When people living in Minneapolis think of where to get a good cup of coffee in a comfortable setting, most would probably name one of the numerous shops in Uptown or the Northeast neighborhoods. Nestled in the Stevens Square neighborhood sits one of the city’s best kept secrets, the Boiler Room. Situated on 3rd Avenue near 19th street, the Boiler Room is slowly establishing itself as the areas “go to” coffee shop. Providing 3 house blends along with a plethora of other drinks including mochas, espressos and a variety of teas; I’ve found the Boiler Room to be much better than your average Starbucks or Caribou. They also serve up some awesome waffles, rice crispy treats, brownies, cookies and amazing muffins; the chocolate chip banana nut being a favorite. Free Wi-Fi (of course) and a homey atmosphere like your best friend’s basement will have you wondering where the last 4 hours went. If you’re ever near 3rd ave or the Stevens Square neighborhood make sure to stop in for a cup of Joe, you wont be disappointed.
Minneapolis isn’t very well known for it’s Jamaican cuisine, but a little food court stall from the Burnsville Mall has began making big waves in south Minneapolis. On a summer day you can’t miss Pimento, reggae can be heard blasting from the open store front from at least half a block away. Within that block you’ll no doubt smell the chicken & pork that’s been catching people’s attention. Formerly neighbors, Tomme Beevas linked his home recipes with Yoni Reinharz’ business savvy and a restaurant was born. After winning the Food Network’s, Food Court Wars and spending a few years in Burnville, the duo decided to open a new location in Minneapolis. The food indeed lives up to the hype. Succulent jerk rubbed chicken falls off the bone onto a bed of rice, plantains, beans and Jamaican slaw. They also offer some damn good pork and oxtails for those looking to get that truly authentic feel. The staff is helpful and the menu can be navigated with ease by just about anyone. Food for 2 will run you about $20, not bad for a fairly balanced meal with a home cooked feel; on Wednesdays they offer a solid 6 wings for $5 deal. If you live in the vicinity of 26th street & Nicollet, GET FAMILIAR! Otherwise it’s well worth the trip, click the link below for more information.
Location: 6034 S Pulaski Rd, Chicago P: 773-582-4244 Hours: Sun-Thurs: 9AM-10PM, Fri-Sat: 8AM-10PM
Chicago literally has a thousand different taco stands and restaurants spread out across the city, from the North side to the South side you’d be hard pressed to go a couple miles with out seeing one. The fact that the taco scene is so saturated has taken a little away from the truly great taco joints that the city has to offer. We previously mentioned La Pasadita, but this time around we’re posting a southside restaurant; situated in Chicago’s West Lawn neighborhood, Paco’s Tacos is by far one of the CHIs top ten taco spots. The taco’s here are some of the largest that i’ve seen around the city, they literally stuff their steak tacos; usually leaving enough meet on your plate for another one. The only pitfall of this place is their operating hours, the West Lawn is far different (crime) than Wicker Park so it’s understandable; but it would still be nice to be able to stop in late. All in all, I think Paco’s easily stacks up to other, more well known places like La Pasadita, Taco Burrito King & Zaca’s; if you’re ever on the southwest side in need of grub look no further.
The Twin Cities’ BBQ scene has been lacking for quite some time, but things have began to change around the metro. One place that has been doing it’s thing for years is John Hardy’s down in Rochester. The small, shack style restaurant sits right off highway 52 for any wayward traveler looking to fill up while on the road. If you came here for decor and fine dining service, you came to the wrong place. Here you’ll lineup to order just like everyone else and you’ll receive the same awesomely prepared food, just like everyone else. The ribs are a crowd favorite, but the sampler is also worth tackling if you want variety. Dry rub guy/gal? Do you like a plethora of sauces? They’ve got you covered. If you happen to be in the Rochester make sure to stop by 1 of their 2 locations for some of the best BBQ in the state. Click the link below for more info.
The corner of Lyndale Avenue and Lake Street has gone through quite the transformation over the last few years. The new Country Bar, Iron Door Pub, and Lyn-Lake Brewery have breathed life into what was beginning to look like one of the southside’s biggest question marks. If you remember Rusty Quarters, 1Up, or any of the other failed attempts at arcade bars, you know that the people over at the newly established Up-Down are definitely on to something.
The bar feels like an arcade first which is a great thing, they offer a wide array of games including pineball, jumbo jenga and ski-ball. You’ll see plenty of your favorites like The Simpsons, Off-Road, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, and NBA JAM, but there are also plenty of gems in their collection. If you came for the booze you wont be disappointed, Up-Down offers around 60 taps as well as a full bar. Food? They have a small kitchen that serves up pizza by the slice, not mind blowing but definitely a good filler between pints. Pinball aficionados might scoff at the limited selection, but you’d be hard pressed to find a better one in the cities. Be aware that this place can get packed during evening hours and over the weekend, if you’re there to play you should aim for week days or earlier hours.
Up-Down is by far the best “barcade” I’ve ever been to in the Twin Cities, there is plenty of room for improvement, but there really isn’t much to complain about either. If you follow our advice on when to attend you should be good, click the link below for their official website.
Our “All City” series is a collection of some of our current favorites from the Twin Cities. The series is meant to introduce music from the Twin Cities’ scene to wider national/international audiences. This installment features the likes of Allan Kingdom, Drelli, Finding Novyon, K. Raydio, Greg Grease and Dwynell Roland among others. We hope you enjoy All City Vol. 5 as much as we do, check it out below and stay tuned for volume 6.
Decent burger joints are not dime a dozen. Sure, you can grab any old burger just about anywhere, but a quality patty with quality ingredients surrounding it isn’t always the easiest find. Over the last few years, Red Cow restaurants have began to make their mark in neighborhoods across the Twin Cities, one visit and you’ll understand exactly why. At their downtown location, rustic meets trendy decor envelops the dining room, kind of awkward at first; but really easy to get passed, especially when the food arrives. The proscuitto topped Barcelona and the bacon filled 60/40 are my favorites, but the Ahi Tuna and Vegey burgers are great, healthier options. The restaurant walks a tight wire, the dining room is perfect for date night, while the not so far bar doubles as a solid back drop for a few early drinks with friends. I can only imagine this location becoming even more crowded as the North Loop and Saint Anthony Main neighborhoods continue into full scale gentrification, but you can bet they will ALL be fed well. Cost comes with quality and location, this is not your $5 corner burger joint, but I assure you that your $12 will not be spent in vain. Check one of their locations out for yourself, click the link below for more information.
Location: 2555 N Pulaski Rd, Chicago Hours: Mon-Sat: 7AM-5PM, Sun: 9AM-3PM
Chicago is one of those cities where you can literally eat just about any type of food under the sun. Whether it’s Swedish pastries in Andersonville (really, that’s the name), Ethiopian food in Roger’s Park or tacos in Little Village; it’s all there. One of my favorite spots in the entire city is also probably one of the smallest, in the summer the line really stretches down the block. El Cubanito cooks up Cuban style steak sandwiches that could easily stand up to the traditional Philly that’s often favored. If you’re simply looking for a snack, they also make a damn good empanada; all of which can easily be had for under $10. Cuban food is often slept on, but one stop here and that’ll all change. If you’re ever near Logan Square and need a bite to eat, check out El Cubanito; you wont regret it.