More and more dining-out options are becoming available on Thanksgiving. Here are 20 (very) last-minute ideas (reservations, when available, are strongly suggested):
At Cosmos, the gorgeous dining room (pictured, above) inside the Graves 601 Hotel, chef John Occhiato makes Thanksgiving special with a sumptuous three-course dinner ($45 adults, $12 children ages 12 and under), with multiple choices in each course (check it out here). The smooth, professional service is an added bonus.
The Beacon Public House, the stylish restaurant inside the equally stylish Commons Hotel (formerly the not-so-stylish Radisson University Hotel), is offering a traditional Thanksgiving dinner for $35 per person, and everyone leaves with a turkey sandwich. Here’s a nice twist: bring in non-perishable food items and exchange them for raffle tickets. The grand prize is an overnight stay at the hotel, and dinner for two at the Beacon.
The lovely main-floor dining room at newcomer Marin Restaurant & Bar (in the Le Meridien Chambers Hotel) is a fine venue for a four-course holiday celebration (find the menu here), brought to you by the same team behind St. Louis Park’s health-conscious Mill Valley Kitchen. The $45 per person cost includes a glass of wine.
You won't find a traditional Thanksgiving spread at Bank in the Westin Hotel -- the restaurant is sticking to its standard menu. Still, the setting is one of the city's stunners, the landmark art moderne banking hall of the former Farmers and Mechanics Savings Bank.
A brunch with all the usual Thanksgiving suspects is on the brunch menu at the Marquette Hotel, which is kicking open the doors of its Windows on Minnesota -- on the gasp-worthy 50th floor of the IDS Tower -- for the big event. Cost is $41 per person, which includes free parking in the convenient IDS Center parking ramp.
The historic Nicollet Island Inn is preparing a four-course meal (with a choice of three entrees: roast turkey, prime rib or broiled walleye) in its charming riverside dining room, for $68 per person.
The comfortable and attractive Bloomington Chophouse in the Hilton Minneapolis/Bloomington is putting out a turkey-and-trimmings-and-more buffet ($35 adults, $17 children ages 6 to 12, free for children under age 5).
How about a steak? Manny's Steakhouse in the W Hotel is open for business. Splurge on the menu's 85-day aged bone-in rib eye. A few blocks away, another steakhouse -- the Capital Grille -- is also serving dinner on the holiday.
At the Mall of America, Black Friday early birds can slip into the Napa Valley Grille for its a la carte menu, which includes butternut squash soup with petipas ($4 and $6) and roasted turkey with cranberries, garlic mashed potatoes and a savory bread pudding for $17.
The News Room is marking the holiday with a three-course ($24.95) dinner that features roasted butternut squash soup, roast turkey with a Brussels sprout casserole and maple glazed sweet potatoes. Dessert? An apple-sage bread pudding topped with a cranberry compote.
Although expats can enjoy the regular bangers-and-mash menu at Merlins Rest, the kitchen at this British Isles pub also embraces its American side, serving a $15.75 dinner that includes wild rice soup, turkey breast braised in Finnegans Beer, a potato-parsnip mash, herb stuffing, Yorkshire pudding and pie.
Perenially popular Stanley’s Northeast Bar Room is putting together a T-giving dinner — turkey, mashed potatoes, stuffing, gravy and more — for $11, with a $15 all-you-can-eat option.
At Common Roots Cafe, owner Danny Schwartzman is thinking of adding some kind of turkey daily special but will otherwise concentrate on its regular daytime fare. “We’ve learned that what people really want on Thanksgiving is to have brunch away from their families,” he said with a laugh.
Across the street, the words organic, vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free are all on chef George Lohr's $35-per-person menus at the French Meadow Bakery & Cafe. Farm-to-table, too, with turkey from Wild Acres Game Farm in Pequot Lakes, Minn.
Chef David Fhima is offering a handful of Thanksgiving-inspired appetizers and entrees -- along with his standard menu -- at lively Faces Mears Park, starting at 3 p.m.
Spasso is putting out a Thanksgiving buffet ($19.95 adults, $12.95 children ages 11 and under) and serving its extensive, retail-price wine list, too.
Well, it was fun while it lasted.
That’s what diners will – or at least should be – thinking on Dec. 22nd, when Umami by Travail serves its last meal.
Follow the bouncing shrimp toast: The total blast of a pop-up restaurant, the work of the seemingly bottomless pit of culinary energy and creativity behind Travail Kitchen and Amusements, originally opened for a short run in mid-September in the hastily renovated confines of a former fast-food fried chicken outlet on W. Broadway Avenue in Minneapolis.
After the original concept – Asian comfort food, served Travail-style in a multi-course, single-price format at large communal tables – proved popular, Travail co-owners Bob Gerken, Mike Brown (pictured above, right) and James Winberg decided to keep the place open and reprogrammed the kitchen into a dim sum-inspired operation.
Unfortunately, the demands of what they describe as a "manageable side project" are proving to be too unsustainable. With their new version of Travail – and its casual sibling the Rookery – nearing completion in Robbinsdale, the team has decided to pull the plug on Umami after all.
“Umami is not leaving because the business was unsuccessful, but rather because its success came at a time when the organization was already overextended,” the partnership said in a statement. “The restaurant was busy and buzzworthy and it demanded too much of the Travail team’s resources in terms of chefs, kitchen equipment, time and energy.”
