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Where to Eat Near the U of M: 11 Best Dinkytown Eats

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The eating landscape near the University of Minnesota campus can seem like a wasteland of chain restaurant after chain restaurant, but look a little harder and there are actually lots of independent restaurants in the neighborhoods surrounding the U, offering good, quick, affordable eats for undergrads, faculty, and visitors alike. Today: where to eat and drink in Dinkytown, mapped.

Did we miss your favorite Dinkytown spot? Let us know in the comments.


Lucy Nieboer

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

1. Annie's Parlour

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313 14th Ave SE
Minneapolis, MN 55414
(612) 379-0744
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Set above the Kitty Cat Klub with a view of downtown, Annie’s exudes all the fun energy of Dinkytown without any of the drunken debacles. The simple burgers and hand-cut fries are straight out of a food-centric Norman Rockwell image, and old wooden booths and tables complete the scene. When dining with a group, split fries and one of the various milkshakes — they make the best dipping sauces.

2. Kitty Cat Klub

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313 14th Ave SE
Minneapolis, MN 55414
(612) 331-9800
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A favorite among the undergrads who shun the top 40, the Kitty Cat Klub sports as many ornate vintage couches and lamps as it does PBR tallboys. Guest DJs spin alternative tunes at popular dance nights like “Hipshaker” and “Blackout,” but every night of the week you can find a crowd on the smoker’s porch overlooking the city, sipping cheap rail drinks and Grainbelts. If the goth decor scares you away, stop by in the daylight. Happy hour is from 4-7 and offers $2 brews.

3. Shuang Cheng

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1320 4th St SE
Minneapolis, MN 55414
(612) 378-0208
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There may be zodiac placemats and lazy susans on big round tables, but Shuang Cheng isn’t your average Chinese restaurant. To really experience the breadth of this menu, you’ve got to eat family style — preferably with a large group. Convince your party to try the whole fried walleye or one of the other gargantuan seafood specialties. Check the daily specials board for the freshest stir-fried vegetables, and throw in a noodle dish or hot-pot while you’re at it. Best for: A faculty lunch

4. Mesa Pizza By The Slice

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1323 4th St SE
Minneapolis, MN 55414
(612) 436-3006
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Mesa is the pinnacle spot for post-party munchies. In the early hours of weekend mornings, long lines spill onto the sidewalk as bouncers maintain calm among the hungry crowds, who flock here for the unorthodox topping options — creamy chicken penne, spicy black bean with guacamole, and steak and fries, to name a few. Feeling overwhelmed yet? In a pinch, go for the mac n’ cheese pizza. It’s so popular that it’s kept out of sight so that it won't disappear too fast. Best for: A late night bite

5. Tony's Diner

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1327 4th St SE
Minneapolis, MN 55414
(612) 378-4730
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In the family of Dinkytown greasy spoons, Tony’s is Jan to Al’s Marcia. Often overlooked, Tony’s menu features many a hangover-busting breakfast, late-night deal, and happy hour special. The chili cheese omelet is a gooey maroon and gold plateful worth trying. After 2p.m. you can get gyros, hamburgers, and fries for $2-3, and there are 2-4-1 pints of Miller and Summit all day.

6. One Two Three Sushi

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318 14th Ave SE
Minneapolis, MN 55414
(612) 208-1341
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From the folks behind Masu Sushi and Robata, One Two Three Sushi offers a fresh seafood fix with the ease of ordering a burrito. Following the step-by-step model, sushi-lovers walk down the line first picking their rice (white or brown), then their protein (everything from fried tonkatsu to yellowfin tuna), fillings, sauces, and toppings. Also borrowed from the more upscale Masu menu are steamed buns, ramen, and rice bowls, now served casual food-court style.

7. Al's Breakfast

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413 14th Ave SE
Minneapolis, MN 55414
(612) 331-9991
With only 14 stools adjacent to a thin counter, Al’s is definitely the smallest restaurant in Dinkytown, but it packs away big breakfasts. Looking for pancakes of all varieties? Blueberry, walnut whole wheat, or all three, are all served with a steaming pat (scoop) of butter. Eggs served every style? They’ve got seasonal omelets, scrambles, poached, and fried. For the small (cash only) price you pay here, you get breakfast and a show. Watch the cast behind the counter flip your flapjacks, brown your hash, and fill your cup of joe as they call orders to each other in a space literally the size of an alley.

