Dinner and a show


Bryant Lake Bowl will sate your hunger while entertaining you

Image courtesy Snaxx on Flickr

“So, where should we eat?”

When it comes to seeing a show, this is a question that’s often asked at the last minute, and can stymie the couple that’s not familiar with the Twin Cities restaurant landscape.

Back in the days when Theatre de la Jeune Lune was still around in the Minneapolis warehouse district, I’d often treat myself to dinner at nearby Origami beforehand.

But rather than bore you with just my personal recommendations, I threw the question to the pros. Here are their choices for “dinner and a show:”

The Big Hitters

Going to the Guthrie? While the theater boasts two restaurants and a mini-cafe, the recommendations I got for dining involve leaving the building. Check out nearby Kindee’s “son-in-law egg” appetizer, or enjoy some locally sourced organic dishes at Spoonriver.

Headed to the Walker Art Center? Painter Suzi McArdle keeps it frugal by pairing a contemporary film or dance performance with a visit to the Green Mill on Hennepin, coupon in hand. Meanwhile poet and dance critic Lightsey Darst indulges herself in a post-performance cocktail at La Belle Vie across the street.

In the mood for the Minnesota Orchestra? Prepare yourself for Tchaikovsky with martinis and appetizers at Vincent.

You can pay a visit to either the Minneapolis Institute of Arts or the Children’s Theatre Company and take advantage of the in-house food at D’Amico. Or swing on over to nearby Eat Street for Quang’s Vietnamese soup or the Black Forest Inn’s sauerbraten.


Why dine out, when you can dine in? In the theater, that is. More than one person recommended the Bryant Lake Bowl, which allows you to eat at your seat while taking in the latest improv, music or drama. Grabbing a beer on tap before or after the show is simply a matter of walking a few steps, if you don’t mind the noise of the bowling lanes.

For music lovers, (my bias here) The Dakota has a fabulous reputation for serving up both fine jazz and delicious cuisine, but you’ll want to save up for it.

Saint Paul

Taking in a show at the Ordway, Park Square Theater or the History Theater? Director Jake Endres recommends trying out the French restaurant Meritage, but advocates lunch and a matinee to save cash. Actor Dylan Fresco wasn’t the only one who had good reviews for nearby Kincaid’s for a happy hour drink and gnosh; jazz fan Bob Utke recommends pairing it with an outing to the Artists’ Quarter.

Heading to Lowertown to check out what Nautilus Music Theater is up to? Well then, just stop in at the Black Dog Cafe downstairs for a bottle of wine and a pizza.

If you’re taking the kids out to see a show at SteppingStone Theater, it’s easy to make the walk over to Bread and Chocolate on Grand Avenue for a quick bite.

Meanwhile over in Midway, poet and former owner of Speedboat Books Paul Dickinson says “For me, it just would have to be White Castle for a quick and truly delightful bite to eat, and then its on to The Turf Club for some Death Metal…..” Knowing Paul, that could be high sarcasm, or totally sincere – you decide.

Others that made the list – American Burger Bar paired with the Lowry Lab, and Cafe Caribe before heading to Gremlin Theater, and Burrito Mercado along with a show at Wellstone Center Theater.


Alright, recommendations here abound, so I’m going to make it quick and dirty:

Ritz Theater: Modern Cafe, NorthEast Social, 331 Club

Southern: Red Sea, Origami, Chai’s, Town Hall Brewery

Jungle Theater: Galactic Pizza, It’s Greek to Me

State Theater: Broadstreet Crafthouse, Dakota

Mixed Blood: The Red Sea

Riverview Theater: Riverview Wine Bar/Cafe

Heart of the Beast: Me Gusta

Red Eye: Joe’s Garage, Salsa A La Salsa, King and I Thai, Market BBQ

Northrop Auditorium: The Kitty Kat Klub

Cedar Cultural Center: Acadia Cafe

Phew! That’s quite a list! Do me a favor, and if you have your own suggestions, please add them in the comments section – the more, the merrier!