11 Most Meatcentric Minneapolis/St. Paul Restaurants

Since the ballpark arrived, Heartland has upped its meat quotient

Since the ballpark arrived, Heartland has upped its meat quotient

Sorry, but there is no vegetarian equivalent for the urges that meats incite in the human brain and body. Our animal nature is never so apparent as when our incisors are employed. Broccoli just doesn't evoke similar cravings. Disagree? Then look away for this one.

The 11 meat-lustiest establishments in all the land:

See also: 10 Food-Porniest Dishes in the Twin Cities Right Now


11. Heartland Wine Bar and Burger Bar

Never been no dummy and never will be — chef Lenny Russo knows what he's doing, knows how to market it, and knows how to do all of it well. And lately, he's embracing the blessing that the Saints have bestowed upon him — a fly ball's distance from his threshold to the new baseball stadium, so a savvy rebranding effort later, Heartland Wine Bar (and burger bar) is born. Handmade sausages (some of the best you'll ever eat, also available at the stadium) are only the half of it — also house-roasted turkey, country pate, Cubanos, proscuitto, house-brined pastrami, grass-fed beef, and a half dozen burgers at any given moment all go between two pieces of bread for guys who love baseball and meat, and gals who love all of the above.

10. Glockenspiel

Pliny the Elder from Prairie Dogs: Duck fat-fried hot dog covered in foie. Slaw optional.

Pliny the Elder from Prairie Dogs: Duck fat-fried hot dog covered in foie. Slaw optional.

Few have it over the Germans when it comes to eating animals, and St. Paul's stalwart Glockenspiel rolls out full menus of every conceivable critter, like this: Veal, Beef, Pork, Wurst, and then a laundry list of preparations to follow, but also three different platters of "Deutchland Meats" served with nothing more than crackers and mustard. This is a place where pork loaf with a fried egg or breaded pork schnitzel qualify to reside under the "light entrees" side of the menu. And on Sunday, all-you-can-eat sausages go for $19.95; stay all night if you want. And it all makes sense, because owner Martin Ziegler is a master butcher out of the mountainous, mysterious, meaty Black Forests of Germany.

9. Prairie Dog Sausage

They jumped on the disco dog bandwagon before it was a thing, and now that it is a thing, they're one-upping the others when it comes to dressing up dogs: wrapped in bacon and grilled, split open and filled with chili, made magical with pork belly, fried in duck fat. But that's not all — house-made sausages are treated just as fancy, or have a burger, a chicken sandwich, a patty melt, a braunschweiger platter! Mary had a little lamb, but then it wandered into Prarie Dogs. The end.

8. Nighthawks

He's always worshiped at the altar of the hog — just check out the pig-centric logo at sister restaurant Haute Dish — but at his new Nighthawks, chef Landon Schoenefeld is embracing all of God's creatures, and giving them the same treatment (beneath his cleaver). The modern American diner means burgers and dogs, of course — and those dogs are some of the best in town, foot-long endeavors made specially by Kramarczuck's, and then piled high with things like giardiniera, shoestring potatoes, pepperoncini, potato salad, even Fritos. But also see chili, tartare, chopped liver, fried chicken three ways, turkey gizzards, corned beef, pork chops, meatballs, meatloaf, pot roast, pastrami, signature Nighthawks pepper bacon, French dip, BLTs, and a hot turkey sandwich. Yes, that's one menu, one diner, and all the animals. All of them.

7. Red Cow

With actual meathooks dangling from the ceiling, and a color palette in shades of blood, there's no question what you've come for. Not just any old burgers, they're all made using premium beef — either Certified Angus, local grass-fed, even proprietary Pat La Frieda out of New York. So the foundation is laid first, and then pile on your lustiest desires — more meat, obvs, like root beer pulled pork, bacon confit, proscuitto, candied bacon, or pork belly. And just because "cow" is in the name doesn't mean they discriminate here. Lamb, turkey, bison, tuna, and even veggies (if you must) can all be made into tasty patties for incisors.

