Good Evening Friends,
This morning I woke and realized something, I’m broke! I’ve had some chances to travel, but I can’t say I’ve been to too many exotic destinations or have traveled the 7 seas quite yet. I’m hoping to get to that point some day. Although I don’t have many foreign experiences around the world quite yet, you can bet your boots I’ve been around the Twin Cities.
As of today I’ve had the chance to visit 49 of the local shops in the Twin Cities. Some of these you may have heard of, but I’m hoping you learn of at least one know shop.
Here are the top 9 cafe’s you need to visit if you’re ever in the Twin Cities.
180 Grand Ave, St Paul, MN 55102
First is Cafe Astoria. Located between Lowertown and West Seventh, Cafe Astoria is known for making very unique drinks. I remember my first time hearing about them was from an old bud named Jill. I decided to take some time to go to Cafe Astoria’s website and saw a drink with marshmallow on top. This wasn’t your average Swissmiss, I’m talking about a really big fluffy pillow of goodness that almost filled a good quarter of the mug!
One day, some buddies and I decided to go and man was it packed. Right away I noticed the urban style. Brick walls, chalkboard menus, and a mural painted in the back room really gave the shop character. It’s usually one or the other but to my surprise, the drinks tasted just as good as they looked.
Favorite Drink: Campfire Latte
850 Grand Ave, Saint Paul, MN 55105
This one is also located on Grand Ave as well, just up the hill. I used to go here as a kiddo all the time. How do I describe Cafe Latte? It’s a bakery/bistro/pizza and wine bar. Everything you can think of in one. Imagine an upgraded fancy version of Panera Bread with more options.
Everything about them is great. They have very well made desserts and have a baker’s choice for their cakes and scones every day of the week! Cheesecakes, fruit tarts and chocolate cakes are the first few that come to mind, but they’ve got everything from chocolate dipped strawberries to those spongy tres leches.
Their food is phenomenal. Not too long ago my mother and I wanted to meet for brunch and Cafe Latte was a fantastic pick. We both had the spread samplers with a side of soup. They had 9 spreads to choose from, but we went with the green olive poblano, albacore tuna, and my favorite the sonoma Basil spread.
My mother doesn’t like drinking coffee, but I love it. They don’t have a huge coffee menu, but they have the basics with a lot of flavored shot choices!
Favorite Drink: Swedish
801 Marquette Avenue South, Minneapolis, MN 55402
My friend Ellie and I went here once. One of the coolest spaces I’ve been to for a coffee shop. It’s located in Downtown Minneapolis right next to the W and Foshay Tower. It was a big open area, had a very high ceiling, and was a convenient location for those working in the Marquette area.
They have about the same amount of unique drinks as Cafe Astoria. The thing that made this place unique from the others so far is it also offers wine and has a happy hour! When we went we had coffee so I can’t give any input on the wine, but it sure looked good.
For food, they’ve got pizzas, boards, and surprisingly good paninis. I tried the caprese panini and let me tell you I wasn’t expecting it, but it was really tasty. It wasn’t too heavy on the flavor and there was a nice crispy and and soft texture.
This option is pretty solid for a quick bite during your lunch hour and perfect for happy hour afterwards.
Favorite Drink: Fireside Mocha
100 Washington Ave S Main Lobby Minneapolis, MN 55401
For a while Penny’s was my favorite coffee shops. I went to the University of St. Thomas where we had a shuttle from our main campus in St. Paul transport students to and from the Minneapolis campus. In my eyes that’s a free ride to Minneapolis. The walk from campus to Penny’s was about 20 minutes each way, but the views of the city were definitely worth the walk.
Penny’s is nice. There isn’t a dress code there or at any of these shops for that matter, but I definitely felt a bit undressed. I walked in with my backpack wearing my UST hoodie. Yeah there were people wearing suits there… I wouldn’t say you need to dress up, but maybe a little better than you would on an average day. (Keep in mind I did go in the middle of the week during lunch hours.)
The food was good although I will say it felt a bit overpriced. I had a ham and greyere crepe which was delicious, but I don’t know if it was worth $12. For drinks they have the basics as well as a specialty drink called “Penny’s Cold Brew” there which I have yet to try.
I don’t know why, but whenever I go there I always order a vanilla latte. I really can’t explain it, something about their lattes hit just a little different.
Another reason I go there is for the ambiance too. Penny’s is located in the lobby of 100 Washington, a fairly tall business building. You get the busy downtown feel when you enter. The walls are made of a marble like material with big bright circular lamps hanging from the ceiling. It’s just a place you’d want sit down for a cup.
Favorite Drink: Vanilla Latte
769 Cleveland Ave S
St Paul, MN 55116
If you saw my first post on Instagram @16ozDays, you’d know that Quixotic is my favorite coffee shop. Located in the Highland Park/Ford Parkway area, Quixotic is the place to be. Last summer I went to Quixotic almost every day during the week. It is a fantastic place for a meet up with your friends and also a great option for a sit down place to get your work done. The music choice is on point as well.
