The other day, Racket did a prompt tweet. Sorry. (It will happen again someday. Sorry in advance.)
Your answers stretched beyond the pandemic years, some well back into the 20th century. (Oh, and some of you didn’t read the story and just tweeted about restaurants we already mentioned. We’re not mad—but we noticed.)
The conversation was unexpectedly moving, stirring up nostalgia for restaurants that disappeared long ago, or just this year, and it seemed worth documentation. So here’s a list of some of the most frequently cited spots, plus a couple mentions that struck sentimental chords for us.
Bachelor Farmer and Marvel Bar
The Dayton Bros called it quits early in the pandemic, shuttering their celebrated North Loop restaurant and its much-prized basement bar. They have since moved on to other ventures, as the wealthy will do.
Burch Steak & Pizza
The Franklin & Hennepin establishment was all things to all people, or at least a lot of things to a lot of people: a place for a hearty meal, a post-bar snack, or to hang with regulars. As other restaurants slowly reopened in 2021, Burch just… never did, and it closed for good in February. If they can’t make a comeback, maybe they can reopen the pharmacy?
Cathay Chow Mein
Known for its distinctive old-school sign and its just as old-school Chinese food, Cathay fed generations of south Minneapolis kids with its titular chow mein. It shut down after a fire in 2020, and now even the sign is gone.
Though we didn’t do an official tally, this Uptown hangout, which anchored C*****n S****e for 25 years, was noticeably mentioned the most. The location was prime, the happy hour was supremely popular, the late nights were sloppy, and the food was… fine, I guess? The owners tried to make it over (twice) to no avail, and a suburban revamp just didn’t have the same magic. So maybe you don’t want Figlio to come back, you just want to be 23 again.
The two Lincoln Delicatessens were historically the heart of the St. Louis Park Jewish community, and there’s nothing we could say about them here that you can’t learn from this very active Facebook group. But though the Lincoln Del may never return, in 2017 the owners’ granddaughter Wendi Zelkin Rosenstein published a cookbook revealing the family’s secrets.
Nobody ever said this was the best Mexican food in Minneapolis, or at least they never said it sober. But who doesn’t miss the post-bar ritual of carb-loading at Little T’s and drawing on the tablecloths with crayons till it closed at 3 a.m.? This online review says it best: “They’ll ask you, ‘Fried or dry chips?’ The dried are already fried, and the fried are those same chips re-dunked in the fryer and loaded with oil. Both are great, but you make the decision.”
Moose & Sadies
Since back before the Warehouse District was rebranded as the North Loop, this combo of coffee shop and lunch joint was the ideal place for a casual business meeting or to grab a quick bite. It’s an area that needs a spot like that.
Strip Club Meat & Fish
We haven’t forgotten you, St. Paul. Tim Niver and JD Fratzke brought grass-fed beef and craft cocktails to the East Side in 2008, and, after about a decade, they moved along—but not before spurring a revitalization of the city’s restaurant scene.
This only got one mention, but it’s such a personal sentimental favorite I had to include it. When I first moved to Minneapolis in 1997, this Mexican spot, located on 26th Street where the hoity Eat Street Social now resides, was the worst-kept secret hipster hangout in town. It got so popular that the owners overhauled the restaurant and redid the menu—and it somehow got instantly worse. And now it’s gone.