You know what you love about Southwest Minneapolis.
And you were kind enough to give us the lowdown on the best spots to go antiquing, tune up your bike, swim in the lake and indulge in fine Italian wine and cuisine.
Congratulations to all the winners!
Best Record Store (tie)
2000 S. 4th Ave. | 612-870-9300
405 W. 38th St. | 612-298-5695
Southwest’s music fans don’t have to travel too far to get their favorite albums on vinyl.
The Electric Fetus has been a Minneapolis institution since 1968. The store offers a large selection of albums, a variety of books and clothing and live performances from local and touring musicians.
The Record Spot is perfect for those looking for an obscure album to finish their Who collection. Located in Kingfield, owner David Foley sells a variety of albums from his own collection and is happy to share his wealth of musical knowledge.
Best Salon (tie)
3255 Lyndale Ave. S. | 612-823-2900
3802 Grand Ave. S. | 612-708-3635
Getting a haircut can either transform you into looking your absolute best, or it can leave you in hiding.
The Chair is a salon where you never have to fear how your hairdo will turn out. Owners Michael Frear and Tim Cronin offer a rustic atmosphere and a highly skilled staff.
For those looking for a fuller head of hair than nature bestowed, Ja’Lisa’s Gorgeous Extensions is your spot. Along with providing hair extensions and a comfortable environment, stylists also provide braiding services and facial waxings.
Best Pet Groomer
313 W. 38th St. | 612-822-2397
Hygiene is important for the well-being of any pet, and for the pets of Southwest, the best place to get spruced up is at the Groomsmen in Kingfield. For more than 30 years, Dave Thom has made sure that man’s best friend is looking their best with baths, haircuts and nail trims.
Best Coffee Shop
3350 Lyndale Ave. S. | 612-354-7029
3745 Nicollet Ave. | 612-259-7519
In a sea of third-wave coffee shops, it takes a lot to stand out. Five Watt has found success by roasting its creative coffee drinks on site. Along with regular coffees and espressos, Five Watt also sells a variety of specialty drinks that include ingredients like grapefruit bitters and lavender syrup. Since opening in 2014 in Kingfield, Five Watt has since expanded into Northeast Minneapolis,
St. Paul and a recent location in Lyndale.
Best Bike Shop
4001 Bryant Ave. S., Suite 1 | 612-824-9300
Minneapolis is a biking city, and if you have bike problems or are looking to rent or sell them, then the place to go is Farmstead Bike Shop in East Harriet. The staff works collaboratively with customers to determine how best to fit their needs and offers on-the-spot service for minor repairs such as flat tires. The shop, open for three years, also doubles as a lobby for the Warming House during shows.
Best Gift Shop
3800 Grand Ave. S. | 612-827-2500
If a Minnesota-themed Pinterest page were a physical entity, then it would come in the form of Digs. The Kingfield shop carries a variety of mostly handmade products including woven animal hats, Minnesota shirts, vintage books, art prints and the irreverent Muddy Mouth greeting cards, a product owner Katie Koster said is a “real crowd pleaser.” For those looking to make their own crafts, the shop also has a large selection of fabrics and knitting classes.
Best Latin Restaurant
Best Dog-Friendly Patio
4959 Penn Ave. S. | 612-354-2130
In the short time Tinto Kitchen has occupied the corner of 50th & Penn, it has made itself a go-to stop for those seeking tasty Latin-inspired cuisine, refreshing margaritas and a relaxing place to enjoy a beautiful Minnesota summer day. Co-owners Rebecca Illingworth and Thierry Penichot teamed up to create a globally inspired menu with authentic flavors and culture in the form of tacos, ceviches and other delicious dishes. During the summer, patrons can enjoy food and drinks on the patio and bring their furry friends along.
Best Italian Restaurant
5000 Penn Ave. S. | 612-925-9202
The Broder family is a powerhouse when it comes to Italian cuisine, with Broders’ Pasta Bar, Broders’ Cucina Italiana and Terzo all at the same intersection along West 50th Street. The Pasta Bar opened in 1994. Along with staples like risotto and spaghetti, the restaurant serves up linguine with seafood (crab, clams), goat cheese ravioli and pappardelle with rabbit. If you’re still hungry afterward, you can satisfy your sweet tooth with blueberry torta, raspberry ricotta cheesecake, tiramisu or sorbet.
Best Wine Bar
2221 W. 50th St. | 612-925-0330
This intimate restaurant is a great spot to enjoy fine wine and good conversation. Terzo’s extensive wine program offers more than 300 selections focused on independent producers and traditional Italian varieties. Be sure to visit more than once: Their by-the-glass wine list is constantly changing with “natural, classic and interesting choices” from all regions. Terzo’s menu of Italian cuisine includes pastas, seafood and dessert to complement your wine of choice.
2308 W, 50th St. | 612-925-3113
While the Broders location across the street specializes in pasta, Broders’ Cucina Italiana focuses on New York-style pizza and other Italian deli items. Pizzas can be as basic as cheese, but it’s worth trying the more complex specialty pies like Greek (tomato, feta, green pepper, pepperoncini and olive), Rossa (artichoke, tomato, spinach, mushroom and mozzarella) or roasted eggplant (goat cheese, caramelized onion and sweet red pepper). The restaurant also features a small Italian market for grocery items,
a coffee bar and a deli with sandwiches and other pastas.
