Need a change of pace? Plug a new restaurant into your dining-out rotation.
Lucky downtown St. Paul. The city’s skyway system has just landed an outpost of Bars Bakery, stocked with the same well-crafted sweets and savories found at the original Selby-Dale location. Don’t miss the extraordinary caramel-pecan rolls and addictive doughnut muffins at breakfast. Mini quiches and goat cheese tarts straddle a.m.-p.m. appetites, and lunch includes a few sandwiches and a daily soup. Coffee? Single pour-overs, using the top-shelf Intelligentsia brand. Closed Saturday and Sunday.
55 E. 5th St. (Alliance Bank Center), St. Paul, 651-222-2779, www.barsbakery.com
Cheese enthusiast Chris Kohtz has ramped up his avocation into his vocation, taking over a spare downtown Stillwater storefront and launching the Wedge & Wheel. Kohtz stocks his case with a discriminating selection of European and regional American cheeses for retail customers, and culls from that inventory for an ever-evolving array of cheese flights and a changes-daily grilled cheese sandwich. A small, well-chosen selection of beers and wines, too. Closed Mondays.
308 E. Chestnut St., Stillwater, 651-342-1687, www.wedgeandwheel.com
One of the Twin Cities’ most attractive and soothing venues for enjoying a meticulously brewed cup of coffee (and delicious baked goodies from Rustica) is in the lobby of the Minneapolis Institute of Arts, courtesy of a stylish branch of Dogwood Coffee Co. Meanwhile, the museum’s upgrade of its food-and-drink offerings continues with Grain Stack, a counter-service operation serving an artful (pardon the pun) array of salads, sandwiches and desserts. Closed Mondays.
2400 3rd Av. S., Mpls., 1-888-642-2787, www.artsmia.org