The retro decor and vintage bottled sodas at Cone Brothers Ice Cream hearken back to the heyday of the ice cream shop. Behind gleaming counters, Cone Brothers' confectionists scoop 17 flavors of Chocolate Shoppe Ice Cream, which hails from creamery farms in southwestern Wisconsin and northeastern Iowa. In addition to its year-round and seasonal ice creams, the shop quells sweets cravings and local schoolyard rebellions with whole-fruit smoothies and sundry candies.
In a series of black and white portraits that pop against the backdrop of rich burgundy walls, smiling farm workers stationed around the world stand amid their crops, tools in hand. The photographs are the first hint at Peoples Organic Coffee & Wine Café's mission to link ingredients back to their source. The second hint is the menu, which boasts a roster of local farms: the ham comes from Fischer Farm, the chicken sausage from Schultz Farm, and the bison from Eichtens Family Farm. Chefs spotlight these free-range meats in wholesome burgers, wraps, and salads, which they enhance with fresh, organic veggies and housemade sauces. To complement meals, the café boasts a beer menu filled with choices from local breweries such as the limited-supply Surly and Fulton. Additionally, its wine selection runneth over with biodynamic, organic, and sustainable varietals, which are tastier than their unsustainable counterpart, unicorn tears.
Dairy Queen offers a cool respite for shoppers tired of fitting-room lines and surly sales clerks. The signature Blizzard Treat's chunky charms are as inescapable as ever, with classic candies and other flavor options blended to unmatched thickness with creamy soft serve (medium, $3.59). The waffle-bowl sundae slathers vanilla ice cream in fudge for an appealingly layered delight ($2.99), and the milkshake puts spoons to shame with its refreshing strawability (medium, $2.99). Alternatively, sizzle-starved denizens can gnash on a mushroom-swiss burger ($3.79) or the crispy-chicken sandwich ($3.89). With a variety of meal options, the Edina location's grilled delectables offer appetites savory samplings worthy of being referred to as the dessert that comes before dessert.
Snuffy's Malt Shop is like stepping into the 1950s: there's a red-and-white candy stripe motif, and the chocolate malts get poured into tall glasses. The sweet scoops of nostalgia come courtesy of founder Mike Mueller. In the early eighties, he found himself pining for the evenings of his youth spent at drive-ins and diners, a malt in one hand and cheeseburger in the other. In 1983, he opened Snuffy's Malt Shop in tribute. Cooks here grill up cheeseburgers and hotdogs and serve them up alongside classic treats: floats, phosphates, sundaes and, of course, malts.
With 2013 marking their 30th anniversary, Snuffy's has added a few updated menu items. They now make their famed burgers with bison or veggie patties, and malts come in inventive flavors such as Snuffy Colada. These particular takes on the good old days are now found at four locations, spread evenly across Twin Cities neighborhoods like chili over cheese fries.
The culinary team at Common Roots Cafe believes that the best way to create a welcoming restaurant is to fully embrace local flavor in every sense of the word. Even the interior speaks to this mission—reclaimed barn wood makes up the dining room's floorboards and tabletops, the counter is composed of recycled cardboard, and the air is one-hundred percent Minnesotan. The overall effect is one of casual warmth, an atmosphere that makes the cafe an ideal spot for guests to chew on eclectic, yet accessible, cuisine and relax with a choice of 10 local craft beers.
The menu itself also bursts with hometown pride, highlighting local organic and sustainable ingredients. As much as half of the restaurant's food comes from farms located within 250 miles of Minneapolis, while some produce is picked right outside the door at the cafe's urban garden. And since the selection of ingredients alters with the seasons, the chefs adapt their dishes each month to showcase their fresh flavors. Previous offerings have included redfish tacos with jicama slaw, mac 'n' cheese with local cheddar, and house-made tagliatelle pasta topped with a hearty bison bolognese sauce. Bites are complemented with sips from a drink list featuring wines—many made from organic grapes—and local beers. And, in the unlikely event that diners leave any food on their plates, the scraps are carefully composted to continue the cafe's green production cycle.
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.