Whisky Park, Ugly Mug, and Be'wiched Deli: Downtown delights

Good food shows up in Minneapolis in surprising places

Chef Nick Bullick, most recently sous chef at the Happy Gnome, arrived at the Mug last spring and decided to start serving daily breakfasts in October, after finding other breakfasts downtown to be lackluster or expensive. Coming from a fine-dining background at W.A. Frost and 20.21, Bullick has injected the entire menu with more fresh, seasonal, and upscale ingredients, along with scratch cooking and practiced culinary techniques. There are venison burgers, chicken strips beer-battered with Summit EPA, and poutine with white cheese curds from Ellsworth Creamery. You'll also find salads made with arugula, spinach, strawberries, and chevre, and entrées such as pan-seared duck breast with sweet corn flan. Dusty Monroe, formerly of the 112 Eatery, offers the house-made desserts you'd expect from a more upscale eatery, like port-wine-poached pears and pumpkin trifle.

But let's get back to breakfast. There's free coffee, from the boutique roaster Bull Run, offered serve-yourself from a thermal pot near the door, next to an assortment of mismatched mugs. Whatever happened, you might wonder as you sip your steaming brew, to Peggy, the Illinois State Redbirds alum?

Your waiter might be wearing a T-shirt that reads "In Heaven There Is No Beer," but he'll be far more attentive than the bartenders at most of the other downtown watering holes. No need to lose your voice hollering over the tap handles. And by the way, having beer for breakfast is totally legit. The menu features a MugMosa—a surprisingly tasty, shandy-like blend of orange juice, Goose Island 312, and a splash of raspberry Lambic—alongside a bloody Mary and a breakfast martini.

Be'Wiched Deli now serves Sunday brunch
Emily Utne
Be'Wiched Deli now serves Sunday brunch
Eggs Benedict
Emily Utne
Eggs Benedict

Location Info



800 Washington Ave. N., Ste. 101
Minneapolis, MN 55401

Category: Restaurant > Deli

Region: Minneapolis (Downtown)


Be'Wiched Deli
800 Washington Ave. N., Minneapolis
612.767.4330; www.bewicheddeli.com
brunch items $8-$14

The Ugly Mug
106 N. Third St., Minneapolis
612.343.5930; www.uglymugminneapolis.com
breakfast items $6-$14

Whisky Park
15 S. Fifth St., Minneapolis
612.545.5235; www.whiskyparkmpls.com
appetizers $4-$13; entrées $9-$13

BUT FOR ONE OF THE BEST morning meals in downtown Minneapolis, try the new Sunday brunch at Be'Wiched Deli. For three years, the Washington Avenue shop has earned rave reviews for its gourmet sandwiches, created by fine-dining alum Matthew Bickford and Mike Ryan. And if you want to stick with the deli's namesake, the P & E is no ordinary fried egg sandwich. The "P" stands for Be'Wiched's famous house-cured pastrami, layered on soft foccacia with a mess of roasted peppers and a spice of spicy-smoky harissa, and it's just as excellent as any of the shop's lunch and dinner offerings.

Most run-of-the-mill French toast relies heavily on syrup, whipped cream, or fruit toppings for flavor, but Be'Wiched's fluffy, eggy, house-made brioche version is good enough to eat solo. It's as spongy and sweet as bread pudding without anything else on it—though a simple dusting of powdered sugar and a few sliced dates don't hurt.

Biscuits and gravy is another breakfast dish that often goes wrong—too many recipes range from blah, pasty, and bland to so salty they're downright inedible. But at Be'Wiched, the eggs are blessedly runny-yolked and the biscuits are flaky but not too crusty on top. But the soul of the dish is the gravy, which is light, frothy, and tastes a little like whipped potato leek soup, studded with bits of spicy pork sausage.

The only thing to bypass at Be'Wiched is the beer bloody, which, if it can't come with vodka, is probably better off virgin. Otherwise, every brunch item save one costs less than $10, and all the details are exacting, right down to the fresh fruit bites—crisp apples, pineapple, kiwi, and grapes—that surpass the usual underripe or soggy fruit-cup standards.

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