6. Manny's Steakhouse

It's survived since the days when a steakhouse was one of the few things going in serious dining around here, when a big night out almost certainly meant a big cut of meat, a serious portion of potato, and asparagus spears swimming in butter. White smocked gentlemen are more like facilitators than servers, and stay on for decades because the cash incentive is just that good. With their newer location in the W Hotel, where the SUV set cruise in from the western 'burbs to bling it up for the weekend, it's almost as if they asked themselves how high they could jack up prices before anyone noticed: A double porterhouse is just a nickel short of a cool hondo at $99.95, and a "bludgeon of beef" $94.95. If you're more of a dainty appetite sort, have a small filet mignon at $50.95. But we like the $22.95 burger that's quite literally the size of a hubcap, but if the dramatic effect is unimportant to you, have them split it and it becomes a quite reasonable meal for two in an establishment that operates on anything but.

5. Murray's Restaurant and Cocktail Lounge

We like the strip of land on downtown's Sixth Street that we've dubbed "meat alley" with Ike's, Lyon's and Murray's neon-lit marquees and beef exhaust piping out onto the street in rich, swoon-worthy profusion. Not hungry? Stroll through here and that's soon to change. But we like Murray's best, for its vintage charms, its third-generation family ownership, its excuse to put on the wingtips and the collar stays. Though it has undergone an update, and it is indeed possible to swing through for a fairly priced steak salad or sandwich, we say go all out and do it up with the famed silver butter knife steak for two, a 28-ounce strip sirloin carved tableside. At $99, it's a downright bargain when compared to Manny's down the street.

4. Lyon's Pub

In the age of the ridiculous burger, where nothing is sacred and all things are considered a burger topping, including deep-fried gravy, hot fudge, and matzoh balls, it's good to know there is a place where right thinking reigns. The combination of lettuce, tomato, and raw onion was good enough for my grandpa, so it's good enough for me. Out of the dozen or so burgers, the wildest accompaniment you'll find are some sautéed mushrooms or maybe some barbecue sauce. But they're always cooked to juicy perfection (that's medium rare, in case there's confusion) and served on a squishy white bun. Barmen are the kinds of guys you wish were your besties, and for at least an hour, they are.

3. Fogo de Chao

Meat-loving Brazil was wise indeed to drop a churrascaria in the middle of Minnesota — for our dollar there's nothing that says value like meat, all-you-can-eat. And boy, can we ever. Toss in the theater of sword-wielding gauchos filing away at piles of flesh cooked how you want it — lamb, ribs, chicken, pork loin, steak, sausage; rare, medium, well, or bloody, and the overall effect is a confetti drop of carnage. Be sure not to tip your novice hand and order any garlic mashed potatoes or polenta — those have "sucker" stamped all over the china. Go for the meat, stay for the meat, leave with the meat sweats.

Nighthawks Cheeseburger with griddled onions, pickles, and special sauce

Nighthawks Cheeseburger with griddled onions, pickles, and special sauce

2. Burch Steak and Pizza Bar

Because good meat never goes out of style, steakhouses are sitting ducks for developing patina. And though we love these classic warhorses, sometimes an update is in order. Enter Burch, sleekly, glossily, glassily urbane, right in the eye of Uptown, but leaving all trend in the dust when it comes to the menu. Whatever your beefy pleasure and budget, it's here, from a $15 seven-ounce hangar to certified Japanese Wagyu at an eye-popping $140 for eight succulent ounces, to everything in between: local grass-fed, domestic Wagyu, prime, in every imaginable cut.

1. Butcher and the Boar

Like modern-day cavemen they gather, doffing their animal skins and donning starched, smart button-downs, khakis, Italian leather loafers, and important watches instead of stone axes and Geico guy brow ridges. The Butcher has all but replaced the steakhouse as the contemporary expense account gathering place for Men With Titles, and they gather at great round tables around $48 prime rib eye and $32 groaning plates of house-made sausages. They didn't even have to cook anything themselves over open flame, but a cigar and a scotch next to the patio fire pit for dessert has almost the same effect. You can almost hear the chest pounding.

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