Best New Restaurant
5400 Penn Ave. S. | 612-886-1606
Come for the Instagrammable cocktails, stay for the delicious food. Colita has made a statement since it opened in the fall
of 2018 with its smoking techniques and Oaxacan flavors. This trendy place offers a mix of hot and cold plates, from cordero tartare to lobster tostada. If you’re looking to take a walk on the wild side, you can order the mackerel aguachiles, which are topped with chapulines, also known as fried grasshoppers.
Best Women’s Clothing (tie)
5013 Ewing Ave. S. | 612-886-2870
316 W. 38th St. | 612-345-7391
Burlap & Brass is no stranger to our Best of Southwest list. Opened in 2016 by Rena Lindberg, the store offers a variety of clothing, gifts, jewelry and other items that put its Minnesota pride on display.
The Fitting Room, a newcomer to Southwest Minneapolis, recently celebrated its one-year anniversary at its location in Kingfield. The boutique is curated with locally designed and produced clothing, jewelry and other accessories. Each item is hand-picked by owner and designer Kimberly Jurek-Valanzasca from a selection of inspiring Minnesota designers, including Alma Mia, 3 Jag Design and Gina Mount.
2400 3rd Ave. S. | 612-870-3000
With an ever-growing collection of art and history from across the globe, the Minneapolis Institute of Art draws hundreds of thousands of visitors to Whittier each year.
The museum, bolstered by large collections of art from Asia, Africa and Europe, holds more than 89,000 pieces, most of which are free to the public. Modern and historical collections from Minnesota are a mainstay at Mia. The museum’s current paid exhibit is “Hearts of our People: Native Women Artists,” which will run though Aug. 18 and features original work by indigenous artists.
Fully acquired by Park Board in 1888, Lake Harriet is a 470-acre destination for nature lovers, music aficionados, athletes and families. The lake is the site of an annual winter kite and art festival and explodes with activity when the weather warms. Walkers, runners, bikers and skaters use the nearly three-mile loop around the park daily, with many stopping at the Bread and Pickle restaurant at the lake’s north end. The lake is home to some of the city’s best fishing and sailing and has two public beaches. The Park Board’s Music in the Park concert series comes to the bandshell each summer. The adjacent Lyndale Park Rose Garden and William Berry Play Area are also major attractions.
Once considered “farm country,” Kingfield was annexed into Minneapolis in 1887 and is now one of the most bustling neighborhoods in Southwest Minneapolis, home to some of the city’s best dining, Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Park and a busy summer farmers market. Bordered by Stevens and Lyndale avenues and 36th and 46th streets, the neighborhood sits squarely in south central Minneapolis. The 38th Street corridor is one of the most vibrant small-business zones in the city and contains many other Best of Southwest winners. Each summer the roughly 7,500-resident neighborhood hosts Kingfield PorchFest, which features dozens of musical groups playing on porch “stages” that people can check out for free.
Best Vietnamese Restaurant
2719 Nicollet Ave. S. | 612-870-4739
The perennial favorite has done it again. Quang, which has been family owned and operated since 1989, has been a staple of Best of Southwest for a reason. Its renowned pho, noodle salads and banh mi sandwiches were some of Eat Street’s original attractions and have kept diners coming back over the years. On the weekends, Quang offers specials such as red curry with beef and carrots and its well-loved sea bass and shrimp noodle soup. Quang underwent some interior renovations this winter, setting it up for years of delicious dining to come.
711 W. Lake St. (alley)
Walk into the alley behind the 700 block of Lake Street, approach an iron door with an eye slot and knock. Downstairs you’ll find the stylish interior of Volstead’s Emporium, appropriately named for the legislation that outlawed alcohol in 1919. True to speakeasy form, there’s no phone number to call. Cocktails at Volstead’s rotate seasonally and are typically in the $10 range. In 2018, the speakeasy was named one of the 21 best cocktail bars in the country by Thrillist. In addition to cocktails, they boast a fine menu
of small plates, entrees and desserts.
3100 W. 43rd St. | 612-370-4913
The 7.85-acre Linden Hills Park is almost exactly in the geographic center of its namesake neighborhood and offers tennis courts, bocce ball, ball fields, a wading pool and winter skating. The Park Board purchased the land on which Linden Hills Park sits for $32,549 about 100 years ago. Potential upgrades to the park in future years could include expanding the bocce ball courts and adding shade structures to the wading pool.
Best Grocery Store
2440 Hennepin Ave. S. | 612-377-3448
5327 Lyndale Ave. S. | 612-822-2935
Kowalski’s has 11 stores in the Twin Cities area, including two in Minneapolis. The Lyndale Avenue store is approximately halfway between Diamond Lake and Lake Harriet and features a burrito bowl bar, cafe seating and a pasta bar. The Hennepin Avenue store includes all of those amenities plus a wine and spirits store, a pastry case and a hibachi. Customers tend to shop at its stores multiple times a week, said administrative director Deb Kowalski, who boasted of their “community feel.”
