Best of Southwest 2014 winners


There is so much to love about Southwest Minneapolis! The winners of our annual Best of Southwest contest are some of the standouts. Thanks again for voting for our annual contest showcasing favorite hangouts, retailers and restaurants in our coverage area. 

Trail & Lake
Lake Harriet *

There’s something magical about Lake Harriet. Whether you want to enjoy a snack at Bread & Pickle, go sailing, meditate at the Rose Gardens, run or bike around the lake, you will leave feeling refreshed.

Don’t forget to visit Lake Harriet’s famous elf house along the walking path on the south side of the lake.

The band shell is also a popular destination for outdoor concerts and movies during the summer months.

The lake was named after Harriet Lovejoy — the wife of Colonel Henry Leavenworth, the founder of Ft. Snelling in 1819.

Linden Hills
3100 W. 43rd St. 

Tucked away in one of the city’s most popular neighborhoods, Linden Hills Park has something for everyone — baseball/softball fields, tennis and basketball courts, a totlot playground and wading pool.

There are tons of youth programs as well, including Camp Linden Lodge for preschoolers, yoga for youngsters and several athletic activities for children.

Linden Hills 

Linden Hills is one of the most charming neighborhoods in Minneapolis. Named for its abundance of Linden Trees, the neighborhood is bordered by Lake Harriet to the east and Lake Calhoun to the north. It’s become a popular spot for young families given its proximity to great schools, the Chain of Lakes and mix of eclectic retailers and neighborhood restaurants. It was once a suburb of Minneapolis, linked to the downtown area by a streetcar.

Bakery and dessert
Patisserie 46 *
4552 Grand Ave. S.

People flock to the French bakery for its delicious variety of treats: crisp, buttery croissants, hearty muffins, cookies, cakes and seasonal selections of tarts, éclairs, macaroons and petite gateaus.

And don’t forget about the ice cream and sorbet. Patisserie 46 has a wide variety of flavors ranging from grilled corn to white coffee bourbon to go along with classics like mint and raspberry.

Coffee Shop
Dunn Bros * 

Southwest is home to several Dunn Bros locations. Each coffee shop has its own unique feel and is a great spot to catch up with a friend or sneak away for a break from work.

Ed and Dan Dunn opened the first Dunn Bros in St. Paul in 1987. Now there are 80 shops in nine states around the country operated by local owners.

2803 W. 43rd St. 

There is nothing better than a lazy weekend brunch where you can linger over a cup of coffee, read the newspaper and enjoy a hearty breakfast. Zumbro in Linden Hills is a perfect destination for such an experience. The Weekender menu, served 7:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., features several standout dishes. The tough part will be deciding. Is it the Huevos Zumbrosas, Chicken Wild Rice Hash or Hardwood Smoked Bacon & Gouda Frittata? Go with a friend so you can order some items to share.

Pizzeria Lola*
5557 Xerxes Ave. S. 

This Southwest pizzeria has won many accolades and mentions in the press for its incredibly tasty pizzas. It can be tough to snag a table at this hotspot, but it’s well worth the wait.

The pizza flavors are unique and sophisticated — one even pays tribute to the pizzeria’s street. The Xerxes features sautéed spinach, sheep’s milk feta, mozzarella, kalamata olives and almonds. There are several unique toppings on Lola’s pizzas you might not find anywhere else, including Korean BBQ short ribs, eggs sunnyside and house-made kimchi, to name a few.

American Bistro
Red Cow
3624 W. 50th St. 

Red Cow has become so popular it’s already expanding to two more locations. It’s new St. Paul restaurant was set to open June 17 and there are plans for a North Loop spot as well.

The restaurant has something for everyone. There are several specialty burgers on the menu that come in all kinds of meat — elk, bison, lamb and Angus beef, among others. Veggie lovers will find plenty of options, too.

Fuji Ya*
600 W. Lake St. 

