Tour De-licious

  T  ake a look at our Google Map  to go in-depth on our Tour De-Licious. Both dining and transit stops are highlighted.

Take a look at our Google Map to go in-depth on our Tour De-Licious. Both dining and transit stops are highlighted.

34 miles. 18 stops. 3 Cities. One epic Dinner.

We've created an adventure for you, Dear Rider. Welcome to Tour De-Licious, a multi-modal progressive dinner plan—from appetizers, to drinks, to entrees, to dessert, to dancing. Because we need to dance after a long journey.

To make this progressive dinner happen, we first consulted our partners in public transportation at MetroTransit for expert transit tips and stops. Then, we commissioned a bike route from Mario Macaruso, who leads monthly rides of 60–80 people for the Joyful Riders Club. Finally, we tapped into the expertise of our food and drink editor Mecca Bos, because if you want to know where to eat, Mecca's the person you ask.

Start your adventure at any point. It's your journey and your dinner. Choose a few favorite spots, spice things up with some new ones to try, then use our 34-mile route to get from place to place.

34 MILES? In the winter?! Yeah, buddy! Just grab an all-day transit pass and effortlessly hop on and off buses or trains as much or as little as you like. Taking breaks from riding—no shame—is why we've provided all the transit information, too. When weather gets wonky, or stomachs get full, we got you. Enjoy!

Find our bike route — marked with dining and transit landmarks — right here. And make sure you tell us about how your roaming dinner ride goes on Twitter @joyridemn.


CHOOSE YOUR OWN ADVENTURE

South Minneapolis

Bull’s Horn Food & Drink (4563 S 34th Ave, Minneapolis, MN 55406)
Where else do you get a skull-cap wearing bartender who happens to be one of the finest chefs in the city? Doug Flicker, owner of the late nationally lauded Piccolo, says he's never felt more comfortable than he does holding down the bar at Bull's Horn (nee Sunrise Inn), which he co-owns with his life/business partner Amy Greely. With the three-plays-for-a-quarter juke, $2.50 pints, and chef-driven Heggie's (Flicker has two signature flavors) on the menu, we've never felt more comfortable, either. (Drinks, Eats)

United Noodles (2015 E 24th St, Minneapolis, MN 55404)
Ideal for great Asian classics on the go (except during the lunch rush when things tend to be crushingly busy), United Noodle’s lunch counter Unideli is perfect for a warm-up on this ride. Big bowls of ramen, katsu pork (Japanese-style Panko-breaded pork loin) and for those so inclined, Spam Musubi are specialties. (It should be noted that the latter selection fits nicely in a pack for mid-ride calories.) (Eats)

Nearby bike routes: Midtown Greenway, Hiawatha LRT Line
Nearby transit line: MetroTransit Blue Line

Rustica Bakery (3226 W Lake St, Minneapolis, MN 55416)
We’re spoiled in our Twin Cities for world-class pastry (Rose Street Patisserie) and even our own small flour mill and bread bakery (Baker’s Field) but Rustica is the one that put slow fermentation on the map around here. Slow fermentation being the thing that makes your bread taste like that. Like something wild and rustic (it’s in the name). Stop at Rustica for the Kouginn-Amman, a mouthful of a name for a mouthful of a pastry: It’s 50 percent butter and 50 percent yeasted dough, which makes it one hundred percent mind-blowing. (Dessert)

Punch Pizza Lake Calhoun (3226 W Lake St, Minneapolis, MN 55416)
Directly next door to Rustica is Punch, Minnesota’s original Neapolitan-style pizzeria. Its enthusiasts are many, and it is difficult to beat their crisp-chew-flop. Stop here, split a pie, and grab a glass of vino, because you can, and opportunities for beer are many on this route. (Eats, Drinks)

Nearby bike routes: Midtown Greenway, Kenilworth Trail, Cedar Lake Trail
Nearby transit line: MetroTransit Route 6

