“Don’t cha know” where the best places to eat with kids are in the Twin Cities? We do!
Lutefisk isn’t the lone staple on lake menus in Minnesota. Don’t cha know?! The Twin Cities feature some of the freshest and most contemporary food in the country, and a lot of dishes are sampled al fresco during the summer months.
Photo courtesy: Blackbird Cafe
3800 Nicollet Ave. South, Minneapolis
This corner cafe in Minneapolis caught our eye on a weekday morning when we were in search of brunch fare, specifically pancakes. Blackbird Cafe did not disappoint. The Swedish pancakes with cranberry-blueberry compote were light, fluffy, and perfectly sweet. One of my daughters also dubbed the homemade sausage as “the best in the world,” and our server agreed. There’s a book basket at the back of the restaurant for kids, and the eclectic décor gave them plenty to look at while waiting. $$$
3000 E. Calhoun Parkway, Minneapolis
Tin Fish and fish tacos - the two just go together. We rarely come to the Twin Cities in the summer without one or two stops at Tin Fish. We frequent the location at Lake Calhoun, but it’s closed in the off season. Never fear, a location in Braemar Park operates year-round in nearby Edina. Also, it offers a Cheap Date Tuesday for $35 that includes an appetizer, shared entrée, side, dessert, and carafe of wine. $$
36 W. 75th St., St. Paul
This might be a late night stop for many patrons in St.Paul, but Mickey’s Diner has been a mainstay for families for 70 years. The historic railroad dining car is open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year and is still family-owned and operated. The art deco interior is no frills, and the food is typical, yet tastier than traditional diner fare. My husband loves that you can order breakfast anytime, and my kids are fans of the old-fashioned malts. $$
4/YoYo Donuts & Coffee Bar
5757 Sanibel Dr., Minnetonka
A trip to the Twin Cities isn’t official until we have stopped at YoYo. Don’t be fooled by its strip mall appearance. This bakery boasts some of the best donuts around, and they are advertised as nut-free which is an A+ in this food allergy mom’s book. We eat YoYo for dinner with no apologies! My daughters were especially thrilled with the cream-filled additions on our last visit. $
5/Yum! Kitchen & Bakery
4000 Minnetonka Blvd., Minneapolis & 6001 Shady Oak Rd., Minnetonka
It’s mostly about the Mac & Cheese and Fancy Schmanzy Tuna Melt for us at Yum! Kitchen and Bakery. We’ve heard the Patticake (chocolate cake) and coconut cake are truly spectacular too, but if your kids are like mine, they make up their minds and stick to it. Mac & Cheese, it is! And they declare that it is truly, “yum!” $$
6/Isles Buns & Coffee
1424 W. 28th St., Minneapolis
My father-in-law introduced us to Puppy Dog Tails from Isles Buns and Coffee in the Uptown section of Minneapolis a few years ago. It was love at first lick! The sweet icing on these twists of doughy deliciousness is simply spectacular, and the amount of cinnamon and sugar is on point. Pans of Puppy Dog Tails, along with cinnamon and caramel rolls, can be ordered online in advance for family sharing… or to savor all by yourself. $
7/Agra Culture Kitchen & Press
3717 W. 50th St., Minneapolis
Fast food that’s fresh, healthy, and delicious? It’s a parent’s dream! Agra Culture serves breakfast, lunch and dinner from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. every day. If you have dietary concerns, Agra Culture cares. It offers a supersize menu with symbols to indicate if dishes are vegetarian, dairy free, paleo, gluten free, and vegan. If in doubt on what to order, try one of the breakfast bowls or Agra plates. Your body will thank you! Additional locations in Uptown and at the Minneapolis Institute of Art. $$
8/Punch Neapolitan Pizza
So, it’s always a toss up which pizza place we go to in St. Paul. Punch Pizza usually wins. Punch Pizza gives us a gourmet feel without the hours of waiting. The toppings are fresh and hearty, and the crackly crust from the wood-fired oven can’t be beat on this Neopolitan pie. $$
9/Big River Pizza
280 5th St. East, St. Paul
We give a thumbs up to newcomer Big River Pizza, also in St. Paul, for its “Minne-politan” pizza baked in a wood-fired oven. It uses local ingredients at its location in Lowertown. We especially liked the wine on tap. $$
10/Red's Savoy Pizza
For cheesy, honest pizza, we simply call the original Red’s Savoy Pizza in St. Paul and order the large Savoy House Special. It’s usually devoured in minutes. $$
114 W. Market, Bloomington, Mall of America
Everyone works up an appetite while shopping and playing at the Mall of America. It’s essential to have a place to eat in mind when you start your shopping spree here. If hearty Italian food will fuel your family, make reservations online for Tucci Benucch. It beats stopping at the food court, and it offers a quiet, relaxing atmosphere for little ones (or big ones) that need to regroup. The kids’ menu boasts a “build your own pizza” option that children will love along with an Oreo cookie sundae. $$$
Carla Corban Kath is a loon that lived in the Land of 10,000+ Lakes with her Minnesota-bred husband until she said “Uff da” to winter in the Midwest. She visits the Twin Cities with her daughters often to see her in-laws but does not eat lutefisk!
This writer received some complimentary meals for the purpose of this review. However, all opinions expressed are solely her own.