Staff Directory 10645521

Rick Nelson

Columnist/Reporter | Dining and Food
Phone: 612-673-4757
Location: Minneapolis
Other languages: None

Rick Nelson joined the staff of the Star Tribune in 1998 and is the newspaper's restaurant critic. He is a Twin Cities native, a University of Minnesota graduate and a James Beard Award winner. 

Nelson and Taste editor Lee Svitak Dean are publishing "The Great Minnesota Cookie Book: Award-winning recipes from the Star Tribune's Holiday Cookie Contest" (University of Minnesota Press) in October 2018.
Recent content from Rick Nelson
Provided The barista bar at Restoration Hardware's rooftop restaurant.

Edina's RH Rooftop Restaurant will dazzle — for a price

In the southwest corner of Southdale's parking lot, a luxurious restaurant is beckoning diners.
At Tenant, the chefs in the kitchen are also servers in the dining room.

Where to go for great hot chocolate, burgers and vegan food in Twin Cities

Food critic Rick Nelson answers any and all dining-related questions, including: What happened to Burger Friday?
Kieran’s Northeast Kitchen “Abundance” board.

At Kieran's Kitchen Northeast in Minneapolis, affordable artisan foods reign

With the tenants of the Food Building just a few feet away, chef Ian Gray makes the most of his enviable pantry.
A dish by former Sanctuary chef Patrick Atanalian: Speck with micro greens, Italian peppers, parmesan cheese, and fig oil

Restaurant roll call: Sanctuary closes, a northeast Minneapolis burger bar shutters

What's open, what's closed and what's still to come in the Twin Cities and beyond.
A hibiscus mocktail by Spoon and Stable in Minneapolis.

Spam, mocktails, CBD and more: The top food and drink trends for 2020

What do the trend forecasts have to say about eating and drinking in 2020? Plenty.
Rothe Amundson cabin

The 7 best projects by Minnesota architects from 2019

The American Institute of Architects Minnesota honored projects ranging from a wayside rest stop to a lakeside cabin to a college arts complex.
Brisket, chicken and sides at OMC Smokehouse.

The 20 best Duluth restaurants and breweries

One of the big reasons for planning an I-35 road trip is to take in the city's ever-improving food scene.
The game platter including quail, venison and duck is a signature meal at New Scenic Café.

Duluth's New Scenic Cafe is a 20-year success story

The New Scenic Cafe's chef/owner Scott Graden is celebrating two decades of happy memories.
Nordic Waffles owner Stine Aasland held a Bacon, Mac & Cheese waffle at her stand which is inside Rosedale Mall’s new food hall, Potluck. ] GLEN STU

9 things that defined how we ate and drank in the Twin Cities in 2019

From bakeries to breweries, food halls to airport terminals, here are all the trends that shaped our year of eating and drinking in the Twin Cities.
With his usual animation, Doug Grina, in the middle of pancake duty, confirms an order at Al’s Breakfast.

After a 42-year run, Al's Breakfast co-owner Doug Grina is retiring

The bard of Dinkytown bids a fond farewell.
Former “Top Chef” contestant Justin Sutherland is now at the helm of Chickpea and Obachan Noodles & Chicken.

3 people who changed the Twin Cities dining scene in 2019

These three ambitious and talented chefs and restaurateurs are making a difference for diners.
James Winberg, Bob Gerken and Mike Brown of Travail in Robbinsdale. ] CARLOS GONZALEZ • – Robbinsdale, MN – December 5

These 3 risk-takers are Star Tribune's Chefs of the Year

Has anyone had a more productive year than the ownership trio behind the Travail Collective? Let’s run down what James Winberg, Bob Gerken and…
The remarkable, standard-setting Demi is a highly interactive and theatrical experience, blurring the usual divide between kitchen and service staff.

This is the 2019 Restaurant of the Year in the Twin Cities

Dinner at Demi is a complete joy, a revelatory sensory experience that's unlike any other in the state. The North Loop restaurant makes room for only 20 diners in two seatings each night.
5 best things our food critic ate in Twin Cities this week

5 best things our food critic ate in Twin Cities this week

Restaurant critic Rick Nelson highlights the favorites of his recent dining-out schedule.
The 17th annual Star Tribune Holiday Cookie Contest winners

Cookie finder: Try nearly 100 of our best recipes

Nearly 100 recipes to use all year long.
Cafe Lurcat's bar area.