Fuji Ya never disappoints when it comes to serving up authentic Japanese cuisine. The happy hour  menu is fantastic, too. Happy hour runs 5–7 p.m., Tuesday–Friday; 9–11 p.m., Tuesday–Thursday; and 8–10 p.m., Sunday. You can pick from several appetizers (edamame, potstickers, salmon wontons, seafood pancakes and much more) for $3–$5.50. You can order several different types of sushi rolls, too, for under $10. And don’t forget to order some sake.

Chiang Mai Thai
3001 Hennepin Ave. 

An Uptown classic open since 1998, Chiang Mai Thai serves a dependably tasty pad thai — the restaurant’s No. 1 seller — and popular curry beef spring rolls. Regulars love happy hour apps like the cream cheese wontons served plain or with jalapenos.

The restaurant also throws a good summer block party called the Chiang Banger with an outdoor stage.

Chiang Mai Thai delivers by bike or via BiteSquad.

Broders’ Pasta Bar* (the restaurant), 5000 Penn Ave. S., 925-9202
Broders’ Cucina Italiana (the deli), 2308 W. 50th St., 925-3113

At 30-plus years in operation, Broders’ is a no-brainer pick for either a date night at the Pasta Bar or a quick bite across the street.

The Pasta Bar’s lush European patio, complete with wine and appetizer service, offers a painless wait to enter the tiny restaurant.

The Broders empire started with South Minneapolis couple Tom and Molly Broder, who were insistent on producing fresh pastas and fresh sauces. Their children now work in the family business as well.

4820 Chicago Ave. S.

Serving all the standards, four generations of family members have sustained the restaurant since 1971. The menu features spicy pork enchilada fillings, crisp tostadas, and tamales steamed in corn husks.

The restaurant also operates the Parkway Theater next door, as well as the Pepito’s Deli at 46th & Nicollet. Check the name plates to see which celebrities ate at your table: perhaps Cher, Jerry Seinfeld, or Tom Arnold & Roseanne Barr.

2719 Nicollet Ave. S. 

Quang is a serial “Best of Southwest” winner, and the star of the menu is the restaurant’s pho — we think it’s the reason they expanded their parking lot. The best seller is No. 503: pho thap cama, aka “the works.”

Founder “Mama Quang” previously worked as a seamstress, but her weekend cooking turned so many heads that she found herself opening a restaurant. Her children continue to work long hours at the restaurant today.

Fine-dining (tie)

Burch Steakhouse and Pizza Bar
1933 Colfax Ave. S.

Lucia’s Restaurant
1432 W. 31st St. 

Voters love both the old and the new in our fine-dining category. Lucia’s, a longtime sustainable food champion, features a small weekly-changing menu sourced through local farmers — one recent entrée featured a baked Lake Erie walleye with sorrel cream sauce.

Burch opened last year with an eye for people who don’t do steak, also serving dumplings and charred-edge pizzas. Customers have their choice of steaks listed and priced according to their farm sources.

Local Food
Wise Acre Eatery*
5401 Nicollet Ave. 

The owners’ farm in Plato, Minn. is the restaurant’s primary ingredient source, providing 80-90 percent of the food on any given day. The brunch menu is available starting at 9 a.m. seven days a week, featuring doughnut muffins, CSA hash and “back to bed” french toast with granola, yogurt and maple berry syrup.

The owners also operate Tangletown Gardens across the street, and the restaurant is accordingly adorned in foliage.**


1600 W. Lake St. 

Barbette’s chef has become a bit of a celebrity in the past year — she appeared on ABC’s “The Taste,” and the network is still posting her knockout recipe for fish and chips online.

A repeat winner in this category, Barbette is the restaurant that started it all for Kim Bartmann, the restaurateur behind Minneapolis staples like Bryant Lake Bowl.

Bartmann’s restaurants embody her values. Barbette was one of the first businesses in the county to start an organics composting program. It sells organic food. It pays employees’ health insurance. It offers happy hour specials to cyclists. And the restaurant donates money to nonprofits. Watch for the annual zero-waste Bastille Day Block Party on July 13, featuring free live music.

Darbar India Grill & Bar
1221 W. Lake St. 

