Best of Southwest 2012

Here are the winners of our fourth annual Best of Southwest contest. Thanks to all who voted! If you want to share feedback on the winners or point out other favorite places in southwest, post on our Facebook page at or tweet us @swjournal. 

* indicates 2011 winner

Trail and Lake

Lake Harriet *

Walking, biking, swimming, paddling, eating — you can do it all at Lake Harriet. 

Less crowded than Lake Calhoun but featuring more public activities than Lake of the Isles, Lake Harriet’s loop is the perfect choice for nearly all recreational activities. Of course, you don’t need to be a fitness buff to enjoy Lake Harriet. Grab some food from Bread & Pickle, plop down on a bench and just soak it all in. 

While each Southwest lake has its own unique character, readers again agree that Lake Harriet is special. Its peaceful but lively path is perfect for family strolls, bike rides, rollerblading or a brisk run, and the bandshell, as always, features live music as part of their summer concert series.  


Linden Hills Park *

Linden Hills Park is located a few blocks west of Lake Harriet on West 42nd Street between Xerxes and Zenith avenues. The park site was acquired in 1921. Like the neighborhood, it’s named for the area’s linden trees. The park has everything one would want in a neighborhood park — baseball and softball fields, basketball and tennis courts, wading pool, outdoor ice rinks during the wintertime and a recreation center. 

3100 W. 43rd St.


Bakery and Dessert

Patisserie 46 *

Owner John Kraus is an artist and baker of the highest order. It took him just two years after opening his bakery at 46th and Grand to become the best place for sweets in the Twin Cities. He wins our award for both best bakery and best dessert place. His scones, croissants and cakes are to die for, but he also makes some of the best ice cream around town. Not a sweet tooth? Patisserie 46 also offers a wide selection of breads and a small lunch menu. 

4552 Grand Ave. S.




The Kingfield Neighborhood is bordered by Stevens Avenue on the east, Lyndale on the west, 36th Street on the northern boundary and 46th Street on the west. It’s known for being a friendly neighborhood with residents passionate about community and independent businesses. It has a thriving farmers market, restaurant scene, community garden and other successful small businesses.

Coffee Shop


When is a coffee house no longer a coffee house? Anodyne Coffeehouse may have crossed the line. After all, it serves breakfast lunch and dinner, all based around ingredients sourced from local farms and co-ops. The food is stellar, too — try the tuna melt and you’ll know what we’re talking about. And then there’s the coffee. Well, it’s great too, made hot and fresh from locally roasted beans. So is Anodyne a coffee shop or is it something more? Honestly, who cares? Either way, it’s great. 

4301 Nicollet Ave.


American Bistro

Blackbird *

Blackbird has recently extended its hours. It’s now open 8 a.m.–midnight, Monday through Saturday. The breakfast menu has several creative egg dishes, such as the Norske Scrambler (scrambled eggs with smoked salmon, dish and crème fraiche) and the Colleen Obrien (rancheros with house-made chorizo and avocado). Lunch and dinner menu highlights include cauliflower flatbread, crispy duck rolls, hoisin pork buns, spicy peanut noodles, the walleye po’boy and grilled pork chop. 

3800 Nicollet Ave. S.


Breakfast (Tie)

Zumbro Café *

The Zumbro Café has been serving up delicious meals made from scratch for two decades. The Linden Hills eatery is known for its breakfast menu. Highlights include chicken wild rice hash, Huevos Zumbrosos and teddy bear pancakes.

2803 W. 43rd St.


Victor’s 1959 Café

It’s a tight squeeze at Victor’s in Kingfield, but the dishes are worth the wait at this popular Cuban restaurant. The mango pancakes are a customer favorite. Other breakfast highlights with special Latin flavors include the sweet plaintain omelette and yuca and eggs. 

3756 Grand Ave. S.



Pizzeria Lola

There’s a reason for the usual wait for a table at new neighborhood favorite Pizzeria Lola. Residents line up for the beautiful, handcrafted and delicious pizzas that are pulled from the large wood-burning oven in the center of the restaurant. A photo booth at the back produces the pictures that line one long wall in the restaurant — the happy, smiling faces of satisfied customers. 