3 Christmas dining-out (and drinking) ideas in Minneapolis

Dining out for the holidays? Here are three spots to consider.
Caption for cookies: The 2014 Taste holiday cookie contest winners include: Italian Almond Cookies, Tart & Sassy Cranberry Lemon Drops; Chocolate Thum

Nearly 90 foolproof holiday cookie recipes just got easier to find

Find nearly 90 gotta-bake recipes — from 17 years of the Star Tribune Holiday Cookie Contest — in an upgraded, easy-to-use format at
The winning cookies: Whiskey Gingers, Smoky Blue Cheese and Cherry Biscuits, Minnesota Sundae Cookies, Italian Cream Cake Cookies and Orange Ginger Tu

The winning cookies of the 2019 Star Tribune Cookie Contest

Out of 207 entries, we have four finalists and a winner. They're appealing on many levels, especially the way each one introduces a wide range of delicious ingredients into our cookie universe: whiskey, sunflower seeds, turmeric and tea.
“If you’ve never baked anything else, cookies are a good way to start,” said Amy Carter, an executive chef for product development at Lunds & By

17 cookie-baking tips, from an expert

A professional, with decades of experience, offers helpful cookie-baking tips.
Spoon and Stable’s spirit-free Hibiscus features juniper berries.

3 Twin Cities cocktails that balance juniper for a flowery, refreshing drink

Juniper doesn’t deserve its maligned reputation in the cocktail world. “People associate juniper with gin — with the things that they dislike about gin —…
Murray's is a downtown Minneapolis institution.

Oysters, pasta and pizza: Here are 5 Twin Cities dining deals

Looking for a nice night out that doesn't break the bank? Try these five bargains.
Molten cheese and fat ooze from a Jucy Lucy burger at Matt’s Bar in south Minneapolis.

The stuffed burger remains Minnesota's ambassador to the world

No matter how it's spelled, our own cheese-stuffed burger has made its mark.
The dining room at P.S. Steak in Minneapolis.

Ask the critic: Quiet restaurants, Rosedale, gluten-free options and more

Star Tribune food critic Rick Nelson is here to answer any and all dining-related questions.
Brenda Langton, who has been involved in the Twin Cities restaurant scene for 40 years, posed for a photo at her restaurant Spoonriver.

Trailblazing Spoonriver restaurant to close

Partnership of Birchwood Cafe, Minnesota Farmers Union will be taking over the space.
5 best things our food critic ate in Twin Cities this week

5 best things our food critic ate in Twin Cities this week

From hotcakes to hamachi, here's a rundown of restaurant critic Rick Nelson's highlights from his recent dining-out schedule.
Fire-roasted Eggplant With Red Onion and Yogurt

Shake up your Thanksgiving tradition with these appetizers

While you're getting dinner ready in the kitchen, keep guests happy in the living room with festive snacks that are small in scale but big on flavor.
The nam khao with crispy rice, Thai herb salad and peanuts.

Lat14 Asian Eatery, in former Golden Valley Perkins, heats up suburban culinary options

Restaurant is devoted to exploring a huge range of flavors found near the 14th parallel in Southeast Asia.
On Veterans Day, Davanni’s is offering free single-serving pizzas and soda (beer is extra) to those with military identification.

Military folks: Take advantage of these 5 Veterans Day dining deals

On Monday, active duty personnel and veterans can enjoy dining deals all over town. (Most restaurants require military identification.) Crooked Pint Ale House Any single…
Alex Roberts, chef/owner of Restaurant Alma.

As 4-star Restaurant Alma turns 20, its chef/owner looks back and ahead

On the occasion of a significant anniversary for Minnesota's longest-running four-star restaurant, chef/owner Alex Roberts looks back, and ahead.
Dry-aged, bone-in ribeye at P.S. Steak.

A steakhouse in Minneapolis, hiding in plain sight

P.S. Steak, residing at what is probably the Twin Cities' most famous culinary address, both avoids and embraces beef palace norms.
Chef Sean Brock.

'King of Lowcountry cooking' shares tips on cuisine with a Southern accent

With his second cookbook, chef Sean Brock continues to demonstrate the delicious diversity of Southern cooking.
Charlie’s Cafe Exceptionale in 1960 at 7th Street and 4th Avenue S.

The legendary restaurant potato-salad recipe still cooking after 37 years

Never mind that Charlie's Cafe has been closed for 37 years. This recipe has a reputation, and it's nothing but good.
Chef Shack in Bay City, Wis.

Make a day trip with leaf watching and dining at these 3 spots

These delightful getaways combine two of fall's great pleasures: autumn color and delicious food.
Lois Parker created a sourdough starter in 1970, and for the past 49 years she’s been using it to prepare breads, English muffins and waffles.

Minneapolis baker has used same sourdough starter since 1970

Here's how a Minneapolis home baker has been fueling her breads for 49 years.
In the kitchen at Charlie’s Cafe Exceptionale in Minneapolis with executive chef George Lisovskis and owner Louise Saunders in 1976.

