Mayor Chris Coleman offers insider's guide to great St. Paul eateries

St. Paul Mayor Chris Coleman is gearing up for his city to host one of the most food-tastic events in the state: the newly revamped Taste of Minnesota. While you may find the mayor lurking near the Barrio taco truck this weekend, the rest of the year he likes to visit the many unique restaurants tucked into St. Paul's diverse neighborhoods.

1. Your Invest St. Paul initiative is all about improving neighborhoods like Payne-Phalen and Frogtown. What are some of your favorite neighborhood eateries?
St. Paul neighborhoods are full of really amazing restaurants, and I am constantly finding great new places to eat. Some of my favorites are: Ngon's Vietnamese Bistro in Frogtown, Mama's Pizza on Rice Street, Strip Club Meat and Fish in Dayton's Bluff, Serlin's Café in Payne-Phalen, and Yarusso Bros. Italian Restaurant, also in the Payne-Phalen neighborhood.

2. St. Paul has a booming farmers market. What homegrown foods do you like to pick up throughout the summer?
I can't seem to keep enough basil and tomatoes in stock around my house.

3. As mayor you're a busy guy. Do you brown-bag your lunch or hit the town for lunch each day? If it's the latter, which places around City Hall do you head to?
I'm out of the office quite a bit going to and from meetings, which gives me the opportunity to eat at different restaurants throughout St. Paul during the week. For lunches on the go I enjoy frequenting Little Szechuan, Cafe Latte, or picking up something from the Mississippi Market to bring back to the office.

4. One of your key initiatives as mayor is to promote healthy and local food for residents. What achievement in that area (the number of community gardens? the Food Waste Recycling Program?) are you most proud of?
St, Paul and Ramsey County recently put together a Food and Nutrition Commission to discuss healthy and local food for our residents. We had an impressive pool of applicants including Lynne Rossetto Kasper, Lenny Russo and Hai Truong. The commission will suggest policies, share information and develop strategies to increase access to affordable and nutritious foods for St. Paul and Ramsey County residents. I was honored to be a part of creating this commission and look forward to seeing what they will do.

5. The food-focused Taste of Minnesota, which takes place in St. Paul this weekend, got a major facelift and promises more than twice as many food offerings (and new chef demonstrations) as in years past. Which new food stalls are on your must-eat list?
The Taste of Minnesota always offers such a variety of incredible foods. This year I plan on stopping by Barrio's Taco Truck.

6. If we forced you to cross the border and dine in Minneapolis, where would you head?
Al's Breakfast is a Twin Cities' staple, and I would order the whole wheat Wally Blues with maple syrup and a side of bacon.

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Ngon Bistro

799 University Ave.
St. Paul, MN 55104


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