Where to Find Memorable Meals in Historic Buildings

Where to Find Memorable Meals in Historic Buildings

If your out-of-town clients have a taste for things historic, treat them to a memorable meal in one of the Twin Cities’ storied landmark buildings.


Transport your clients back in time with lunch or dinner at B.A.N.K., in the former lobby of the 1942 Farmers and Mechanics Savings Bank. Now the Westin Minneapolis, the streamline moderne art deco building is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. For the full experience, stroll along 6th Street and Marquette Avenue and admire the bold relief sculptures on the exterior, designed by Warren T. Mosman, former head of the sculpture department at the Minneapolis Institute of Arts. The exquisite walnut-paneled dining room’s highlight is a 34-foot ceiling; give thanks to the architecture gods for not allowing a skyway to bisect this spectacular space.

88 S 6th St., Mpls., 612-656-3255, bankmpls.com

Burch Steak and Pizza Bar

If your client is an architecture buff, they’ll appreciate the spirit of place at Burch, the newest oldest hot spot in Lowry Hill. Situated on the corner of Hennepin and Franklin avenues, the space was originally designed by Boehme & Cordella, architects of what is now the Swedish Institute. Reimagined by restaurateur Isaac Becker and Julie Snow Architects, Burch pays homage to Burch Pharmacy, the drugstore that occupied this well-traveled corner for 97 years.

1933 Colfax Ave. S, Mpls., 612-843-1515, burchrestaurant.com

W. A. Frost and Company

Clients with an interest in The Great Gatsby, whose latest iteration opens in theaters May 10, will be intrigued by a visit to St. Paul’s Cathedral Hill, as the historic neighborhood is mentioned in many of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s writings. After a leisurely drive past the mansions of Summit Avenue, dine at W. A. Frost, situated in the former W. A. Frost pharmacy on the first floor of the 1889 Dacotah building. If it’s a fine spring evening, ask for a table on the patio, one of the most picturesque outdoor dining spaces in the Twin Cities.

374 Selby Ave., St. Paul, 651-224-5715, wafrost.com


For an out-of-the-ordinary experience, take a client to dinner at Forepaugh’s, in an 1870 Victorian home in St. Paul’s Irvine Park neighborhood. The restaurant, furnished with antiques and period fixtures, is the former residence of Joseph Forepaugh, a wealthy dry-goods executive, who lived in the home with his wife and two daughters. While versions of the story vary, legend has it that Forepaugh’s wife discovered her husband was having an affair with Molly, a maid. Molly hung herself on the third floor, and Forepaugh shot himself in the nearby park. Guests of the restaurant (including this writer) have seen the ghosts of Joseph and Molly, who make regular appearances.

276 Exchange St. S, St. Paul, 651-224-5606, forepaughs.com

Lord Fletcher’s Old Lake Lodge

On the other side of town, Fletcher’s is Lake Minnetonka’s most iconic, if slightly fictitious, landmark. If Lord Fletcher were real, he’d be a lovable Brit who imported his mock-Tudor pile from the Cotswolds to Spring Park more than 30 years ago. While Fletcher’s British accent has softened over the years and his uniform of tweed jackets and ascots has been updated to include Tommy Bahama sport shirts and Sperry Topsiders, the lord of the manor has never lost his charm, nor his magnetic ability to attract the biggest boats and the most beautiful people.

3746 Sunset Dr., Spring Park, 952-471-8513, lordfletchers.com


Add a frisson of glamour to your historic tour of duty with a visit to Prohibition, the sexy speakeasy-style lounge on the 27th floor of the W Minneapolis – The Foshay. Order a sidecar, a Singapore sling or other vintage cocktail and look for the spirit of Wilbur Foshay, the multimillionaire who built the Foshay Tower. Foshay’s dreams of living in his eponymous skyscraper were dashed when his empire collapsed in November 1929 with the onset of the Great Depression.

821 Marquette Ave. S, Mpls., 612-597-2413, thelivingroom-prohibition.com