For almost 40 years, The Malt Shop has served up burgers, malts, and sandwiches from a menu riddled with classic, family-friendly diner food. The house-signature burgers are smothered with toppings such as guacamole, portobello mushrooms, or feta cheese. The kitchen produces fresh soups and salad dressings daily and prepares meatless lasagna and veggie-burger dishes to satisfy vegetarians and rabbits hiding in diners' top hats. To complement the burgers, soda-shop-style malts and shakes come in a variety of flavors including pineapple, butterscotch, apple pie, and peanut butter.
Cafe Ena head chef Hector Ruiz combines the rich flavors of his Mexican childhood with French cooking techniques honed during an apprenticeship at a three-star restaurant in Paris. Organic poultry and locally sourced produce anchor both creative and traditional plates, which can be washed down with a house sangria that Mpls.St.Paul Magazine calls "fruity, but not overly sweet." Soft lighting glows warmly on exposed brick walls, and oversized windows are flanked by bold orange curtains that double as blankets during postprandial standing naps.
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.
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.
C&G’s Smoking Barbecue's owner and head chef Greg Alford has spent 40 years perfecting smoked barbecue ribs, tender beef-brisket sandwiches, and crispy, in-season perch that Heavy Table writer Jason Walker called, "the best I've had in a while". Rather than adhering to contemporary trends, the restaurateur dazzles Minnesota mouths with his unique blend of traditional cooking techniques borrowed from both Louisiana, where his family hails from, and Detroit, where he was raised. His ribs––which attracted Minnesota Monthly's July 2010 feature on the best barbecue spots in Minneapolis––are the joint's most popular item and arrive with an even tenderness that is the result of a three-hour smoking and heat-distributing process. Barbecue sauce is served on the side, according to the preference of both Greg and his regular customers, who believe that the best meat should be seasoned and balanced enough to perform alone or with the subtle accompaniment of doo-wop-singing french fries.
Since 1941, every morning at breakfast time a flock of patrons descends on cottage-like Our Kitchen. Once seated, diners are rewarded with stacks of pancakes and cheesy omelets served with crispy hash browns. The establishment keeps feeding crowds throughout the day with burgers, sandwiches, and Nathan's Famous hot dogs—best known for their use during the annual July 4 hot-dog beauty pageant.