photo courtesy mall of america
Jason: For more than 25 years, the food at Mall of America has been more Auntie Anne than James Beard. But things are changing. After I drop my kids off at Nickelodeon Universe, you’ll find me at one of these great restaurants.
Cedar + Stone, Urban Table: I’m constantly impressed by the high-quality, local food at this restaurant in one of the Twin Cities’ most luxurious hotels, the JW Marriott. The wine list is one of the best in the Twin Cities area, and the cuisine makes you forget you’re at the mall. North Entrance
Burger Burger: A fast-service mall restaurant with a happy hour? Yep. They grind their meat in-house every day, and the fries are absolutely addictive. Top these burgers with mac-and-cheese bites or bourbon barbecue sauce, or forgo the beef and get a terrific crispy chicken sandwich. Excellent shakes for the kids and a full bar for mom and dad. 321 South Ave.
Joy: Kicking off Black Friday inside this landmark will remind you there has never been a better time to eat out here.
Hot Indian: What was once a food truck is fast becoming a popular little local chain. Indulge in the heady aromas and delightful spice of Hot Indian’s food. It’s easy to order vegan, vegetarian, or meaty at this eye-popping, bright, and fun counter. 322 Culinary on North
Masu Sushi & Robata: This locally owned restaurant has a great bar and specializes in Japanese fare, including sushi, robata (little grilled skewers), and sumptuous ramen noodles. My pick is the tonkatsu curry, a curried broth with a crispy fried pork cutlet on top. 344 South Ave.