The Restaurant Nostalgia Post

I haven’t posted for a while and, the reason is really quite simple.

The baby isn’t sleeping.

Ok, so the baby is technically sleeping, but not well. And we’re dying.

Six months of shitty nights of broken-up sleep has taken a toll. Surely, by now we thought he’d be closer to sleeping through the night but we were wrong.

Surely, when he’s over his cold he’ll sleep better.

Nope. Ok, well surely when he learns how to roll he’ll sleep better.


SURELY when he starts eating solids he’ll start sleeping better. LOLOLOLMAO NOPE.

After a torturous month of my spouse’s work travel and these night wakings, we broke down and hired a local sleep consultant.

Sure, I could read books and do my own research about sleep training, but frankly, I’m too tired. We need someone to give us a plan. Tell us what to do.

Almost two weeks in and parts of the training is working, one part is not. At his six-month visit, the pediatrician shrugged and said we could continue to wake up three times a night to give the baby a bottle or press on with the sleep training.

“Those are both terrible options!” I replied.

“Yeah, they are,” he agreed.

So we’re pressing on. Wish us luck!

The rest of this post is only going to be interesting to old people like me who grew up in the Twin Cities. The other week I saw a Reddit thread reminiscing about now-closed restaurants.

What a trip down memory lane for nostalgic, food obsessed people like me. Sometimes I think about my first happy hours which were at places long closed – The Independent, Figlio, Palamino. . .

And before Keto and low-carb became popular, who could forgot the mashed potato frenzy? Joe’s Garage (RIP) in Loring Park served a customize-your own bowl of mashed potatos menu – $$ added up quickly. And another bar downtown had a free mashed potato happy hour bar.

Here are the closed restaurants that I think of most often:

National Chain Restaurants

  • Knott’s Berry Farm, Camp Snoopy, Mall of America: Let’s take the wayback machine back to when Nickelodeon Universe was Camp Snoopy. And the earliest version when they had a Knott’s Berry farm that served fried chicken. If my memory is correct, it was really really good fried chicken.
  • Fuddruckers: There are Fuddruckers in other states, but RIP to all of the Fuddruckers in Minnesota. Growing up, we both have fond memories going here with our families. From peering behind the big glass windows at the butchers to loading up burgers from the big toppings bar complete with cheese sauce. I remember free cookies and some sort of coin. Were the cookie and the coin related? My memory is too fuzzy to recall.
  • Schlotzky’s: There are 340 Schlotzky’s, but none left in Minnesota. The holdout in Edina closed years ago. And somehow there are 210 in Texas. Back in 90’s Minnesota suburbia when there weren’t interesting sandwich shops, this strange Italian cold cut/Muffaletta hybrid on round, spongy bread was a special treat.
  • Boston Market: There are no more Boston Markets in Minnesota. I hadn’t wanted to eat at Boston Market for years and then when I wanted to, I found  they were all closed. Growing up, rotisserie chickens weren’t a commonplace item in every grocery store. We reguarily frequented Boston Markets for rotisserie chicken  and the sides –  mac and cheese, cornbread, green bean casserole. If my memory is correct, they had pretty good meatloaf and chicken salad sandwiches. I don’t miss it enough to drive to the nearest location in Glendale, WI, so it’ll have to live in my happy memories now.

Local Chain Restaurant

The Great Leeann Chin Buffet: LeeAnn Chin is a fast casual Chinese restaurant that Twin Cities kids grew-up on. It’s part of me now. Like, it literally imprinted into my DNA somehow. It’s the OKest Chinese food that I eat the most often. All but a few locations are in Minnesota. You should definitely not go out of your way just to eat at a Leeann Chin. I feel a nostalgic loyalty to them, even though the food is a pale comparison to what it once was.

The cream cheese wontons and “appetizer sauce” actually taste the same. I saw employees snapping fresh green beans for the garlic soy green beans, and those are pretty good. We order the grilled bourbon chicken every time. The bone-in oyster wings have gone on and off the menu since the pandemic, but those did actually taste the same as they once did. Everything else, though, not so much, like the Peking Chicken which I continue ordering because it still kind of tastes like nostalgia.

Back in the day, they had two fancy buffets in Minneapolis and St. Paul. This was where I always chose to go for my childhood birthdays, until they closed. I swear, they had lemon chicken and shrimp toasts, too.


  • Bombay2Deli: A tiny South Indian restaurant in NE Minneapolis run by two women that used to serve delicious and affordable lunch box combos where you could pick from a few curries. It was the first place I remember seeing Indian street food like Pani Puri.
  • Evergreen: Evergreen seems to be one of the most lamented restaurant closings from the past. This Taiwanese restaurant was located in the basement of a building on Eat Street. Still to this day, there isn’t a restaurant in the Twin Cities quite like it. It was the only restaurant I remember that offering vegetarian versions of every meat and seafood.  I only made the mistake once of taking a new date here. Of course he fell in love with it right away but we broke up soon after and I didn’t to risk running into any more ex’s here.
  • La Sirena Gorda: A Mexican seafood stall that used to be in Midtown Global Market run by the person who also owned Babalu. They served the best, spicy clam chowder – possibly slightly orange hued with habanero. And whole fish, ceviche, seafood tacos at affordable prices. It was wonderful.
  • Da Afghan: It appears Da Afghan may have closed in 2010 – they also had a Dinkytown location. My parents didn’t veer often from Baker’s Square or TGI Friday’s, but one of their friends talked them into trying Da Afghan, their favorite restaurant. Soon before it closed, we visited the lunch buffet and never forgot the meal, especially the green chutney.
  • Birchwood Cafe: Birchwood closed recently during the pandemic. There was a lot of controversy about events that occurred beforehand that I won’t link but are easy to look up. Gosh darn it, though, we do have good memories here. We were lamenting the closure recently, trying to think of places to get really good slices of pie – theirs was great. You could order the delightful combo of pie and fries here – the fries, also great.
  • Keefer Court: I went here for the savory buns – scrambled egg and ham, BBQ pork, curry beef puffs, hot dog buns. Unfortunately, there isn’t another Chinese bakery that offers the same variety of savory buns (please prove me wrong). A lot of the buns I see in Asian markets are sweet flavors. Sweet % (New Maplewood location!) serves very excellent bubble teas and offers some savory pastries including cheese, green onion, hot dogs and pork floss.

Anyway, that’s enough reminiscing for now.


  1. S

    I am a bit older than you, so mine are different than yours. The ones I can think of off the top of my head, Cousin’s subs, The Lincoln Del and Steak and Ale. There are others of course, but my old brain is not remembering them now. I read on JD’s insta today that Keefer Court is going into the new Asia Mall.

  2. Will @ Road Tips

    Oh, man! The Fuddruckers in Edina is closed down? I used to stay across 494 from there off France Ave. and I used to go to Fudd’s to get a burger fix from time to time – even though there were good local places within a 10 minute drive that had good burgers. I normally don’t go to chain restaurants, but with Fuddruckers you always knew what you were going to get. One little tip that doesn’t matter any longer (unless you can find a Fuddruckers) – don’t order cheese on your burger. Take your burger over to the queso dispenser and slather the warm cheese on the burger patty. Outstanding!

    Now you’re going to make me seek out a Fudd’s when I travel around the country!

  3. michelle

    I miss Fuddrucker’s. So many good memories of the burgers there. And, like you, I remember the shrimp toast at LeeAnn Chin’s. Loved those things.

    One place that’s no longer around that I have fond memories of? The Smiling Moose in Uptown. They had an all-you-can-eat crab leg special for like $20 in the late 90s. I went there quite a few times with friends and co-workers for that special.

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