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
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Amid restaurant closings, the Grocer's Table is opening Wednesday in Wayzata

Dining will be restricted to a newly-expanded patio, and Lake Minnetonka boaters can take advantage of dockside pickup.
DoubleTree Signature Cookies really pack in chocolate and nuts.

You'll want to bake the DoubleTree Hotel's chocolate chip cookie recipe

The DoubleTree chain is sharing its chocolate chip cookie formula for the first time.
Exterior view of Sea Salt restaurant that operates in the park building at Minnehaha Falls.

Twin Cities park restaurants are reopening — with some new rules

More of the Twin Cities' waterside restaurants are opening, too.
The cheeseburger from Feller in Stillwater is a great role model for those trying to achieve cheeseburger perfection at home.

It's grilling season, but for a better burger, use the stove

To grill or not to grill? You may want to consider the latter, if you listen to chefs.
Double cheeseburger from Bull’s Horn Food & Drink

5 best things our food writers ate in the Twin Cities this week

Food writers Rick Nelson and Sharyn Jackson highlight the favorites of their weekly dining experiences.
Friends Jon Feustel, left, and Mark Siebenaller, from the North Loop, drank beer and ate pizza from the Freehouse in the courtyard outside the brewpub

Minnesota restaurant owners feel blindsided by state's order only allowing patio dining

Owners had been planning for inside dining with restrictions come June 1 and aren't sure limiting to outside will work.
Customers and former employees visited with Muddy Waters staffers on the restaurant's last night of service. It was an emotional scene at Muddy Waters

Restaurant roll call: Bar and restaurant closings continue during COVID-19 outbreak

What's open, what's closed and what's still to come in the Twin Cities and beyond.
Moose & Sadie’s in the North Loop

After almost 30 years, North Loop cafe Moose & Sadie's has closed

The coronavirus crisis claims another restaurant.
Bill Kozlak, owner of Jax Cafe, recently went without a paycheck for the first time since he was a teenager.

Will beloved Twin Cities restaurants survive COVID-19?

Many of those working in the Twin Cities' nationally recognized food scene are saying that their industry is in big trouble and might never recover.
Italian lamb sausage pizza from Lyn 65.

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

Rick Nelson highlights the favorites of his recent dining schedule.
Safety first! Neighborhood Roots Farmers Market stocked up on cleaning supplies, made some cool masks and installed a plexiglass screen at their info

No more samples: What you can expect at Minnesota's farmers markets

Consumers will find the farmers market experience to be altered due to social distancing guidelines.
Chicken shawarma dinner from Foxy Falafel

5 best things our food writers ate in the Twin Cities this week

Food writers Rick Nelson and Sharyn Jackson highlight the favorites of their weekly dining experiences.
Savory waffle at the Birchwood

15 Mother's Day takeout suggestions from our restaurant critic

Make Mom's big day easy by having someone else do the cooking. All you have to do is plan ahead, order online, make the pickup and set the table.
Demi, chef Gavin Kaysen's North Loop newcomer, is one of 10 restaurants in the nation in the running for the James Beard Foundation's Best New Restaur

5 Minneapolis chefs and restaurants make finals for James Beard awards

This year's awards were delayed due to the coronavirus.
Elote corn Danish from Patisserie 46

5 best things our food writers ate in the Twin Cities this week

Food writers Rick Nelson and Sharyn Jackson highlight the favorites of their weekly dining experiences.
One of Minnesota’s most acclaimed restaurants, the Bachelor Farmer, is closed.

Four-star restaurant Bachelor Farmer has closed in Minneapolis

Co-owner Eric Dayton said he did not see a viable path forward.
Chef Tim McKee’s cookbook collection numbers close to 2,500. He and other chefs shared recipes from their go-to cookbooks.

8 Twin Cities chefs share their favorite cookbooks

The chefs and restaurateurs share the sources of the recipes getting a lot of use in their kitchens.
The restaurant leased its space from the co-owners of the adjacent Parkway Theater.

St. Paul's El Burrito Mercado closes Minneapolis outpost in former Pepito's

The restaurant's owners cite the coronavirus crisis as the reason behind the restaurant's demise.
Spam has never been more popular.

Spam, Spam, Spam, Spam: Why the canned meat from Minnesota is more popular than ever

It's canned comfort food, a porky, briny balm during a time of anxiety.
The Wednesday-only raised doughnut from Sun Street Breads in Minneapolis

5 best things our food writers ate in the Twin Cities this week

No, it wasn't cereal and frozen pizza. Food writers Rick Nelson and Sharyn Jackson highlight the favorites of their weekly dining experiences.
Photographer Mike Evangelist, in the new gym, has been documenting the transformation of the historic Dayton’s building from department store to dow

Minneapolis photographer documents the reclaiming of downtown Dayton's

A photographer who has been chronicling Minneapolis since the early 1970s has a new plum assignment: capturing the transformation of a beloved department store.
The new Land O'Lakes package is empty of its longtime icon.