The potato salad recipe that had the Twin Cities talking a while back

Famed Charlie's Cafe Exceptionale took great pains to get its important recipe right.
Tejas, in downtown Minneapolis, in 1987.

20 extinct Twin Cities restaurants that we still miss

Aquavit. Cafe Brenda. Charlie's Cafe Exceptionale. La Belle Vie. New French Cafe. The Nankin. The Lincoln Del.
Look back on 18 years of playful, artist-designed Taste covers

Look back on 18 years of playful, artist-designed Taste covers

Poster covers — some beautiful, some weird, some funny and all imaginative — were a Taste signature feature for nearly two decades.
'Very impressed': Recalling James Beard's historic visit to Minneapolis

'Very impressed': Recalling James Beard's historic visit to Minneapolis

A store opening brought James Beard and others to the Twin Cities to bask in the adoration of cooks.
Recipes from the Magic Pan were often requested. Bill Wagner cooked crêpes at the Minneapolis location of the popular chain.

5 of the most reader-requested recipes from beloved Twin Cities restaurants

Tracking down restaurant secrets was a Taste staple for more than three decades.
A timeline of Taste throughout the years shows how we ate ⁠— and how we lived.

A timeline of Taste throughout the years shows how we ate ⁠— and how we lived.

Year by year, page by page, Taste offered a snapshot of our lives.
Look at all those supermarket ads

Look at all those supermarket ads

The combo of grocery ads, recipes and a poster cover kept readers coming back for more.
How much grocery prices have changed over the last 50 years

How much grocery prices have changed over the last 50 years

The rate at which prices have gone up over the last 50 years varies significantly from product to product.
The 2014 winners: Espresso-Hazelnut Truffle Cookies, Macadamia Nut Tarts, Italian Almond Cookies, Tart & Sassy Cranberry Lemon Drops and Chocolate Thu

Insider tips on how to win the Star Tribune's Holiday Cookie Contest

Here's your opportunity to create a treat that will be baked all over the Twin Cities and beyond.
Dark Chocolate Fig Rolls with Mocha Ganache by Elizabeth Davis of Wayzata.

Time to get baking for the Star Tribune's Holiday Cookie Contest

Our 17th annual contest is underway, so send us your favorite recipe — and the story behind it.

The potato salad recipe that had the whole town talking

A famous restaurant took great pains to get a famous recipe right.
Mocha Cappuccino Cookies, from our 2017 competition.

Enter your recipe for the Taste Holiday Cookie Contest

Our 17th annual contest is underway, so send us your favorite recipe — and the story behind it.
Covering more than 20,000 acres, cranberries remain a lucrative crop for growers.

Stunning images show the beauty of the local cranberry harvest

The tart cranberry, native to Wisconsin, looks beautiful as it floats to harvest in the fall.
Bonchon at MOA

Hungry at the Mall of America? Check out these 3 new spots

What's new at the Mall of America? Plenty.
Bartender Carrie Arradondo made a drink at Giulia at the Emery hotel in downtown Minneapolis.

Try 3 upscale Twin Cities spots at bargain prices at these happy hours

Rick Nelson is here to answer any and all dining-related questions.
After 18 months, Sweet Chow has closed.

Now closed: Sweet Chow in the North Loop shutters

The 18-month-old Asian-inspired restaurant has called it quits.
Vivo Kitchen in Apple Valley.

4 suburban Twin Cities patios to visit before summer ends

Campiello Ignore the view, which is basically a parking lot. Instead, concentrate on the great-looking Italian food coming out of this D’Amico kitchen, especially the…
The BLT from Birchwood Cafe in south Minneapolis.

Two top Minnesota chefs share tips on how to make the perfect BLT

Fortunately for all of us, 2019 is shaping up to be a banner year for many Minnesota tomato growers.
The classic fair foods that have stood the test of time at the Minnesota State Fair. Smelt in a boat at Walleye on a stick booth.

13 must-try Minnesota State Fair delicacies

Set aside the Pronto Pups and mini doughnuts. Here are 13 lesser-known treats recommended by critic Rick Nelson.
Halo Cone, Halo Cone and CloudRoll.] ALEX KORMANN •

53 new foods at the Minnesota State Fair, ranked from best to worst

The Minnesota State Fair's 2019 new foods roster includes the perennial mix of attention-seekers, potential gut bombs and trend-observant hopefuls.
W.A. Frost in St. Paul.

Get a taste of summer dining on these 4 charming Twin Cities patios

There are still plenty of nice days left to enjoy outdoor dining. Here are four favorites.
Lingonberry ice cream: one more reason to look forward to the fair.

3 things our restaurant critic can't wait to eat at the Minnesota State Fair

Rick Nelson is here to answer any and all dining-related questions. Send your queries to
Sweet corn is a perennial fave.

