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.
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.
Multi-Grammy-winning songwriters David Hidalgo and Louie Pérez take a reprieve from fronting the iconic East L.A. rock group Los Lobos for “Stories and Songs,” an intimate acoustic retrospective of 40 years of music. Friends and songwriting partners since high school, where they stole Simon and Garfunkel’s prom dates, Hidalgo and Pérez dip their skilled hands into every instrument and genre, seamlessly blending Americana roots rock, R & B, and traditional Spanish music into their massive songbook. In support of The Long Goodbye, an independent collection of rare and unreleased works, the Dos Lobos strip their catalog down to its birthday suit in an unvarnished performance full of whimsy, origin stories, and honeycomb harmonies. Starting the show, fellow troubadours David Greenberger and Paul Cebar charm with smoky tales of Midwestern living, apple blossoms, and runaway cheese wheels.
Educate your tongue-palate with Spill the Wine's amazing selection of red and white nectar. Choose from more than 30 wines by the glass, with provenance in wine hotspots across the globe, from Argentina to Italy to New Zealand. Try a glass of Avalon Cabernet Sauvignon from California for $7 or share a bottle of South African Robertson Shiraz for $26. Most glasses cost $6 to $11 and bottles start at $24. Affordable wine flights are available and rotate by season. Spill the Wine also offers a selection of Champagne, organic, and dessert wines.
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.