The setting is a stunner, a Classical Revival beauty from 1906 by Minnesota architect Clarence Johnston that overlooks picturesque Lake Como in St. Paul. The menu takes its cues from classic Southern fare, including po’boys, fried green tomatoes, crabcakes, beignets and hush puppies. Full bar, live music and outdoor movies on Saturday nights through July 1. Boat rentals, too. Lunch weekdays (with coffee and pastries from 9 to 11 a.m.), dinner daily, weekend brunch.
1360 N. Lexington Pkwy., St. Paul, 651-666-9491, comodockside.com
Marine Landing BOTM
It’s one of the metro area’s most magical outdoor dining environments, a bucolic waterside address (the restaurant is part of a quiet St. Croix River marina) that feels like it’s a million miles from downtown Minneapolis rather than 40. The cooking doesn’t stray from basic short-order parameters; service epitomizes Minnesota Nice, and the prices land firmly in affordable territory. Hint: GPS is enormously helpful. Breakfast and lunch Wednesday through Sunday, early dinner Friday.
10 Elm St., Marine on St. Croix, 651-433-4577
Thanks to chef Doug Flicker, this popular beachside attraction goes the extra mile, food- and drink-wise. The eclectic menu includes one of the city’s better BLTs, well-garnished shrimp tacos on corn tortillas, pork and beef hot dogs (the latter is lavished with tangy kimchi and a fried egg), spiced-up pulled pork stacked high on an onion bun, first-rate soft serve ice cream and a few daily dinner specials (Sloppy Joes on Wednesday, fried chicken on Friday). Beer and wine. Lunch and dinner daily.
4955 W. Lake Nokomis Pkwy., Mpls., 612-722-5550, sandcastlempls.com