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Continued: Skyway dining: Sampling the best of downtown Minneapolis, St. Paul

  • Article by: RICK NELSON , Star Tribune
  • Last update: June 16, 2014 - 2:35 PM

The cottony breadsticks aren’t terribly impressive (ditto the three overpriced sandwiches). Better to focus on the beverage cooler, which is wisely stocked with bottles of zesty Bruce Cost Ginger Ale.

800 LaSalle Av. (LaSalle Plaza), Mpls., 612-339-5170. Open 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Mon.-Fri. No seating.

Coming soon to a skyway near you

Change is the only constant on the Minneapolis skyway dining landscape.

Be on the lookout for Cafe Zentral (Soo Line Building), the counter service/grab-and-go counterpart to Brasserie Zentral, the street-level restaurant by Meritage chef Russell Klein. Yes, a four-star chef, on the skyway. Revolutionary.

The menu will focus on uncomplicated street fare, including grilled cheese sandwiches, locally made sausages, baked goods from pastry chef Niki Francioli and the sweet and savory crêpes that the Meritage crew has perfected at their popular sidewalk cart, a warm-weather fixture on St. Peter Street in downtown St. Paul.

Construction is underway, and Klein is aiming for a spring opening. “Just in time for food truck season,” he said with a laugh.

Maison Darras, a popular Securian Center refuge on the St. Paul skyway, is expanding across the river into the Baker Center, offering its appealing array of soup, sandwiches, salads, quiche and baked goods.

Juice So Good, also in the Baker Center, will fill the fresh juices and smoothies void left by the departure of Jamba Juice, and Dunn Bros. is continuing its downtown expansion with a soon-to-open outlet in 333 S. 7th St.

Best in show

The food court is an endangered species in downtown Minneapolis. City Center’s third-floor fast-food enclave is a dim memory, and Gaviidae Common’s fourth-floor snack canyon closed last year. But when GPT Properties Trust upgraded the skyway-level food court at its 330 Second Avenue (formerly the Towle Building), the company really did it right. Along with regrouping five tenants (including the Tea House, the skyway’s best Asian quick-service outlet, non-sushi variety) into a more efficient arrangement, the remake opened up much-needed windows, added legroom and gave the busy noon-hour gathering spot a handsome new look. Three cheers.


Follow Rick Nelson on Twitter: @RickNelsonStrib

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