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Kimchi grilled cheese comes with American, gruyere, and cheddar at Wise Acre Eatery.
Kimchi grilled cheese on sourdough bread at Wise Acre Eatery.
Wise Acre Eatery/official photo

12 Stellar Spots for Lunch in the Twin Cities

Midday picks for sushi, street tacos, fluffy falafel, and more

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Kimchi grilled cheese on sourdough bread at Wise Acre Eatery.
| Wise Acre Eatery/official photo

The Twin Cities is ripe with an assortment of restaurants ready to curb any craving when hunger pains strike at noon. Whether it’s aromatic pho, velvety hummus, or a cheeseburger calling, the Twin Cities has a top lunchtime option for that. Here are a dozen places worth breaking up the daytime grind for.

Health experts consider dining out to be a high-risk activity for the unvaccinated; the latest data about the delta variant indicates that it may pose a low-to-moderate risk for the vaccinated, especially in areas with substantial transmission. The latest CDC guidance is here; find a COVID-19 vaccination site here.

Note: Restaurants on this map are listed in geographically.

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

1. Que Viet Village House

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2211 Johnson St NE #3905
Minneapolis, MN 55418
(612) 781-4744
Visit Website

Que Viet’s gigantic egg rolls have earned a cult following at the Minnesota State Fair, but the adorable Northeast Minneapolis shop serves a wide variety of crave-worthy Vietnamese classics like aromatic bowls of pho, refreshing rice noodle salads, and arguably the fluffiest Egg Foo Young this side of the Mekong River. 

2. PinKU Japanese Street Food

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20 University Ave NE
Minneapolis, MN 55413
(612) 584-3167
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This street foods spot that feels straight out of Kyoto invites sushi lovers to peruse from a wooden menu hanging above a casual counter. The offerings are succinct and straightforward, but the food is top-notch. The popular crispy rice cakes with spicy tuna are divine, as are any of the colorful rolls. Pair lunch with the gorgeous PinKU Elixir, an effervescent concoction of sake, Champagne, orange liquor, pomegranate juice, and zesty lime. 

Spicy tuna sitting on top of crispy rice cakes at PinKU.
Spicy tuna crispy rice at PinKU Japanese Street Food.
PinKU Japanese Street Food/official photo

3. Bole Ethiopian Cuisine

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1341 Pascal St
St Paul, MN 55108
(651) 330-2492
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The newest rendition of the former Java Train in Como Park sends out platters of marinated vegetables, seasoned beef tartar, and slow-cooked chicken, all meant to be scooped up with tangy injera flatbread. A sprawling patio offers plenty of seats under the sun or shade, and the interior was renovated with deep, cozy shades. Not familiar with Ethiopian food? Try the Super Veggie Sampler for an introductory taste of what the cuisine has to offer. 

Bole Ethiopian Cuisine’s colorful veggie sampler.
Bole Ethiopian Cuisine’s veggie sampler comes in portions for one or two.
Bole Ethiopian Cuisine/official photo

4. Brunson's Pub

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956 Payne Ave
St Paul, MN 55130
(651) 447-2483
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This unique Payne Avenue bar pulls off being a neighborhood pub all while offering a refined menu that aims to please. There’s a crave-worthy Hoppin’ John salad, braised brisket tacos, or the “No Payne, No Gain” burger, piled high with pulled bacon, blue and American cheeses, and blackberry vidalia jam on an unexpected milk bun.

Colorful burgers lined up at Brunson’s Pub.
A lineup of burgers at Brunson’s Pub.
Brunson’s Pub/official photo

5. World Street Kitchen

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2743 Lyndale Ave S
Minneapolis, MN 55408
(612) 424-8855
Visit Website

Building on the huge success of its WSK food truck, brothers Sameh and Saed Wadi launched a brick-and-mortar version in Uptown. Globe-trotting come in a variety of vessels like bowls, wraps, and tacos. Every meal here should start with its iconic Turk hummus, a velvety app topped with shiny streams of caramelized paprika butter, sprinkled with za’atar, and crispy chickpeas served with pillowy pita bread. Stop by Milkjam Creamery, the brothers’ epic ice cream shop next door for dessert.

