The lengthy menu at Tian Jin Chinese Restaurant includes dishes described as "authentic, flavorful, and unique" by Mpls. St.Paul Magazine that are each inspired by the owners' frequent trips to China. After each trip, region-specific foods are hand-picked to comprises dishes at Tian Jin Chinese Restaurant. Entree selections include whole halibut stewed in wild chili sauce, Mandarin beef with golden garlic, sizzling steak in black pepper sauce, giant walnut shrimp, and a chrysanthemum sole fillet in tomato sauce, a 2012 Taste of Chanhassen Grand Prize winner. Tian Jin Chinese Restaurant also has a sister restaurant in Cafe 99, which twincities.com describes as "the real deal" with dishes not seen elsewhere.
Typically, the only time a public bar is lit like a cozy living room is when patrons bring chandeliers with them. But at Jake's City Grille's Plymouth location, homey lamps illuminate a wooden bar, which competes with the elegance of the fireplace inside Eden Prairie?s dining room. Red umbrellas, meanwhile, keep the sun in check on Maplewood?s outdoor patio. Each location cultivates its own one-of-a-kind ambience, such as the warmly lit interior of Eagan?s space and the rustic feel of Gull Lake?s confines. These finely tuned atmospheres create a welcoming place to enjoy seared Ahi tuna, marinated chicken breast sandwiches, and cowboy ribeye steaks so fresh they still have the lasso on them.
Crumb Gourmet Deli—like a kindergarten chemist stirring together wheat flour, linseed oil, and red ink to make his own finger paint—uses only the freshest ingredients. The deli's culinary constructors use top-notch fixings to create the restaurant's soups, salad dressings, and sauces, with all cuts of meat slow-roasted and slow-danced without nitrates or artificial additives. Customers can order from Crumb Gourmet Deli's selection of hot and cold sandwiches ($5.95–$6.95) or build their own bread-bookended creation ($6.95) and give it a wacky, creative name such as "The Oven-Roasted Turkey with Light Mayo, Dijon Mustard, American Cheese, and Romaine on Multi-Grain Bread" or the "The Burton Gilliam." Crumb Gourmet Deli also wields wraps, slings salads, serves soups, and confers combinations of sandwiches, soups, and salads. Adults who have accidentally swapped bodies with kindergartners and vice versa can opt for a healthy item from Crumb Gourmet Deli's kids' menu, which offers milk or a fountain drink and fresh fruit or chips with each order.
Smashburger isn't just the name?it's the way chefs, otherwise known as Burger Smashers, cook every burger. First, they form never-frozen, 100% Certified Angus Beef into a giant meatball. Then they season it, place it on a butter-glazed grill, and smash it into a patty. The process caramelizes the beef, locking in flavor while keeping the meat juicy and tender. Each slab is then sandwiched in an artisan bun and is turned into one of an array of standard burgers or locally inspired specialties unique to each market.
This handcrafting approach typifies everything else the restaurant does, from blending handspun shakes to hand painting Smashburger's logo onto every beverage cup. Letting its food stand for itself and relying mostly on word of mouth for advertising, the Smashburger franchise expanded from one restaurant in 2007 to 220 today, with its swift growth from zero to 100 stores making it one of the nation's fastest-growing restaurant companies. This rapid development even caught the attention of Forbes and Inc. along the way.
Successful restaurateur Supenn Harrison made her first foray into the restaurant business more than 30 years ago, when she bought a burger joint in the Twin Cities. For Supenn, slinging patties wasn't enough to satisfy her love of the culinary arts; the Thailand native and former teacher quickly traded deep fryers for woks and opened her first Thai restaurant.
She eventually launched the first Sawatdee in 1983 in an abandoned warehouse, transforming the unlikely setting into something you might see in the heart of Bangkok, with gold-leaf ceilings and traditional artwork. Now, Supenn owns seven Sawatdee restaurants throughout Minnesota and has expanded the menu to include sushi dishes. Besides sharing her culinary skills through hands-on cooking classes, Supenn has disseminated her authentic Thai fare by catering birthday celebrations, family reunions, and the Rolling Stones' anti-retirement party.
Pasta Zola is a locally owned business to its core. Founders Mitch and Kris Thayer have lived, worked, and dined in the western suburbs of Minneapolis for decades. They decided to put their experiences to the test by building a business from the ground up, and in the process, they've established a place where visitors can do some building of their own, too.
Pasta Zola, found inside the Eden Prairie Center food court, lets diners customize their pasta dishes. They choose from six different types of pasta, such as rigatoni and whole-wheat penne, before picking from 10 kinds of sauce, such as creamy alfredo or roasted red pepper. Then, instead of shipping uncooked dishes across the globe through an outsourcing program, Pasta Zola has its chefs prepare creations right on the spot. They'll even add extra goodies, including veggies and meats, upon request.