Solve the Minneapolis Pre-Theater Dinner Dilemma

Solve the Minneapolis Pre-Theater Dinner Dilemma

Eastside is perfect for a quick bite, and a valet for easy post-theater exits | Eastside [Official]


Restaurants that respect those curtain times: The Twin Cities have no shortage of performing arts venues. From the historic halls of American Public Media’s Fitzgerald Theater to the soaring river views from the Dowling Studio at the Guthrie, there’s something playing somewhere every night of the week. Whether a pre-theater dinner or a quick bite after a matinee, these restaurants offer convenient eats for theatergoers of every palate.



1. Eastside Eat + Drink

305 S Washington Ave
Minneapolis, MN 55415
(612) 208-1638

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Chef Jamie Malone’s dazzingly chic and fun restaurant at the edge of downtown Minneapolis knows the importance of a Guthrie show time. There’s a pre-theater menu, and valet will hold onto your car so no need to deal with the nightmare meter and parking ramp headaches.


2. Zen Box Izakaya

602 S Washington Ave
Minneapolis, MN 55415
(612) 332-3936

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Nestled in the corner of an old warehouse in the North Loop, the ambiance at Zen Box Izakaya still manages to be bright, warm, and friendly — the perfect place to get a drink and a meal before a show at the Guthrie Theater just across the street. Don’t miss the kimchi ramen: chewy, tender noodles and kimchi simmered in bone broth and draped in rich slices of pork chashu.

A magnificent spread steps from the Guthrie theater
 Zen Box Izakaya/Facebook


901 Hennepin Ave
Minneapolis, MN 55403
(612) 252-7000

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Across the street from the Orpheum and a block away from the State Theater, this warmly lit, open-concept kitchen is the perfect place to grab dinner before a downtown Minneapolis show. Start with the garlic bread, a plush, pull-apart loaf served warm and bathed in herbed butter, and make sure to save room for the house favorite: a burnished, crisp-skinned, “beer-can” roasted chicken.

Mercy [Official]

4. Zelo

831 Nicollet Mall
Minneapolis, MN 55402
(612) 333-7000

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For delicious, perfectly al dente fresh pastas, look so further than this Orpheum-adjacent Italian haunt. Order a few sides and a couple of half-portion pastas to share, or try one of the ever-changing dishes available from their specials menu.

The sleek dining room was recently remodeled at this Nicollet Mall classic
1121 Hennepin Ave
Minneapolis, MN 55403
(612) 238-8888

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Butcher and the Boar is the ideal stop for carnivores. From the charcuterie plate featuring just-made sausages and head cheese to a killer rack of lamb, there’s no way to go wrong at this downtown eatery. Grab a reservation for the boisterous interior or walk in to the more casual beer garden in back.

1200 Nicollet Mall Suite C3
Minneapolis, MN 55403
(612) 259-8488

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Despite the gimmick, conveyer belt chain Sushi Train is a perfect place to catch a late dinner after a Minnesota Orchestra concert: and not just because of its late closing times. With the usual maki and nigiri options as well as a few creative hits like the “Green Haven,” with serrano peppers and avocado–the food alone is worth a stop.

Fun and actually tasty
 Sushi Train/Facebook


7. Monello

1115 2nd Ave S
Minneapolis, MN 55403
(612) 353-6207

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For those seeking an earlier dinner, Monello’s sleek lines and three-course tasting menus make for a stress-free meal before a show or concert. With options like a grilled octopus—meltingly tender, with a perfect char—and a slew of housemade pastas, there’s no way to go wrong

8. Meritage
410 St Peter St
St Paul, MN 55102
(651) 222-5670

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This is a shining star of St. Paul dining, no matter the occasion. The bar is just a short jaunt to the Fitzgerald and the impeccable service are mindful of curtain times. Order an array of snacks like fresh oysters, escargot, wings, and those famous fries served with bérnaise sauce.

9. Gray Duck Tavern

345 Wabasha St N
St Paul, MN 55102
(651) 340-9022

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With its new Minnesota-leaning menu and creative cocktails, Gray Duck Tavern is an essential St. Paul stop, even if the final destination for the evening isn’t the neighboring Fitzgerald and Palace Theatre. Burger fans should also make sure to try the Animal Burger a tower of caramelized onions, melted American cheese, and “special sauce.”

This bar is known for a monster burger and a slew of small plates
 Gray Duck Tavern [Official]

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