Chessen's? That fluorescent blue box in the shadow of the federal courthouse in downtown Minneapolis? The one with the neon signs and Miller Genuine Draft banner across the front? The place better known for its pickled herring and chopped liver than its porterhouse steaks and dry martinis? Yep, that's the joint we're talking about. We admit that Chessen's is not on its face an obvious choice for the epicenter of power in the Twin Cities. We could have gone the more traditional route with, say, Murray's Restaurant and Cocktail Lounge, and its high-class décor and artery-clogging cuisine. Or the St. Paul Grill, with its dark wood, warm, low lighting, and close proximity to the Capitol. But we'd give even money that more deals are cut in the humble surroundings of Chessen's than in either of those establishments. On any given weekday, come lunchtime the place is overflowing with judges, city council members, defense attorneys, prosecutors, and Minneapolis bureaucrats talking shop while noshing on pastrami and corned beef. Chessen's might not be glamorous, but day in, day out, it's where the movers and shakers of Minneapolis get their midday sustenance.


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