Opened by a pair of leaf-loving friends in 1999, The Mad Hatter Tea Room fills the 1916-built Anoka Post Office building with traditional English teas and trays bearing freshly baked scones and dainty sandwiches. At reserved seatings, guests sip and nibble from a cornucopia of tea services named after outlandish characters from Lewis Carroll's Alice in Wonderland books and mathematical theorems. Tea sets the scene for leisurely afternoons, surrounded by spiraling chandeliers and pastel walls. On the way out, a boutique stocked with books and tea accessories lets guests tote the elegance to their own homes and backyard dirt bike rallies.
When Shannon and her daughter Kate sought out a mother-daughter activity, they dodged the typical scrapbooking and quilting and instead opened Coffee Caboose. Their creation is a charming café specializing in espresso drinks, hot dogs loaded with toppings, and housemade baked goods. Often seen manning the counter or flapping limbs to create angels in coffee-grounds piles, they ensure the quality of their product by involving themselves in all aspects of their business. Each morning, Shannon and Kate showcase this dedication by serving up fresh-baked cinnamon rolls and steaming cups of coffee to commuters en route to the Northstar Train.
Bean Buddy's bright-eyed coffee-bean mascot, Bean Buddy, welcomes guests into the WiFi-equipped cafe, where coffee pots percolate and beans are ground fresh. With a five-drink punch card, customers can bring along a jazz quartet and still ensure that everyone enjoys their own cup (up to $4.89 each) of Buddy's hazelnut divinity, a swirling vortex of hazelnut and almond roca. Augment flavor absorption by partnering warm sips of german-chocolate-cake coffee—infused with chocolate and coconut—with The Mean Bean, an extra shot of espresso, chocolate, caramel, and hazelnut. Baked fresh by a local pastry chef, cupcakes ($2.45 each) of red velvet and chocolate add extra morsels of saccharine goodness to an already-rich culinary affair, and a Bean Buddy cartoon coffee mug ($9.95) acts as a sentimental souvenir of your visit or lightens up the moods of dark cupboards.
Guests seated at Osaka Sushi and Hibachi’s teppanyaki tables watch as chefs slice and grill pieces of filet mignon, chicken, scallops, and other fine meats. With skillful spatula flicks or regulation slingshots, the chefs then fling the meaty pieces onto plates along with piles of white rice and colorful veggies. Nearby, sushi chefs also impress diners with their culinary precision. After rolling rice around shrimp tempura and spicy tuna, they can transform the bundle into a Christmas roll by adding red, black, and bright-green tobiko. Miniature piles of tobiko victoriously sit atop lobster salad in the Sumo roll, whereas sliced avocado contrasts the light-pink salmon in the Coon Rapids roll.
After immigrating to the United States at age 20, Greece native Dino Adamidis cut his teeth in the restaurant industry as an employee at his sister’s steakhouse. He enjoyed the work, but still aspired to own his own business, a dream he carried with him from Greece. In 1982, he and his wife Vona decided to pursue that dream by opening a small white and blue stand at a local art fair where they sold gyros to spectators, often cinching a sale with free meat samples, saying, “We knew if the people would try it they would love it.” Love it they did, but it wasn’t until 1986—four years and several food stands down the road—that the couple opened the first freestanding Dino’s Gyros with only eight booths and a single particle accelerator.
Today, Dino’s is run by the two oldest children and serves quick Greek and Mediterranean cuisine from six locations. The menu still highlights the classic gyro, often with innovative twists, such as the Greek Philly, a gyro-meat mound sautéed with onions, green peppers, and swiss cheese. Catering services offer the same delicious fare as box lunches, family-style buffets, or busts carved from gyro meat.
Yes And Food's playful menu of Italian and American fare preps stomachs for belly laughs during dinner performances of improvisational comedy. Set the stage for rowdy appetites with Improvachos, which feature corn tortilla chips dripping with cheese sauce and smothered with black beans, taco beef, lettuce, sour cream, pico de gallo, guacamole, and jalapeños ($8). The Goosey Lucy burger falls flat on its face in Goose Island ale before being grilled, stuffed with cheese, and snuggled between a toasted bun with lettuce, onion, and tomato ($10), and a hand-tossed Rustic pizza may be topped with pepperoni, black olives, bacon, red or green peppers, and more (up to 3 toppings $15). Diners can put forks and fake Italian accents to good use with a plateful of penne gorgonzola tossed in a creamy white sauce and smoked, peppered bacon and drizzled with candied walnuts, gorgonzola cheese, and parsley ($12).
From its humble origins as a soda fountain in 1930s Saint Paul, Green Mill Restaurant and Bar has grown into a franchise with more than 28 locations all over Minnesota and the Midwest. As TV screens blast sports news in the background, patrons at each eatery dine on a menu of classic American and pizzeria fare. Thick, hand-pressed burgers form bunned towers with hefty toppings such as smoked bacon, haystack onions, and chipotle mayo. Families looking to bond can practice fractions on regular, deep-dish, or thin and crispy pizzas or group juggling acts with samplers of 27 juicy wings. In addition to pastas and salads, each location's bar carries a varied drink menu that includes draft beers such as Blue Moon and Samuel Adams alongside wine, martinis, and margaritas.