Wine & Dine at These LGBTQ-Owned Restaurants

By Jess Hoffert

Urban Growler brewery owners St. Paul
St. Paul's Urban Growler was Minnesota's first women-owned brewery / Photo courtesy of Urban Growler

Minnesota’s dining scene has never been more diverse, and we’re proud to feature a growing number of restaurants, breweries and other establishments helmed by members of the LGBTQ+ community. Show your rainbow pride by digging in at these awesome spots in Minneapolis, St. Paul, Bloomington, Duluth and beyond.

Minneapolis-St. Paul Area

Hot Indian

Hot Indian Foods truck
Hot Indian has three permanent locations in addition to the food truck

Executive chef Janene Holig helps conjure up the magical flavor combinations at this kicky Indian quick-service spot. With a food truck plus three brick-and-mortar locations (downtown Minneapolis, Midtown Global Market and Mall of America), it’s easy to get your fix.

Must try: The Indurrito made with house roti (flatbread), rolled up and stuffed with your choice of fillings. Go spicy with the lamb and pickled aioli.

Joan’s in the Park

Susan Dunlop and Joan Schmitt’s fine dining treasure in St. Paul’s Highland Park neighborhood feels classy without a hint of pretentiousness. Book early to score a table at the 40-seat white tablecloth restaurant, serving artfully plated four-course meals.

Must try: Save room for the signature brown butter pudding with chocolate caramel, whipped cream and citron salt.

Muffin Top Cafe

Nicollet Diner Minneapolis
It's hard to beat the one-two punch of Muffin Top and Nicollet Diner

This chill coffee mecca near Minneapolis’ Loring Park just got a fresh makeover, but don’t worry: Married owners Sam Turner and Dion Coker kept your faves on the menu. Full-bodied roasts and lightning flash-roasted espresso will give you the morning jolt you need.

Must try: You can’t go wrong with any of the namesake muffin tops, served in a rotating variety of flavors.

Nicollet Diner

Also owned by Sam and Dion, and adjacent to Muffin Top Cafe, the only 24/7/365 restaurant in Minneapolis whips up diner staples (think pancakes, burgers and thick milkshakes). The menu also offers vegan and gluten-free options.

Must try: The house-made biscuits and gravy are some of the finest in town.

PinKU

PinKU sushi chef Minneapolis
Experience Japanese street food at Northeast Minneapolis' PinKU

Sushi restaurants are easy to come by these days, but authentic Japanese street food? Now that’s a catch. Chef and owner John Sugimura sources fresh seafood daily and gives it the starring role in gorgeously plated—and flavored—feasts in Northeast Minneapolis.

Must try: Crispy shrimp with spicy mayo, green onions, sesame seeds and cabbage.

Urban Growler

Opened in St. Paul in 2014, the first women-owned microbrewery in the state features a bustling beer garden and a fabulous mix of traditional and specialty brews dreamed up by the team of Jill Pavlak and Deb Loch.

Must try: The Wisconsin perch fish fry (Fridays only) comes with sides of fries, slaw and pumpernickel rye bread. Pair it with the smooth Cowbell Cream Ale.

Wise Acre Eatery

Wise Acre Eatery Minneapolis
The yummiest omelet you ever did see at Wise Acre Eatery

Get a taste of rural Minnesota at this farmer-owned eatery in South Minneapolis. Scott Endres and Dean Engelmann raise grass-fed poultry, pork and beef, and grow produce year-round on their 142-acre farm in tiny Plato, Minn. It all makes its way to this Nicollet Avenue hotspot that continues to earn accolades.

Must try: Any of the veggie-centric tapas items, like beets with bean puree, sheep’s milk cheese, garlic chips and mint.

Duluth & North Shore

At Sara’s Table Chester Creek Cafe

Married couple Barbara Neubert and Carla Blumberg have run this local institution since 2003, serving breakfast, lunch, dinner and weekend brunch, all with menus that highlight options for those with special dietary needs.

Must try: The melt-in-your-mouth salmon pesto omelet with house-smoked salmon, Havarti cheese, spinach and house-made pesto.

The Boat Club

Boat Club bloody mary in Duluth
A bloody with a side of lobster? Yes, please!

Lake Superior views star at this fine dining spot owned by Jason Vincent and Jeff Anderson. Part of the historic Fitger’s Brewery complex, the restaurant features daily happy hour specials including half-price tap beer, plus half off bottles of wine on Mondays.

Must try: The “world famous” lobster bloody mary with a petite lobster tail, sriracha bacon and other garnishes.

Vanilla Bean Restaurant

Also owned by Jason and Jeff, this breakfast-all-day favorite has been open in Two Harbors since 1998; a Duluth outpost opened in 2018. Both locations serve riffs on Minnesota traditions such as wild rice porridge and walleye eggs benedict.

Must try: The cranberry club with turkey, ham, bacon, cucumber, tomato and spinach, all served on toasted cranberry wild rice bread slathered with house cranberry mayo.

emt_onlyinmn_hashtag_(rainbow horiz).pngExplore Minnesota is a proud member of the International LGBTQ+ Travel Association (IGLTA). Find even more LGBTQ travel ideas on our gay travel hub.