In recent months, Minneapolis is finding a place on all sorts of "Top Biking Cities" lists; see Travel Channel, Bicycling and Copenhagenize. For those that bike frequently, it comes as no surprise. Join me for an unbeatable day exploring some great Twin Cities neighborhoods on a two-wheeler. First stop: Northeast Minneapolis.
I start the morning by making my way north on Central Avenue. Breezing down the hill past Spyhouse, a local favorite warehouse turned coffee shop, and Ideal Diner, I'm followed by wafts of greasy burgers and a fresh oats from General Mills. To prepare for an entire day of biking and eating, I’m headed to Aki’s BreadHaus, located at the intersection of Central and Lowry, for fresh and chewy German pastries. Aki’s head baker and owner, Joachim ‘Aki’ Berndt lived in Berlin, Germany’s capital and biggest city, for over 30 years before moving to the United States in 2000. Soon after,he started his baking business where he sells the most delicious pretzels, slightly tangy sourdough boules and subtly sweet breakfast pastries.
I order a streusel, with fruit toppings nestled in soft pillows of dough. They also offer cinnamon walnut rolls and cinnamon-sugar sticks if those are more your style.
(Bike need a tune-up? Recovery Bike Shop is right next door to Aki’s, so you can get that tune-up or sign up for a class to learn about taking care of your trusty steed.)
My preference is to take my goodies to-go and pair them with a cappuccino at Mojo Coffee Gallery.
From Aki’s, I take a right on Lowry and a left on NE California St. It takes less than 10 minutes and, after seeing the sign for California Street Farm, I know I’m there. Mojo Coffee Gallery boasts lofted ceilings, wood floors and a ceramic mug and pottery gallery. It also has an awesome work vibe coffee shop. Browse and/or support talented local artists and check out their diminutive, tiered outdoor patio.
After filling up on German-style pastries, coffee and art, I enjoy a leisurely ride off the main thoroughfare, heading South on 2nd Street NE towards Boom Island Park. It takes about ten minutes to reach Dickman Park, a good place to lock up the bike. It’s a perfect stroll through green grasses to the well-Instagrammed Boom Island bridge. On a sunny day, I like to lay a blanket down and read on the grass, or lose myself gazing out at the Mississippi’s brown/ green waters.
After visiting Boom Island Park, my stomach is rumbling. There are tons of places within reach and it’s always a struggle to decide where to go. Do I want a wood-fired pizza from Element Pizza on Broadway? Maybe a substantial carnitas chimichanga from El Taco Riendo on Central? Or there’s Brasa Premium Rotisserie which is consistently delicious. In the end, I head to Kramarczuk’s for the cabbage rolls extraordinaire: steaming, savory cabbage-wrapped-beef-and-pork-rolls slathered with tangy tomato cream sauce.
After that satisfying lunch, I’m feeling fully prepared for the best ‘choose your own adventure style’ adult beverage tour in Northeast. There are multiple breweries in Northeast within a manageable radius, (612Brew, Bauhaus Brew Labs, Indeed Brewing to name a few) as well as a craft cider brewery and newly opened distillery. I like to follow an order similar to the list below, ending at my favorite brewery, Dangerous Man. That being said, this is time to pick, choose and create a tour catered to your preferences
Just make sure you have a full stomach and get your fair share of water during the circuit before imbibing.
Depending on your penchant for adult beverages, it will most likely be dinnertime by the time you’ve hit up the last place on your list. If Dangerous Man was your last stop, like mine, have someone save your table and run over to Anchor Fish & Chips for dinner. I like to bring my hot British fare back to the brewery and hang out, enjoying the classic pairing of crispy fried fish, hot potatoes and cold brew.
The day was energizing and I’m ready to take an easygoing ride over the Lowry Avenue Bridge. When it’s lit up at night, the bridge’s luminous arch frames the Minneapolis skyline. If the night is mild and I’m not ready to head home, I’ll either catch a movie in the park, dance into the morning at The Front (15 4th St NE), or awkwardly watch and rarely participate in karaoke at Vegas Lounge (965 Central Ave NE).
- by Devan Grimsrud