Alex Roberts, the James Beard award-winning chef behind the soon-to-reopen Restaurant Alma, borrows from Southern and Caribbean traditions at this habit-forming restaurant. Slow-roasted pork, rotisserie chicken, smoked beef and fried catfish (available at the St. Paul location only) are the headliners, but they’re backed by the full force of sweet corn-flecked cornbread, fried plantains, two winning variations on beans and rice, and sweet roasted yams with spicy sausage. Lunch and dinner daily.

600 E. Hennepin Av., Mpls., 612-379-3030, and 777 Grand Av., St. Paul, 651-224-1302,



At his modern-day diner, chef/owner Landon Schoenefeld showcases modern-day renditions of all-American classics: pancakes, cheeseburgers, tuna melts, chopped liver and hot dogs that are virtual meals in a bun. The daily Blue Plate Special ranges from a heaping helping of spaghetti and meatballs on Tuesday to Thursday’s meatloaf with mashed potatoes. Dessert? Pie, of course. Lunch Monday-Friday, dinner Monday-Saturday, brunch Saturday and Sunday.

3753 Nicollet Av. S., Mpls., 612-248-1111,



Yes, the avalanche of positive buzz surrounding the fried chicken is right on the money. But chef Thomas Boemer doesn’t stop there, heaping tables with side dishes that more than compete with the chicken’s menu supremacy: fried green tomatoes, hush puppies, mac-and-cheese, spicy pork rinds, white Cheddar grits, the city’s best biscuits, and more. Do not, under any circumstances, forgo the banana cream pie. A St. Paul edition (525 Selby Av.) opens soon. Lunch and dinner daily.

4257 Nicollet Av. S., Mpls., 612-345-4516,