8. Kafe 421

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421 14th Ave SE
Minneapolis, MN 55414
(612) 623-4900
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Modest cafe fare gets a boost in presentation here, with a killer atmosphere to boot. The dimly lit Grecian-inspired bistro is fit for intimate conversations, and the food reflects the space’s comforting interior. The eggplant Milanese sandwich plays on the familiar flavors of eggplant parm in sandwich context, and the chicken chopped salad puts the classic cobb to shame with the addition of red grapes, avocados, and crispy tortilla strips.

9. Wally's Falafel & Hummus

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423 14th Avenue S.E.
Minneapolis, MN 55414
(612) 746-4776
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A simple row of wooden booths and a tiny take-out counter don’t bring much in terms of atmosphere, but eating at Wally’s feels like eating in someone’s home. This family-run joint always has a crowd behind the counter hustling to put together dolmas, soups, and other Middle Eastern specialties. For lunch or dinner, try any of the sandwich combos. The chicken shawirma packs rich marinated meats, crunchy fries, creamy garlic sauce, and zippy dill pickles into a fluffy pita pocket. Order it spicy for a kick of a tangy red sauce.

10. Pagoda

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1417 4th St SE
Minneapolis, MN 55414
(612) 378-4710
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Elegant and modern, Pagoda is minimal in everything but menu options. Featuring a plethora of Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Malaysian and Thai dishes, this menu can read more like a phone book. If you like to eat with your eyes, try the special weekend dim sum from 11a.m.-3p.m. Choices are just as abundant as ever with over 90 steamed, fried, and baked rolls, buns, tarts, congee, and small plate items all rolled up to your table on carts. Best for someone in a brunch rut

11. Baldy's BBQ

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1501 University Avenue Southeast, University of Minnesota
Minneapolis, MN 55414
(612) 345-7937
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Closing Baldy’s West Bank after a 2-year stint, Brian, “Baldy” Wheeler relocated his barbecue joint to Dinkytown this September. Gopher memorabilia fills the walls, and the lingering scent of charred, slow-roasted meat hangs in the air. They’ve got everything from brisket to ribs to chicken, all smoked in-house. Students get a sweet deal here. A soda, pulled pork or chicken sandwich, and a side (choose the crunchy, spice-coated fries) costs $6.50. Upgrade that soda to a beer for only $1.

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1. Annie's Parlour

313 14th Ave SE, Minneapolis, MN 55414
Set above the Kitty Cat Klub with a view of downtown, Annie’s exudes all the fun energy of Dinkytown without any of the drunken debacles. The simple burgers and hand-cut fries are straight out of a food-centric Norman Rockwell image, and old wooden booths and tables complete the scene. When dining with a group, split fries and one of the various milkshakes — they make the best dipping sauces.
313 14th Ave SE
Minneapolis, MN 55414

2. Kitty Cat Klub

313 14th Ave SE, Minneapolis, MN 55414
A favorite among the undergrads who shun the top 40, the Kitty Cat Klub sports as many ornate vintage couches and lamps as it does PBR tallboys. Guest DJs spin alternative tunes at popular dance nights like “Hipshaker” and “Blackout,” but every night of the week you can find a crowd on the smoker’s porch overlooking the city, sipping cheap rail drinks and Grainbelts. If the goth decor scares you away, stop by in the daylight. Happy hour is from 4-7 and offers $2 brews.
313 14th Ave SE
Minneapolis, MN 55414

3. Shuang Cheng

1320 4th St SE, Minneapolis, MN 55414
There may be zodiac placemats and lazy susans on big round tables, but Shuang Cheng isn’t your average Chinese restaurant. To really experience the breadth of this menu, you’ve got to eat family style — preferably with a large group. Convince your party to try the whole fried walleye or one of the other gargantuan seafood specialties. Check the daily specials board for the freshest stir-fried vegetables, and throw in a noodle dish or hot-pot while you’re at it. Best for: A faculty lunch
1320 4th St SE
Minneapolis, MN 55414

4. Mesa Pizza By The Slice

1323 4th St SE, Minneapolis, MN 55414
Mesa is the pinnacle spot for post-party munchies. In the early hours of weekend mornings, long lines spill onto the sidewalk as bouncers maintain calm among the hungry crowds, who flock here for the unorthodox topping options — creamy chicken penne, spicy black bean with guacamole, and steak and fries, to name a few. Feeling overwhelmed yet? In a pinch, go for the mac n’ cheese pizza. It’s so popular that it’s kept out of sight so that it won't disappear too fast. Best for: A late night bite
1323 4th St SE
Minneapolis, MN 55414

