The Late Late Show

Every meal's a winner: An Emburger-free list of after-hours alternatives

Remember the Mad, Mad Mexican, East Lake Street purveyor of remarkably thin enchiladas and other questionable Southwestern fare? Of course you do, because for years and years it was virtually the only middle-of-the-night alternative to Perkins, Embers, and, even lower on the stoner munchie food chain, Winchell's. It wasn't so long ago, come to think of it, that only those Midwesterners living on the furthest social fringes failed to roll up their sidewalks at a respectable, defensible hour.

Now that Twin Cities bars have another hour to peddle their liquid fun, there's plenty of demand for local eateries able and willing to cushion stomachs into the wee hours. Things can still be a little hit-and-miss after prime time, though, which is where we hope this late-night dining guide will come in handy. We looked around and found a smattering of everything, from old-fashioned diners to slinky lounges that keep their neon signs glowing a little bit later than the rest. Here are some of the brightest.

 

Late-night snack attack: Nancy Seward and Bill Mondale at Minneapolis's Barbette
Tema Stauffer
Late-night snack attack: Nancy Seward and Bill Mondale at Minneapolis's Barbette

Location Info

Map

Azia Restaurant

2550 Nicollet Ave.
Minneapolis, MN 55404

Category: Restaurant > Asian Fusion

Region: Uptown/ Eat Street

Pizza Lucé Downtown

119 4th St. N.
Minneapolis, MN 55401

Category: Restaurant > Breakfast

Region: Minneapolis (Downtown)

Mickey's Diner

36 W. 7th St.
St. Paul, MN 55102

Category: Restaurant > American

Region: St. Paul (Downtown)

Barbette

1600 W. Lake St.
Minneapolis, MN 55408

Category: Bars and Clubs

Region: Uptown/ Eat Street

Chino Latino

2916 Hennepin Ave. S.
Minneapolis, MN 55408

Category: Restaurant > Korean

Region: Uptown/ Eat Street

Yummy Restaurant

2450 Nicollet Ave.
Minneapolis, MN 55404

Category: Restaurant > Asian

Region: Uptown/ Eat Street

Cosmos

601 First Ave. N.
Minneapolis, MN 55403

Category: Bars and Clubs

Region: Minneapolis (Downtown)

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AZIA
2550 Nicollet Ave., Minneapolis; 612.813.1200
www.aziarestaurant.com

Azia is your stylish but low-key lounge, bar, and restaurant. It's also a late-night hot spot for stylish but low-key south Minneapolitans wishing to commune over a half-priced menu that covers appetizers, bottles of wine, martinis, and the city's largest selection of sakes. Peruse the offerings, but don't be surprised if you find yourself staring down a plate of their most popular item, the cream cheese wontons. They're punched up with sweet, tart cranberries, and made savory with fresh scallions, earning them the hugely coveted honor of being the best in town. Don't worry if you're not down with the wontons. Since the flatteringly lit, sexy spot also serves its full menu till 2:00 a.m. every night, it's well loved by just about every south Minneapolitan who has ever subscribed to Details or W.

 

PIZZA LUCÉ
119 N. Fourth St., Minneapolis; 612.333.7359
3200 Lyndale Ave. S., Minneapolis; 612.827.5978
2201 E. Franklin Ave., Minneapolis; 612.332.2535
www.pizzaluce.com

What makes a city cosmopolitan? Ever-ready midnight- or late-breakfast-pizza slices with artichokes next to a good beer is as good a definition as any, so hallelujah for these beloved Minneapolis gems. All three restaurants serve up a crisp crust, potent red sauce, and more toppings than you can shake an antipasto at: calamata olives, roasted red peppers, homemade sausage, barbecued chicken, and spicy mock duck, to name a very few. (Vegans, please note: Lucé has more animal-free possibilities than just about any other metro restaurant.) Trying to pick between them? The Lyn-Lake and Seward locations are neighborhood joints with easy parking that close at 1:00 a.m., 2:30 a.m. on the weekends. The downtown Lucé is the most hopping, offering a full bar, full-service and counter sections for seating, and is open till 2:00 a.m. on weekdays and an invaluable 3:30 a.m. on weekends.

 

TIBURON CARIBBEAN BISTRO
1201 Harmon Pl., Minneapolis; 612.604.0585
www.tiburonbistro.com

Jamaican jerk pork. Cayman Island fish tacos. Dominican peeky-toe crab cakes. A standout "Bermuda" cheeseburger with sweet potato fries. Despite these tempting tropical delicacies, your first priority at Tiburón will probably be one of their late-night happy-hour cocktail specials. Try the first-rate mojitos, served with a sugar-cane stirrer, or a potent sangria, amped up with top-shelf liquors. (The Minneapple is the cutest drink in town, a martini tribute to the most famous sculpture in town--so see it for yourself to figure out more.) Once seated at Tiburón, enjoy gazing at the vast aquarium that bisects this large, 260-seat restaurant and imparts a lightly glamorous, fun James Bond (circa Live and Let Die) feel. And if island hopping leaves you so very tired that you never feel like leaving, that would be better accomplished here than most places, because Tiburón serves their full menu till 2:00 a.m. on weekends.

 

MICKEY'S DINER
36 W. Seventh St., St. Paul; 651.222.5633
1950 W. Seventh St., St. Paul; 651.698.8387

It should come as no surprise that America's All Day Favorite Meal at Mickey's consists of the genius some call "breakfast." As Midwesterners, we have--or should have--certain inalienable rights, primary among them the right to have eggs grilled in butter 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year. Mickey's is just about the last place in town to recognize that constitutional guarantee: Burgers, malts, eggs and pancakes all day, Mulligan stew, sundaes, BLTs, and some darn good fries issue forth from the modest grills in a raging, corn-fed, red-white-and-blue river. In the middle of the night, you can find hockey fans sitting next to bikers sitting next to Ordway-goers. Close your eyes and the sizzling griddle sounds like the drum roll leading into the national anthem.

 

MANNY'S TORTAS
2700 E. Lake St., Minneapolis; 612.728.1778

Tortas mean a lot of things to a lot of people. But at Manny's they mean crisp French bread, hot and sweet chipotle mayo, and fillings, ranging from the massive Manny's Special (which starts with steak, ham, and Swiss cheese, adds piles of sautéed vegetables, and builds dizzyingly from there) to the rich and decadent veggie (with refried beans, fresh avocado, sautéed mushrooms, and Swiss cheese--ask for extra hot peppers). Manny's is also an after-bar miracle, as this particular location is open till 3:00 a.m. on Fridays and Saturdays, serves beer and wine, and takes credit cards--which also means a lot to a lot of people.

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