It may be March, but winter is definitely not quite over. And all the better, we say. Winter can be tough in Minnesota, especially at this time of year when really, everywhere else, it's beginning to be spring. But thankfully, winter is also an amazing time to enjoy the bars and restaurants of our fair city. Here's a list of 15 reasons to love Minneapolis dining in the wintertime:
1) The Rooftop at Union: There's no better place to watch the snow fall than the fully glass-encased rooftop at Union; a plate of foie gras donuts and one of Johnny Michaels' cocktails are a bonus.
2) Lobster Corn Dogs and Hurricanes at the Smack Shack Brick n'Mortar: Once baseball season starts, the wait for a lobster roll at the newly-opened (and Twins Stadium adjacent) Smack Shack brick n' mortar is going to be unreal. So settle in with a plate of lobster corn dogs and a ginormous hurricane now, and pretend it's a sweltering day on the bayou.
3) Après-ski/snowshoe/skate/broomball/snow-shovel: Everything tastes better after a little exertion on the snow. Plus, the laws of physics state that no matter how long you were actually skiing/snowshoeing/skating/broomballing/snow-shoveling, you definitely worked off that hamburger and fries (and also definitely deserve a drink).
4) The Butcher & the Boar Winter Patio: An almost surefire way to avoid the lines at the always-packed Butcher & the Boar is to head to the restaurant's winterized patio for a beer and a housemade brat. Their monthly beer bash brings the crowds to the patio, but it also brings special releases from Surly and an hourly meat raffle.
5) The Reuben Benedict at Haute Dish and Tilia: Both of these brunch destinations have a reuben bendict on the weekend menu: at Tilia, it comes with corned beef hash croquettes; at Haute Dish, it's straight up corned beef with a pumpernickel muffin.
6) Killer Hot Cocktails: From classic hot toddies to hot sake to cocktails like Bryant Lake Bowl's Pirate's Cove (with Gosling's black seal rum, allspice dram, Hum botanical liqueur, and hot apple cider), Minneapolis has got plenty of options for killer hot cocktails.
7) Poutine: French fries + gravy + cheese curds = the Platonic ideal of winter food. Need we say more?
8) The Smoked Pepper Porter at Indeed Brewing and Northbound Smokehouse: The Hot Box, a collaboration between Indeed and Northbound, is a truly revelatory beer and the perfect libation for a snowy day.
9) Hearty Winter Food Trucks: While most Twin Cities food trucks have fled to warmer climes (or at least shut things down for the winter), a few hearty souls are still out on the streets, helping you get your street food fix with heated tents and stick-to-your ribs truck fare.
10) Andrew Zimmern's Instagram Feed: If you can't take a vacation this winter, you can at least live vicariously through Bizarre Foods host and Minnesota resident Andrew Zimmern's prolific Instagram feed, which chronicles his travels (and eats) all over the country.
11) Fish Fry Season!: It's Lent in the Twin Cities, and that means it's time to get your fish fry on. Many area churches, clubs, and restaurants offer a Friday fish fry every Friday until Easter, and many of them are all you can eat, for around $10.
12) The Pork Belly Ramen at One Two Three Sushi: Newly opened One Two Three Sushi is best known for its fresh-made rolls, but there's lots more to its menu, including a hearty pork belly ramen made with both slow-roasted pork belly and pork shoulder. The best part? You don't even have to leave the skyway.
13) The New Whiskey Menu at Marvel Bar: Although known for its cocktails, Marvel Bar has recently launched a whiskey menu, including more than 150 bottles of bourbon and scotch, and also featuring a few bottles of rye and Japanese single malts. Perfect for warming your bones on a cold winter's night.
14) The Peanut Butter-Sriracha Donut at Glam Doll Donuts: Winter may have brought us never-ending snow and weeks of freezing temps, but it also brought us peanut butter-sriracha donuts at Whittier's newly opened Glam Doll Donuts.
15) Spring Anticipation: Once the city thaws out, we'll be seeing new openings from Kim Bartmann, Doug Flicker, and Broders', to name just a few. Plus, the return of the full fleet of food trucks, and, surely, more taproom openings.