City Pages: Best of the Twin Cities 2020 Food & Drink

City Pages: Best of the Twin Cities 2020 Food & Drink

Noah Lawrence

Best not sugarcoat this: Nothing about 2020 could be considered an “average” year, including
the realm of food and drink! Some of The Best establishments may be hibernating right now, while others have remained alive by shifting to service modes that don’t match the descriptions and categories in which they’re being recognized; still, so many (!) have stayed afloat, ready and waiting to share their (cited) hospitality with you.
Only in a few gut-wrenching instances did we lose honorees entirely. These winners achieved a lot as they were, and we’re of the mindset that the work they put in shouldn’t – and won’t – go unacknowledged.

That said, all of this year’s Food and Drink winners have been recognized for the banner years and senses of place they contributed to long before some dude ate a mid-rare pangolin (or bat), the world went rogue, and dining rooms began closing and reopening, then closed again to deep clean so they could reopen again. Please check websites or call before heading out to visit IRL; things change hourly.


Best of the Twin Cities 2020 Food & Drink

Best New Restaurant: Demi

Best Restaurant in Minneapolis: Grand Cafe (yes, again)

Best Chef: Yia Vang

Best Restaurant in St. Paul: Magic Noodle

Best Restaurant in the ’Burbs: Vann 

Best Restaurant Worth the Drive: Lakeview Drive Inn

Best Fine Dining: Bardo

Best SplurgeShellfish Tower at 4 Bells

Best Italian Restaurant: Giulia

Best Latin American Restaurant: Mañana Restaurant y Pupuseria

Best Indian Restaurant: Namaste India Grill & Brew House

Best Mediterranean: Olive & Lamb

Best Middle Eastern: Afandina Cafe

Best East African Restaurant: Dilla Ethiopian Restaurant

Best Vietnamese Restaurant: iPho by Saigon

Best Chinese Restaurant: Grand Szechuan Restaurant

Best Korean Restaurant: Kimchi Tofu House

Best Thai Restaurant: Thai Cafe

Best Vegan: Fig & Farro

Best Vegetarian: Himalayan Restaurant

Best Restaurant for a First Date: Sandcastle

Best Restaurant for Romance: Gardens of Salonica

Best View: Aster Cafe

Best Service: La Tapatia

Best Place to Eat Out with Your Kids: Gandhi Mahal

Best Restaurant to Take Out-of-Towners: Sea Salt

Best Prix Fixe Menu: Restaurant Alma

Best Gluten-Free Menu: Colita

Best-Kept Secret: Savory Bake House

Best Dining Trend: Tiny Restaurants

Best Diner: Band Box Diner

Best Late-Night Eats: Flameburger

Best Airport Eats: Leeann Chin

Best Bagels: Asa’s Bakery

Best Bakery: Rose Street Patisserie

Best Barbecue: Smoke in the Pit

Best Bar Food: Iron Door Pub

Best Bartender: Our guardian angel, Eagles Club #34

Best Bar Trend: Non-alcoholic Cocktails

Best Beer: Lift Bridge Silhouette

Best Beer (Limited Release): Crankin’ Foamers from Fair State Brewing Cooperative

Best Beer Selection in a Bar: HopCat

Best Beer Trend: Brewery Collaborations

Best Biscuits: Standish Cafe

Best Bloody Mary: Icehouse

Best Breakfast: Al’s Breakfast

Best Breakfast on the Go: The Chewery

Best Brewery: Barrel Theory Beer Company

Best Brunch: Modern Times

Best Burger: Dipped & Debris

Lolli Morlock

Lolli Morlock

Best Cafe: Duck Duck Coffee

Best Candy Store: Candyland

Best Cheap Eats: The Fremont’s Two-Dollar Tuesdays

Best Chocolate: Legacy Chocolates

Best Cocktails: Travail Kitchen and Amusements

Best Coffee Roaster: Roots Roasting

Best Coffee Shop: Northern Coffeeworks

Best Cookbook: Fish by Jon Wipfli

Best Delicatessen: Sikora’s Polish Market & Deli

Best Dessert: Horchata Pot de Creme at Hola Arepa

Best Distillery: Dampfwerk Distilling

Best Dive Bar: Northeast Yacht Club

Best Doughnuts: Mel-O-Glaze Bakery

Best Drunk Food: A Slice of New York

Best Farmers Market: Midtown Farmers Market

Best Food Truck: Animales Barbeque Co.

Best Fried Chicken: Soul Bowl’s Big K.R.I.T. Sandwich

Best Fries: The Naughty Greek’s “Naughty Fries”

Best Gimmick: Extreme Christmas

Best Hangover Cure: Go dutch with your hookup at May Day Cafe

Best Happy Hour (After Work): Memory Lanes

Best Happy Hour (Late Night): The Lowbrow

Best Hot Dog: Uncle Franky’s

Best Ice Cream: Treats

Best Instagrammable Food: Black Walnut Bakery

Best International Grocery: United Noodles

Best Liquor Store: Morelli’s Market

Best Lunch: Zettas

Best Margarita: Centro at Popol Vuh

Best Martini: Meritage

Best Meatless Burger: Mac Attack at Trio Plant-Based

Best Mocktails: Marvel Bar

Best Neighborhood Bar in Minneapolis: Lakes and Legends

Best Neighborhood Bar in St. Paul: The Spot Bar

Best Neighborhood Grocery: Dragon Star Oriental Foods

Lolli Morlock

Lolli Morlock

Best New Bar: Meteor

Best New Brewery: Falling Knife Brewing Co.

