Where to Eat & Drink In And Around Minneapolis During The NCAA MEN’S Final Four Basketball Tournament

“Basketball isn’t just a sport. It’s an art, one that must be mastered to succeed”

~ Stephen Curry

Happy Final Four week everyone! Welcome to the glorious city of Minneapolis!


It’s an exciting time to be here as we are once again hosting a major sporting event.  In February of 2018 the Super Bowl came to town.  This weekend basketball will reign supreme.  

I can say with 100% certainty that the restaurants in the Twin Cities have mastered the art of gastronomy.  We are brimming with hospitality and we continue to succeed at creating tremendous opportunities for dining and imbibing.

When the Super Bowl came to Minneapolis I shared a photo gallery featuring  some of my favorite suggestions for dining, cocktailing and getting caffeinated.   Click here to see that post.  With the exception of Dalton & Wade, which sadly closed recently, all of the others are still exceptional options.

It’s no surprise to those that follow me that my list has grown.  See below for a photo gallery of some of my most recent visits in and surrounding the downtown area (you can click on the images to enlarge them).

I would recommend any of these spots if you’re looking for a memorable dining experience.  The list includes city restaurants as well as some that are tucked further into the suburbs (I am sharing these places for those that are looking to escape the crowds or who may be staying at hotels or with friends outside of the immediate downtown area).

Centro at Popol Vuh is located in NE Minneapolis – The focus here is on authentic Mexican Cuisine.

Centro and Popol Vuh share a building. Centro is the more casual half and offers inventive street tacos, a raw bar, a plethora of delicious sides + creative cocktails and Popol Vuh creates beautifully elevated Mexican dishes.  Reservations are not accepted for Centro but are highly recommended for Popol Vuh.

Bonus: Both restaurants have a vast Tequila and Mezcal selection!

Pictured: The Paloma cocktail made with Mezcal, A cadillac margarita with my requested addition of jalapeño peppers, a variety of street tacos from Centro, the bar on the Popol Vuh side and grilled oysters, also enjoyed at Popol Vuh.

Meyvn  is located in the Uptown area of Minneapolis.  They opened in July of 2018 and the applause for their imaginative menu hasn’t lessened a bit.  You truly can Meyvn all day here. They succeed at…everything! Including satisfying your craving for breakfast, lunch, dinner and cocktails.  Order at the counter, then take a seat and wait to be wowed!

PS: Make sure to try some of their house-made wood fired bagels.

Meyvn was started by the same sensational group that owns 2 additional Twin Cities restaurants.  Saint Dinette and Mucci’s Italian are both marvelous, and are located in St. Paul.

Pictured: The Meyvn Burger, the hot pastrami sandwich, an omelette with smoked salmon, onion & beurre blanc sauce and last but definitely not least, bacon and eggs on an everything bagel with jalapeño schmear.

Coalition Restaurants – 2 locations ( Excelsior and Edina)  They are gems in their respective neighborhoods.  They offer delicious and inspired dishes for breakfast, brunch, lunch & dinner. They source locally and list their coalition of partners on their menus. “Coalition is about the combined efforts of chefs, cooks, servers, farmers, vineyards, and brewers and I see that partnership extending to our guests by providing the highest quality food and service in a warm and welcoming environment” ~ Coalition Website 

They consistently deliver on the above commitment and I welcome the opportunity to join them for a meal whenever I can.  

Bonus: Don’t miss the burger Monday lineup!

Pictured: The biscuit Benedict with ham, shakshouka, the wine selection, An Excelsior blonde craft brew and the avocado burger.

Rebel Room Excelsior – This speakeasy is a hidden oasis in Excelsior.  Relax in the cozy environment while choosing from a fantastic variety of classic cocktails.  Their head mixologist, Andrew is always ready to take you on a “spirited” adventure.  Rebel Room has a wonderful food menu as well.

Pictured: The image with the bottles is 2 smoked old fashioned cocktails in progress.  The longer you wait to open the bottles, the more smokey flavor it imparts. The middle beverage is the completed old fashioned, flavored to perfection and poured. The beverage to the far right is a Sidecar Cocktail.

Rebel Room is located the building that houses Red Sauce Rebellion, an authentic Italian restaurant that is also owned by the same team as the Coalition Restaurants.  Rebel Room is open for business on Thursday, Friday and Saturday every week. See the website for hours of operation.

Spyhouse Coffee Roasting Company  (Numerous locations including the North Loop, the Whittier neighborhood, Uptown, NE MPLS and St. Paul)  The coffee shop in the image below is positioned on the corner of Central Avenue and Broadway in NE Minneapolis.  Get caffeinated here while enjoying incredible pastries in an environment that offers historic warehouse charm including high ceilings and exposed brick walls.

Pictured: Chocolate almond croissant and a Spygirl latte infused with honey and lavender.

Tullibee is located inside the phenomenal Hewing Hotel in the North Loop.  Tullibee serves up seasonal cuisine in a divine environment.  The wood burning grill is used to turn out everything from fresh vegetables to meat and seafood dishes.  I’ve been here for breakfast twice and had great experiences both times.  I’m planning to get back there for dinner and an overnight stay at the Hewing soon.

Pictured: A couple of my favorite menu items including the brisket hash and the cured salmon toast.  Also pictured is yogurt with apricots, granola and honey.

Penny’s Coffee – 2 locations in Downtown Minneapolis and Linden Hills (they will be opening a 3rd spot in Wayzata this summer!)