6 Twin Cities chefs reveal their Minnesota State Fair food favorites

Sweet corn, mini-doughnuts, Pronto Pups and more: Here's what people who cook for a living enjoy eating at the fair.

The 5 best foods our restaurant critic ate in the Twin Cities this week

From a new modern Mexican restaurant in south Minneapolis to a fixation with tomatoes, here are the highlights of a week of dining for critic Rick Nelson.
The screen porch at the Zumbro Cafe in Minneapolis.

Relish summer at these 4 Twin Cities outdoor dining oases

Looking to make the most of summer with a spot to dine al fresco? Here are four great spots with great food.
Heavy traffic on 4th street due road construction continued to cause delays in downtown Monday September 21, 2015 in Minneapolis, MN. ] Jerry Holt/ Je

Check out the road construction this weekend in Twin Cities

Travel carefully.
Lemon Peach Pound Cake

This cookbook dedicated to peaches is a summer essential

Minneapolis photographer Eliesa Johnson makes "The Peach Truck Cookbook" look good enough to eat.
Jon Wipfli, chef/owner of Animales Barbeque Co. in northeast Minneapolis, fashions imaginative recipes that extend trout, sturgeon, salmon, walleye an

Northeast BBQ chef shares best tips for cooking fresh fish in new book

A new cookbook by Twin Cities chef Jon Wipfli offers dynamic, delicious approaches to familiar freshwater fish.
The fountains at the renovated Peavey Plaza in downtown Minneapolis flowed over the reflecting pool.

$10 million later, the renovated Peavey Plaza is an accessible success

A renovation has restored the downtown gem's singular looks while making it accessible to all.
The dinner table for the Farm Supper by Wise Acre Eatery.

Mark your calendars for these 3 Twin Cities dining events

Here's where you can celebrate summer's bounty.
Croissants by Sarah Botcher of Black Walnut Bakery

New to Uptown: Black Walnut Bakery opening soon

After years of wholesale baking, the maker of the Kouign-amann to end all Kouign-amanns is finally getting her brick-and-mortar location.
Minnesota's State muffin, the Blueberry Muffin.

Here is the best recipe for Minnesota's state muffin

Grade school students paved the way for the state's official muffin more than three decades ago.
Each poem is neatly printed on white paper, secured with twine and placed inside a capsule. A lucky few have a poet’s first published poem.

Vending machines with poems raise money, more for writers in Minn. prisons

The hand-cranked vending machines can now be found in bookstores from Minneapolis to Northfield.
Chef Josh Hedquist demonstrated the tableside mozzarella preparation at Giulia.

'Everyone has been eating mozzarella wrong': Giulia in downtown Minneapolis does it right

Beautiful Giulia focuses on well-crafted northern Italian fare while capitalizing on its historic downtown Minneapolis setting.
Animales Barbeque Co. opened a trailer setup near Able Seedhouse + Brewery last August.

4 terrific smoked meat spots to try in northeast Minneapolis

Let's take a look at the four smoked-meats-centric restaurants that recently popped up in northeast Minneapolis.
The restaurant’s name is Norwegian for “water.” Above, krumkake and caviar.

New seafood restaurant off Lake Minnetonka opening in July

The plan is to focus on what he calls the "lesser-known, but more delicious" sustainable gifts from the sea: abalone, cuttlefish, sea urchin and wolffish, along with seasonal, local ingredients.
Honey berries from Locally Laid in Wrenshall, Minn.

Meet the honeyberry, a new berry popping up in Minnesota supermarkets

Minnesotans are getting to know the blueberry-like newcomer with Siberian roots.
Fun Cone at Minnesota Nice Cream

12 great scoops of local ice cream in the Twin Cities

One of the tastiest developments in the Twin Cities food scene over the past decade is the proliferation of skilled ice cream makers.
Maida Heatter

Maida Heatter, baker extraordinaire, celebrated with chocolate

For several decades, cookbook author Maida Heatter got Americans baking — often, with chocolate.
After telling the story of the first course's origin, Demi Owner/Chef Gavin Kaysen handed bowls of bacon, pea, and mint broth to patrons Wednesday nig

A restaurant revolution has elevated the Twin Cities food scene

The evolution of the Twin Cities' dining landscape is nothing short of revolutionary. But it didn't happen overnight.
Breakfast Potato Skin: Deep-fried potato skin stuffed with scrambled eggs and peppers, topped with blackened beef chislic -- a South Dakota bar food s

State Fair adds 31 new foods and 7 new vendors

Get ready for Cheesy Sriracha Funnel Cake Bites, Mini Donut Lattes and Peaches n' Cream Nachos. The Minnesota State Fair has announced its new foods for the 2019 fair, and the list includes the usual attention-seekers and potential gut bombs.