Grand Avenue is a popular street running through St. Paul, Minnesota.
It’s also near our home, which means we’ve found ourselves here on Grand a lot over the past couple years.
People flock here for shopping, walking, and restaurants. There’s the adorable and independent Red Balloon Bookshop that many of our parents took us to when we were kids, The Bibelot, Grand Ole Creamery, Juut Salon Spa. Or some of us may remember dancing at the Wild Onion (RIP) and drinking at Billie’s.
It’s natural to get excited about all of the new restaurants opening around the Twin Cities. But, I wanted to dedicate this post to three places I love along Grand Avenue that have stood the test of time for 13+ years.
I love going to haunted places, but I never ever ever want to find a ghost.
Haunted places are old and interesting. They’re cloaked in storytelling and steeped in history. I especially love visiting haunted dining/drinking establishments because you don’t just wander through; you get to pull up a seat and eat.
Forepaugh’s is 147 years old. The mansion is tucked into a quiet stretch of West 7th near the river. Jake and I have driven along West 7th a million times and somehow never saw Forepaugh’s. I’m not sure how, because the mansion in all of its glory looms on the peaceful, grassy lot.
Since 1870 the sign says.
Saturday morning Trung Nam runs are becoming my new thing.
Trung Nam is a Vietnamese and French bakery located along University Avenue in the Frogtown neighborhood of Saint Paul. The owners have been serving french bread and croissants since 1989.
Although I remembered Heavy Table visiting Trung Nam in one of their Green Line Checklist chapters, what really pushed me to visit for the first time was learning they also serve banh mi sandwiches in the morning. Not only can you buy almost any flavor of croissant, but also a pork banh mi, too, all starting at 8 o’clock in the morning.
I swore I’d always remain loyal to Minneapolis. Back when I was a new college grad, I lived in Uptown and rarely crossed the river. Now, I work in Minneapolis and live in St. Paul. I love my Twin Cities. Here are a few places where I recently enjoyed and excellent cocktail (or two) that also serve really good food:
Once I got into an Anchorman-style fight on Twitter about Jucy Lucy’s. Someone definitely drew a Twitter trident.
Fighting about Jucy Lucys is relatively easy to do in Minnesota. Many of us harbor lots of strong feelings about the subject.
If you’ve never heard of a Jucy Lucy, it’s essentially a burger stuffed with cheese. Two restaurants in Minnesota claim to have invented it. If you’ve ever seen Jucy Lucys featured on national television shows or travel blogs, you’ll probably find they only feature Matt’s Bar and 5-8 Club. This usually has me rolling my eyes because they leave out the Nook (or Casper & Runyan’s Nook, to be exact).
I really haven’t had that many versions of the Jucy Lucy and I haven’t even visited the 5-8 Club which is going to compel some to cry “heresy.” Once upon a time we tried Matt’s Bar and then we visited the Nook. Then, we thought we should branch out and try a different place and the burgers were overcooked and disappointing so we kept returning to the Nook.
I’m not saying you shouldn’t visit other places. And I’m not saying that we shouldn’t either. I’m just saying that the Nook is my favorite.