Sue Z.'s Local Finds

The season has come for roofdecks to open and patios to pop up, so ’tis high time to walk, drive, bike, hike, or stroll to Twin Cities restaurants filled with delicious summer pleasures. Kim Bartmann’s The Third Bird in Loring Park faces one of Minneapolis’ prettiest alleyways, made even more charming with the infusion of bright summer flowers—ideal for dining al fresco. The restaurant’s cold-fried-chicken club sandwich and chilled watermelon soup are fresh, upscale takes on picnic fare (thethirdbirdmpls.com).

Longfellow’s Le Town Talk Diner recently launched a lunch service featuring Niçoise salad, savory crepes, and thin, spicy chipolata sausages. It’s a lighter continuation of owner Emilie Cellai-Johnson’s Marseille-inspired comfort-food menu, and the dishes are ideal for noshing on the buvette’s new patio, which was designed by local artists (letowntalk.com).

If you’re strolling the Seward neighborhood on a sunny Saturday morning, the takeout window at Lisa Carlson and Carrie Summer’s Chef Shack Ranch is a must-stop. Get there early (there’s always a line by 9 a.m.) to pick up a bag of the eatery’s much-lauded Indian-spiced mini donuts—no need to chase down the red food truck to get your fix (chefshackranch.com).

Illustration by James Kloiber

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Sue Zelickson (Sue Z.) is a James Beard Award-winning food media personality, philanthropist, and longtime contributor to Minnesota Monthly and WCCO radio. She has founded the Charlie Awards, the Women Who Really Cook networking organization for women in the local food industry, and the Kids Cafe at Perspectives, Inc., which improves access to nutritious meals for families in need. You can find her buzzing around from event to event throughout the Twin Cities, helping to raise funds for charitable organizations, including some she has had a hand in building.