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Top 10 Places to Eat in the North Loop

House-cured meats and artisanal cheeses at Be'Wiched.
House-cured meats and artisanal cheeses at Be'Wiched.
EU Photography

As its ubiquitous, chic loft condominiums suggest, the North Loop is quickly becoming a hot spot for trendy Minneapolitans. Bordered by the new Twins Stadium to the southwest, Hennepin Avenue to the southeast, Plymouth Avenue to the northwest, and the Mississippi River to the northeast, the heart of this warehouse-district-in-metamorphosis is increasingly popular for its budding food scene, which includes a number of Best Of winners. In case you've missed all the excitement, here are our 10 favorite spots to grab a bite in the North Loop.

See also:
Top 10 late-night restaurants in the Twin Cities

Top 10 Places to Eat in the North Loop
David McCrindle

10. Runyon's 107 N. Washington Ave. Much of the renaissance of the North Loop can be attributed to the location of Target Field, and nothing goes with sports quite so well as wings and beer. Luckily, Runyon's is located just a short walk away from the home of the Twins, and it features some of the best hot wings this side of Buffalo. They come slicked with a spicy, vinegary sauce that offers a more authentic experience than your local Buffalo Wild Wings. A half order of wings with a half order of fries should be enough to fill most bellies, but ordering the full plate with a group of friends on the way to the game is the ideal experience.

9. Moose & Sadie's 212 3rd Ave. N. Moose & Sadie's has been in the North Loop for years, and transformed right along with it. When it opened up in 1991, in a part of town then better known as the Warehouse District, it was the first coffee shop around. When Birchwood Cafe alum Susan Muskat came on board as chef in 2005, it became one of the only area lunch spots serving up fare beyond tots and tacos. Today, the airy cafe remains a kind of palate cleanser between the fancier restaurants sprouting up around it, a place for a casual brunch, a working lunch, or just a quick cup of coffee from the counter. While Moose & Sadie's offers a comfortable hang-out spot and a reliable internet connection, it also serves up fresh pastries from its bakery, locally sourced ingredients, and full breakfast, lunch, and dinner menus that rotate weekly. Up this week: sweet corn polenta, roasted pork loin sandwiches, and pizza specials overflowing with seasonal veggies. Don't say this neighborhood standby can't keep up with the new kids.

Top 10 Places to Eat in the North Loop
EU Photography

8. Be'Wiched 800 Washington Ave. N. Most of the time the very idea of lunch meat is so unappealing it makes you steer clear of a deli sandwich, but at Be'Wiched on Washington, it's the main draw. All the amazingly peppery pastrami for the classic New York-style rye sandwich is house-cured; the turkey that's paired with bacon, goat cheese, and medjool dates is smoked on premises; and the tuna confit goes straight from their kitchen to a slice of focaccia with olives. Every sandwich comes with a scoop of some cold salad, like the mildly Moroccan-spiced cous cous, but their minestrone is a knockout and goes especially well with the Italian hero. Just recently, the deli added brunch and dinner service as well as a mess of creative, crave-able daily specials. If you're ever there when turducken sliders with soft quark cheese and braised ramps are on the menu, you know what to do.  

Top 10 Places to Eat in the North Loop
Rachelle Carlson

7. Black Sheep Pizza 600 Washington Ave. N. Getting a little smudge of char on your face is inevitable when you're messily digging into a slice of Black Sheep's outstanding pizza, but if you're a true blue North Looper you'll wear it like a badge of honor. The unique technique of using super hot, but virtually emission-free coal-fired ovens give the sturdy but chewy crust not only its characteristic char but also its lingering smoky quality. It's a flavor that goes well with everything from massive Italian-style meatballs, to exotic roasted oyster mushrooms, to chicken and pickled peppers, to hot salami, all of which are available toppings here. If you like something a little fresh and light with your pie, the Farmers Market salad is reliably good, whether it's a pile of shaved and dressed fennel and oranges, a melange of roasted root vegetables, or a classic caprese with sweet local cherry tomatoes.

Top 10 Places to Eat in the North Loop
Benjamin Carter Grimes

6. Smack Shack 603 Washington Ave. N. Lahbster, dahling. It's a luxury that we landlocked folks certainly know how to appreciate, and there's one place that boasts some of the best seafood in the Twin Cities. While Smack Shack started wowing eaters as a food truck, they definitely deliver the goods at their brick-and-mortar spot in the North Loop. If you're lusting after lobster, try staying traditional with the lobster boil -- always a winner -- or go modern with the mac and cheese -- served with pillowy hunks of lobster and a creamy cheese sauce that tastes like a dream. There's ample opportunity to try other seafood, too, from fried oyster po'boys on crispy baguettes and soft-shell crab rolls to the Boston Clam Chowda and steamed mussels. We suggest you make a reservation in advance since waiting near the 100-gallon steam kettle can be sweet, delicious-smelling torture... or just the thing that gets you yearning for a taste of the ocean.