5557 Xerxes Ave S.



Fuji Ya *

Fuji Ya was the state’s first Japanese restaurant when it opened on the riverfront in downtown Minneapolis. Now it has locations in Uptown and St. Paul. Fuji Ya has an extensive menu with tons of options for sushi rolls, appetizers, specialty drinks (sake and a variety of other wines) and other dinner options.

600 W. Lake St.



Roat Osha

Being the best Thai restaurant in Southwest Minneapolis is a bit like being the best baseball player for the New York Yankees. The competition is stiff. We like our spice. Roat Osha opened only a few years ago, but it’s quickly become an Uptown favorite. The name means “Food for a King,” and we can all be kings with the elegant décor, delicious noodles and affordable prices. 

2650 Hennepin Ave. S.


Mexican Restaurant

Pepito’s *

Over the last 40 years, Pepito’s has grown into a three-restaurant chain complete with its own movie theater/event center. The menu at all three ranges from standard Mexican fare to more exotic options like Azteca sandwiches, with plenty of Tex-Mex options thrown in for good measure. Just make sure you arrive with an empty stomach, because this isn’t a place for moderation.  

Nicollet Shop Mall, 46th & Nicollet


Italian Restaurant

Broders’ *

Holy pasta. Broders’ knows how to make a great dish and create a fun atmosphere. Sit at the pasta bar and watch the chef craft your dinner. Order a carafe of wine. Smell the fresh ingredients and the simmering sauces. Broders’ has rotating dishes on its menu to fit the season, but also keeps customer favorites. Plus, it’s got one of the more underrated patios in the city.  

5000 Penn Ave. S.


Vietnamese Restaurant

Quang *

Quang is a must-visit dining destination for pho lovers. The menu has several pho (Vietnamese soup) options. They are served with a side of bean sprouts, jalapeños, lime wedges and basil. One of the more popular soups is No. 503 on the menu — pho thap cam. It’s a beef noodle soup with sliced beef, brisket, tripe and meatballs. 

2719 Nicollet Ave. S.


Local Restaurant

Wise Acre Eatery

Sourcing much of its food from Tangletown Garden’s 100 acre farm in Plato, Minn, Wise Acre Eatery is the neighborhood destination for wonderfully fresh and local food. Wise Acre strives to connect guests to the source of their meals, using the season’s best harvest to create a menu full of simple, wholesome and delicious creations. 

5401 Nicollet Ave


French Restaurant 


It’s a Kim Bartmann joint, so you can expect a meal with ingredients that haven’t traveled far. Barbette has enjoyed a long run of success in Uptown. Not only is it known for its delicious French cuisine, but also its dessert menu that leaves customers drooling. With plenty of music and art, Barbette offers good food and good company.  

1600 W. Lake St.


Fine-Dining Restaurant


Chef Doug Flicker opened Picollo in early 2010 to rave reviews. The menu focuses on small plates allowing diners to sample many different flavors — some that require an adventurous spirit. Recently the menu had dishes like cauliflower with green almonds, crème fraiche asparagus and malt; poached duck egg with ham hock, parmesan and chives; and slow cooked veal heart with canned Italian tuna, lardo and capers.  

4300 Bryant Ave. S.


Vegetarian Restaurant

French Meadow *

he French Meadow Bakery is the oldest continuously running organic bakery in the country. The café on Lyndale is a long-time favorite for vegetarians. Menu highlights include the vegetarian lasagna, the healing plate (organic grilled tempeh with organic brown rice, sautéed greens and mashed roasted squash drizzled with balsamic reduction) and vegan black chili. The café has many great dishes for meat and seafood lovers, too. 

2610 Lyndale Ave. S


Indian Restaurant (Tie)

Darbar Indian Grill *

Darbar India Grill has an extensive menu with several dishes bound to please lovers of Indian food. If you have a big appetite, try the Darbar India Platter — Darbari shrimp, tandoori chicken, chicken tikki, botti kebab with a choice of dal, vegetable curry or bread.

1221 W. Lake St


Namaste Café

Namaste is known for its Chai teas and tasty dishes made with local ingredients. Highlights include the Namaste Special Curry, Coconut Spinach, Squash Curry with Bison and Chole —chickpeas with onions, tomatoes and delicious Indian spices.

