Check, Please: Year of the Neighborhood Restaurant

  • Updated: January 19, 2013 - 2:05 PM
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Hazel's, Granola infused cakes with a mixed berry compote, "Hippy pancakes" are a big hit in the Northeast neighborhood according to the owners, Brothers, Andrew and Adam Sieve

Photo: Tom Wallace, Star Tribune

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The continuing campaign to make 2013 the Year of the Neighborhood Restaurant.

At Hazel's Northeast, the emphasis is on familiar, freshly prepared fare, including Swedish meatballs at dinner, an awesome pulled-pork sandwich at lunch and an over-the-top French toast, made with cinnamon-swirl bread and brimming with toasted pecans, rum-soaked raisins and caramel. Other good news: It's tough to find a price over $14.

2859 Johnson St. NE., Mpls., 612-788-4778,

www.hazelsnortheast.com

The prices at Rusty Taco are higher than their Taco Bell counterparts, but in a classic case of getting what you pay for, the food quality and variety is head-and-shoulders beyond the Bell, too. At breakfast, dig into scrambled eggs and house-made chorizo stuffed into a flour tortilla, and spend lunch or dinner with tender corn tortillas filled with nicely spiced shredded pork topped with pineapple and cilantro, or a terrific fried chicken dressed with lime-dashed coleslaw.

522 E. Hennepin Av., Mpls., 612-315-5372; 508 Lexington Pkwy S., St Paul, 651-698-2777, www.rustytaco.com

Cozy Prima pretty much offers something for everyone, whether it's crostini topped with roasted garlic and a pear chutney, or a chicken salad that a person could easily put into their once-a-week rotation, or well-stuffed panini (don't miss the roast beef-brie combo) or a dozen well-composed pastas. Another bonus: Carry-out is super-easy.

5325 Lyndale Av. S., Mpls., 612-827-7376, www.primamn.com

RICK NELSON

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