Best Neighborhood Cafe in St. Paul
The name is a little confusing. This is the second Colossal Cafe location, and the original in Minneapolis is so tiny that its moniker is clearly facetious. The St. Paul Colossal, in St. Anthony Park, is on the small side but not cramped, and can accommodate groups; the long, narrow space has room for plenty of neighbors, which is good, because they do like to show up often. Open since December 2011, the cafe is already a neighborhood institution. Colossal is perhaps most beloved for its breakfasts, especially the yeast-based pancakes they call flappers, available topped with apple, walnuts, and brie. But it's no slouch at the other meals, either: Bread is made in-house and contributes to delicious sandwiches, and dinner features entrees including a seasonal vegetable risotto and shrimp tacos with cabbage-fennel slaw, cilantro-lime crema, avocado, tomato, and grilled jalapeño. Small-plate options make for easy sharing; try the lamb chops with couscous, mussels in spiced coconut milk, or the beautifully seared scallops with citrus gremolata, cauliflower puree, roasted oyster mushrooms, pancetta, and almonds. A few times each summer, Colossal puts a grill on the sidewalk near its outdoor tables and cooks up eats for neighborhood events. And always, local beers are served, and take-home meals are another great option provided to the locals by this friendly cafe.