A fried fish sandwich and chips at WSK.
A fish sandwich at WSK.
WSK/official photo

6. The Buttered Tin

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237 7th St E
St Paul, MN 55101
(651) 224-2300
Visit Website

Breakfast for lunch is always a good idea, especially when the dish is a daily preparation of soft scrambled eggs at Buttered Tin. For more traditional lunchtime cravings, the tarragon lemon shrimp roll is not to be missed. Definitely save room for dessert; it’s a tough choice between cupcakes, hand pies, or Lowertown Twinkeys. Buttered Tin is slated to open a second location in Northeast Minneapolis this fall. 

Buttered Tin offers patio seating out front.
The brick-lined facade at Buttered Tin.
Buttered Tin/official photo

7. Longfellow Grill

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2990 W River Pkwy
Minneapolis, MN 55406
(612) 721-2711
Visit Website

From the Blue Plate family of restaurants, Longfellow Grill serves homey, casual American fare in a vibrant and friendly setting. Service is always exceptional and the menu is vast. From steak and pierogis to Nashville fried chicken to a plate of smothered chilaquiles with a kick, there’s options for every palate. Kids’ meals are served on adorable plastic trays harking back to simpler times, while adults can partake in a lunch time cocktail or two. Win win. 

A Deluxe burger at Longfellow Grill comes piled high with candied bacon and crispy onion strings.
The Deluxe burger features a 7-oz. ground beef patty, Wisconsin cheddar, candied bacon, and crispy onion strings between an egg bun.
Longfellow Grill/official photo

8. Brim

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2919 Knox Ave S
Minneapolis, MN 55408
(612) 261-0506
Visit Website

Just a scone’s throw away from the shores of Lake Bde Maka Ska, Brim boasts a healthful menu that does not skimp on indulgence. The entire menu is gluten free and mostly organic, with options ranging from sandwiches to signature bowls to enticing desserts and smoothies. There’s also plenty of grass-fed beef options, plus a beer and wine menu.

Colorful bowls are packed with egg and avocado at Brim.
A bevy of lunchtime options at Brim.
Brim/official photo

9. Stella Belle kitchen and Bakery

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325 7th St W
St Paul, MN 55102
(651) 508-1654
Visit Website

Beloved St. Paul coffee shop Café Astoria expanded next door with the birth of a sister cafe called Stella Belle. Along with playful riffs on Mediterranean classics like cacio e pepe eggs, there’s sandwiches, wraps, salads, and bowls in a dizzying variety of flavor combinations. Find fresh juices and enticing pastries here, too.

10. Shish

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1668 Grand Ave
St Paul, MN 55105
(651) 690-2212
Visit Website

The bustling Macalester College campus houses this counter service-styled destination for heaping plates of hummus, sliced gyro meat, fluffy falafel, fresh salads, and dreamy saffron-cardamon. But the Mediterranean cafe is secretly known for its massive array of cakes and desserts that pair beautifully with aromatic Turkish coffees to help regulars get back to work or school.

11. El Burrito Mercado

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175 Cesar Chavez St
St Paul, MN 55107
(651) 227-2192
Visit Website

What began as a humble purveyor of Mexican staples like tortillas and masa has expanded to include a full sit-down restaurant and casual, cafeteria-style cafe. Enjoy a margarita with lunch at the restaurant, line up at the counter for lighting-fast service, or grab a prepared hot meal at the deli. Seating areas surrounded with colorful and welcoming decor handmade by Mexican artisans add an extra transportive touch.

El Burrito Mercado’s lunchtime offerings include meats and rice.
El Burrito Mercado offers a flavorful Mexican menu for lunch.
El Burrito Mercado/official photo

12. Wise Acre Eatery

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5401 Nicollet Ave
Minneapolis, MN 55419
(612) 354-2577
Visit Website

The owners’ farming roots shine in the thoughtfully curated menu at their Minneapolis restaurant, a large portion of which is sourced directly from the Wise Acre farm in Plato, Minnesota. Tucked into the cafe is the newly added market and deli with a cornucopia of farm fresh items like eggs, frozen meats, and seasonal produce, as well as local products like Five Watt coffee, Bakers Field flour and breads, and Bare Honey. Pick up a quart of soup or some jambalaya to enjoy at home as the temperatures continue to drop.