2512 Hennepin Ave. S.


Middle Eastern Restaurant

Holy Land

From its original location in Northeast, Holy Land has grown to include a second location in the Midtown Global Market, as well as a line of products that can be found in co-ops and grocery stores around the Twin Cities. It’s easy to understand Holy Land’s success — with a wide variety of Middle Eastern dishes that taste great across the board and are all solidly affordable, Holy Land is a crowd-pleaser.

Midtown Global Market, 920 E. Lake St.

Wine Bar

Kings *

Kings Wine Bar remains a favorite of Southwest residents, boasting an impressive wine list, a small plate menu, and simple, intimate atmosphere. It’s the small touches that sets Kings apart from the rest, and keeps guests coming back for more. 

4555 Grand Ave. S.



Pat’s Tap

Skee-ball! So it might have been the skee-ball that lured ’em in, but there’s plenty to make customers stay. Another Bartmann place, Pat’s Tap has grown quickly since opening less than a year ago. The former Casey’s Bar now has a nice patio and a long list of canned and tap beer. Since its opening at the up-and-coming 35th and Nicollet corner, Pat’s has remained a hot spot for neighbors who’ve wanted a hip place to hang. 

3510 Nicollet Ave. S.


Bike Shop

The Alt

If Minneapolis is the friendliest bike city, then The Alt is the friendliest bike shop. It’s also the most knowledgeable shop, as it seems they can fix just about anything on a bike, skateboard or snowboard. The Alt’s repairs are reasonable and fair. The shop also sells bikes, boards and accessories. 

3013 Lyndale Ave. S.



Haus Salon

Guests feel well taken-care of at the new Haus Salon. Unpretentious, though upscale and trendy, Haus has won over residents looking for the new best salon around by creating a comfortable atmosphere and remaining attentive to customers needs. It helps when you’re greeted with a chocolate at the door!

4240 Nicollet Ave S


Men’s Clothing


The old saying goes that they don’t make things like they used to. Perhaps that’s why there has always been a market for vintage clothes, and for that audience, there’s Tatters. For more than 25 years, Tatters has been buying and selling vintage clothing. The store carries clothes from the 1920s to 1970s, classic rock shirts, leather jackets military wear, combat boots and that all-American classic, Levi’s jeans. If you’re into retro, Tatters is the place to be. 

2928 Lyndale Ave. S.


Record Store (Tie)

Electric Fetus *

Even though it can seem a bit nostalgic to wander the aisles of a record store, there’s something very comforting about holding on to a CD or record. The Electric Fetus has been a hangout for music lovers for more than four decades. Besides an extensive music collection, the store carries books, clothing, toys and bath and beauty products. Besides its Minneapolis location, it has stores in Duluth and St. Cloud. 

2000 4th Ave. S.


Yeti Records

Lisa and Jake Luck plan to take their popular record store on the road in August. Instead of operating their brick-and-mortar store on Nicollet, they plan to run the store out of an RV. They will bring it festivals, farmers markets and other outdoor events. The Lucks have attracted fans for creating a fun mix-tape exchange program, an area in the store for children and a strong local music section. 

3506 Nicollet Ave. S.



Magers & Quinn *

Last year’s best bookstore blurb ended with the line “Magers and Quinn isn’t the best of Southwest. It’s just the best.” That’s every bit as true today as it was last year. The returning champion in the category has long been revered as one of the best book stores in the city for its massive size, wide-ranging inventory, knowledgeable staff and tireless promotion of literature. Like many of the books it carries, Magers and Quinn is simply a classic. 

3038 Hennepin Ave. S.


Gift Shop

Patina *

Patina is known for its unique and eclectic assortment of accessories, jewelry and gifts for all occasions. From silly gag gifts to beautiful home décor, residents rely on Patina as the neighborhood spot to pick out the perfect present. 

1009 W. Franklin Ave.


&  5001 Bryant Ave. S.


Home Furnishings


Modern, colorful and trendy appliances and accessories grace the large windows of the new CB2 on Hennepin. Customers enjoy the large selection of chic home décor, from simple and modern to funky and fun, without the usual drain on their wallet. 

