If the limestone walls of the Nicollet Island Inn could talk, they would have riveting things to say. They would relate recent memories of romantic weddings and elegant special occasions, filled with the popping of champagne corks, laughter bouncing off the water from an outdoor patio and garden, and soft music wafting from the piano lounge. But the inn's more distant past is what distinguishes its true character; the building is one of the few that survived an island-wide fire soon after its construction in 1893. The site was rehabilitated in the early 80's. Double-hung windows have transformed the industrial exterior with welcoming turquoise awnings, and the old loading dock was glassed in to create a dining room with scenic views of the Mississippi River.
Though steeped in historical charm—including hand-carved woodwork, stained-glass windows, and an antique, steam-powered elevator—the inn appeals to the modern traveler with world-class amenities such as organic bath products and plasma TVs. Contemporary palates delight in menus designed by Executive Chef Ryan Stechschulte. Mpls.St.Paul Magazine calls the restaurant "one of the most distinctive brunch sites in the city." Its housemade pastries and five-course weekend tasting brunch of quiche and lobster rolls made it a winner of a Best Brunch award from Citypages in 2011.