Tickets for the remaining dates at Umami will go on sale here at 10 a.m. Wednesday (Nov. 27). Prices, which include food, tax and tip are $30 on Wednesday and Thursday, $40 on Friday and Saturday and $40 for Sunday brunch. If you haven't been, go, and hurry: space is limited.
Meanwhile, construction continues on the new Travail and the Rookery in downtown Robbinsdale. No opening date has been announced, but the Travail ownership team is currently projecting a soft opening shortly after Jan. 1.
To satisfy some truly last-minute Thanksgiving shopping needs, some Twin Cities supermarkets, grocers and natural foods co-ops will be open on Thursday, including:
Dragon Star Oriental Foods (633 W. Minnehaha Av., St. Paul), open 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Eastside Food Co-op in Minneapolis, open 8 a.m. to 2 p.m.
El Burrito Mercado in St. Paul, open 7 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Both branches of Mississippi Market in St. Paul, open 7:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.
Seward Co-op in Minneapolis, open 8 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Sun Foods (544 University Av. W., St. Paul), open 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Select Twin Cities Walmart Supercenters, open 24 hours.
Wedge Co-op in Minneapolis (pictured, above), open 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.
All six Twin Cities Whole Foods Market locations, open 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. (some stores open at 7 a.m.)
Several bakeries are also serving customers on Thanksgiving, including:
All three Minneapolis locations of the Turtle Bread Co., open 6 a.m. to 2 p.m.
A Baker’s Wife’s Pastry Shop in Minneapolis, open 6:30 to noon. 729 6898
Patrick's Bakery & Cafe in Richfield, open 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Lucia’s to Go in Uptown Minneapolis, open 8 a.m. to noon.
All Twin Cities Bakers Square locations are open 7 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Winners in 13 categories were announced Sunday afternoon at the third-annual Charlie Awards. The awards, which celebrate the Twin Cities food and drink community (and are named for the late, great Charlie's Cafe Exceptionale, pictured above), were held at the Pantages Theatre in downtown Minneapolis.
Lucia Watson (pictured, above), the force behind 28-year-old Lucia's Restaurant and the adjacent Lucia's Wine Bar and Lucia's To Go, was handed the Lifetime Achievement award.
Butcher & the Boar (pictured above, with chef/co-owner Jack Riebel, left) was named Outstanding Restaurant.
The Emerging Food Professional award went to Tyler Shipton, co/chef-co/owner of Borough.
Diane Yang of La Belle Vie was named Outstanding Pastry Chef. La Belle Vie also won top honors in the Outstanding Restaurant Service category.
St. Paul's sole Charlie went to the Strip Club, with Dan Oskey winning the Outstanding Bartender honor.
Birchwood Cafe owner Tracy Singleton (pictured, above, with daughter Lily Singleton-Hill) walked away with two honors: the Community Hero and Outstanding Neighbor awards.
Three food and drink items were placed in the klieg lights: Newcomer Hot Indian Foods won the year's Outstanding Food Truck Item with its Indi Frites. Lift Bridge Brewing Co.'s Hop Dish IPA won the Outstanding Local Craft Brew award and Corner Table won Outstanding Menu Item with chef Thomas Boemer's version of crispy pork belly.
Awards for individuals and businesses are determined by a vote of all participating Charlie Awards restaurants. Food and beverage awards are determined by an online public vote and a panel of experts.
Not many details are available, but diners looking to lunch at Mezzanine, the museum's second-floor restaurant, are currently out of luck. The restaurant is closed, and a sign on the door says, "Coming soon: A new museum-worthy dining experience by Stock & Badge."
Stock & Badge is replacing a far more recognizable moniker -- D'Amico and Partners -- which has been running the MIA's restaurants since 2000. D'Amico isn't leaving the building entirely. A museum spokesperson said that the company will continue to run the MIA's events catering operations (D'Amico, which operates Masa and Cafe Lurcat and Bar Lurcat in downtown Minneapolis, Campiello in Eden Prairie, Parma 8200 in Bloomington and the D'Amico & Sons chain, continues to manage the restaurants at the Walker Art Center and the Mill City Museum).
Tapping food-forward Stock & Badge -- they're the team behind Parka in south Minneapolis -- is an exciting prospect for MIA-goers (a record 679,000 people walked through the doors during the musuem's last fiscal year, which ended June 30). Perhaps the food-and-drink upgrade has something to do with the runaway success of Fika, the wildly popular restaurant at the nearby American Swedish Institute since it opened in June 2012.
Until Mezzanine's replacement materializes, MIA visitors won't go hungry. The first-floor snack bar remains open for business, hawking cookies, scones, croissants and other top-notch Rustica baked goods, along with Dogwood's meticulously brewed coffee beverages and a handful of inventive, beautifully composed grab-and-go sandwiches and salads, which appear to be the work of Victory 44 chef Erick Harcey and his crew.
The museum's first-floor Family Center is also closed and undergoing a remake. A sign says, "Coming soon: A new and improved Family Center, along with Half Pint, a restaurant both you and your kids will love. Yay!"
No specific opening dates have been announced, but the museum's website said that the timing will occur "before the snow flies."
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