St. Louis Park

Copperwing Distillery (6409 Cambridge St, St Louis Park, MN 55426)
Had enough beer? Set your gears toward Copperwing Distillery, a hidden SLP gem, where vodka, gin, whiskey and “vodskey”— lower proof than vodka— are the focal point. This is an off-the beaten-path find, and the chill, dim surrounds of the cocktail room make for a speakeasy-like find. (Drinks)

BlueFox Indian Bar & Grill (5377 W 16th St, St Louis Park, MN 55416)
If you’re tired of Indian in buffet form, BlueFox is worthy of attention for its full-service, full bar, and some hard-to-find South Indian dishes. Highly recommended is the fiery chicken chettinadu with coconut rice and bread; and the dosa, gargantuan and flashy, served with your choice of everything from farmer’s cheese to white truffles. (Eats, Drinks)

Yangtze (5625 Wayzata Blvd, St Louis Park, MN 55416)
One of the few reliable venues for spot-on dim sum, Yangtze is a longtime, under-sung Chinese powerhouse serving not just Cantonese faves but also Hunan, Szechuan, and Mandarin. Very few other places in town will indulge your gotta-have-it comforts of chow mein and fried rice under the same roof with sliced leg of Szechuan lamb and prawns in X.O. sauce. (Eats)

Nearby bike route: Cedar Lake Trail
Nearby transit line: MetroTransit Route 645

Downtown Minneapolis

Lee’s Liquor Lounge (101 Glenwood Ave, Minneapolis, MN 55403)
This vintage bar and music venue can best be described as a honky-tonk, the kind of place you might stumble upon on a trip and be telling everyone about your good fortune back home. Every time we go, we’re reminded that secrets of the city abound, especially if you explore the city by bike, where back alleys, back doors, and underground-y spaces are easier to see. Live music most nights of the week means you get to dance on this ride, too. (Drinks, Dancing)

Nearby bike routes: Cedar Lake Trail
Nearby transit lines: MetroTransit Blue Line + Green Line

North Loop

The Bachelor Farmer + Café + Marvel Bar (50 N 2nd Ave, Minneapolis, MN 55401)
What do you have in mind? Grilled Devon beef, autumn greens, torn bread, red onion, and something called “old water”? An Instagram-perfect open-faced smoked salmon sandwich on house-baked bread? How about an Old Man and the Sea, with nori, distilled water, and Laphroaig 10? The compound that is The Bachelor Farmer can provide these and many other things, from an extra dry cappuccino to a lingering multi-course romantic dinner. It’s your ride, and your choice, and it’s right off the Cedar Lake Trail. (Eats, Drinks, Desserts)

Cuzzy’s Grill & Bar (507 N Washington Ave, Minneapolis, MN 55401)
Did you know that Cuzzy’s serves wine? They do! And pretty good wine, at that. So, you should go to Cuzzy’s, drink some bubbly, order a basket of their stupefyingly rich smothered tots, and celebrate the fact that you're kicking a whole bunch of butt on this epic eating and drinking tour! (Drinks, Eats)

Nearby bike routes: Cedar Lake Trail + West River Parkway
Nearby transit lines: MetroTransit Blue Line + Green Line

Northeast Minneapolis

Glam Doll Donuts (519 Central Avenue NE Minneapolis, MN 55413)
Post or mid-ride is probably the only excuse to down one of Glam Doll’s debaucherous mac & cheese donuts, which are everything that’s good about the State Fair in ring form. Get one, or better yet share one, then follow up with any one of their dozens of sweet studies in excess, from Surly icing with bacon crumb, to a sleek and classic glazed. (Desserts)

Gorkha Palace (23 4th St NE, Minneapolis, MN 55414)
For Nepalese and Indian, many consider Gorkha to be the gold standard. Their use of organic and sustainable ingredients shines through, and it’s difficult to do much better for chicken chili or veggie pakora, but the buffalo momo are their crowning glory, and ideal for sharing with a glass of wine. (Eats, Drinks)

