Popular Minneapolis Restaurants Featured on the Food Network

We’ve had over 90 mentions on the Food Network. We picked seven of the most classic, and the best restaurants for you to check out beyond just your television screen!

Article By Mecca Bos

Minneapolis can sometimes go unnoticed as a dynamic food scene, but the Food Network is always shining their spotlight on our city. We’ve had everyone from Alton Brown to Guy Fieri checking out our local hot spots. As the birthplace of cheese-filled burgers (you're welcome), we Minneapol-tans take a lot of pride in the cuisine we create.

Although many of these places would exist quietly without a lick of publicity—based on their own subtle brand of excellence—a little screen time and national attention doesn’t hurt.

Each establishment listed below is a Minneapolis landmark in its own right—few locals would be hard pressed to not know where they are, or what their signature dishes would be. These restaurants have stood the test of time and the hype of a TV mention.

So if food motivates your travel, put down the remote and hunker into a booth or slide onto a stool at any of these true institutions, and you’ll feel right at home in no time.

Al’s Breakfast

Featured on: On the Road Eats; Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives 

You know the tiny breakfast diner that exists in your imagination, the one from all of the movies where the short order cook knows your order down to the number of butter pats you like? That’s Al’s.

Open since 1950, this 14-seat counter is no longer a best-kept secret beloved by professors from the nearby University of Minnesota, but a famous destination garnering lines of devotees on any given morning. 

It’s worth the wait—and you’ll get proof of that by the patient bodies waiting behind each stool for their crack at perfectly browned flapjacks, available nowhere else the way Al’s does it. Don’t worry—it’s a quirky ritual at Al’s, and after one taste of waffle perfection, you’ll understand it wholeheartedly. 

Another reason they (along with the likes of Guy Fieri) are willing to patiently line up: Jelly Omelets, an old fashioned sweet-savory mashup.

The Wienery 

Featured on: Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives

As neighborhood diners go, The Wienery may be the ultimate example in its category. Practically an extension of nearby apartment building living rooms, it’s as comfortably lived-in as a college dorm room. 

Menu prices rarely exceed five bucks, and it’s best to do as regulars do and add hand-cut, made-to-order fries to any order for $1.50. 

Check out the wall of jail bracelets—that’s right, if you’d have the misfortune of spending the night in the clink, The Wienery will feed you, free of charge. Just one of the many stand-up services this gem of a hole-in-the-wall provides to the community, year after glorious year. 

Also, heed the name and stick to the dogs. No better example exists anywhere.

Victor’s 1959 Cafe

Featured on: The Best Of; Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives 

In search of Cuban food in Minnesota? Victor’s is your one and only option, and a very good option it is, as just being here is an experience. 

The tiny space is a giant of Caribbean colors, and retains the Cuban bar custom of allowing guests to scribble their names and missives on every inch of wall (and table) space. 

Food is simple and tasty, possibly best known for bean and rice egg dishes blanketed with Creole or Mojo Sauce. In summer, sip a Cuban coffee on the leafy patio. 

Victor’s is also the only place in town to get a real-deal Cubano sandwich: pulled pork, ham, cheese, and pickles, all pressed into toasty Cuban bread.

Holy Land 

Featured on: Food Network Star; Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives

A three-decades old family business which began as an 800-foot storefront has transformed itself into an internationally-recognized leader in Middle Eastern staples like hummus and pita bread. 

A trip to Holy Land is a trip to not just a restaurant, but an impressive, sprawling grocery, where Holy Land brand products can make unique souvenirs to take home. 

In the restaurant, eat one of the city’s better gyros, or my personal favorite, the shawarma, heavily spiced and wrapped in a delicate pita. 

Packages of bread are turned out so fresh, you can sometimes see steam still captured within the plastic. The only way to eat it is slathered in Holy Land hummus, the gold standard brand—no self respecting Minnesotan will accept any substitute.

The Anchor Fish & Chips 

Featured on: The Great Food Truck Race; $24 in 24

While most cities have a decent Irish bar or ten, most cities do not have the likes of The Anchor, where two owners, one from Belfast and one from Tipperary, come together to bring you true authenticity, the Irish way. 

Their calling card is delicately fried Wild Alaskan Cod alongside "chips" cooked in beef fat. Go for those, but also go back for a Full Irish Breakfast on weekends; one of the city’s better burgers; and their signature beer, Bent Anchor Poitín, made from potato cast-offs from Anchor’s own chips, courtesy of local brewery Bent Anchor. 

The Anchor is also known for doing things a little over-the-top: check out their battered and fried sausage.

Bob’s Java Hut

Featured on: Feasting on Asphalt 

No ordinary coffee shop, Bob’s Java Hut is the place in Uptown to see and be seen. Giant garage door windows mean catching breezes anytime the weather allows, and the people-watching on Lyndale is tough to beat. 

But their real calling card (besides the top-notch java) is it’s a favorite haunt for motorcyclists of all stripes who like to stop here for an alcohol-free pick me up. It’s where Alton Brown stopped on his Cycle Across America season of Feasting on Asphalt. 

The drinks reflect the clientele: the Crankshaft, the Carburetor, and the Oil Slick will keep all gear heads alert and fortified for the second half of the cruise.

Maria’s Cafe

Featured on: $24 in 24

Best known for legendary corn pancakes, Maria’s is one of a smattering of Colombian restaurants in Minneapolis. Corn pancakes with Maple Syrup and Cojita Cheese are a must-order, but don’t sleep on Huevos Pericos, a piquant scramble with onions, tomatoes, and house spices.

Arepas (white corn biscuits, a Colombian staple) yucca, beans, and plantains are a welcome respite from traditional Western-style breakfast sides.

While breakfast is served all day, lunch means burgers served in an arepa, Colombian-style sausages, and empanadas, so it will be difficult to choose.

The space is warm and sunny, and perfect for clutching a Colombian hot chocolate with milk.

About the Author

Mecca Bos is a longtime Twin Cities based food writer and professional chef. Her work can be found locally and nationally and on her Patreon page, patreon.com/meccabos. She specializes in stories about women, people of color, and especially Black people working in the food industry. She loves a cheap wine paired with a good taco.