We're counting down the days of the season and hoping to cram in as much joy, laughter and togetherness as possible. That means multitasking — it's the only way to accomplish everything we need to accomplish before the holidays.
That's why the growing trend of restaurants with added retail space is so incredibly helpful this time of year, when many who are gathering at restaurants are also in search of gifts to share. Along with rustic reclaimed-wood tables, there are shelves lined with possibilities from makers near and far, all curated to reflect the restaurant's aesthetic.
At Vivir, the breakfast cafe from Jami Olson that's adjacent to her Minneapolis taco spot Centro, the pivot came in part due to the pandemic. "We wanted to create a market feel," she said, remembering the early pandemic days when she and chef Jose Alarcon shifted the Mexican fine dining restaurant Popol Vuh over to Vivir. "We wanted to add things that added energy to the space."
The goods stocked at the store are intentionally selected from Mexican makers or local artists from its neighbors in the historic Northeast arts district.
At Wrecktangle's relatively new stand-alone pizza restaurant on W. Lake Street, the addition of shop space was a way to honor familial roots. Brothers Jeff and Alex Rogers opened Silver's Market & Deli, named after the grocery store their grandparents operated in Hibbing, Minn.
Co-owner Breanna Evans said most of the items stocked inside Silver's are small businesses just getting off the ground, many from their artistic friends and workers.
"Plus, with the pandemic, we thought why not give people a place to sell the things they made with their idle hands?"
Here are some of our favorite places to go for a bite and to linger for a little retail therapy.
This little beauty is a new concept for Alma that pulls together some of the greatest hits from its cafe, like divine breakfast sandwiches, and shelves stocked with gorgeous goods. While waiting for a coffee order, peruse the seasonal scents in the forms of candles, incense, sprays and oils. Pick up some handcrafted cooking tools, or a couple of Alma's pantry staples that just happen to be the size of stocking stuffers.
812 W. 46th St., Mpls., 612-895-1251, almaprovisions.com
Cooks of Crocus Hill has long been a destination for those in search of the finest cookware and kitchen implements, but the addition of Bellecour Bakery made it a must-visit for food fans. The North Loop location has indoor tables to order up a cup of Dorothy's dark roast coffee and laminated treats (or a sandwich/salad combo). Nab a giant sprinkle-crusted macaron for later and then peruse all the Le Creuset, All-Clad, cookbooks and gadgets on the wish lists of your favorite foodie. (The St. Paul Cooks of Crocus Hill also has Bellecour goodies, but no space to stay and enjoy.)
210 N. 1st St., Mpls., 612-223-8167, bellecourbakery.com
This destination eatery in Shoreview is top-to-bottom beautiful — and so are the market goods they stock. Walking inside the restaurant, it's easy to get swept away by the tall, airy ceilings, but don't miss the shelves at the center front of the room and next to the door that demand attention. There are beautiful, sturdy burlap bags, small jars of delicious foodstuffs, and candles with alluring scents.
4606 Churchill St., Shoreview, 612-466-2596, churchillst.com
Clancey's Meats & Fish
The newly expanded butcher shop includes plenty of shelf space for artisan grocery goods. Stop by in the morning for an oven-fresh cinnamon roll, order up holiday roasts and then spend time lingering among all the pretty small jars and other goods to help complete a meal. There are plenty of host gifts that would augment a killer cheese board.
3804 Grand Av. S., Mpls., 612-926-0222, clanceysmeats.com
This massive warehouse space and distillery from Jesse Held, Jeff Erkkila and Nick Kosevich is also a greenery-filled winter wonderland during markets held on the second Saturday of the month through April. Stop by for local goods from artisan makers and stay for fantastic pizza and a cadre of cocktails.
1325 NE. Quincy St., Mpls., 612-345-5305, earlgiles.com
Have your pasta and eat it, too, at this downtown Minneapolis Italian restaurant with market stations set up throughout the sprawling space. You'll find a small grocery with imported ingredients that would make a lovely gift basket for an Italophile, plus local artisanal goods and grab-and-go prepared foods. In the dining room, find kitchen and home goods, cookbooks, beauty supplies, plants and pots, and Baggu totes. The Bottle Shop, curated by beverage director Scarlett Carrasco Polanco, features a largely Italian selection of hard-to-find wines.
305 Washington Av. S., Mpls., 612-208-1638, eatompls.com
El Burrito Mercado
Through the generations, this Mexican grocer, deli, bakery, restaurant and shop has been a fantastic spot for a taste of Mexico. Stop in for tamales or a sip of fine tequila, but make time to wander through the front part of the grocery store attached to the restaurant. There are Mexican-made goods that make fantastic gifts, like a molcajete for pounding and grinding spice blends and pastes, or pottery for serving or adorning walls.
