BEST COMMUNITY-BUILDING CAFE - 2006
LoTo - CLOSED - CLOSED
Strange times have befallen downtown St. Paul, specifically in the area around Mears Park. It was just months ago that one could wander in a post-apocalyptic haze amongst the skyscrapers and empty parking ramps on the weekends and evenings and see nary a single life form. Nowadays, thanks to businesses popping up around the area, LoTo included, the locals have emerged from their cocoons to become social butterflies. Though at times conceptually overbooked, LoTo manages to pull off a variety of titles admirably, be it restaurant, coffee shop, deli, or bar. What this means for the average diner is that one person can enjoy a beer while another snacks on mini-burgers the size of meatballs and another consumes a super-rich brownie or croissant from the deli. Sit at the bar and watch the TV with some friends, and you may even find yourself having a friendly chat with a neighbor you never knew you had. Another perk is the easy access to the skyways and occasional happenings in the lounge area just outside of the restaurant. Plus, once the Lowertown farmers' market (just two blocks away) starts up again, the area will be even more hoppin'.