It is warm, welcoming, and fun. The employees there are very laid back and friendly and the drinks are delightful. I have nothing but good things to say about this place, go give them a visit.
Favorite Drink: White Lightning
6801 France Ave S, Edina, US 55435
Okay, so RH Rooftop is probably the nicest place I’ve ever been to in the Twin Cities. Definitely dress business casual here. Funny story, I thought I walked into the wrong building when I went here the first time. It was like walking into a mansion. It was an enormous open space with gorgeous pieces of furniture all across the lobby. There were different designs in each room and they all fit together so well.
Someone came over to greet me as soon as I came in and I said “Hi, I guess I’m a little confused. I thought this was a coffee shop?”. She responded that they had a restaurant on the top floor with a coffee shop on the side. To the top floor I went.
There is an elevator, but I decided to walk to the 3rd floor. I remember the exact moment after taking those last few steps up the final flight. I heard the water rushing from the lion head fountains, the bright glow from the reflection off the chandeliers, the soft classical music playing, and seeing the employees who all had matching uniforms and were very polite. Just an unbelievable moment. (Click on the RH Rooftop link above to get a taste. I’m not kidding, it’s beautiful).
On the other side of the staircase was the coffee shop where you can order your drink to go, but I wanted a table. The wait time was only about 15 minutes that day, but on others I’ve had to reserve my table in advance. They had all of your basic drinks, as well as a few others. I ended up ordering their dirty chai and man was it strong.
I’ve been here a few other times, once being brunch with my mother. That day she ordered a prosciutto and delice board and I ordered shaved ribeye on charred garlic bread. I will say it was slightly difficult eating off of the wooden boards, but the food was spectacular. I tried a bite of the board. Wow, the sweetness of the the preserves and mixed with the saltiness of the prosciutto slices were phenomenal. Nothing was too overpowering and the mixture of the textures was beyond satisfying.
Favorite Drink: RH Dirty Chai
215 S 4th St, Minneapolis, MN 55401
No Phone Number listed at this time
No Menu Listed at this time
There are a few Spyhouses in Minneapolis, this location is a part of The Emery Hotel and is also the newest one in the Twin Cities. I would describe the ambiance as cozy and sophisticated. Walking in you instantly notice the somewhat dim lighting, the big glass fireplace, and all of the art pieces on the wall. If you could relate it to a room in a house, it would definitely be a study or an office room.
I like this Spyhouse because of how much room there is, how nice the interior is, and how in the environment almost everyone else is working. The space and others around you subconsciously motivate you to work and get your work done. If you’re feeling product or need to be productive, go here.
Favorite Drink: Almond Milk Vanilla Mocha
2640 Lyndale Ave S, Minneapolis, US 55408
When I used to go kayaking everyday at Bde Mka Ska (formerly known as Lake Calhoun), more often than not I would stop by The Lynhall. The Lynhall has always been in my top 3 favorite shops and will most likely remain there. They’ve got a public side, a side that is sometimes open just for events, a bakery area, and a bar.
I’ve always been there for a casual drink or quick bite, but I’ve seen people have private performances/live shows and even a wedding there before!
On the weekends they offer a bottomless coffee brunch with a pastry, entree, and your choice of a bloody Mary or mimosa as well. At one point in time over the summer, you could catch me there every Sunday morning.
The food was a little pricey, but the quality of the food made you feel okay about it. They have a unique pastry selection and specialty drinks that come and go with each season.
My favorite drink of all time was created by The Lynhall. It’s called “Summer Breeze”. Imagine this: The cereal Fruity Pebbles mixed with milk. That last little bit of milk you have in the lower portion of your bowl is taken and infused with espresso and sprinkled with some Fruity Pebbles up top. THEE Most refreshing drink I’ve had in my life.
Favorite Drink: Summer Breeze
2809 Hennepin Avenue
Uptown Minneapolis MN 55408
No Menu Listed
Last, but not least is Uncommon Grounds. This place is very under the radar. It’s a coffee house on Hennepin and I was surprised that not that many people have heard of it. This is place is so unbelievable underrated.
One of my old friends introduced me to this coffee house before they moved to Paris. Next to the Summer Breeze, I’ll say Uncommon Grounds has one of the best drinks I’ve ever consumed as well. Uncommon Grounds is known for being the best coffee house in the city and has the best chai in the state. I 100% agree with that statement.
They’ve got a list of many different chais you can try out, but there’s one that everyone always gets. Their best selling chai there is called “The Orgasmic Chai” and the name holds its weight. From the first sip to the last, you get this feeling of energy and euphoria. There is a toasted marshmallow flavor that comes with the orgasmic chai and the slightest pinch of cinnamon. It’s a sensation that is similar to waking up and knowing today is a holiday or your birthday. Just a pure joy.
Favorite Drink: Orgasmic Chai
There we have it folks, the 9 shops you need to check out!
As time goes on, I’ll be adding more top cafe/coffee shop posts. If you have any recommendations or suggestions for places to go or drinks to try, feel free to leave me a comment below!
I hope you all have a great rest of your day, take care.