Best Pancakes: Granola Cakes at Bryant-Lake Bowl

Best Party Bar: Honey

Best Patio/Outdoor Seating: Muddy Waters Bar & Eatery

Best Pho: Pho Pasteur

Best Pizza: Boludo

Best Pop-Up Restaurant: Queer Soup Night

Best Pub: The Prodigal Public House

Best Ramen: Zen Box Izakaya

Best Salad: Farmers Market Salad at Black Sheep Coal Fired Pizza

Best Sandwich: The Cubano at Manny’s Tortas

Best Seafood: Grand Catch

Best Skyway Eats: Afro Deli

Best Smoking Patio: 331 Club

Best Speakeasy: Volstead’s Emporium

Best Sports Bar: St. Paul Tap

Best State Fair Food: Jalapeño Cheese Curds at Miller’s Flavored Cheese Curds

Best Steak: Lindey’s Prime Steak House

Best Suburban Brewery: Lift Bridge Brewing Company

Best Sushi: Momo Sushi

Best Tacos: Tacos El Kevin

Best Taproom: Urban Growler

Best Tea Shop: Jinx Tea

Best Transformation: Revolution Hall to Potluck

Best Wine Bar: Bar Brava

Best Wings: Cedar Inn

Best Winter Drinking: City of Lakes Loppet Winter Festival


Click here to browse our entire Best Of issue


Famed Martina (Re-Opens & Reviewed) – Linden Hills, Minneapolis

Famed Martina (Re-Opens & Reviewed) – Linden Hills, Minneapolis

Martina brings Argentinian-inspired cuisine to the Linden Hills neighborhood of Minneapolis. You’ll find an array of seafoods and meats, as well as other delicious plates cooked over a wood-fire grill in an energetic, warm environment.

More Reviews…


Summer Flavors: Kowalskis Old-Fashioned Pies – Twin Cities, MN

Summer Flavors: Kowalskis Old-Fashioned Pies – Twin Cities, MN

Kowalskis: Old-Fashioned Pies

Nothing says summer has arrived like our family favorite fresh baked fruit half pies. These real fruit pies are made with only the best ingredients, hand-selected from farmers we know and trust – from apple and cherry to peach, boysenberry, strawberry rhubarb and everything in between. Selection and availability varies by market.



Brother Justus: New Distillery/Cocktail Room – Northeast, MPLS

Brother Justus: New Distillery/Cocktail Room – Northeast, MPLS

A scene from inside Brother Justus’s current whiskey cave/distillery.  
Brother Justus Whiskey, one of the oldest and smallest of Minnesota’s new wave of craft distilleries, is making moves, and taking concrete steps toward a building a bright new future in spirits here in the Twin Cities.…And by “bright new future,” we’re talking pretty literally. Since its founding in 2014, Brother Justus has produced around 2,000 gallons of locally aged whiskey each year from an underground distillery the size of, say, a three bedroom apartment. But in late June, Phil Steger, founder and CEO of the Minneapolis-based whiskey company, signed a new lease on a space in conjunction with Peter Remes of First & First, whose projects are home to 612 Brew, Lake Monster Brewing, and Norseman Distillery.

Brother Justus’s new place is seven times the size of its current one, and has actual windows.

Those panes overlook Columbia Park and Golf Course in northeast Minneapolis, and contain a distillery that measures nearly 14,000 square feet, and ups Brother Justus’s production capacity to nearly 40,000 proof gallons of whiskey per year – all marked shifts toward the present moment for a company who bears a made-up monk as its moniker.

“It is more important than ever that we contribute to positive change for our community, and invest in our values of justice, opportunity, and stewardship,” said Steger in a statement that cites the role COVID-19 and the death of George Floyd have played in changing the world. “The historical Brother Justus created opportunities for people facing tough times. And he held himself to the highest standards of craft and care for the well-being of others. We can’t do less.”

Phil Steger, founder and CEO of Brother Justus, in front of the distillery's new home.

Phil Steger, founder and CEO of Brother Justus, in front of the distillery’s new home.

Architect and interior designer Aaron Wittkamper of Wittkamper Studio will play an integral role in transitioning Brother Justus’s lofty talk into a pragmatic, concrete embodiment of these values and choices.

Brother Justus’s new distillery will be open to the public, featuring a cocktail room proactively designed for social distancing, and that integrates full accessibility for individuals who live with mobility- and sight-related disabilities into the distillery aesthetics and experience. Additionally, the Benedictine monk-inspired spirit is proactively working to include people who face structural barriers to economic opportunity and employment in the jobs created by the new distillery.

