food. Skordalia, hamantaschen, lechón, schnitzel, and even chow mein have all become a part of the culinary tapestry of Minnesota.
If only the smell of Polish sausage, fresh bread, and tangy cabbage rolls could be bottled up and saved for those far-removed from this Eastern European deli and restaurant. Nationally recognized as a culinary treasure, it was opened by Ukrainian immigrants in 1954.
215 E. Hennepin Ave., Minneapolis, 612-379-3018 | kramarczuks.com
Cossetta began as a tiny grocery store in the flood-prone part of St. Paul then known as “Little Italy” and has grown into a multi-level food emporium, serving everything from classic NY-style pizza to addictive mostaccioli and cannolis. There is a sit-down restaurant with rooftop patio, an Italian market, and a bakery that was transported, in its entirety, straight from Italy.
211 Seventh St. W., St. Paul, 651-222-3476 | cossettas.com
Access to Holy Land hummus has so spoiled us in the region that we can’t go back to the usual mass-produced stuff. The Wadi family has been importing Middle Eastern grocery goods and sharing delicious stuffed grape leaves, pita, roast chicken, and so much more since 1987.
2513 Central Ave. NE, Minneapolis, 612-781-2627 | holylandbrand.com
This palace to Chinese-American cuisine opened back in 1966. The restaurant and bar are big and all dressed up in red, black, and gold decor. This is where to get your chow mein fix, enjoy a stiff cocktail, and marvel at the beauty this third-generation-run restaurant holds.
9329 Lyndale Ave. S., Bloomington, 952-888-9294 | davidfongs.com
Moscow on the Hill
They stock more than 300 different bottles of vodka. But that red-tinged bar is only one reason to visit this Cathedral Hill classic. The pelmeni and borscht do more to make the winters bearable than even the Winter Carnival, and in the summer the expansive patio is one of the best-kept secrets in outdoor dining.
371 Selby Ave., St. Paul, 651-291-1236 | moscowonthehill.com
This red-sauce restaurant has served St. Paul since 1933, making it the capital’s oldest family-run Italian restaurant. Indulge in the ravioli and spaghetti, surrounded by wood paneling and Yarusso’s singular Italian hospitality.
635 Payne Ave., St. Paul, 651-776-4848 | yarussos.com
The original Sammy’s Pizza opened in Hibbing in 1954, and the second opened in downtown Duluth a couple years later. They’ve been serving distinctly Minnesotan-style pizza ever since. Super thin, unleavened crust is spread with tangy sauce and a thin layer of mozzarella cheese, then it’s all cut into squares.
103 W. First St., Duluth, 218-727-8551 | mysammys.com
El Burrito Mercado
What began as a little market with a direct line to ingredients from home for Minnesota’s Mexicans is now a bustling market, restaurant, deli, and neighborhood fixture. It isn’t summer without eating elotes (corn on the cob) in the parking lot and loading up on fresh-made ceviche. El Burrito has been run by the Silva family since first opening in 1979.
175 Cesar Chavez St., St. Paul, 651-227-2192 | elburritomercado.com
This combination deli, bakery, and restaurant serves huge pastrami sandwiches just as they should be. Fresh-baked bread is piled with meats. The matzo-ball chicken soup is made from scratch so that the rich chicken broth is as restorative as mama kisses on a boo-boo. Be certain to take home a few rugelach and hamantaschen.
651 Cleveland Ave. S., St. Paul, 651-698-0334 | cecilsdeli.com
Black Forest Inn
Opened in 1965 on Minneapolis’ Nicollet Avenue, this restaurant has long been the only place to get a proper serving of tart German potato salad or sweet-sour-dressed hasenpfeffer (rabbit stew). It’s easy to get a sore neck, craning to see all of the beautifully painted murals, shields, and stained glass. Best to grab a giant beer and stay a while.
1 E. 26th St., Minneapolis, 612-872-0812 | blackforestinnmpls.com
DeGidio’s history is a delightfully St. Paul story. Joe “Kid Bullets” DeGidio was a bootlegger who used his profits to open this Italian restaurant back in 1933 after Prohibition ended. DeGidio’s has grown alongside St. Paul into an always-bustling restaurant that banishes the hungries with large portions of pasta, laden with their legendary red sauce.
425 Seventh St. W., St. Paul, 651-291-7105 | degidios.com
It was 1982 when the Broder family first opened a little Italian deli on 50th Street in Minneapolis after an inspired trip to Italy. Now, the family has branched out into several restaurants near the intersection, serving phenomenal Italian dishes from spaghetti to hot and cold sandwiches (not to mention pouring fabulous wines). It’s hard to imagine this neighborhood without what Molly Broder and her family have built.
2308 W. 50th St., Minneapolis, 612-925-3113 | broders.com
This place has been a Polski family tradition for generations. Market Bar-B-Que has 70 years to its name, but that doesn’t mean the family doesn’t change with the times. They’ve recently added a food truck to ferry the long-cooked meats around the Twin Cities.
1414 Nicollet Ave., Minneapolis, 612-872-1111 | marketbbq.com
It’s Greek to Me
This boisterous Greek eatery at the intersection of Lake Street and Lyndale Avenue has introduced generations to the pleasures of moussaka. In the summer months, a large, shaded patio with a giant fountain is a refuge. The restaurant has new owners and a new chef, who promise to keep the traditions alive.
626 W. Lake St., Minneapolis, 612-825-9922 | itsgreektomemn.com