Masu Sushi & Robata (330 E Hennepin Ave, Minneapolis, MN 55414)
Sushi or ramen or Robata? Have it all! However, the sushi here is underrated and secretly affordable, with omakase (chef’s choice) priced at just $21 (for a party of two or more). You’ll get two nigiri, one hand roll, three pieces of hosomaki (thin roll) and six pieces of futomaki (fat roll). If you’re up for it, ask for ”off the menu" fish specials. For instance, in May they had some secret soft shell crab. What do they have now? You gotta go to know. (Eats, Drinks)

Nearby bike routes: Dinkytown Greenway + 5th Street SE Bikeway
Nearby transit lines: MetroTransit Routes 4 + 10

Downtown Minneapolis

Zen Box Izakaya (602 S Washington Ave, Minneapolis, MN 55415)
The hardest-working man in ramen, John Ng is a former architect cum ramen chef, a not-so-unlikely combo when you consider the way he builds his bowls. If you’re lucky, you’ll be dropping in on a Friday, when his specials are legendary. Last week: “Chicken, Pork, Dashi Triple Broth, Shio Pork Belly Chashu, Kikurage, Bean Sprouts, Chive, Ajitama, Fried Garlic, Fried Shallots, Niboshi Shoyu Tar,  Garlic Chicken Oil, Temomi Noodles.” This week? Anyone’s guess. Also consider the house-made non-alcoholic sodas in flavors like matcha lemonade and yuzu basil. (Eats, Drinks, N/A Drinks)

Nearby bike routes: West River Parkway + Washington Ave. Bikeway
Nearby transit lines: MetroTransit Blue Line + Green Line

University Corridor

Surly Brewing (520 Malcolm Ave SE, Minneapolis, MN 55414)
One of the most beloved beer labels in all of Minnesota, Surly is by now no mystery to most. Its destination brewery offers plenty of bike parking, big fire pits, and virtually every classic American food favorite known to man (chili, oysters, burgers, pannekoeken?!). You gotta stop, and sip, and see and be seen. $3.50 8 oz. pours sweeten the deal for a quickie stop and sip. (Eats, Drinks)

Nearby bike routes: Dinkytown Greenway + University of Minnesota Transitway
Nearby transit lines: MetroTransit Green Line

Saint Paul

Can Can Wonderland (755 Prior Ave N #004, St Paul, MN 55104)
Ready for a little crazytown? Can Can Wonderland has oodles of it. The former Spam canning facility now houses an artist-designed mini golf course, concessions stand serving calzones to charcuterie, a couple of bars presenting hands-down the most psychedelic drinks in town (think Fig Newtons, brandy, caramel, edible gold glitter and purple sprinkles. In one drink.) Live music, too. Oh, and vintage arcade games. Be careful on this stop, as you might start having too much fun and forget you’ve still got riding to do. (Eats, Drinks, Fun)

Nearby bike route: Charles Avenue Bikeway
Nearby transit line: MetroTransit Green Line + A Line

Izzy’s Ice Cream (2034 Marshall Ave, St Paul, MN 55104)
Just because it’s winter are you going to let that stop you from eating ice cream? Not if you go to Izzy’s, where their superior, adult product can rival a cocktail for indulgence. A malt or a waffle cone filled with dulce de leche will cost you a small fortune. But what cost, obsession? (Dessert)

Nearby bike route: Midtown Greenway + East and West River Parkway
Nearby transit line: MetroTransit Route 21 + A Line

Bar Brigade (470 Cleveland Ave S, St Paul, MN 55105)
You know all those perfect little Parisian bars when you're on vacation—windows fogged with laughter, lights glowing rose and gold, champagne flutes clinking endlessly? That's Bar Brigade, on an unassuming St. Paul street in an unassuming St. Paul 'hood under an unassuming St. Paul sign reading simply "Brigade" beneath the PBR logo. Because while it's Parisian in spirit, it's St. Paul at its heart, and home is sweeter than vacation anyway. Try the warm rolls and salted butter with a rose on tap for a grounding repast. (Eats, Drinks)

Nearby bike route: Cleveland Avenue Bicycle Lanes
Nearby transit line: MetroTransit Blue Line


BIKE PATHS

 A look toward downtown Minneapolis on the Dinkytown Greenway

A look toward downtown Minneapolis on the Dinkytown Greenway

 Bridge N0. 9

Bridge N0. 9

  • Midtown Greenway: Built on an old railway corridor, the Midtown Greenway is 5.5 miles of glorious pedestrian- and biker-only traveling from the western shores of the Mississippi River to the beaches of Bde Maka Ska (fka Lake Calhoun).

