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.
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.
Family-owned United Liquor provides an assortment of taste-targeted tippling options, stocking its shelves with vast quantities of wine, beer, and liquor. Miller Lites roam the aisles in packs of 24 ($17.99), seeking impressionable handles of Skyy vodka ($19.99 for 1.75 liters) to lure into cheerleading pyramids. Pose for a grip-and-grin shot with an assortment of vine-ripened candidates including the Bogle merlot ($9.99 for 750 ml). Meanwhile, the 16-ounce cans of Surly Furious ($9.99 for a four-pack) tickle fermentation-friendly tongues with a flavorsome collision of hops and malt with hints of citrus, pine, and incandescent rage. Custom orders and carrier-pigeon delivery are offered for an additional fee.
Town Hall serves up inventive pub fare alongside homemade suds in an inviting, old-style atmosphere. Jump start the digestive apparatus with creative starters such as the mashed-potato pizza with bacon and sour cream ($7.95) or trick children into exchanging rare action figures for the glowing, golden-fried Wisconsin cheese curds ($6.95). For the main event, guests may look to the brewery's expansive menu, which boasts everything from tried-and-true comfort food such as pulled-pork sandwiches with melted swiss and sautéed onions ($7.95) to uncommon platters such as wild-rice-and-steak salad with creole buttermilk ranch ($10.25) and the fiery shredded-chicken sandwich served with mango salsa ($7.95).
Offering more than 300 varieties of cheese from 15 countries, Surdyk’s provides one-stop shopping for cheese aficionados, party planners, plasticine Englishmen and their put-upon dogs, and nests of mice disguised as parka-wearing human shoppers. Liven up your next book club, Civil War re-creation meeting, or Civil War creation meeting with the Australian Roaring ‘40s blue, English Colston & Basset Farmhouse Stilton, and Stinging Nettle Gouda varietals. Tongues frightened by the thought of pronouncing Ekte Gjetost can cheese it a little closer to home with domestics such as Constant Bliss from Jasper Hill Farm, 10-year-aged cheddar, and Cypress Grove Midnight Moon. If you're not sure which variety is best for party platters or swan-shaped centerpieces, Surdyk's knowledgeable cheese consultants will happily impart their know-how and enthusiasm to anyone who asks. And because man does not live by cheese alone, Surdyk’s 12,000-square-foot store also provides plenty of wine and deli-pairing options to further pique the palate.