I've lived in Minneapolis for over 9 years now and still have trouble finding dining places that I get really excited about. I'm hoping that you guys can help.
The last two weeks have taken me to Chicago and Boston and I was able to search the Chowhound boards for those cities to find great suggestions that were perfect fits for my style. I've been reading the midwest board for several years now and just don't seem to get lots of the places that get rave reviews here. I miss the type of places that I was used to in Atlanta - funky, inviting places where the emphasis was on the food, not on the scene and certainly not on the ego of the chef (or god forbid, the waitstaff.) I guess to sum it up, all I want is solid food in an unpretentious, hospitable environment.
Yesterday, (thanks to a huge line at Sea Salt and my readings on this board) I found one of those perfect fits - Birchwood Cafe. My wife, my two-year old and I all loved the place right from the start. Great food, welcoming staff and an attractive space all came together to ensure that we'll be visiting again soon (and kicking myself for not going earlier.)
The only drawback is that it's a bit of a drive from our part of south Minneapolis (near Diamond Lake.) So I'm hoping that others might have some suggestions for new spots for us to try that are closer to home.