5. Caesar Salad at Pizzeria Lola
We’ve said it before and we’re saying it again: There’s a special place in hell for people who call a salad a Caesar, and then present something else. A Caesar salad is egg, lemon, anchovies, Parmesan cheese, and olive oil massaged mercilessly into sturdy Romaine lettuce. It is only these things. Pizzeria Lola gets that, and presents the noble salad as the classic it is, with yet more bountiful shavings of Parm piled sky-high. This is one of the best in town, hands down.
5557 Xerxes Ave. S., Minneapolis
4. Jerk Pork on Coco Bread from Pimento Jamaican Kitchen
Pimento’s soul-satisfying, fragrant braised meats over rice and served with plantains and slaw are the star of its counter service restaurants, but keep a lookout for sandwich specials. The jerk pork is also served with plantains and slaw, but it's piled on lightly sweet coco bread. This makes for a whole new perspective on the dish. Plus, you can eat it on the move.
2524 Nicollet Ave., Minneapolis
1178 Burnsville Center, Burnsville
3. The Lil’ Buddy at Band Box Diner
No longer will you need to make the age-old, distressing choice between sweet and savory at breakfast. The Lil’ Buddy makes it for you, arriving as a standard breakfast sandwich (sausage, egg, American cheese) but in place of bread a couple of textbook-perfect pancakes provide the book-ends. It even comes pre-syruped, so all you gotta do is dig in.
729 S. 10th St., Minneapolis
2. Fried Baloney Sandwich and French Onion Soup at The Draft Horse
Could these be America’s most painstakingly made sandwiches? The Draft Horse is the restaurant attached to Food Building, which is ground zero for the handmade meats of Red Table, the handmade cheeses of Lone Grazer, and handmade breads of Baker’s Field. All of these things of course come together to create a sandwich that is like none other. The soup ain’t bad either (actually, it’s great).
117 14th Ave. NE., Minneapolis
1. Breakfast Mac-n-Cheese at Hi-Lo Diner
A diner is a magical place where social norms are sloughed off in favor of breakfast all day and chocolate malts whenever you damn well please. At Hi-Lo, you can even eat macaroni and cheese for breakfast because theirs comes with bacon, maple-sage sausage, roasted red peppers, and a biscuit topping. The result is satisfyingly creamy, savory, and filling -- what Hamburger Helper wishes it could be. You'll be so focused on this, you might not even notice the adorable little side salad riding shotgun. When you do, you'll feel virtuous for the bit of green. Then you'll return to lick the mac-and-cheese crock clean.
4020 E. Lake St., Minneapolis