5. Tony's Diner

1327 4th St SE, Minneapolis, MN 55414
In the family of Dinkytown greasy spoons, Tony’s is Jan to Al’s Marcia. Often overlooked, Tony’s menu features many a hangover-busting breakfast, late-night deal, and happy hour special. The chili cheese omelet is a gooey maroon and gold plateful worth trying. After 2p.m. you can get gyros, hamburgers, and fries for $2-3, and there are 2-4-1 pints of Miller and Summit all day.
1327 4th St SE
Minneapolis, MN 55414

6. One Two Three Sushi

318 14th Ave SE, Minneapolis, MN 55414
From the folks behind Masu Sushi and Robata, One Two Three Sushi offers a fresh seafood fix with the ease of ordering a burrito. Following the step-by-step model, sushi-lovers walk down the line first picking their rice (white or brown), then their protein (everything from fried tonkatsu to yellowfin tuna), fillings, sauces, and toppings. Also borrowed from the more upscale Masu menu are steamed buns, ramen, and rice bowls, now served casual food-court style.
318 14th Ave SE
Minneapolis, MN 55414

7. Al's Breakfast

413 14th Ave SE, Minneapolis, MN 55414
With only 14 stools adjacent to a thin counter, Al’s is definitely the smallest restaurant in Dinkytown, but it packs away big breakfasts. Looking for pancakes of all varieties? Blueberry, walnut whole wheat, or all three, are all served with a steaming pat (scoop) of butter. Eggs served every style? They’ve got seasonal omelets, scrambles, poached, and fried. For the small (cash only) price you pay here, you get breakfast and a show. Watch the cast behind the counter flip your flapjacks, brown your hash, and fill your cup of joe as they call orders to each other in a space literally the size of an alley.
413 14th Ave SE
Minneapolis, MN 55414

8. Kafe 421

421 14th Ave SE, Minneapolis, MN 55414
Modest cafe fare gets a boost in presentation here, with a killer atmosphere to boot. The dimly lit Grecian-inspired bistro is fit for intimate conversations, and the food reflects the space’s comforting interior. The eggplant Milanese sandwich plays on the familiar flavors of eggplant parm in sandwich context, and the chicken chopped salad puts the classic cobb to shame with the addition of red grapes, avocados, and crispy tortilla strips.
421 14th Ave SE
Minneapolis, MN 55414

9. Wally's Falafel & Hummus

423 14th Avenue S.E., Minneapolis, MN 55414
A simple row of wooden booths and a tiny take-out counter don’t bring much in terms of atmosphere, but eating at Wally’s feels like eating in someone’s home. This family-run joint always has a crowd behind the counter hustling to put together dolmas, soups, and other Middle Eastern specialties. For lunch or dinner, try any of the sandwich combos. The chicken shawirma packs rich marinated meats, crunchy fries, creamy garlic sauce, and zippy dill pickles into a fluffy pita pocket. Order it spicy for a kick of a tangy red sauce.
423 14th Avenue S.E.
Minneapolis, MN 55414

10. Pagoda

1417 4th St SE, Minneapolis, MN 55414
Elegant and modern, Pagoda is minimal in everything but menu options. Featuring a plethora of Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Malaysian and Thai dishes, this menu can read more like a phone book. If you like to eat with your eyes, try the special weekend dim sum from 11a.m.-3p.m. Choices are just as abundant as ever with over 90 steamed, fried, and baked rolls, buns, tarts, congee, and small plate items all rolled up to your table on carts. Best for someone in a brunch rut
1417 4th St SE
Minneapolis, MN 55414

11. Baldy's BBQ

1501 University Avenue Southeast, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN 55414
Closing Baldy’s West Bank after a 2-year stint, Brian, “Baldy” Wheeler relocated his barbecue joint to Dinkytown this September. Gopher memorabilia fills the walls, and the lingering scent of charred, slow-roasted meat hangs in the air. They’ve got everything from brisket to ribs to chicken, all smoked in-house. Students get a sweet deal here. A soda, pulled pork or chicken sandwich, and a side (choose the crunchy, spice-coated fries) costs $6.50. Upgrade that soda to a beer for only $1.
1501 University Avenue Southeast, University of Minnesota
Minneapolis, MN 55414

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