Minneapolis' distinct geography and climate make the city's cuisine worth seeking out. Juicy Lucys (cheese-stuffed burgers), wild rice, whitefish, cheese curds and other hot dishes take advantage of Minnesota's lakes, fields and hearty appetite to keep eaters warm in the coldest months.
One of the purported inventors of Minneapolis' signature burger, the Juicy Lucy, this nostalgic 1950s bar and restaurant is a must for its cheese-stuffed patty. The menu is simple — burgers, fries, chicken sandwiches, soft drinks and beer — and only cash is accepted at this historic staple.
3500 Cedar Ave. South, Minneapolis, MN; mattsbar.com
The second classic joint to claim invention of the Juicy Lucy, this Minneapolis pub is an excellent place for deep-fried appetizers such as crispy onion straws and breaded pickle chips. Juicy Lucys made with creative combinations of meat and cheese — like ground chicken and Pepper Jack with Buffalo sauce — offer an alternative to the beef-and-American-cheese original. Homemade chili, wings, classic burgers, sandwiches and other comfort-food staples are also on the menu.
5800 Cedar Ave. South, Minneapolis, MN;, 5-8club.com
Spoon and Stable
Located in a horse stable dating back to 1906, James Beard Award-winning chef/owner Gavin Kaysen's Midwestern restaurant combines local ingredients and flavors with elevated technique. Expect pot roast, potato-crusted whitefish, chicken with wild rice, cookie tins and creative off-menu specials.
2011 N. First St., Minneapolis, MN; spoonandstable.com
A St. Paul mainstay since 1935, this recently renovated and reopened restaurant and bar is an ode to old-school glamour and classic Midwestern cuisine. Comfort food gets an upscale treatment in dishes like smoked whitefish dip, walleye cakes, pecan-crusted whitefish and schmaltzy potatoes.
1096 Grand Ave., St. Paul, MN; thelexmn.com
Betty Danger's Country Club
A cheeky mockery of an uptight country club, this bar and restaurant is full of lovable Midwestern kitsch, plus a Ferris wheel, minigolf and more. The menu features a range of state fair, Midwestern and Minnesota-specific highlights, such as Swedish-meatball burgers, ground-beef tacos and dessert bars.
2501 Marshall St. NE, Minneapolis, MN; bettydangers.com