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: 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: 907 W Belmont Ave, Chicago P: 773-525-7900 Hours: Mon-Fri: 11AM-Midnight, Sat-Sun: 11AM-2AM
Philly’s Best is hands down one of the best restaurants that offer the Philly style cheese steak in the Chicago area. There are 3 locations, but our go to is the one on Belmont avenue; situated between Sheffield avenue & Clark street in Chicago’s Lakeview neighborhood. Once inside, any true philly steak enthusiast will quickly notice the authenticity of this place’s attitude; in comparison to OG steak places in Philly (Pat’s & Geno’s). The sandwiches themselves stack right up to the originals and they serve some pretty good pizza as well, if you’re on a budget don’t worry; you’ll leave full for about $10. If you’re ever near Wrigleyville or the Lincoln Park area i’d highly recommend a visit, you definitely wont be disappointed.
As Minneapolis’ bar scene becomes more and more introverted, the old diamonds in the rough are beginning to reclaim their old shine. Dive bars like Liquor Lyle’s, Mortimer’s, Gringo’s & C.C Club are busier than ever proving that it’s not all about the trendy spots. Situated on 28th Street and Lyndale Avenue in Minneapolis’ Lyn-Lake neighborhood, the C.C Club maintains a staple, statue like presence in the area. Popular for it’s happy hour specials (2 for 1s) the corner bar also serves up some damn good “dive” food (cheese curds, burgers etc). Pool tables, dart boards, and video games complete the scene; along with plenty of thirsty locals looking to have a good time. A perfect place to pregame or grab a last call, don’t be surprised if you bump into someone you know after a few visits. If you’re ever near 28th & Lyndale and in need of a drink, stop on into the C.C Club.
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.
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.
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 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.
Location: SE 7th St & SE 14th Ave When: Saturday, April 22nd @ Noon
If you haven’t been over to SSSDude-Nutz yet make that a priority for the future. They offer an eccentric, rotating variety of donuts with equally eccentric names like the peanut butter laced “50 Tyson,” or cookies & cream inspired “No Flex Zone.” This Saturday they’ll host a block party with performances from MycDazzle and Madi Wayne, as well as DJ sets from The Breakfast Club, DJ Cilantro, DJ Rowsheen, and DJ Cig AM. Click the link below for SSSDude-Nutz official website.
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.