Sea Salt at the Falls

Oysters, clams, and a glass of Vinho Verde in Minnehaha Park.

The Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board’s first big catch was Tin Fish, the al fresco seafood restaurant that opened two years ago at Lake Calhoun. Now it has a second whopper in Sea Salt (612-721-8990,, 4825 Minnehaha Ave., Minneapolis), a similarly unpretentious concession that’s reeling patient lines of diners into the spacious pavilion in Minnehaha Park.


According to co-owner Jon Blood—a man who knows his seafood as a former manager and cooking instructor at Coastal Seafoods—Sea Salt should generate more than $50,000 this year to help maintain the city’s parklands. (As a tenant in the Minnehaha pavilion, the restaurant pays a percentage of its revenues in rent.) Definitely a win-win proposition for all involved. And that includes park visitors looking for a good meal in a bucolic setting.

Step up to the counter and select from a blackboard chalked with a daily-changing menu of fried and grilled seafood—delicious crab cakes, impeccable oysters on the half shell, fish and shrimp tacos, clam-strip baskets—as well as beers and wines. Then pick a table outside under the trees or inside the cool, blue, air-conditioned environs of the restaurant and wait for your food to be delivered.

If you have trouble making up your mind, there’s the “oil can special”—a metal pan filled with a bed of ice and a dozen raw oysters, a dozen peel-and-eat shrimp, and pickled herring, accompanied by either (at $40) a pitcher of beer or (at $45) a bottle of wine. There are a few items on the “Not Fish” portion of the menu, too—hot dogs, brats, veggie burgers. But don’t ever expect to see the “Out” Post-its removed from the “world famous fries” or “$19.99 hamburger basket” on the menu board. That’s just the kitchen’s way of saying Sea Salt isn’t that kind of place.

Although the owners are struggling to cope with overwhelming crowds, there are plans underway to shorten the long lines. Those include relocating the ice cream counter to an open-air spot and adding more grilling capacity this winter—in anticipation of another busy summer next year.