At My Burger, the marquee product is a juicy quarter-pounder, slipped into a first-rate buttered and toasted bun and topped with slightly sweet grilled onions and crunchy sweet pickles. There are add-ons, of course (bacon, mushrooms, fried eggs, five varieties of cheese) and the long, golden fries are nothing short of excellent. The only thing missing is a cold beer, but the thick, hand-mixed malts make up for the oversight. Service is fleet and friendly, prices are reasonable and the communal tables encourage noon-hour socializing. Seating: Yes.
601 Marquette Av. S. (Six Quebec), 612-436-0330, www.myburgerusa.com).
Food with a twist
In US Bank Plaza (nee Pillsbury Center), business lunches tend to gravitate to the first floor’s Atlas Grill. Those without expense accounts know to stay upstairs in the Human Habitrail and stick to Good to Go. The counter-service operation — owned by the team behind Atlas and the nearby Mission American Kitchen — puts a Mediterranean twist on sandwiches (made on terrific house-baked foccacia), wraps and salads, all prepared to order using fresh, flavorful ingredients. Don’t miss the smartly seasoned lamb and pork, or the tuna-pesto salad. Top price is $6.75, proof that fast food doesn’t have to taste manufactured. Seating: Yes.
200 S. 6th St. (US Bank Plaza), 612-341-4600, www.urgoodtogo.com
Worth the wait
Here’s how to find the Burger Place: look for a line (it moves fast). When this runs-like-clockwork operation relocated to its new higher-profile location, it added much-needed elbow room but kept its winning formula of juicy, piping hot burgers, served in toasted buns with a medley of toppings. Skip the salad — you’re already having a third-pound burger, so this is not the time for moderation — in favor of the excellent fries. There’s a convenient short-order breakfast menu, too. Seating: Yes.
220 S. 6th St. (US Bank Plaza), 612-338-1213, www.theburgerplace.com
The one constant among the skyways is change, and the newcomer du jour is One Two Three Sushi. It’s a fast-casual proto-chain from Sushi America, the innovative Eagan-based supermarket supplier and owner of first-rate Masu Sushi & Robata on E. Hennepin in Minneapolis and at the Mall of America in Bloomington. Rather than offer the same-old/same-old pre-prepared rolls, 1-2-3 lets customers go the build-your-own route, culling from an impressive variety of building-block choices, with prices starting at $7.99. There’s also a small selection of ramen bowls (try the slow-roasted pork belly) and steamed buns. Seating: Limited.
80 S. 8th St. (IDS Crystal Court), 612-354-3040, www.onetwothreesushi.com
Another great here’s-how-we-opened story is Turkey to Go, which began as a Nicollet Mall street vendor before matriculating upstairs to permanent quarters a block away on the skyway system. The kitchen concentrates on — you got it — turkey. Specifically, pulled turkey, wonderfully juicy and nicely seasoned and paired with a flurry of sauces, cheeses and add-ons and served as pitas, salads and sandwiches. Name sounds familiar? Turkey to Go, an offshoot of the Minnesota Turkey Growers Association, has a high-profile presence at Target Field and the Minnesota State Fair. Seating: Yes.
706 2nd Av. S. (Baker Center), 612-655-1795, www.turkeytogo.com
Pizza that’s tops
Of all the slice shops dotting the skyways, Torby’s Pizza stands out for its thin, sturdy crust and well-chosen — and generously applied — toppings. Another plus? Owner Bob (Torby) Torbenson offers a parade of specials, including Monday’s cheapskate magnet: a slice and a soft drink for $4. A super-friendly staff works the counter, and Torby’s just started delivery, through grubhub.com. Seating: Limited.
109 S. 7th St. (Baker Center), 612-746-5111, www.torbys.com
The cafe that could