Darbar uses a tandoor clay oven to cook meat, fish and a wide selection of breads in a hot, smoky fire. Our favorites at the sleek restaurant include palak paneer — cheese cubes in spinach and cream  — and bangan bhartha, which is charcoal-baked eggplant mashed and cooked with tomatoes, onions and green peas.

French Meadow
2610 Lyndale Ave. S. 

Founder Lynn Gordon started French Meadow when she couldn’t find yeast-free, additive-free products to feed her family. Nearly 30 years later, she has a menu with the meatless in mind. You’ll find vegan sausage, organic tofu scramblers, GMO-free cornmeal waffles, all-natural carrot juice, grilled tempeh reubens, lettuce wraps and veggie burgers with house-made guacamole. Many of the restaurant’s dishes can be prepared gluten-free or vegan upon request.

Wine bar
Terzo Vino Bar
2221 W. 50th St. 

It seems the Broder family can do no wrong at 50th & Penn. The new Italian wine cellar packs 1,000 bottles with a focus on the northern Piedmont region of Italy. More than 50 wines are available by the glass. A new “Porchetteria” window serves porchetta sandwiches out of the restaurant’s kitchen window.

Best Bar (tie)
Pat’s Tap
3510 Nicollet Ave. S.

George and the Dragon
813 W 50th St.

With so many great neighborhood pubs opening in Southwest lately, it should come as no surprise that voters couldn’t pick just one winner for Best Bar. This year George and the Dragon joins repeat winner Pat’s Tap.

Both bars have built devoted followings with creative, gourmet pub fare, a lively atmosphere and an extensive beer list.

Both also have developed into underrated brunch spots, with George and the Dragon offering $5 mimosas and a prime rib beef roast on Sundays and Pat’s Tap serving up 2-for-1 Bloody Mary’s from 11 a.m. until 3 p.m. on weekdays.

Best Grocery Store
Kowalski’s Markets*

Kowalski’s wins again as SWJ readers’ favorite market. The upscale chain delivers friendly service and good selection of local favorites. It also carries sushi, chicken dinners and house-baked breads for a quick meal for shoppers in need of a quick meal.

Best Record Store
Electric Fetus*2000 4th Ave. S.

Electric Fetus has anchored the corner of Franklin and 4th Avenue since 1972. Music lovers have spent countless hours flipping through the hip mix of records by local, national and international artists, band memorabilia and other, more mischievous merchandise.

Although its St. Cloud location bit the dust in May, the Minneapolis location is still going strong, along with its sister store in downtown Duluth.

Best Spa
Spalon Montage
3909 W. 49th 1/2 St. 

Sitting right on the edge of the Minneapolis/Edina border, Spalon Montage gives customers a place to relax and be pampered after hitting the shops along the 50th and France business district.

The spa offers hair, nail, skin and body care, including full menu of massage treatments from a team of certified massage therapists.

Best Salon (tie)
BANGbang Salon*
11 W 38th St.

The Chair
3255 Lyndale Ave. S.

The Chair shares this year’s Best Salon award with repeat winner BANGbang. Both Southwest salons have been lauded for having a comfortable atmosphere and a confident, knowledgeable staff, which makes a huge difference when going in for a new look. 

Best Bookstore
Magers and Quinn*
3038 Hennepin Ave.

Another perennial winner of the Best of Southwest awards, Magers and Quinn has become a Southwest institution after 20 years at its Hennepin Avenue location. Known for its massive selection and frequent readings and events, Magers and Quinn is an essential stop for any city-dwelling bookworm. 

Best Women’s Clothing
4999 France. Ave. 

It will surely give the thrifty shopper some sticker shock, but Anthropologie boasts an unparalleled collection of cute, cutting-edge clothes, shoes and accessories. It’s a must-stop for any fashion-forward woman out shopping in the 50th and France business district.

Best Men’s Clothing
3001 Hennepin Ave.

H&M has become one of the premier outfitters of the Minneapolis Man. Its casual, stylish, affordable clothing fits everyone from the Uptown Bro to the more evolved, lawn-mowing Family Man.

Best Vintage Clothing
Via’s Vintage
2408 Hennepin Ave. 