Top 10 Places to Eat in the North Loop
Rachelle Carlson

5. Origami 30 N. 1st St. There's a reason that Origami nabs the big awards each year, including quite a few City Pages Best Ofs. This joint has been serving up some of the best sushi in town since 1990. Salmon, tuna, and eel rolls are easy to appreciate, while more challenging items like sea scallops and off-menu delicacies will excite those looking for a tasty adventure. Daily happy hour from 5 to 6:30 p.m. is worth checking out as well, with drink specials and plates ranging from $3 to $8.  

Top 10 Places to Eat in the North Loop
Michelle Leon and Steve Neuharth

4. Bar La Grassa 800 Washington Ave. N. The always-bustling Bar La Grassa is a North Loop mainstay for good reason. They have the trifecta of fabulous handmade pasta, perfect negronis, and high standards of service that diners look for in an Italian restaurant. James Beard award-winning chef and owner Isaac Becker, the man behind other venerable Minneapolis institutions like 112 Eatery and Burch Steakhouse, has said that he simply set out to create the kind of pasta place that he would want to frequent, a place with bold flavors, reasonable prices (especially if you go for the half portions), and an upscale yet comfortable feel. Many of BLG's dry and fresh pasta dishes have already become modern Minneapolis classics, such as the inky, briny pasta negra with sea urchin, chilies, and mussels, and the irresistibly rich paccheri with braised chicken and saffron milk. Still, the big robust cuts of meat are not to be missed, so don't shy away from the Berkshire pork or the St. Louis-style spare ribs. Unexpected options for an Italian menu? Sure. Super delicious? Absolutely.

Top 10 Places to Eat in the North Loop
Steve Neuharth

3. Haute Dish 119 Washington Ave. N. The name says it all for this restaurant at the edge of the North Loop. Haute Dish is quintessentially Minnesotan, with an artistic chef touch and a fine dining filter. Landon Schoenefeld has made quite a name for himself during his storied career, perhaps most notably the moniker "Colonel Mustard," after he doused a bartender with the yellow stuff. Aside from the antics, he routinely delights diners with dishes like his General Tso's sweetbreads, and the eponymous hot dish. With his hot dish, Schoenefeld draws on Midwestern memories of cream of something soup, but re-imagines the standby as luscious morsels of short ribs, umami-packed porcini mushrooms and "tots" that taste more like pure puffs of potato heaven, crusty edges with plush interiors. Add in a killer brunch and one of the best vegetarian tasting menus in town, and it's no wonder Haute Dish is still a hot ticket.

Top 10 Places to Eat in the North Loop
EU Photography

2. Borough/Parlour 730 Washington Ave N. These guys nailed it right out of the gate. From the moment Borough and its downstairs speakeasy, Parlour, opened, neighbors near and far have been have wooed with a heady mix of talents. The dining room walks the line between elegance and easy-going neighborhood hang-out. The food is refined without being overly fussy. The stunning yellowtail crudo, curled upon itself, is set atop an emerald sea of liquid essence of celery and cucumber laced with jalapeño heat. For a more casual meal, indulge in the burger, a contender for the best in the city and topped with gooey cheese. Downstairs Parlour serves cutting-edge cocktails, but retains the soul of a neighborhood watering hole. The bartenders there will not only remember your name, but also your preference for St-Germain over Farigoule. That they serve some food from the same kitchen upstairs means that you can enjoy more than one of those beverages.

Top 10 Places to Eat in the North Loop
Sasha Landskov

1. The Bachelor Farmer/Marvel Bar 50 Second Ave. N. The Dayton brothers changed the landscape of local dining when they opened the Bachelor Farmer. As Nordic cuisine was charming the international dining scene, we found a wealth of inspiration in our own backyard. With chef Paul Berglund behind the burners, the nation took notice of what they had cooking (earning recognition from the likes of Bon Appetit, among others). The dishes are practiced in heightening humble elements, highlighting the best of their inherent flavors. Just taste the house-cured salmon to understand, a jewel of the sea coaxed to life with pristine salty sea sweetness. It's difficult to choose between the stellar wine selection and the cocktails created by Pip Hanson. Where other bartenders work to reinvent the Manhattan, he reinvents what a cocktail is. Even those who don't love sweets will need to order one of Bachelor Farmer's deceptively humble, exquisitely flavored desserts. There isn't a bite to miss inside this North Loop gem.

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