The reservations-phobic can enjoy Valentine’s Day by dropping in on a counter-service restaurant.


The Grand Avenue institution that is Cafe Latte offers all kinds of choices for drop-in diners. Up front, there’s the well-stocked soup-salad-sandwich cafeteria line, and the back is occupied by a cozy wine bar-pizzeria. In between, there’s the Quinn family’s always-busy bakery counter, extravagantly loaded with cakes, tarts and tortes, all sold by the slice. Another nice touch: the recently refreshed interior.
950 Grand Av., St. Paul, 651-224-5687,


Early birds (the kitchen cooks until 8 p.m.) can treat themselves to Yum! Kitchen and Bakery, where affordable, made-from-scratch favorites — spaghetti and meatballs, roast chicken with mashed potatoes, tuna melts, chicken soup with matzo balls, phenomenal layer cakes — are served with speed in a stylish and cheerful environment.
4000 Minnetonka Blvd., St. Louis Park, 952-922-4000,


Art-loving romantics can bask in each other’s company in the galleries at the Walker Art Center (admission is free from 5 to 9 p.m. on Thursday), then sit down to a simple meal at the Garden Cafe by D’Amico, the museum’s casual destination for well-made quick-service salads, sandwiches and sweets. Beer and wine, too.
1750 Hennepin Av. S., Mpls., 612-375-7600,