Via’s specializes in older, pre-80s clothing for ladies looking for a signature vintage look. Its well-organized layout makes it easy for loyal patrons to browse through the latest additions to its fun, eclectic collection.  

Gift Shop
821 50th St. W.
1009 W. Franklin Ave.

Something goofy, something gorgeous, a trinket or a keepsake — whatever the need, Patina delivers with their huge array of home furnishings, kitchen gadgets, novelty gifts, jewelery and more. If you find yourself in one of their two Southwest locations, allot extra time to browse their shelves as chances are you may walk away with more than one item you just couldn’t resist, whether for its delicate sentimentality or downright ridiculousness. 

Home Furnishings (tie)
Hunt & Gather*

4944 Xerxes Ave. S.

Odds N Ends
4241 Nicollet Ave. S.

Hunt & Gather is not your typical straitlaced home furnishings store. Enter only if you wish to be inundated — in an absolutely pleasant way — with used and found objects stacked floor to ceiling. If one-of-a-kind home decór is what you seek, you’re sure to find something among the objects that defy classification in their constantly evolving displays. Check their Facebook page for frequent updates and snapshots of their latest finds. 

Living up to its name, Odds N Ends boasts a fine mix of items in many styles and from many time periods. Classic antiques mingle with rugs, art and a worthwhile selection of collectibles all at reasonable prices.

Garden Supply
Sunnyside Gardens
3723 W. 44th St.

This full-service garden center has been around since 1935, and offers huge indoor and outdoor displays showcasing many plant varieties to browse. Additionally offered are garden and home furnishings, along with landscaping services, such as design and maintenance. Customers appreciate the convenient location near the 44th & France intersection and helpful, knowledgeable staff.

Antique Shop
Hunt & Gather*
4944 Xerxes Ave. S.

Also the winner for Best Home Furnishings, Hunt & Gather is a great destination for finding that offbeat, unique piece to add flair to your home.  

Art Gallery
Gallery 360*
3011 W. 50th St.

With exhibits rotating every six weeks, Gallery 360 retains a fresh atmosphere with an expertly chosen selection of both national and local artists working across many mediums. Multi-media window installations, locally-made fashion statement pieces and jewelery for sale make Gallery 360 more than just a single-purpose destination. 

2400 3rd Ave. S.

With free general admission every day of the week, and over 80,000 art objects dating back to 3000 B.C.E. a trip to the Minneapolis Institute of Arts can be an incredibly rich and immersive experience. In addition to this wealth of ancient to contemporary art the MIA hosts a large array of events for families, younger crowds and everyone in between to help ‘inspire wonder through the power of art.’ 

2951 Lyndale Ave. S.

Contemporary and classic plays grace the stage of this truly community-focused theatre in the heart of Lyn-Lake, where it has been located since its opening in 1991. Outreach and arts education programs engage community members, and critically-acclaimed productions keep loyal audiences returning to the intimate 150-seat theater.

Yoga Studio
5315 Lyndale Ave. S.

Specializing in yoga for pre- and postnatal mothers, Blooma provides a space for mothers and mothers-to-be to find empowerment, community and sense of calming energy, but as well opens their doors for a range of classes for all levels of experience, including Tots, Kids and Tweens Yoga. An additional perk: childcare is offered for many of their morning classes. 

Hardware Store
Settergren’s Ace*
2813 W. 43rd St.
5405 Penn Ave. S.

Residents turn to either of Settergren’s two Southwest locations for home and garden projects large and small, knowing they can count on quality customer service from a friendly, helpful staff. Priding themselves in their “old-fashioned” approach, employees greet customers by name when they can, lending the stores a warm sense of community. Stop by and you might just get to visit with one of their store dogs. 

Bike Shop
The Alt*
3013 Lyndale Ave. S.

Don’t worry if you’re not sure what a derailleur is, or why your bottom bracket needs replacing, the folks at the locally owned The Alt aren’t there to judge, but rather to help you get up and biking again soon. Free lifetime service accompanies any bike purchased in their store, and a good selection of bike and board accessories round out their offerings.




 **This story has been changed to remove a reference to Wise Acre’s walkup window, which no longer exists.