175 Cesar Chavez St., St. Paul, 651-227-2192, elburritomercado.com
The French Hen Cafe
While Ergo Floral and the French Hen Cafe are two separate businesses, the diners enter this Cathedral Hill breakfast restaurant through the flower shop. The aromas of fresh-cut florals, the organic shapes of the dried arrangements and the lush greenery of potted plants is tropical balm in a winter wonderland. Spend a morning lingering over the luscious bành mí eggs Benedict at French Hen before stopping in at Ergo, where the front window is stocked with the freshest cut flowers ready to wrap up and bring home.
518 Selby Av., St. Paul, 651-222-6201, frenchhencafe.com
The Grocer's Table
Part of the charm of this cafe and wine bar in downtown Wayzata is the integration of an upscale general store among the tables. While you dine, you can easily scan the offerings, from bar tools and cookbooks to funky striped pastas and Aleppo pepper. There's also plenty of prepared food, so time your visit ahead of a holiday party.
326 Broadway Av. S., Wayzata, 952-466-6100, thegrocerstablemn.com
The restaurant's muted wood tones, soft textures and artful adornments are instantly soothing — even before you take a bite of chef/owner Ann Ahmed's stunning cuisine. Bring a bit of the elegance home with handcrafted goods from artisans from Southeast Asia and Laos. With lips still tingling from the heat of the must-have basil wings, shop for carved spoons, woven baskets, sweet-smelling candles and more.
4000 Lyndale Av. S., Mpls., 612-345-5199, khaluna.com
Le Cafè at Alliance Française
There are plenty of reasons to visit the sunny north Minneapolis headquarters of this French language and cultural organization. For starters, the pastry and coffee counter is stocked by Honey & Rye Bakehouse, which means more chances to nab one of their legendary morning buns. Enjoy the goods in the bibliothèque while flipping through a coffee-table book on Versailles, then shop for French and fancy things, including home decor and kitchen tools, scented lotions and candles, French candies, clothes and toys at La Boutique.
227 Colfax Av. N., Mpls., 612-332-0436, afmsp.org
Sidebar, France 44, Wineside
We have friends who would fill their Santa lists with nothing but wine and cheese. (OK, it's us.) These three establishments combine the liquor store and cheese shop experience with a place to dine, so you can taste before buying. At Sidebar, order the charcuterie board and a pour of wine, then dip into Surdyk's to get the goods to go. France 44 has a slick new upper-level space for events, including wine and cheese pairings. Afterward, head downstairs and purchase your favorites. (There are also a few tables for dining in.) And the new Wineside combines a Top Ten liquor store with a gourmet grocery, cheese and pastry counter with 104 taps for wine by the glass, so you can sample to your heart's content before making a purchase.
Sidebar at Surdyk's, 303 E. Hennepin Av., Mpls., 612-455-2574, sidebaratsurdyks.com; France 44, 4351 France Av. S., Mpls., 612-925-3252, france44.com; Wineside, 1641 Plymouth Road, Minnetonka, 952-600-7093, wineside.com.
Tattersall Distilling River Falls
Tattersall's year-old Wisconsin campus is bigger than its Minneapolis headquarters in every way, including the gift shop. While you can still get their syrups, mixers and swag locally, the selection is considerably larger at the 75,000-square-foot destination distillery across the border. Pick up cocktail-scented candles, glassware and cube trays, home bar accessories and branded clothing. Or, browse the massive spirits library.
1777 Paulson Road, River Falls, Wis., 534-248-8300; some items available at 1620 Central Av. NE., Mpls., 612-584-4152; tattersalldistilling.com.
Part weekday brunch destination and part gift shop, you'll want to linger in this bright and lively space. Bring a buddy to split the giant breakfast burrito and tuck a few sprinkle-adorned masa cookies into a bag for later. Spend time shopping for locally made greeting cards, Prince-adorned tea towels, Mexican ingredients for cooking at home and more.
1414 NE. Quincy St., Mpls., 612-345-5527, vivirmpls.com
Wrecktangle and Silver's Market
When the pizza phenoms behind Wrecktangle opened their first stand-alone location, the additional square footage had room to get creative. Co-owner Jeff Rogers was a bar man before he gifted Minneapolis with his brand of pan pizza, so the full bar was a no-brainer. But retail space and a daytime cafe menu weren't as obvious. Stop for a bungle (an irresistible bagel sandwich sort of situation) and shop for locally made jewelry, lip colors, ceramics and more at Silver's Market and Deli, named for the Hibbing grocery story that Rogers' grandparents once owned.
703 W. Lake St., Mpls., 612-444-4420, wrecktanglepizza.com