Chili in a white bowl
A bowl of chili at Wise Acre Eatery.
Wise Acre Eatery/official photo

1. Que Viet Village House

2211 Johnson St NE #3905, Minneapolis, MN 55418

Que Viet’s gigantic egg rolls have earned a cult following at the Minnesota State Fair, but the adorable Northeast Minneapolis shop serves a wide variety of crave-worthy Vietnamese classics like aromatic bowls of pho, refreshing rice noodle salads, and arguably the fluffiest Egg Foo Young this side of the Mekong River. 

2211 Johnson St NE #3905
Minneapolis, MN 55418

2. PinKU Japanese Street Food

20 University Ave NE, Minneapolis, MN 55413
Spicy tuna sitting on top of crispy rice cakes at PinKU.
Spicy tuna crispy rice at PinKU Japanese Street Food.
PinKU Japanese Street Food/official photo

This street foods spot that feels straight out of Kyoto invites sushi lovers to peruse from a wooden menu hanging above a casual counter. The offerings are succinct and straightforward, but the food is top-notch. The popular crispy rice cakes with spicy tuna are divine, as are any of the colorful rolls. Pair lunch with the gorgeous PinKU Elixir, an effervescent concoction of sake, Champagne, orange liquor, pomegranate juice, and zesty lime. 

20 University Ave NE
Minneapolis, MN 55413

3. Bole Ethiopian Cuisine

1341 Pascal St, St Paul, MN 55108
Bole Ethiopian Cuisine’s colorful veggie sampler.
Bole Ethiopian Cuisine’s veggie sampler comes in portions for one or two.
Bole Ethiopian Cuisine/official photo

The newest rendition of the former Java Train in Como Park sends out platters of marinated vegetables, seasoned beef tartar, and slow-cooked chicken, all meant to be scooped up with tangy injera flatbread. A sprawling patio offers plenty of seats under the sun or shade, and the interior was renovated with deep, cozy shades. Not familiar with Ethiopian food? Try the Super Veggie Sampler for an introductory taste of what the cuisine has to offer. 

1341 Pascal St
St Paul, MN 55108

4. Brunson's Pub

956 Payne Ave, St Paul, MN 55130
Colorful burgers lined up at Brunson’s Pub.
A lineup of burgers at Brunson’s Pub.
Brunson’s Pub/official photo

This unique Payne Avenue bar pulls off being a neighborhood pub all while offering a refined menu that aims to please. There’s a crave-worthy Hoppin’ John salad, braised brisket tacos, or the “No Payne, No Gain” burger, piled high with pulled bacon, blue and American cheeses, and blackberry vidalia jam on an unexpected milk bun.

956 Payne Ave
St Paul, MN 55130

5. World Street Kitchen

2743 Lyndale Ave S, Minneapolis, MN 55408
A fried fish sandwich and chips at WSK.
A fish sandwich at WSK.
WSK/official photo

Building on the huge success of its WSK food truck, brothers Sameh and Saed Wadi launched a brick-and-mortar version in Uptown. Globe-trotting come in a variety of vessels like bowls, wraps, and tacos. Every meal here should start with its iconic Turk hummus, a velvety app topped with shiny streams of caramelized paprika butter, sprinkled with za’atar, and crispy chickpeas served with pillowy pita bread. Stop by Milkjam Creamery, the brothers’ epic ice cream shop next door for dessert.

2743 Lyndale Ave S
Minneapolis, MN 55408

6. The Buttered Tin

237 7th St E, St Paul, MN 55101
Buttered Tin offers patio seating out front.
The brick-lined facade at Buttered Tin.
Buttered Tin/official photo

Breakfast for lunch is always a good idea, especially when the dish is a daily preparation of soft scrambled eggs at Buttered Tin. For more traditional lunchtime cravings, the tarragon lemon shrimp roll is not to be missed. Definitely save room for dessert; it’s a tough choice between cupcakes, hand pies, or Lowertown Twinkeys. Buttered Tin is slated to open a second location in Northeast Minneapolis this fall. 