    This world-famous path operates outside the street grid's confines, so riders pedal untroubled by concerns like stoplights and distracted drivers. The Greenway is safe, beautiful and well-maintained, thanks to the non-profit coalition behind it—even in the winter!
     
  • Cedar Lake Trail: The nation's first bicycling and pedestrian freeway is right here in Minnesota. Thanks to a recent extension, the CLT now runs from a trailhead off West River Road, through downtown Minneapolis and under Target Field, all the way to St. Louis Park.

    The CLT parallels former Great Northern Railway lines and offers a simply gorgeous view of the downtown skyline on the eastbound trip in. Remember to bring your lights along, as the trail is only moonlit at night.
     
  • The Dinkytown Greenway might just make you say "Wow!" Just a few years old and only a mile long, but a very important mile, it runs from the Number 9 bridge outside of downtown Minneapolis to the University of Minnesota Transitway, which connects both university campuses and terminates at the State Fairgrounds. Don't forget to ring your bell as you pass under 35W and wave up at students passing by overhead in Dinkytown.
     
  • West River Parkway Trail (a.k.a, Mississippi River Gorge Regional Trail) is easy to take for granted—it's just the River Road!—or, it was until a mudslide shut it down for years and Twin Cities residents realized what a treasure it is. Paralleling the Mississippi River from the Plymouth Avenue bridge to Minnehaha Falls, this at times flat, at times super hilly trail is full of fantastic river views. Park your bike and explore off-trail to see West River Parkway's secret gems, including White Sands Beach.
     
 Photo courtesy of Metro Transit

Photo courtesy of Metro Transit

TRANSIT ROUTES

  • MetroTransit Green Line: Since June 2014, this 11-mile light rail line has connected downtown Minneapolis to downtown Saint Paul and simply put, it's a pleasure to ride. The rider experience is simple and easy, the trip between downtowns is smooth and just fast enough, and there's plenty of places to either prop your bike up or stand with it amid the crowds. The Green Line runs 24 hours a day, seven days a week, one of the few U.S. rail lines to do so, and trains arrive every 10–20 minutes. 
     
  • MetroTransit Blue Line kicked off the Twin Cities' light rail love affair, starting in 2004. Hop on and it will take you from downtown Minneapolis to the suburb of Bloomington, where you can jump on a plane at the MSP International Airport or take the SpongeBob SquarePants Rock Bottom Plunge at Mall of America. Importantly, it's got multiple stops close to the aforementioned Midtown Greenway, and it's paralleled by the Hiawatha LRT bike trail. Oh yeah, and it's FAST!
     
  • MetroTransit A Line: Running from the Blue Line's 46th Street Station to Roseville's Rosedale Mall, the A Line features a flashy new take on bussing in the Twin Cities. For starters, every A Line has free Wi-Fi, so you can hunt Pokémon while riding without taxing your data limit (that's cheating!). Plus, riders pay before they step onto the bus and each A Line has wider doors and aisles so people, including those with mobility needs, can get on and off faster and more easily. All those saved seconds add up!

    Pssstt, we hear MetroTransit is working on a pilot program that will let you know how many bikes are on each A Line—a valuable tip for an adventure like this one.

Dining spots chosen and blurbs written by Mecca Bos. Route provided by Mario Macaruso. Introduction, transit and bike path blurbs by Patrick Stephenson. 


 
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This story was produced in partnership with Metro Transit. The Metro Transit All Day Pass is the perfect choice for your Tour De-Licious. Check out metrotransit.org for more route and fare info, to learn how to get the Metro Transit app, and to read more about traveling with your bike.

Mecca Bos