There are two ways to order a sandwich at The Simple Sandwich—either dictate your choice of bread, meats, and toppings to a cheerful counter staffer, or punch in an order on the handy touchscreen. Upon receiving orders, the eatery's chefs spring into action, assembling locally sourced ingredients into sandwiches lauded by Minneapolis City Pages as having "everything right: soft bread [and] the perfect amount of mustard." They layer wheat, sourdough, and rye with slices of ham, pastrami, and turkey before adding on dabs of pesto mayo and sprinkles of sprouts and jalapeños. When not whipping up sandwiches, the chefs extend their culinary expertise to salads, inviting guests to customize their salads by choosing toppings, picking out a dressing, and nicknaming each of the croutons. They pair sandwiches, wraps, and salads with sides of crunchy kettle chips and freshly baked cookies.
In 1944, Reino Wuollet opened a small bakery where he prepared fresh bread each day. More than 65 years later, his humble shop has grown into six locations where 30 or so family members tinker over cakes, pastries, and pies. Wedding and other occasion cakes are one of their specialties; flavors such as chocolate mousse and Lady Baltimore can be coated with marzipan, buttercream frosting, or fondant in an impressive array of custom designs. Of course, they still bake breads: an international selection of loaves includes baguettes, challah, Swedish lympa, Irish soda bread, and buns shaped into busts of United Nations delegates.
The Murder Mystery Company's talented troupe of improv actors performs live-action murder mysteries at public and private events to sharpen guests' latent detective skills. Throughout the play, the cast drops hints and misdirects blame, inviting audience members to get involved in a web of intrigue and hilarity. Besides public dinner parties, murder mysteries can unfold during corporate events, team-building exercises, and birthday parties for aging Sherlock Holmes impersonators.
Andrea and Mario Gambino opened their first pizza place in 1972 with a family recipe that was created in Palermo, Sicily, and honed to perfection on the streets of New York. After decades of baking, Andrea Pizza has grown into a New York–style pizza conglomerate with locations spread across the Twin Cities like pepperonis. They still cook their signature thin-crust pizza that was called Best of the Cities by Minnesota Monthly magazine in 2007, but they also decorate pies with some newer tweaks. Patrons can order their pizzas with eight distinct sauces ranging from traditional marinara to feta cheese, buffalo, and creamy alfredo. More than 23 toppings such as jalapeños and pineapple can bedeck hand-tossed disks that are available by the slice, as a full pie, or crusts that your friends don't feel like finishing.
Hotel restaurants can sometimes blend together in a generic parade of pork chops and mashed potatoes. Rare Steak & Sushi, however, bursts out of the mold with its selection of grass-fed steaks and innovative sushi. Located on the second floor of the Grand Hotel, the eatery charmed Dara Moskowitz Grumdahl of Minnesota Monthly, who raved about its grass-fed steaks. To complement cuts of filet mignon and New York strip steaks, Chef Chano also rolls up 30 varieties of sushi. The creations range from the simple—such as freshwater-eel sashimi—to the complex, including a hawaiian roll packed with tuna, pineapple, and fried almonds or the vegetarian salad roll, which Grumdahl was “especially wild about.” A quick scan of the dining room reveals a diverse collection of clientele, as the eatery—open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner—appeals to locals, businesspeople, and hotel guests alike.
“You feel like you’re in a museum, or some other metropolis hotspot,” a reporter for the Minnesota Monthly said after a visit to My Burger. The article went on to praise the menu, applauding “beefy, thin burgers with good, sweet, fresh buns.” Each quarter-pound burger is prepared fresh to order, with standard toppings as well more adventurous options such as Cajun bacon. Amid crackling décor infused with pop-art influences, patrons also swap in patties made of fish, chicken, turkey, or veggies like the best friend of a lonely chef.
The staff also claims they have their french-fry process down to a science, which may be true: they were listed in Citypages’ Top 10 French Fries in the Twin Cities in 2012. Robin’s-egg-blue stand mixers churn out fresh malts in chocolate, vanilla, or strawberry, and glasses click together at the small bar, spilling rivulets of wine, hard ciders, and draft Surly.