Location: 16180 Flying Cloud Dr, Eden Prairie Hours: 11AM-10PM Daily
When it comes to acclaimed burger joints in Minnesota, the Twin Cities metro usually garners most of the mentions, but a little known spot in Eden Prairie is a MUST stop for burger lovers. The restaurant known as The Lions Tap is situated along the Minnesota river in an area that can only be described as rural (not suburban). Their claim to fame is perfectly made medium rare patties with precision, no frills, no bullshit, no “jams” or “aiolis,” just good ass burgers. Their menu only extends to five burgers and 1 side, crinkle cut fries that always come out perfect, just like the burgers. One of the few mom & pop shops to beat McDonalds in court (undisclosed settlement), it’s no longer about funds, it’s all about the love at the Lions Tap. Although technically a brewery, this is a family establishment, so be mindful of dinner rushes and weekends to avoid crowds. If you have the time, I highly recommend you take a trip to the southwest ‘burbs to enjoy this gem, 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.
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: 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: 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.
Location: 1366 N Milwaukee Avenue, Chicago P: 773-697-7922 Hours: Mon-Thurs: 5PM-2AM, Fri: 3PM-2AM, Sat: Noon-3AM, Sun: Noon-2AM
In June 2012 Emporium opened it’s doors at the forefront of the then current “barcade” trend. Situated in Chicago’s Wicker Park neighborhood, just down the street from the bustling “6 corners,” Emporium established itself as one of CHI’s premier barcades. Location aside, they have an awesome beer menu, and if you’re into whiskey (we are), they have a separate menu dedicated entirely to the “Ruckus Juice.” When it comes to the games, these guys hit the nail on the head; you’ll find ALL of the classics: The Simpsons, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, NBA JAM, and Street Fighter. If that wasn’t good enough, they have a separate room dedicated entirely to pinball and live music. Emporium is dope but beware, if you come here late on a Friday or Saturday night, you’ll probably end up doing more waiting and watching than actual playing; so go early or on odd days if you’re there strictly for the games. This place is ideal for a pre-game before the night begins, I’d highly recommend a stop if you’re near “6 Corners”.
The city of Chicago is well known for its hot dogs, polishes & pork chop sandwiches; but only few places cook ’em like the guys at Jim’s. Indeed there are various locations on just about every side of Chicago, but the original location near Maxwell Street is the truly great one. Open 24 hours, 365 days a year; the original Jim’s is a mecca for drunken bar goers of all ages, wasted college kids and pretty much anyone looking for good food at too cheap of a price (yes too cheap). That other place down the street (Maxwell’s) might have the best dogs on the block but Jims’ polishes & pork chops blow theirs out of the water. We’ve made many a drunken stops at Jim’s and I can’t remember an occasion when anyone was unsatisfied upon leaving, if you can’t find 1 thing on their menu that you like; you might not be human (or just vegetarian). If you’re ever near U.I.C’s campus or heading south on 94 from downtown, make the stop; it’ll be worth every penny.
Standing right in the heart of downtown NE lies Masu. After passing by Masu well over a dozen times, we finally made our way inside for some sake and noodles. After entering the restaurant, we couldn’t help but notice the unique layout. In the center of the restaurant, there is an enormous curved bar followed by a handful of neon bright Pachinko games tucked in the back corner. If you are looking for more of an intimate setting, the left side of the restaurant has just what you need.
Masu has it all really: it is an aesthetically pleasing restaurant with delicious food, great sake, and an attentive staff. When it comes down it it, we plan to be back for seconds. Most importantly, If you’re looking for a decent bowl of pork belly ramen – look no farther.
Location: 825 Washington Ave SE #104, Minneapolis P: 612-378-3243 Hours: Sun-Thurs: 10:30AM-10PM, Fri-Sat: 10:30AM-Midnight
Cane’s is one of those places that you might pass everyday without noticing it, but once you stop in you’re hooked, possibly for life. Situated in Minneapolis’ Stadium Village neighborhood, Cane’s has quickly become a local favorite among hungry University of Minnesota students. Originally based solely in Louisiana, Cane’s specializes in premium chicken; they only have chicken strips and chicken sandwiches…that’s it. The simplicity of the menu adds to the greatness of the restaurant, you know the chicken’s good when that’s all they serve. For all my sauce savvy eaters beware, Cane’s strictly prohibits any other condiment but their own “Cane’s Sauce” which tastes like a mixture of familiar flavors (Thousand islands?), but is still very much a mystery. This place wont put too much of a beating on your wallet either and I’ve found it to be a great hangover cure as well. Stop in and get a taste of what you’ve been missing.
Before Eat Street was well…..Eat Street, The Bad Waitress stood prominently at the corner of 26th & Nicollet as a sign of things to come. As the strip grew (Icehouse, Eat Street Social, Black Sheep etc) The Bad Waitress maintained it’s glory as the areas go-to diner. Minneapolis’ Whittier neighborhood has always been known for it’s wide range of international eats, Thai & Chinese places sit side by side with Mexican & Middle Eastern eateries; while The Bad Waitress embodies the American diner style of restaurant. As with most diners, cool nostalgic posters, toys & records from America’s past adorn every wall; giving you plenty to look at while waiting and eating. Setting itself apart from other diners in Minneapolis, The Bad Waitress strictly buys local; assuring you that everything you eat was in fact produced in the great state of Minnesota. Another cool touch is the comic book & monster themed tables (The Invisible Girl table is primo) that allow for super quick service, our food was laid before us in what felt like one blink of the eye. With all of the great things that can be said about The Bad Waitress, i did leave with 1 pretty insignificant gripe. Other breakfast places like My Kitchen, Uptown Diner & Mickey’s offer more bang for your buck, we know ridiculously large portions are now frowned upon; but when you’re hungover and in need of a monster meal, having to order twice can be dissappointing. All in all, The Bad Waitress is a great place to eat with great service and a cool atmosphere (prime location); however, if you find yourself looking for a feast on a budget, you may want to look elsewhere.