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Best Twin Cities takeout spots you haven't tried yet

Taco pizza: because you can.

Taco pizza: because you can.

If by now you haven't got your favorite takeout place on speed dial, or if Bitesquad is still an enigma — or if you've got hoary hordes, uncouth and indecisive and hangry, descending upon your domicile, we got you.

Here are our five favorite takeout spots you haven't yet considered:

Footlong Burritos and Hubcap-Sized Tortas from El Taco Riendo

Did you know El Taco Riendo offers a footlong burrito? It is in fact larger than a football. They also sell a torta roughly the size and shape of a birthday cake. For $14: crusty bread envelops slow-roasted pork leg, refried beans, queso fresco, chipotle mayo, and veggies. It may very well be the very cleverest way to feed a crowd. El Taco Riendo, in their infinite tastiness and wisdom, also offers the following by the pound (by the pound!): rice, beans, salsa, pico and delicious Mexican braised beef, chicken and pork. Takeout.

El Taco Riendo
2412 Central Ave. NE, Minneapolis
612-781-3000
eltaco-riendo.com

Fried Chicken Dinners From The Coop

What KFC wishes it could be. St. Paul's best kept secret, where buckets of "Winner Winner Chicken Dinners" go for just a few dollars a head, in endless combinations of bird plus accompaniments including fries, wedges, mashed potatoes and gravy, slaw, and dinner rolls. Potatoes are the satisfyingly smooth puree of childhood memories. Their attendant gravy's the hot molten lava that will obliterate the roof of your mouth if caution isn't taken. Slaw is real and obviously cut fresh daily, and buns are pleasingly squishy vehicles for sopping. Not just this, but also Coney Island dogs, fried fish dinners, ribs, and even burgers. The poultry is broasted, so it's many of the things you like about fried, only it travels well in takeout boxes big enough for a layer cake. They've been doing this since 1963, and they specialize in big spreads for big crowds. Takeout.

The Coop
157 3rd Ave. S.
South St. Paul
651-455-7566
thecooprestaurant.net

Banh Mi, Pho and Little Fried Asian Things from the Lotus

You already know that the Lotus is one of the longest-standing local Vietnamese restaurants at more than 25 years in business, but what you may not know is that they've significantly upped their noodle and banh mi game. Pho comes in these convenient disposable bowls with the noodles, herbs, chiles, and bean sprouts already packed prettily inside, ready to receive a hot blast of broth and meat. This maneuver activates them into spot-on slurping texture and temperature. A large goes for $7.99. Banh mi are under $5 and huge — buy a bunch, hack them up, and let the group of hounds you call your friends have at them. Their Imperial egg rolls are delicious — thin, cigar-like things more crunch than anything. In fact, the entire gamut of little fried Asian things go for under $5 an order: chicken wings, butterfly shrimp, cream cheese wontons, potstickers, and more. The Grant and Lasalle location is nothing short of a takeout paragon — nobody does it swifter.

The Lotus
113 W. Grant St., Minneapolis
612-870-1218
thelotusrestaurant.com

DIY (kinda) at St. Paul Meat Shop

Do you have a little (but not that big) DIY streak? Then this is what you do. Head over to St. Paul Meat Shop whole-animal butchershop and gather supplies. They do incredible handmade tube meats of all sorts including handmade hot dogs, boudin blanc, and bunches of sausages. Grill them, fry them, bake them, boil them — you pick. Then, tuck in a bun. But don't call it good just yet: their freezer is stocked with pans of scratch-made family-sized sides like mac and cheese, handmade tater tots, mashed potatoes, and gravy, long garlic breads slathered with garlic butter, smoked potato salads, and lots more. On some occasions, they even sell scratch-made pie. PIE!

St. Paul Meat Shop
1674 Grand Ave., St. Paul
651- 698-2536
stpaulmeatshop.com

Pizza, Chicken, and Ridiculousness at Boss Chicken & Pizza

Chicken and pizza could have only become so inextricably linked thanks to indecisiveness and the resultant ruckus when one person's desires trump another's. Because really, if you're having pizza, does one really need an appetizer of wings? To avoid this ruckus, go to Boss Pizza and Chicken, for it is a place where bacon cheeseburger pizza meets jalapeno hot wings; where chicken bacon ranch calzones can come together with something called "rancheroni." You can order it all, with extra sauce, and the guy on the other end of the phone will take you completely seriously. Order online for seriously big groups: Looking for 14 pounds of mashed potatoes and gravy? They got that.

Boss Pizza and Chicken
5501 34th Ave, S., Minneapolis
612-727-2677
bosspizzaandchicken.com