What To Eat in Minnesota
Much as we love traveling through the countryside to eat at Minnesota’s small town cafes, taverns, smoke houses, and pie palaces, the city of Minneapolis is a culinary siren song. Highlights include the inside-out cheeseburger known as a Juicy Lucy, farm-to-table diners, cutting-edge donut shops, and artisan bakeries.
The Juicy Lucy (alternately spelled Jucy Lucy) is an inside-out cheeseburger, meaning the cheese is completely secreted inside the meat. As the beef cooks, the lode of cheese inside melts. If an unsuspecting eater takes a hearty bite of one hot off the grill, the molten center erupts and can seriously hurt tongue, lips, and fingers. Experienced eaters know to wait a while or to gingerly hoist the burger and take a dainty bite that reveals just enough of the cheese cavern so that some of it can be dripped onto accompanying French fries.
The state fish of Minnesota (as well as of South Dakota) – so moist and squeaky-clean when pan-fried or grilled – serves as a dinner entrée or in a sandwich on a torpedo roll or burger bun. Walleye is so beloved by eaters of the north country that it also is made into walleye cakes, walleye bites, walleye BLTs, walleye shore lunches, and surf 'n' turf suppers of walleye and sirloin.
Once a staple in self-published cookbooks throughout the heartland, sour cream raisin pie is now found almost exclusively in Midwest dairy country – Wisconsin and Minnesota, primarily, with occasional sightings in Iowa and Illinois. It is a powerhouse pie that balances sweet custard and sour cream, flaky crust and silky filling, the concentrated intensity of raisins and the ethereal cloud of airy meringue on top.
Pies have made Betty's reputation in Northern Minnesota, and they are sweet treats to remember, especially the milk shake made with a whole slice of pie.
German-American pastries are great at Hans. The specialty is a Beehive - a tender cake filled with honey-sweetened Bavarian cream, topped with slivered almonds.
Small-batch ice cream is made at Pumphouse using local dairy products and fruits. The result: ice cream with big, fresh flavor and pure farm character.
A thick beef patty sizzled to crusty perfection on a well-oiled flat top makes Convention Grill a Minneapolis best for burger lovers. Beautiful fries, too.
Detour to the hole-in-the-wall Swedish Crown Bakery for delicious specialties such as cardamom rolls, creamy beehives and Swedish limpa bread.
A beacon of from-scratch Midwest comfort cooking, Carol's cafe serves superb hot turkey and hot meat loaf sandwiches and a repertoire of blue-ribbon pies.
Farm-to-table dining at its finest in Wise Acre Eatery, a casual, modern Minneapolis restaurant located in a former gas station.
Local, sustainable, organic, natural, low-impact biointensive urban farming: a gamut of culinary virtues sets the beat at the green Minneapolis Tiny Diner.
Cafe Latte is a breezy St. Paul cafeteria that offers healthful salads, lovely sandwiches, and soups, plus killer desserts including peerless turtle cake.