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Our Picks for the Best Alfresco Eateries

Ready for the cold weather to vamoose and the sunshine to take over? Here's where to enjoy some good patios from dawn to dusk.

The recent kerfuffle regarding Minneapolis City Council Member Meg Tuthill's proposed ordinance to restrict the number of people enjoying each restaurant patio shows just how passionate Minneapolitans are about their right to dine alfresco. And as the whiff of spring blossoms into a full-blown season, I not only empathize with the urge to eat outside, I heartily endorse it.

If this summer is in any way comparable to the length and breadth of the winter, it's going to be a doozy. I plan to fill it with much outdoor food and drink indulgence as is humanly possible. Here's a few places where I'll be basking in the fine Minneapolis sun very soon:

My Morning Cuban has casual Cuban food done right and a festive patio that sits at the corner of West 38th Street and Grand Avenue. You can't go wrong here with a spicy alfresco breakfast of Cuban hash or sweet mango pancakes starting from 8 a.m. each morning. Have kids or a partner who can't take the heat? There's also an Americano menu for the more skiddish, or as they call it, Yanqui, among us. And, the tropical mimosas (mango, guava or guanabana) can't be beat, particularly during the morning and evening happy hours when they cost just $4.

Noontime Hang
Stretched out along West 36th Street, Gigi's sidewalk seating fills up whenever the sun is bright. It feels as though the neighborhood is having an impromtu meeting as neighbors chat, dogs happily lick up crumbs from the concrete and the traffic rolls by unnoticed. Though Kim Bartmann may be slowly changing the menu of salads, sandwiches, small plates, coffee, wine and beer—the outside seating will remain the same. For lunchtime contentment, I recommend the pulled pork panini, Thousand Hills burger and a selection from the case of baked goods.

An Evening Out of Doors
The village of Linden Hills is a wondrous realm in the evening—so why not sit on Cafe Twenty-Eight's front patio and watch the world go by with a Surly in hand? The meals are reasonable, at around $10 a plate, and the choices are made from locally sourced ingredients like Larry Schultz's eggs and chicken and burgers from Clancey's (just down the street and known for purveying products from the area). Take note that while the inside seats at Twenty-Eight can be reserved, the patio is first come, first served.

Snack Time is Anytime
Not ready to commit to a full meal, but still want to snack on a nice deck with a turtle looking on? Okay, the tortoise may simply be a sculpture, but delivers when it comes to an exceedingly pleasant outdoor space. Order your ice cream, soup or coffee (now roasted at the Franklin Avenue store) and dally by the indoor/outdoor fireplace. Joe's makes it so you don't have to drop lots of dimes to have a killer outdoor Pavarotti experience.

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-3756 Grand Ave. S./612.827.8948

-824 W. 36th St./612.825.0818

-2724 W. 43rd St./612.926.2800

-4321 Upton Ave. S/612.926.7916

Welcome Jerde April 26, 2011 at 03:47 PM
I spend many warm spring/summer/fall evenings on the fantastic patio at Broders' (50th and Penn). Their wide range of patio foods let's us eat alfresco until the cold fall days come around again. Almost every time we're there, we run into people we know. It's a great neighborhood establishment with yummy food. W. Jerde

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