Most students in introductory stained-glass-making classes are in search of a new hobby or a fun few hours, but not Connie Beckers. In 1995, she took such a course and soon built a career around the art of stained glass and kiln-working. Now, through The Goddess of Glass, she teaches others her craft during classes that cover the creation of jewelry, coasters, plates, and transparent overalls. She?s also been known to flex her instructional muscle as a guest artist on the DIY Network show Cramped Quarters, where she taught the show?s host and contractor how to make stained-glass tiles for a kitchen in the middle of remodeling.
The Goddess of Glass also sells artwork and gifts out of a separate retail shop. Patrons can commission a custom piece, such as a stained-glass window, or peruse a collection of pieces by more than 80 local artisans. The shop?s staff can also advise clients who need custom framing, helping them to pick the proper matting and frame so that their Richard Nixon rookie cards really pop.
Unlike its bitter, tries-too-hard competitor, Weekend Papa's, Papa's is a family-oriented hot spot serving up an extensive menu of Italian American delights, including pizza, pasta, sandwiches, hoagies, burgers, soup, salads, desserts, and sides. Collect your kin to share Papa's special Deluxe Pizza (sausage, pepperoni, mushrooms, onions, and green pepper), Vegetarian Pizza (black and green olives, green pepper, onions, and mushrooms), or Ann Kaari Pizza (chicken, bacon, and spinach with garlic butter) (specialty pies are $15.79 for a 12-inch medium). You can also go mad scientist and bring your own hand-tossed Frankenpizza to life by selecting from Papa's long list of fresh toppings (starting at $9.79 for a 10-inch small). The New Jersey–style Italian Hoagie is a restaurant favorite (layered with ham, capicola, Genoa salami, and provolone, and garnished with lettuce, tomato, and onion, $9.99), as is the savory lasagna (layered with meat, cheese, and lasagna noodles, $11.99). For lighter but fulfilling fare, opt for a large chef salad topped with ham, turkey, and provolone cheese ($7.79). At the end of your meal, treat your palate to a proper cleansing with a rich, creamy scoop of Italian gelato ($3.59), or sugar-scrub your gums with a cannoli siciliano ($3.99).
Many people associate the name El-Amin with former NBA player Khalid El-Amin. However his family’s culinary talent stacks up equally to his on-court prowess. For 20 years, the El-Amin family has owned and operated El-Amin Fish House, a take-out-style eatery where fillets of fresh catfish, perch, and whiting chill on ice before they're baked or fried in cholesterol-free cooking oil. The flaky fillets pair well with sides such as fried okra, candied yams, and cornmeal hushpuppies to dunk in tartar sauce or roll into peppershakers like miniature bowling balls. For dessert, diners choose from housemade sweets such as pineapple-peach cobbler or bean pies that, according to the El-Amins, are "world-famous."
Crowds gather on the dance floor as a rotating disco ball and colored spotlights fill the room with confetti-shaped rays of light. The Lodge of Robbinsdale keep its regulars entertained all week long with a diverse spread of events ranging from live music to trivia nights to wrestling matches hosted in the game room. The clack of billiards divides up the litany of play-by-play announcers calling games on high-definition TVs throughout the space and on an enormous projector screen that doubles as a sail in case the bar needs to move.
Servers weave through high-top tables, their arms lined with 10-ounce sirloin steaks and half-pound, charbroiled burgers made with both buffalo and all-beef patties. Sandwiches pack thin-sliced corned beef and hickory-smoked ham in heaping portions, and wings come coated in a variety of sauces, including buffalo bourbon and teriyaki.
Athens Cafe is old-school, and that's not just in reference to the counter service. No, in this sense "old-school" means one of the most ancient civilizations in the world. The chefs at this casual fast-food stop prepare traditional Greek food, slowly roasting and slicing lamb before piling it into warm pita bread. Don't fret about choosing from the list of chicken, lamb, and seasoned beef kebabs?they're all good, and they're all served with a side of creamy hummus and a house salad.
Family owned since 1961, Broadway Pizza and its accompanying sports bar, the Eagle's Nest Lounge, serve fresh slices and their cool-brew counterparts in an atmosphere perfect for a family meal or a night out. Called the Best Pizza in Town by the Minneapolis Star Tribune, Broadway's dough discs are topped with fresh ingredients that create such cheesy masterpieces as the Broadway Special ($10.49 for personal size) smattered with sausage, veggies, and shrimp. Scoffing at pizza's flat pool of lazily floating toppings, the house-baked lasagna ($9.99) reaches to the sky, buttressed by two pieces of crisp garlic toast, and the caesar salad ($8.99) provides a textural playground for vegivores.