A five-minute drive from downtown, Uptown’s public spaces entice visitors with bike paths, sculpture gardens, and locals blasting impressions of Björk's pet swan over a megaphone. Nearby, rented canoes crisscross Lake Calhoun’s calm waters, and restaurants serve eclectic cuisines from fresh seafood to Japanese cuisine on outdoor patios. Visitors to Uptown can feast on American fare at restaurants such as Primebar, which serves up sandwiches, steak, and seafood with largely local brews; The Herkimer Pub & Brewery in Lyn-Lake, known for its small batches of craft beer; and the Uptown Cafeteria, offering trendy contemporary meals. Evenings out at Bar Louie tempt guests with martinis, margaritas, and other cocktails accompanied by pub food, and Chino Latino delights palettes with dishes small and large, spicy and explosive. Wayward mermaids dining at Stella's Fish Cafe & Prestige Oyster Bar can enjoy a feast fit for the sea with raw, grilled, and baked items, or step on shore and visit moto-i in Lyn-Lake to sample the food you’d find on Japanese streets.
Perched atop the highest point of Woodland Township, the Woodland Hill Winery spans six and a half of Minnesota's most verdant acres. The intimate winery produces unique, small-batch wines under the direction of owners Mike and Katie Dickerman. This couple does everything, from picking the grapes and fermenting them to running the tasting room and organizing events. They host daily wine tastings with pairings of chocolate and cheese. They even stock an olive oil and bread bar, since a regular bar probably seemed a little redundant.
A mural occupies the corner of the tasting room, fooling the eye with a painted passageway that heads back to an old world-style wine cellar. But the physical surroundings prove much more cozy and modern, with cafe-style tables and a sleek, wood-accented bar. This is the setting for frequent special events, such as September's Fondue Fridays or October's Ladies Night Out, which features wine tastings, karaoke, and an extensive list of craft vendors.
Inspired by the values of early America, Founding Fathers Brewing Co. was created to offer a premium domestic beer to compete with the products of foreign-owned breweries, all while giving something back to military families. According to the Greenville Journal, founder, president, and CEO Phil Knutsen's father, father-in-law, son, and college roommate all served in the armed forces, inspiring him to get involved. His company is also guided by the knowledge and experience of a military advisory board, and half of Founding Fathers’ profits go to nonprofit organizations supporting families of U.S. Military personnel.
Brewers craft the company’s homegrown beers in Latrobe, Pennsylvania, including a full-bodied lager and a golden, light version for sippers watching their waistlines or saving their calories for a whole apple pie. Customers can now find the bottles and cans in a growing number of locations across the country.
Steel Toe Brewery's founder was a home brewer, fermenting beer in his bedroom overnight, until the gurgling sounds of the carboy began to disturb his wife's sleep. Origin stories like these are just one of the attractions of Taproom Tours' brewery tours, which also explore the Belgian yeast of Boom Island Brewing, celebrate session ales at 612 Brew, and enable sud savoring in the wood-paneled taproom at Indeed Brewing Company. Visitors taste sample brews at each location, and, helped along by a knowledgeable guide, explore the breweries' inner workings until they have learned every yeast strain's first name and favorite sports team.
For nearly two decades, Chef Filippo Caffari mastered the skills of butchery in Rome. Since relocating to Minneapolis, the executive chef of The Butcher Block Restaurant draws upon that training to prepare a range of organic, grass-fed, and sustainable meats. On his authentic Italian menu, mashed potatoes and mushrooms accompany marsala made with veal liver, and house-ground pork sausage flavors a rigatoni drizzled with truffle cream.
Even without meat, Chef Filippo brings out Italy's flavors with items like ravioli stuffed with ricotta and spinach. He concludes meals with desserts such as tiramisu infused with housemade limoncello and zucchini cake. To complement these delicacies, guests can peruse a wine list that features bottles from around the world, not just from around that abandoned train yard.