This little establishment is a must stop for Chicago dog lovers and cheeseburger fiends. Uncle Franky’s, the original establishment, offers a legit Chicago style menu at a reasonable price. The food itself is absolutely on point. Whether it’s a Chicago dog, a Juicy Lucy, Italian Beef, Philly Cheese Steak, or some freshly cut fries; Uncle Franky’s does it right. The tiny building is located smack dab in the neighborhoods of NE, and can easily be missed. Next time you are cruising down Broadway, keep yours eyes peeled, you might want to make the stop.
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.
Location: Numerous (Best are 87th & Kedzie, 83rd & Ashland) Hours: Vary by location
Growing up in Minnesota, KFC and Popeyes were the marquis chicken places aside from a few token spots like El-Amins, Shorty & Wags, and Pizza Gallery. When i came to the city of Chicago, it was clear that one name rang loudest in the conversation over chicken; Harold’s. A Southside institution, Harold’s Chicken Shack has reached national acclaim for having some of the best wings, not only in Chicago; but in the entire United States as well. When driving on the Southside you’ll see a Harold’s in just about every neighborhood stretching down into the city’s south suburbs, you can find them all across the city but they are most prevalent out south. The chicken itself is great, Juicy, Crispy and lathered in a sauce locals have named “Mild Sauce”; it’s like a blend of BBQ, Honey BBQ and ketchup. They provide a variety of sauces but Mild is really the only way to go, if you’re ever in Chicago you CAN NOT leave without eating at one of the many around town. Thank me later.
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.
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.
Located in downtown St. Paul, Mickey’s Diner is quite possibly Minnesota’s most iconic diner. The classic box car was originally designed in New Jersey then transported to Minnesota in 1939. Known for their pancakes and breakfast plates, this is a place where a slim wallet can take you far. Milk shakes and malts are a must with any burger, everything is cooked to order so you’ll know it’s fresh when it hits the table. If it’s hockey season beware, things can get crowded quick, Mickey’s is a very small diner so make the trip during off hours. Click the link below for their official website.
Tucked in the corner on one of Dinkytown’s busiest intersections, above the Kitty Kat Klub; lies one of Minneapolis’ best burger spots. At night the old school signs reading “Annie’s” in bright lights can’t be missed. Up the stairs and through the old parlor door, Annie’s interior looks as if it has never seen a makeover (in a good way). They have a decent variety of sandwiches, including a pretty good BLT; but everyone knows the burgers are the only way to go. No frills, no special sauces; just straight up hand/homemade burgers with lots and lots of cheese. Annie’s is a true parlor, they serve some of the city’s best malts and milkshakes to accompany any of the tasty burgers you decide to try. Overall this place is definitely the best spot for a classic “no nonsense” burger, the price is right and the service is fast; if you’re ever on campus make sure to stop in for a bite. You won’t regret it.
Location: 244 Cleveland Avenue S, St. Paul Hours: Sun-Wed: 11AM-8AM, Thurs-Sat: 11AM-9PM
Minnesota’s burger scene is at an all time high, but you’ll probably get a different answer 9 times out of 10 when you ask people how they feel about our current situation. On one hand you’ve got $15 (sometimes more) behemoths, with amazing ingredients being slung in trendier areas like Uptown and the North Loop. On the other, you’ve got places like Snuffy’s Malt Shop in St. Paul. Inspired by 1950s diners of the past, Snuffy’s is a Minnesota classic with absolutely zero pretension, simply good food. You can probably guess by their name that the malts are good, but the burgers are a thing of lore. The menu is straight forward diner format, your burger options are wide and they also offer a plethora of other sandwiches for those looking to switch it up. Their most expensive burger falls at $8 and you can make it a double for only $2, convinced? If you happen to be near the river or St. Thomas make sure to stop by for a bite, click the link below for more info on their other locations.
Location: 800 Washington Avenue North, Minneapolis, MN 55401
Hours: MON-FRI 8-8 SAT-SUN 9-5
Be’Wiched is a full on gourmet deli located in the warehouse district of Minneapolis. On a hungry afternoon driving around, this place happened to catch my eye. Come to find out, the place has been rated the #1 deli to grab a sandwich by multiple critics. Mike Ryan and Matthew Bickford are the master chefs behind the place. Both have culinary backgrounds which they decided to use to create these delectable sandwiches. I ended up ordering the classic pastrami, and god damn I have never tasted something so fresh and delicate. The sandwiches are priced around $10 a pop, so they are a little spendy, but worth it in my eyes.
Location: 500 E Lake Street, Minneapolis Hours: Sun-Thurs: 11AM-11PM, Fri-Sat: 11AM-Midnight
Located in Minneapolis’ Phillips West neighborhood, A&Js is far from new to any southsider with a craving for fried chicken. As a loyal customer I may be biased, but I’ve grown to appreciate this place for it’s consistency. They offer the gamut of “southern cooking” including fried chicken, tilapia, catfish, collard greens, mac & cheese, perch, and even fried okra. This isn’t your crowd funded, yuppie hangout where “world class” chefs find their roots, it’s simply good ass street food that fills a much needed greasy void in our new, ritzy surroundings. You wont be paying $9 for 4 wings here, and you wont have 8 sauce selections, but you can rest assured that your wings will be good! Their menu is expansive and they have a surprisingly large delivery range, your best bet is the wings or the catfish, but there are definitely a few hidden gems. Phillips West & East are often overlooked, but A&J’s is worth a visit for anyone in the area looking for a quick bite. Click the link below for a peek at their menu.