“When we build places and businesses where each person is welcome, no matter who they are or how they get around, we create better experiences and richer environments for everyone,” underlined Steger.

But it’s not just new buildings the distillers are working on in the coming year: Brother Justus also has its sights set on releasing a new, cold-peated whiskey, to…



Brother Justus

Images: Brother Justus /Facebook

Tracking Which Twin Cities Restaurant Patios Are Open Summer 2020

Tracking Which Twin Cities Restaurant Patios Are Open Summer 2020

Hai Hai is just one of the patios open again and serving                 Kevin Kramer/Eater Twin Cities


Eater Twin Cities: Restaurants across the metro area have put out tables on existing patios, in parking lots, and on sidewalks to welcome back diners now that the restrictions have been loosened on the industry. Guests are asked to wear masks, and all staffs will be masked, and precautions are put in place.

These patios are currently open, but check with the restaurants for individual days and hours of operation.

Disclosure: Studies indicate that there is a lower exposure risk to the coronavirus when outdoors, but the level of risk involved with patio dining is contingent on restaurants following strict social distancing and other safety guidelines.

These restaurants have spaced out seats and are serving:




Como Tap


Gardens of Solonica

Hai Hai

Indeed Brewing

Kieran’s Kitchen


Market BBQ

Psycho Suzi’s

Sociable Cider Werks

Stanley’s Barroom

Stray Dog

Downtown/North Loop

Brit’s Pub


Darby’s Pub & Grill

Finnegans Brew Co.

Fulton Brewing

The Loop

Kado No Mise


The Newsroom

Nolo’s Kitchen


ONE Fermentary and Taproom


Red Rabbit

Smith And Porter

Smack Shack

Stillheart Distillery

Eat Street


Nicollet Diner


Cafe Ena

Apoy – Filipino Bistro

Fireroast Cafe


Hola Arepa

Minneapolis Cider Company

Maria’s Cafe

Mill Valley Market

Northbound Smokehouse


Sebastian Joe’s

Tap Society


Agra Culture

Amazing Thailand

Amore Uptown

Black Walnut Bakery

CC Club

The Lynhall



Prieto Taqueria Bar

The Tasting Room


The Howe


Sonora Grill

Merlin’s Rest

Hi Lo Diner

Peppers and Fries

The Bungalow Club

Longfellow Grill

Prospect Park


St. Paul

Alary’s Bar

Bad Weather Brewing

Cafe Astoria

Day by Day Cafe

Dual Citizen Brewing

Foxy Falafel

French Meadow on Grand

Handsome Hog (new location)

Hope Breakfast Bar

Hot Hands Pie & Biscuits

Iron Ranger

Joans in the Park

Keg & Case

La Grolla

Lake Monster Brewing

The Lexington

Louis (Above Cossetta’s)

Moscow on the Hill

Nico’s Tacos and Tequila Bar

Parlour Bar

Patrick McGovern’s

Red Rabbit


Skinner’s Pub and Eatery


W.A. Frost

Waldmann Brewery

Yumi Sushi


6 Smith Wayzata

Agra Culture

B52 Burgers and Brew


Badger Hill Brewery


Bald Man Brewing



Birch’s on the Lake

The Block

Cedar + Stone

Dampfwerk Distillery

Doolittles Woodfire Grill

Fat Nat’s

Good Day Cafe

The Grocer’s Table

Haskell’s Port



Jimmy’s Kitchen

Lola’s Lakehouse

Lord Fletcher’s

Lucky’s 13 Pub

LTD Brewing

Main Street Farmer

Marna’s Eatery


McHugh’s Public House

Mill Valley Kitchen

Monkey Table

Nine twenty five

Nonna Rossa

Park Tavern

Pub 819


Rock Elm Tavern

Urbana Craeft Kitchen

Yumi Sushi


eater twin cities

“The Double Rainbow” at MN Nice Cream – Northeast Minneapolis

“The Double Rainbow” at MN Nice Cream – Northeast Minneapolis

What an amazing 3 years it has been! It’s hard to believe it all started out in a tiny soft serve ice cream truck.  Last year I opened my first brick and mortar location at 807 Broadway St in NE Minneapolis, and in May 2019, a Stillwater store was born at 308 Chestnut St E right in the heart of Downtown Stillwater!
A friendly reminder that we offer a wide selection of handmade gluten free and vegan options, as well as lactose free chocolate and vanilla soft serve ice cream. Leave your lactaids at home!
Come visit us….and if you are interested in booking our trucks, please fill out the form on our website. Keep in mind that we get a ton of inquires per day and that kindly it will take us a few days to get back to you:
Have an AMAZING summer! – Katie
Image may contain: one or more people and outdoor

Take #PRIDE Minnesota! New at NE MPLS 8 new Flavors of soft serve and this special cone “The Double Rainbow” 🌈 🌈 #loveislove #icecream

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