237 7th St E
St Paul, MN 55101

7. Longfellow Grill

2990 W River Pkwy, Minneapolis, MN 55406
A Deluxe burger at Longfellow Grill comes piled high with candied bacon and crispy onion strings.
The Deluxe burger features a 7-oz. ground beef patty, Wisconsin cheddar, candied bacon, and crispy onion strings between an egg bun.
Longfellow Grill/official photo

From the Blue Plate family of restaurants, Longfellow Grill serves homey, casual American fare in a vibrant and friendly setting. Service is always exceptional and the menu is vast. From steak and pierogis to Nashville fried chicken to a plate of smothered chilaquiles with a kick, there’s options for every palate. Kids’ meals are served on adorable plastic trays harking back to simpler times, while adults can partake in a lunch time cocktail or two. Win win. 

2990 W River Pkwy
Minneapolis, MN 55406

8. Brim

2919 Knox Ave S, Minneapolis, MN 55408
Colorful bowls are packed with egg and avocado at Brim.
A bevy of lunchtime options at Brim.
Brim/official photo

Just a scone’s throw away from the shores of Lake Bde Maka Ska, Brim boasts a healthful menu that does not skimp on indulgence. The entire menu is gluten free and mostly organic, with options ranging from sandwiches to signature bowls to enticing desserts and smoothies. There’s also plenty of grass-fed beef options, plus a beer and wine menu.

2919 Knox Ave S
Minneapolis, MN 55408

9. Stella Belle kitchen and Bakery

325 7th St W, St Paul, MN 55102

Beloved St. Paul coffee shop Café Astoria expanded next door with the birth of a sister cafe called Stella Belle. Along with playful riffs on Mediterranean classics like cacio e pepe eggs, there’s sandwiches, wraps, salads, and bowls in a dizzying variety of flavor combinations. Find fresh juices and enticing pastries here, too.

325 7th St W
St Paul, MN 55102

10. Shish

1668 Grand Ave, St Paul, MN 55105

The bustling Macalester College campus houses this counter service-styled destination for heaping plates of hummus, sliced gyro meat, fluffy falafel, fresh salads, and dreamy saffron-cardamon. But the Mediterranean cafe is secretly known for its massive array of cakes and desserts that pair beautifully with aromatic Turkish coffees to help regulars get back to work or school.

1668 Grand Ave
St Paul, MN 55105

11. El Burrito Mercado

175 Cesar Chavez St, St Paul, MN 55107
El Burrito Mercado’s lunchtime offerings include meats and rice.
El Burrito Mercado offers a flavorful Mexican menu for lunch.
El Burrito Mercado/official photo

What began as a humble purveyor of Mexican staples like tortillas and masa has expanded to include a full sit-down restaurant and casual, cafeteria-style cafe. Enjoy a margarita with lunch at the restaurant, line up at the counter for lighting-fast service, or grab a prepared hot meal at the deli. Seating areas surrounded with colorful and welcoming decor handmade by Mexican artisans add an extra transportive touch.

175 Cesar Chavez St
St Paul, MN 55107

12. Wise Acre Eatery

5401 Nicollet Ave, Minneapolis, MN 55419
Chili in a white bowl
A bowl of chili at Wise Acre Eatery.
Wise Acre Eatery/official photo

The owners’ farming roots shine in the thoughtfully curated menu at their Minneapolis restaurant, a large portion of which is sourced directly from the Wise Acre farm in Plato, Minnesota. Tucked into the cafe is the newly added market and deli with a cornucopia of farm fresh items like eggs, frozen meats, and seasonal produce, as well as local products like Five Watt coffee, Bakers Field flour and breads, and Bare Honey. Pick up a quart of soup or some jambalaya to enjoy at home as the temperatures continue to drop.

5401 Nicollet Ave
Minneapolis, MN 55419

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