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BEST NEIGHBORHOOD CAFÉ--MINNEAPOLIS Minneapolis 2005 - Bakery on Grand

Not so long ago, this sleepy little Kingfield storefront was home to a bakery, the kind where you could purchase a dozen gooey, sticky, sugarcoated doughnuts for a pittance; a fresh-baked apple pie; or lay in a supply of pink-frosted cupcakes. It had a sweet, old-fashioned charm and gave off an intoxicating aroma nightly when the goodies were in the oven. Over the past couple of years, however, this site has undergone quite a culinary transformation, and although the menu is decidedly more highbrow these days, this simple space with spare walls, twinkling lights, and wooden floors has retained its welcoming feel. And it's still a bakery, complete with loaves of French bread, feathery scones, and a wide variety of lovingly prepared pastry. But how about having a meal before enjoying dessert? Bakery on Grand has a menu that changes at least every other week but includes some staples like crisp salads, fine cheeses, and a sophisticated wine list. Recent offerings included cassoulet, pork chops with braised cabbage, and a luscious sea bass complete with wilted greens and new potatoes. Widely considered one of the best restaurants in town, Bakery on Grand doesn't disappoint with its attention to detail, romantic if somewhat echoey setting, and intimate location, tucked away at the end of a residential block. This may not be the place you go for a fist-sized cheesy omelet with home fries (that would be frites, at any rate), but this is every inch the fine French café every neighborhood should be fortunate enough to have in its midst.

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