3045 Hennepin Ave S


Grocery Store


With nine locations (two in Southwest), you’re never far from a Kowalski’s Market. And when you’re in Kowalski’s, you’re never far from what you need. Groceries, imported cheeses, sushi, deli items — Kowalski’s has it all, and in a welcoming, pleasant environment. With a commitment to healthful food, sustainable practices and natural products, Kowalski’s is a local company that strives to make a positive impact on the community.


Juut Salonspa

Juut got its start as Horst Salons three decades ago, which were owned by Horst Rechelbacher as part of the Aveda Corp. Since 1991, Juut has been independently owned by husband-and-wife team David and Charlie Wagner. There are now eight Juut locations. Services at the Uptown location include a full menu of hair and body treatments, including body scrubs and massages. 

2947 Hennepin Ave. S.


Women’s Clothing


Gasp! A chain store? Yes, national retailer Anthropologie was named as the favorite women’s clothing store in Southwest. Perhaps that’s because of its line of limited-edition designs by emerging talents in the fashion world. Perhaps its because of its wide selection of top designer brands. Or its amazing selection of shoes. Or the accessories it carries. Or its home décor products. Or its monthly magazine. Or, perhaps, all of the above. 

4999 France Ave. S.


Vintage Clothing

Via’s Vintage

Need an outfit for a Mad Men party? Via’s can help you out. The vintage clothing store sells clothing and accessories from the 1800s to the 1980s. Its sweet spot is women’s apparel from the ’20s to the ’70s.

2408 Hennepin Ave. S.



Gallery 360

The tagline for Gallery 360 is “art in every degree.” The gallery features a wide variety of artwork across many different mediums. The current exhibit is a retrospective show featuring work by painter Stephen Hartman — a veteran in the Minneapolis arts scene. 

3011 W. 50th St.


Hardware Store

Settergren’s Ave Hardware *

Southwest residents have known and loved Settergren Hardware since it opened in the Armatage neighborhood 55 years ago. Last fall, residents got another Settergren location as the family opened another business in Linden Hills. Settergren has friendly and helpful employees who are happy to help customers with all of their home and garden needs. Taking the place of the former Linden Hills Co-op site, Settergren offers 8,000 square feet of space to provide a wide selection. 

2813 W. 43rd St.


& 5405 Penn Ave. S.



Hunt & Gather *

Hunt & Gather uses the slogan “find your prize” for its shop, and it’s a fitting tagline for the business. The store has 25 stylized booths “jam-packed with only the good stuff,” according to its website. Whether your prize is “quirky kitsch,” “cottage to camp” or “rustic to retro,” you’ll find it at Hunt & Gather. 

4944 Xerxes Ave. S


Jungle Theater

The Jungle Theater has been entertaining and inspiring audiences since 1991, and brings a special artistic depth to the stage with each production. From its location in the heart of Lyn-Lake, The Jungle Theater has built a reputation for excellence and thrives on connecting to its audience. 

2951 Lyndale Ave. S., 



OM Collective

OM Collective is the perfect space to find comfort, peace and health after a busy day. A wide selection of classes and dedicated, supportive instructors have students returning again and again. 

3350 Lyndale Ave. S. 


Minneapolis Institute of Arts

More than half a million people visit the Minneapolis Institute of Arts every year, and it is easy to understand why. The museum has around 80,000 works of art spread across seven areas: Arts of Africa & the Americas; Contemporary Art; Decorative Arts, Textiles & Sculpture; Asian Art; Paintings; Photography and New Media; Prints and Drawings; and Textiles. In short, there’s something for everyone, no matter what kind of art interests you most. 

2400 3rd Ave. S.


Garden Store

Tangletown Gardens

Summer passes with the blink of an eye in Minnesota, so readers here want to make sure they have a beautiful garden to enjoy while they can. That’s why they make their way to Tangletown Gardens, where they can choose from over 3,000 perennials, heirloom vegetables, shrubs and trees. Many of Tangletown Gardens’ plants are grown locally and sustainably at its 40-acre farm in Plato, about 45 miles west of Minneapolis. The farm has a 5,000 square foot solar field and uses biomass furnaces to heat its greenhouse. Tangletown Gardens is open year-round.

5353 Nicollet Ave. S.