Restaurant recommendations from MnMo food critics Jason DeRusha and Joy Summers.
I am a clear expert on this topic, as my last first date was at a Milwaukee church polka festival circa 1995. But dating app research says where you go on the first date directly impacts your chances of a second date. So don’t mess it up.
Saffron: This may be the most underrated restaurant in the Twin Cities. I like to sit at the bar for perfect cocktails and a bunch of small plates. Get the giant beans, African-spiced fried cauliflower, and the lamb brains. Or swipe left on the brains. (Warehouse District, Mpls.)
Ran-Ham Bowling/The Nook: Bowling gives you the chance to be playful, competitive, and make a fool out of yourself. Go old-school at Ran-Ham, order the Juicy Nookie and amazing fries from upstairs (they’ll bring them down), followed by an egg cream or a salty turtle sundae for dessert at Cold Front next door. (Randolph & Hamline, St. Paul)
Double-decker cheeseburger from The Nook
Photo by Todd Buchanan
A first date can be wonderful…or you end up with a terrifically awful evening that will live in cocktail-party-story infamy. These spots serve a good time, even if your date looks nothing like his profile picture.
Up/Down Uptown: This adult arcade is packed with retro games, great beer, and decadent pizza. Strike up a conversation on the best way to approach a Skee-Ball game while waiting your turn for Street Fighter 2. (Lyn-Lake, Mpls.)
The Turf Club: I’m trying to spread some of my good luck with the spot where my husband and I shared our first date. Turf Club’s low cover charge and loud music are perfect if things get awkward. (University & Snelling, St. Paul)