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5 ways to do restaurants you thought you knew

You don't need all that meat. Share it with some friends in a group package at The W Hotel Living Room Lounge.

You don't need all that meat. Share it with some friends in a group package at The W Hotel Living Room Lounge.

Flexibility is a virtue. Savvy establishments know this and do a little shape-shifting in order to keep you interested. Five tricks from some established spots: 

A private party at the Living Room Lounge

A big old steak all to oneself isn’t the most convivial, or affordable, way to dine. The W Hotel’s Living Room lounge is offering a bit of a fix.

The “Meat and Drink” is a $400 feast designed to feed up to 10 people, including bottle service. You get a double order of shrimp cocktail, mac and cheese, loaded hash browns, applewood smoked bacon, and a double Porterhouse Steak, sliced to share.

The food comes from Manny’s Steakhouse, known for gargantuan portions.

Bottle service choices are mid-labels like Jack Daniel’s and Bacardi. Top-shelf selections are available for an upcharge. Mixers are included in the price.

Republic has always done thoughtful food. Be reminded of that during their upcoming Canteen series.

Republic has always done thoughtful food. Be reminded of that during their upcoming Canteen series.

The W Hotel Living Room Lounge

825 Marquette Ave., Minneapolis

612-597-2413

thelivingroom-prohibition.com

An affordable community dinner at the pub

Forget about long, drawn out, expensive beer dinners. Republic is crumpling that model and throwing it away.

“We’re just going to drop a lot of food and beer and walk away,” says Matty O’Relily, owner of Republic and co-mastermind of Canteen, a monthly $20 community table-style dinner where chef Kevin Kvalsten will present some ambitious menus.

“Just think creative, accessible, and affordable,” said O’Reilly. Republic will be present these monthly. The first is Thursday, February 25, at 7 p.m. Future events will feature wine, margaritas, and other libations besides beer.

Republic was one of the first serious beer bars in town, with one of the most comprehensive tap lists.

“Canteen will allow us to get it back into people’s minds that we’ve always been pretty thoughtful about food.”

O'Reilly and Kvalsten are secretive about the menus they'll be serving, in part because the guest list will be limited to just three dozen diners. They want to keep the cost low, so they won't employ any extra staff besides the two of them to pull this off.

But know that the menus will be inspired by food from all over the world, including Kvalsen's recent stint at New York's Torst, a critically acclaimed Danish restaurant and beer hall. 

For more information on upcoming dinners, call the pub or watch their Facebook and Twitter feeds. Reservations also available by calling Republic. 

Republic

221 Cedar Ave., Minneapolis

Dan Kelley's takes it outside this spring with their alley patio.

Dan Kelley's takes it outside this spring with their alley patio.

612-338-6146

republicmn.com

A French dinner in a bakery

Sweet little Mon Petit Cheri bakery in Seward is adding dinner service Thursday through Sunday, 5 p.m. to 11 p.m. They plan to stay true to their “made from scratch and non-pretentious” food, but they’re also adding French comfort food to the roster.

Classic dishes like ratatouille, cassoulet au poulet and shrimp po' boys will make up the menu, along with other comfort fare. The bakery will also be adding table service at night.

Mon Petit Cheri serves beer, wine, mimosas and sake Bloody Marys. Plated desserts will also be available in the evening.

Mon Petit Cheri Bakery & Kitchen

Davanni's has a coffee shop. It's called Coffee Bene and they're celebrating ten years in business.

Davanni's has a coffee shop. It's called Coffee Bene and they're celebrating ten years in business.

2401 E. Franklin Ave., Minneapolis

612-236-4831

mpcbakery.com

Drink in a downtown alley

Dan Kelley’s Pub is probably one of the best Irish pubs in Minneapolis, thanks to its excellent cooking and comprehensive whiskey list.

And now you can have these things outside, because in May they’ll turn their back alley into a patio.

The space is long, narrow, and intimate, and will accommodate about 50 seats. Their stretch of downtown has little in the way of outdoor dining, so put spring on the calendar for that first post-work al fresco Jameson.

Dine on French classic cooking at Mon Petit Cheri. They've recently added dinner service.

Dine on French classic cooking at Mon Petit Cheri. They've recently added dinner service.

Twinkle lights, pavers, and exposed brick will offer rustic ambiance.

Dan Kelley’s Pub

212 7th St. S., Minneapolis

612-333-2644

dankelleyspub.com 

Drink coffee at a pizzeria

Did you know Davanni’s has a coffee shop? In 2006, the classic pizzeria wanted to rent out the space adjacent to their Cleveland and Grand location. But they couldn’t find the right tenant, so they decided to do coffee too.

Coffee Bene, owned and operated by Davanni's, has been going strong for a decade now. There is a second Bene at the University of St. Thomas campus, but if you need a slice, stay true to the original.

Coffee Bene

53 Cleveland Ave. S., St. Paul

651-698-2266

coffeebene.com

Coffee Bene St. Thomas

2115 Summit Ave.

651-962-5080

coffeebene.com