From Our Editors
Along with the end of Prohibition, 1933 brought sweeping changes across the country. It definitely changed the building at 1928 University Avenue NE in Minneapolis, which had been functioning as a hardware and furniture store for nearly a quarter-century. Proprietor Stanley Kozlak immediately went out and obtained a liquor license, transforming his retail shop into a bar and restaurant.
It would prove to be a smart decision—more than 80 years and three generations of Kozlaks later, Jax Cafe stands as a Minneapolis institution whose reputation has spread throughout the Midwest. This is thanks in part to singular touches such as those with reservations that are celebrating receive personalized matchbooks and a stream on the lush covered patio from which diners can net their own rainbow trout for dinner. It’s no wonder Travel Channel foodie Andrew Zimmern has gushed that this restaurant is “dripping with character.”
Part of that character comes from a certain adherence to traditions. Jax is furnished with patterned carpet, white linens, a grand piano, and a phone booth—yes, a phone booth—and the menu has the classic supper-club meals to match. Fresh Maine lobsters are kept in a saltwater tank said to be the first of its kind in the state, and the selection of Certified Angus Beef includes an 8-ounce filet the restaurant calls “the steak that made Jax famous.” That’s not to say Jax is stuffy or old-fashioned—the menu also includes roasted chicken breast with risotto, kids' meals, and craft beers served fresh from the tap, or bottle.