Best Hardware Store
5405 Penn Ave. S. | 612-922-6055
2813 W. 43rd St. | 612-920-2813
5425 Nicollet Ave. S. | 612-824-8813
One Settergren or another has operated at 54th & Penn since 1895, when the great grandfather of current owner Mark Settergren opened what was then called Settergren Hardware, Furniture and Undertaking. Mark Settergren purchased the Nicollet Avenue store in 1990 and opened the Linden Hills store in 2011. He describes his stores as community hubs and “old-fashioned hardware stores,” adding that they carry goods not typically found in hardware stores, such as pet supplies and live bait. “We try to get people to know that we are a lot more than just hammers and nails,” he says.
2720 W. 43rd St. | 612-920-5005
Wild Rumpus patrons can come face to face with a tarantula, birds and cats, among other animals, as they peruse the bookshop’s shelves. Publishers Weekly named Wild Rumpus its bookstore of the year in 2017, and Reader’s Digest declared it this year to be the “most-loved” bookstore in Minnesota. The 27-year-old shop takes its name from a line in the Maurice Sendak children’s book Where the Wild Things Are. Its founders took inspiration from the book The Salamander Room in designing the store.
Best Thai Restaurant
2812 W. 43rd St. | 612-276-5061
The curries at Naviya’s are “followed religiously,” according to Kim LaBarge, who co-owns the restaurant with his wife, Naviya LaBarge, a native of Thailand. LaBarge added that the cornerstone of the restaurant is its vegetables, which it caramelizes to create a crunchy, “signature” taste. He and Naviya have operated out of Linden Hills since 2010, after owning restaurants in Richfield and Grand Marais. He said they want to stay in the neighborhood “forever,” noting that they’ve hired a lot of young people from the immediate area.
4944 Xerxes Ave. S. | 612-455-0250
The jam-packed aisles of Hunt & Gather are full of surprises. Take a stroll around the two-story shop and find stacks of antlers, mummified rodents, maps, stencils, matchbooks, military patches, stuffed monkey dolls, discarded microscope slides, oilcloth tablecloths, a history of Gustaf V of Sweden, an eight-point buck, a taxidermied tarantula, a 10-point buck, figurines, clocks, vintage dresses, more bucks, cocktail sets, pillars, poems, paintings, assorted contraptions, multiple ersatz marble Greco-Roman busts, a full-color bust of Charles Lindbergh and enough beaver skulls to dam up a small stream. And that’s all just downstairs!
Best Breakfast (tie)
3756 Grand Ave. S. | 612-827-8948
4600 Nicollet Ave. | 612-354-3414
Southwest Journal readers picked two casual eateries as the best spots to satisfy their breakfast cravings.
Celebrating its 20th anniversary this year, Victor’s 1959 Cafe has now been dishing up “revolutionary Cuban cooking” in Kingfield for a third as long as the Communists have held power. Try the Eggs Havana, served with black beans, creole sauce and crispy-starchy fried yuca.
The heart of the breakfast menu at Tangletown’s Sun Street Breads is its build-your-own buttermilk biscuit sandwiches. The bakery’s biscuits are flaky, crunchy, buttery, airy and warm. Pay the extra dough for the Biscuit Plus, which includes meat (sausage, ham, bacon or pinto patty), eggs (scrambled, fried or basted) and cheese (white cheddar, Swiss or Monterrey Jack).
4552 Grand Ave. S. | 612-354-3257
Perhaps it comes as no surprise that Patisserie 46 has been voted the Best of Southwest for nine consecutive years (the bakery opened in 2010). Pastry chef John Kraus’ petit gateaux and seasonal tarts offer a taste of the sublime in a rustic-yet-refined setting. After ogling the neatly arrayed options — perfectly domed confections whose reflective surfaces might remind you of a Jeff Koons gazing ball — you’ll feel forced to choose just one, but you can’t go wrong. Patisserie 46 wins best dessert and best bakery this year — we recommend a cake to stay and a baguette to go!
Best Garden Supply Store
3723 W. 44th St. | 612-926-2654
Sunnyside Gardens started more than 80 years ago as a small garden plot, and today has grown into a lushly sprawling complex. The store is beloved for its knowledgeable staff, dog-friendly atmosphere and quirky decorative touches — like a multi-hued metal rooster and a picturesque tool shed guarded by two stone bulldogs. The greenhouse, kept between 40 and 60 degrees all winter long, is a welcome refuge from the snow and home to Linden Hills’ popular winter farmers market.
Best Fitness Studio
4420 Drew Ave. S., Suite B | 952-222-8131
AQ Fit Lab (the AQ stands for “athletic quotient”) started in January, and its balanced approach to the hour-long workout has already drawn enough fitness lovers to fill five classes a day. Each class combines cardio exertion (such as running, rowing, skiing or biking) with strength training (kettlebells, deadlifts, pull-ups) set to a lively soundtrack that ranges from Lizzo to classic rock. Logan Bautch and Anne Mezzenga, the couple behind the gym, must be doing something right — their Linden Hills CrossFit location, next door to AQ, won best fitness studio in 2018.