The culinary team at Common Roots Cafe believes that the best way to create a welcoming restaurant is to fully embrace local flavor in every sense of the word. Even the interior speaks to this mission?reclaimed barn wood makes up the dining room's floorboards and tabletops, the counter is composed of recycled cardboard, and the air is one-hundred percent Minnesotan. The overall effect is one of casual warmth, an atmosphere that makes the cafe an ideal spot for guests to chew on eclectic, yet accessible, cuisine and relax with a choice of 10 local craft beers.
The menu itself also bursts with hometown pride, highlighting local organic and sustainable ingredients. As much as half of the restaurant's food comes from farms located within 250 miles of Minneapolis, while some produce is picked right outside the door at the cafe's urban garden. And since the selection of ingredients alters with the seasons, the chefs adapt their dishes each month to showcase their fresh flavors. Previous offerings have included redfish tacos with jicama slaw, mac 'n' cheese with local cheddar, and house-made tagliatelle pasta topped with a hearty bison bolognese sauce. Bites are complemented with sips from a drink list featuring wines?many made from organic grapes?and local beers. And, in the unlikely event that diners leave any food on their plates, the scraps are carefully composted to continue the cafe's green production cycle.
Inside its rustic Uptown dining room, Spill the Wine invites diners to pair local wines with tapas-style servings of new American cuisine. The menus?which readily accommodate vegan and gluten-free diets?rotate seasonally as the chefs scour local, sustainable farms for new ingredients. Shareable plates of wild-caught salmon with elote salad or house-made spaghetti with quinoa meatballs reflect the chefs' eclectic influences.
With more than 100 wines?including more than 30 by the glass?Spill the Wine provides plenty opportunities for pairing food and drink. The selection of Old and New World bottles is designed to complement the current menus, with everything from crisp French sauvignon blancs to bold Columbia Valley syrahs occupying the extensive list.
A Glance Inside
Edison bulbs, walls with patchy brickwork and mismatched wooden slats, and a bar supported by empty wine barrels provide a rustic ambiance. At the same time, the dining area features some elements that lend a modern, industrial vibe, such as the exposed ductwork, concrete floors, and the furnace where the staff smelts every piece of used silverware after service.
The Photo Booth Group bolsters bashes by delivering and setting up photo booths that fit up to 16 hard-partying subjects. Their open-air style booths?not enclosed by curtains?allow for larger group shots than traditional enclosed booths. Packages come with props, digital files, and unlimited prints that only take 20 seconds to print out, along with an on-site attendant.
Uppercut Boxing Gym offers an old-school boxing-gym vibe amid top-notch facilities. The classes, which include necessary equipment and boxing gear, help students boost self-confidence and full-body fitness while honing techniques. After a mandatory introductory class, students will have six more classes with the skilled staff of piñata-pummeling instructors, who will teach participants how to properly pound glib potatoes into deliciously mashed goodness. Acting as reinforcement for the jabs, uppercuts, and crafty pants-pulling is a one-month membership, which includes unlimited access to weights, gym equipment, and everything else the gym has to offer.
Third-generation barbecue master Willie J. Bridgeforth III, owner of Willie B.'s Memphis BBQ Catering, has traveled from Mississippi to Memphis learning to prepare authentic southern barbecue for catered events. The business-luncheon menu ($9–$12/person) boasts five combo options with seasoned meat that marinates for 24 hours, smokes for eight hours with three woods, is basted with an 18-ingredient sauce, and scored a 1430 on the SATs. The combos sate luncheon-goers with two side dishes, including creamy coleslaw, Memphis mac 'n' cheese, or Susie Q.'s southern baked beans. Generous helpings of cornbread help sop up leftover sauce from crispy chicken, pork chops, or racks of pork ribs that can form the centerpiece of a corporate get-together or post-LARPing dragonfeast.
The Lunch Cube’s menu of hearty, top-notch lunch fare comes in the form of delectable sandwiches and sides. Crafted by an in-house chef, each sandwich boasts only the highest-quality meats and bread developed by NASA scientists. Signature deli sandwiches ($7.95) such as The Pilgrim, with turkey salad and cranberry glaze, and The Executive, with roast beef, smoked tomato aioli, and gouda, will satisfy both time-strapped professionals and bears disguised as time-strapped professionals. Soups such as the creamy roasted mushroom ($3.45) and sides like the pasta salad ($2.45) pair with mitt-fitting sandwiches better than a monocle and a top hat, while a boxed lunch two-set ($10.95) includes a full sandwich, chips, and a cookie. Weekly specials, meanwhile, will stave off luncher’s ennui with their surprising flavor combinations and unexpected ambushes.