When Doug and Jane Oyen founded C. McGee's in 1987, their goal was "to be the Cheers of the deli business." Given their restaurant's friendly atmosphere, dependably tasty food, and secret tunnel to Boston, it's clear that the Oyens achieved their dream. Chefs at C. McGee?s build sandwiches and soups from scratch, creating meaty works of art such as the cheddar-laden avocado turkey and the Cowboy, stuffed with hot horseradish and medium-rare roast beef. Box lunches pair sandwiches with sides, such as clam chowder and cream of broccoli soups, and breakfast burritos bundle morning meals.
Today's culinary triumphs are the product of thousands of years of experimentation. The staff at Annona Gourmet doesn’t see any reason why that march of innovation should end, so they fill the shop’s shelves with exotic twists on staples such as pasta, sea salt, and vinegar. 20 varieties of olive oil pour from large stainless-steel tanks called fusti, their straw-hued droplets hinting at everything from Sicilian sunshine to Persian limes. After tasting balsamic vinegar infused with cinnamon and pears or figs, patrons peruse the inventory of pastas beneath coastal murals that give one the feeling of being at a beach free of sailors with boring albatross stories. Jars of sauces and dressings hint at a spectrum of flavors with earth-tone hues, and sea salts take on the flavor of black truffles or ghost peppers in an escape from seasoning conventions.
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.
For 30 years, Sweet Chocolat has been a wonderland of handmade chocolates and caramels made onsite each day. The chocolatier has been known to fill the kitchen with song as she lovingly crafts her confections, which infuses each piece with extra sweetness and the uncanny ability to harmonize. In addition to traditional caramels and unorthodox bites such as chocolate-covered potato chips, Sweet Chocolat dispenses boxes of traditional and themed truffles and chocolates and more than 10,000 custom chocolate molds.
From autumnal cupcakes topped with Halloween embellishments to colorful stacks of french macarons awarded Best of the Twin Cities by Minnesota Monthly, the meticulously designed treats at Cupcake Caramel by Sweets Bakeshop come from all-natural ingredients. Bakers carefully top pumpkin spice cake with sweet cream buttercream frosting to create this month's seasonal cupcakes, or drizzle caramel atop year-round favorites. Caramel cream and chocolate ganache pour into cupcakes and macarons alike, the latter of which spring from the oven in six different flavors daily. The confectionary team tailors orders of specific events, tinting colors to fit a particular party theme or presidential concession speech.