As the sun is rising over the Capitol, politicians, writers and other delegates from St. Paul’s creative class gather for cold-pressed coffee and homemade scones at the quintessentially indie Nina’s (facebook.com/ninascoffeecafe) in Cathedral Hill. Across the river at Rustica (rusticabakery.com) by Lake Calhoun, a Linden Hills-y crowd of attorneys, art collectors and graphic designers break brioche and sip dark Dogwood double espressos. Out on “the lake” (i.e., Lake Minnetonka) investors and private bankers quietly conduct multimillion-dollar real estate deals over fresh grapefruit juice, scrambled eggs and house-cured salmon at the very discreet District (districtfreshkitchen.com) in Wayzata.
When the iPhone strikes noon in the North Loop, architects, commercial real estate developers and PR execs line up at Be’wiched (bewicheddeli.com) for chef-driven focaccia sandwiches and savory homemade soup. In the heart of downtown, the action is split between Hen House Eatery (henhouseeatery.com) and Mission American Kitchen (missionamerican.com). At Hen House, the wooden booths are filled with VIPs from the publishing, theater and entertainment industries collaborating over chilaquiles, cubanos and cupcakes. Down the street at Mission in the IDS Center, sharply dressed litigators, venture capitalists and investment bankers can be found at their regular tables, digging into deviled eggs, seared ahi tuna and killer French fries.
When it’s 5 o’clock in Manhattan, interior designers, hoteliers, magazine editors and other influencers gather at the bar at Spoon and Stable (spoonandstable.com) for luxe riffs on vintage cocktails (daiquiri, anyone?) and inventive appetizers. Back in Wayzata, the morning crowd has moved up Lake Street to Cōv (covwayzata.com), celebrating the art of the deal with champagne, oysters and prime rib sliders. Just beyond Wayzata, the bar fills up fast at Birch’s Brewhouse and Supperclub (birchsonthelake.com) overlooking Long Lake, where a sporty, vigorous crowd of Orono power brokers relaxes after rowing with the Long Lake Rowing Crew and bench-pressing at CrossFit.
On any day of the week, there’s always some sort of merger or acquisition taking place at Manny’s (mannyssteakhouse.com), where the signature bludgeon of beef and other steaks are famously served with nothing but china and parsley. For the full monty, ask for table 69. Over in Linden Hills, top Twin Cities makers, doers and entrepreneurs are at Upton 43 (upton43.com), Instagramming the fried goat gouda, Swedish meatballs with charred cucumber, and rice pudding before they dig in. On the south shore of Lake Minnetonka, the corner table at Victor’s (victorsonwaterstreet.com) is the place to see and be seen. Overlooking Water Street and Second Avenue, the epicenter of Excelsior, it’s the perfect place to relax with a glass of McNab Ridge cabernet, a wood-fired James Garner pizza made with Widmer brick cheese and ribeye, and peruse the crowd—a heady mix of lake people and city folk.