Snuffy's Malt Shop is like stepping into the 1950s: there's a red-and-white candy stripe motif, and the chocolate malts get poured into tall glasses. The sweet scoops of nostalgia come courtesy of founder Mike Mueller. In the early eighties, he found himself pining for the evenings of his youth spent at drive-ins and diners, a malt in one hand and cheeseburger in the other. In 1983, he opened Snuffy's Malt Shop in tribute. Cooks here grill up cheeseburgers and hotdogs and serve them up alongside classic treats: floats, phosphates, sundaes and, of course, malts.
With 2013 marking their 30th anniversary, Snuffy's has added a few updated menu items. They now make their famed burgers with bison or veggie patties, and malts come in inventive flavors such as Snuffy Colada. These particular takes on the good old days are now found at four locations, spread evenly across Twin Cities neighborhoods like chili over cheese fries.
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.
The bistro menu at Pinstripes can be served on the lanes and courts, in the dining room, or on the outdoor patio. Fill the first frame of your meal with a small plate such as the antipasto and cheese platter ($12). Pizzas such as the sweet and savory prosciutto fig flatbread ($12) arrive on wooden planks fresh from the wood-fire brick oven. An extensive wine list taps straight into Pinstripes' cavernous wine cellar. The candy-coated chocolate martini made with real Godiva chocolate ($9) is a perfect chaser for chocolaty house-made s'mores ($6). Pinstripes' Sunday- brunch spread includes a custom Bloody Mary bar and a magical chocolate fountain where strawberries and marshmallows bathe in nummy nectar (adults $22, kids $12).
Drawing on their love of tequila and Latin street fare, Ryan Burnet and Tim Rooney founded their first Barrio restaurant in 2008. The duo aimed to create a space where chefs pair gourmet Mexican small plates and entrees crafted from organic and local ingredients with more than 150 tequilas. By spring of 2010, Tim and Ryan were running two Barrio locations and the Barrio Taco Truck, which distributes its gourmet grub to summer festival attendees and adrenaline-addicted snowmen.
In fall 2010, Ryan and Tom opened Cocina del Barrio, or "Kitchen of the Neighborhood," which builds upon its sister restaurants' success with a new slate of large plates, salads, and ceviches. Its dining room is adorned in bull-themed artwork and accommodates guests for brunches, lunches, and dinner. A cozier event space comes equipped with a flat-panel television and iPod connection and treats up to 18 visitors with a custom menu of Barrio favorites.
With more than 16 years of culinary experience, master chef Megu Lin can effortlessly craft authentic Japanese delicacies such as miso soup, gyoza, and edamame. Yet he's not afraid to put his own spin on Japanese tradition by incorporating influences from French, Italian, and other Asian cuisines. He creates tuna pizza with tortillas and spicy-mayo sauce, douses grilled lamb in a red-wine reduction, and combines lobster tail and Hibachi-style filet mignon into a japanese surf 'n' turf.
Chef Lin continues blending tradition and innovation with his sushi, which ranges from classics such as salmon avocado to special rolls such as the Playboy, a shrimp and tuna combo held together by a flaming aluminum wrap. The chef's artistically arranged dishes complement Raku's upscale interior, where thin light fixtures striping the wall and ceiling illumine the dining room's geometric furniture and svelte figure.
An Nguyen's full-wall photos of cool, shadowy bamboo groves serve as a tranquil backdrop to her restaurant and a reminder of her homeland of Vietnam, which she left in 1970. All of Rice Paper's recipes emerged from An's childhood in Vietnam, with an emphasis on contrasts such as sweet and sour, soft and crunchy, hot and cold, or Laurel and Hardy.
Though the dishes are traditional, they have been stripped of fat and salt in favor of healthier steaming and grilling. While perusing the eatery's separate gluten- and dairy-free menu, guests can sip on a glass of wine or artisan sake.
The House of Amore & Fede's brilliant yellow and red walls reflect a vivacious sense of style, with designer Miss Me jeans alongside stylish jewelry and accessories. Various shades of slenderizing camisoles and lacy blouses coordinate with chic cowboy hats and studded belts as glimmering jewelry awaits to adorn extremities or drab housecats. Dedicated to the cause of aiding local and international communities, the store holds special events to benefit organizations such as World Vision and Western Wishes.