The Linden Hills location recently opened a new bakery, where all of the baked goods for every location will be made.  Penny’s offers an amazing, globally focused menu that includes craft coffees, glorious pastries, breads, wine, crepes, salads and dishes with vibrant Mediterranean flavors.

Pictured: Hot Latte, platter of chocolate croissants and breads, soft serve ice cream cone with a sprinkle of raspberry vapors, a beautiful vegetable salad + a glass of wine.

The Stray Dog is located in NE MPLS, just on the outer edge of downtown.  I love the range of this menu.  You can order steak tartare, tuna tartare or a supremely elevated Tater Tot Hot Dish (see the photo below) and everything in between.  Burgers, wings, sandwiches, cocktails, craft beers and a rotating menu of cupcakes for dessert.  Enjoy the incredible (and 100 % accurate) mural of NE Minneapolis on the far wall.

Pictured: A stray dog 😉  the hand painted mural of  NE Minneapolis restaurants, steak tartare, tater tot hot dish, NE sunrise cocktail (tequila based).

Haskell’s Wine Bar is located on Nicollet Mall in Downtown Minneapolis.  Per their website, The Haskell’s family has been “raising Minnesotan’s spirits since 1934”

Their wine and champagne selection is A+.  The menu here also includes local craft beers, craft coffees, soups, sandwiches, salads, cheeses and an array of pastries and desserts. It’s all served up in a super cool, historic building on the mall.

Pictured: A toast to the fabulous location on Nicollet Mall and a chilled vessel with some of their magnificent champagnes.

Lowry Hill Meats is a neighborhood butcher shop that serves up FANTASTIC burgers.   They also sell an incredible assortment of meats, sausages, poultry, charcuterie, pickled veggies and mustard’s.  If you happen to live in the Twin Cities or are Airbnb’ing it, pick something to cook.  You won’t be sorry.

PS: Monday’s are meatloaf sandwich night.  Haven’t been back for this yet but it’s on my list for sure!

Pictured: A 4 ounce patty topped with house-made American cheese, caramelized onions, special sauce and house pickles on the perfect brioche bun.  I requested the addition of a fried egg.

Stanley’s Northeast Bar Room – If you find yourself on University Avenue in NE Minneapolis, make sure you stop in here.  I can’t say enough about the friendliness of the staff and the crave worthy menu.

Pictured: The cheese curds with spicy jam, a stack of crispy onion rings and the Local 82 burger layered with jalapeno bacon, ghost pepper cheese, el fuego sauce and arugula.  Once again, I requested the fried egg.

The Noble Lion is located in the suburb of Victoria.  They are a small town, neighborhood eatery that offers an exquisite dining experience.  The menu includes everything from burgers and perfectly crisped frites to fresh meat and seafood dishes.  They source locally and rotate their menu to highlight seasonal ingredients.

Pictured: The blood orange Manhattan, The French onion burger, Mussels Mariniere, chilled craft beer, the smokey apple cider cocktail

Bonus: During happy hour from 4 – 6 on Tues, Wed, Thurs, Friday and Sunday you can enjoy a multitude of food & beverages specials.  The big deal is that you can get TWO decadent French onion burgers and a generous portion of frites for only $20.

The Noble Lion is closed on Mondays.

DelSur Empanadas – The house-made empanadas created by owners Nico and Diego have such authentic Argentinian flavors and are absolutely incredible! Some of the filling choices include ham & cheese, sweet beef, sweet corn, caprese, mushrooms, spinach and chorizo.  You can also order sandwiches and salads as well as a variety of desserts.

Pictured: A variety of house-made empanadas with chimichurri dipping sauce & spicy sour cream, tres leches cake (it’s truly the best I’ve ever had!) and their beverage offerings.  My favorite wines at this location are from the Famiglia Meschini Winery, the vineyard is located in Argentina but it is owned by a family that lives in Minneapolis.

6Smith is located on Wayzata Bay along the shores of stunning Lake Minnetonka.  You’ve arrived in Minnesota at the right time! The complete lake ice-out may not have happened yet but weather permitting, the lower patio will be open this weekend, giving guests the chance to enjoy some warm sunshine, while noshing on lovely artisan meat and seafood dishes.

Bonus: They have happy hour (in the main floor bar only) from opening to 6:00 PM on Saturday’s and all day on Sundays!

Pictured: Chili rubbed chicken sandwich, the Fat Pants burger, raising a glass to spring, Blackened red snapper sandwich and a snap of the lower patio.

The Red Stag Supperclub is located in NE Mpls and has been welcoming diners since 2007.  They are the first  LEED-CI registered restaurant in Minnesota.  This is a Green building rating program and means that Kim Bartmann, owner of the Red Stag Supperclub as well as numerous other Twin Cities restaurants, has made a commitment to minimizing the environmental impact of her eateries on the communities they reside in.  The Bartmann Group strives to build businesses that are sustainably focused and energy efficient.  All of this is extremely important, as well as the fact that the food is always very impressive.  The food at Red Stag Supperclub is sourced locally and during the warm weather months they have a garden on the property where they grow many of their own ingredients.

Pictured: A mimosa, Mac & Cheese, a bowl of roasted tomato soup with chiffonades of fresh basil (soups are rotated based on seasonal ingredients)

Other Bartmann Group restaurants include:  Barbette, The Tiny Diner, Pat’s Tap, The Bird, Book Club, Trapeze  and Gigi’s Café

Feature Photo at the top of the page: Cocktails at Martina Restaurant in Linden Hills

Thank you for Visiting Minneapolis! I hope you have a fabulous time and please come back to visit again soon.

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