Inside Information

Inside Information

Local businesspeople share their favorite places for entertaining out-of-town guests.

Ken Abdo
Attorney, Lommen Abdo

A lifelong Minneapolitan, Abdo grew up in Charles Schulz’s house in Minneapolis, where he now lives with his wife and children. As chair of the entertainment law department at Lommen Abdo, he entertains musicians and artists from L.A. and New York about once a month.

Observations
The uninitiated have a pre-set vision of Minneapolis as some sort of snow-submerged prairie town. But after the first visit, the heat of our cosmopolitan and manageable metro quickly melts that impression away. My New York guests love—and accept—the moniker of ‘The Minneapple.’

Where to Stay
For clients who like unique boutiques with Old-World, quiet charm, the Nicollet Island Inn is über-Minneapolis, in a historic setting with a first-class restaurant and classic turn-of-the-last-century bar. Full disclosure: It’s owned and managed by my brother and sister-in-law Larry and Caryl Abdo.
For clients who like contemporary confines, The Minneapolis Grand Hotel offers comfortable luxury with a cool edge. It, too, is a historic property. From 1912 to the late 1990s, it was the home of the Minneapolis Athletic Club. The owners have rebuilt the interior to meet national luxury standards while still acknowledging Minneapolis history.

Where to Eat
Mission [American Kitchen] in the IDS, where the style and food are a perfect mix of Minneapolis, NYC, and L.A. Murray’s has amazing steaks, a varied menu, and old-school service, and a great back-story as the oldest family-owned steakhouse in the city.

Must-Sees
My trifecta of local landmarks includes a summer show at the Lake Harriet bandshell; the Washburn water tower in Tangletown, an art deco monolith in Minneapolis; and Minnehaha Falls, all by way of the uniquely Minneapolis parkway system. In any season, it’s almost mystical.

Isabella Keating
Partner, Around Town Agency

A transplant from the East Coast, Keating moved to the Twin Cities more than 30 years ago but hasn’t lost her “down east” accent. Her work has her squiring authors, artists, and speakers when they visit the Twin Cities for book tours, lectures, and other events.

Observations
Because we spend so much time in the car, clients from the East Coast always comment on how quiet and nice it is here, without other drivers gesturing or blowing their horns. They’re always pleasantly surprised and impressed, and often speak of coming back or even moving here!

Where to Stay
The Saint Paul Hotel is quite grand with a great je ne sais quoi. Clients like the old charm, the food, and the location. I also recommend the Marquette, a small, great hotel since the beginning of time, as well as Graves 601, the Ivy, and Le Méridien Chambers.

Where to Eat
For breakfast, lunch, or dinner, clients love the great food at D’Amico Kitchen at Chambers, followed by a tour of the art collection.

Must-Sees
Between interviews, I always drive clients around the chain of lakes with a stop at the Mary Tyler Moore house, and along Summit Avenue to see F. Scott Fitzgerald’s house. I also like to take them to Open Book on Washington, an interesting place for anyone who appreciates the written word.

Paul Rexford Thatcher
Commissioner, Metropolitan Sports Facilities Commission

Thatcher is a resident of downtown Minneapolis. Through his work in politics, business, and philanthropy, he often entertains guests from New York, Chicago, Denver, and L.A.

Observations
First-time visitors invariably anticipate a cold Omaha. They usually have the good manners not to indicate it, but it becomes obvious that they are pleasantly surprised by our vital, sophisticated, fully accoutered community.

Where to Stay
The Minneapolis Club is over 100 years old and beautifully preserved, with good food, excellent athletic facilities, and business services. The W in the Foshay Tower is a good iteration of a superior national brand, and come summer, the Lafayette Club on Lake Minnetonka is pretty, with nice accommodations and good food.

Where to Eat
Vincent on Nicollet Mall is the paradigmatic place to take a woman for lunch or dinner, while Manny’s is the paradigmatic guy’s place. For a casual meal, the Muni in Wayzata does a great burger.

Must-Sees
I proudly take people to the Guthrie, Orchestra Hall, the Walker Art Center, and of course, the excellent, standard-setting facilities of the Minnesota Twins and the Timberwolves.

Jay Coogan
President, Minneapolis College of Art and Design (MCAD)

Coogan and his family moved to the Twin Cities two years ago from Providence, where he was the provost of the Rhode Island School of Design. He hosts visiting artists, scholars, recruiters, and representatives from peer institutions around the world several times a year.

Observations
Virtually all of our guests are surprised by the variety and quality of our cultural institutions. We always hear very positive things about the Twin Cities after a visit.

Where to Stay
Le Méridien Chambers is a beautiful hotel that features an exemplary collection of contemporary art. In the adjacent Burnet Gallery, MCAD has an annual exhibition of work by our masters of fine arts candidates.

Where to Eat
Jasmine 26 restaurant on Eat Street, [where] the food is excellent. For dinner, the Bachelor Farmer is now my top pick, if I can get a reservation!

Must-Sees
The Minneapolis Institute of Arts and the Walker Art Center, and depending on the season, the Sculpture Garden and Minnehaha Falls.

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