Land O'Lakes quietly drops its Native American maiden logo

The image, which reaches back to 1928, will be replaced by photos of the cooperative's farmers.
Simple No-Knead #quarantinystarter Sourdough Bread

No yeast? Here's the easy way to start a sourdough starter from a baking expert

With flour, water, patience and guidance from a social media-savvy bread savant, it's easy to make your own sourdough starter.
More than $16,000 has been raised to aid the Modern Times Cafe.

Twin Cities restaurants turn to crowdfunding for laid-off employees

Following a national pattern, Twin Cities restaurants are raising money for their laid-off employees through online campaigns.
Buttermilk Flapjacks

Cheat sheet of 20 easy baking, cooking substitutions may come in handy

At a time of strained pantries, keep these easy replacement measures in mind.
5 comfort-minded, stress-relieving recipes to bake now for a bit of calm

5 comfort-minded, stress-relieving recipes to bake now for a bit of calm

Anxious? Hungry? Then head to the kitchen and break out the flour and sugar.
Heather's staffer Zoey Brom-Palkowski handed a takeout order to one of the several customers waiting outside the south Minneapolis restaurant Wednesda

Twin Cities restaurant takeout/delivery options picked by our food critic

Takeout and delivery is the fast-changing new normal for the Twin Cities restaurant scene. Here's a critic's list of Twin Cities metro area options.
Minnesota Commissioner of Agriculture Thom Petersen confirmed that farmers markets are exempt from Gov. Walz’s executive order for the partial closu

State says farmers markets can remain open

With the growing season fast approaching, the state's farmers markets will be allowed to operate.
Heather's in south Minneapolis.

Now open: Heather's, a new restaurant by former Lucia's manager in south Mpls.

Heather Asbury is the force behind Heather's, which is now open in the former Mario's at 52nd and Chicago.
Get the party started with a dinner menu with a Minnesota theme

Get the party started with a dinner menu with a Minnesota theme

Dinner parties don't have to be daunting, or fancy.
Fish fry at the Birchwood Cafe.

It's fish fry season – here are 16 Twin Cities options

Fish fry season is fast approaching. From single servings to all-you-can-eat, here's where you can get your fill.
Marc Heu at his St. Paul pastry shop, Marc Heu Patisserie Paris.

French-born pastry maker brings a taste of Paris to St. Paul's Frogtown

Marc Heu moved to Minnesota for love. Now he's turning the corner of Western and University avenues into a pastry destination.
Spouses Austin and Merritt Bamrick enjoy drinks and dinner at the bar at Snack Bar in Minneapolis.

Home run for Isaac Becker with his fourth restaurant, Snack Bar

With his new Snack Bar, one of the Twin Cities' top chefs is once again proving his influence.
“Emeralds,” part of Ballet West’s production of Balanchine’s “Jewels,” at Northrop auditorium this week.

Balanchine's 'Jewels' will sparkle at Northrop

Salt Lake City-based Ballet West is bringing "Jewels," one of choreographer George Balanchine's crown jewels, to the Twin Cities.
Piri Piri Chicken at Estelle in St. Paul, Minn., on Friday, February 7, 2020.

New Southern European restaurant Estelle is a gem in St. Paul

Spain, Portugal and Italy are the focus of Estelle in the Mac-Groveland neighborhood.
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.
Chef Shigeyuki Furukawa prepares a 10-course feast at Kaiseki Furukawa in Minneapolis.

10-course Japanese feast at this North Loop spot is 'spectacular'

Think minimalist — and delicious — for this tasting menu at Kaiseki Furukawa, a restaurant within Kado No Mise.
Frozen peas are a perfect match for cold winter months.

That bag of frozen peas is about to save your dinner

For a burst of summer in the middle of winter, head to the freezer for this bright vegetable.
Billy’s Sushi owner, Enkhbileg “Billy” Tserenbat.

9 Twin Cities restaurant openings to look forward to in 2020

They're construction zones at the moment, but a bevy of new restaurants will soon be on their way.
Surdyk’s Liquor & Cheese Shop, which has been in business in northeast Minneapolis since 1934, will be adding a restaurant in the store.

Surdyk's opening restaurant and bar in its northeast Mpls. store this summer

Longtime northeast Minneapolis liquor and cheese retailer to open restaurant in store.
The Groaning Board, which features house patés and charcuterie, preserved vegetables and mustards.

Bachelor Farmer: This is what 'North' tastes like

Chef Jonathan Gans uses his menu to tell the story of "this time and this place."
The newly revitalized building has a new name: Arvonne Fraser Library.

In Dinkytown, a 1960s landmark library gets the rebirth it deserves

A 1960s Dinkytown library — by Minnesota Modernist architect Ralph Rapson — gleams anew after an $11.6 million restoration.
Kringle from O&H Bakery

Here's your guide to Racine, Wis., the nation's kringle capital

Drop in on one of these bakeries for a taste of Wisconsin's official state pastry.
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 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 • cgonzalez@startribune.com – 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.
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 Startribune.com/cookies.
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.
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.
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.