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Caribbean Smokehouse — Stillwater

“It was truly an opportunity to finally open my own restaurant,” he said about Caribbean Smokehouse in Stillwater. “People ask why I didn’t do it 10 years ago. I wasn’t ready.”

Cafe and Bar Lurcat — Loring Park

Standing off to the side while Café and Bar Lurcat Executive Chef Jordan Swiler prepares to plate the Braised Lamb is a quick finale since the magic of braising the meat has already been done.

Angelina's Kitchen — Woodbury

Sundays in the Bronx were strictly for church and dinner at grandma’s house. And there were no excuses.

The Bachelor Farmer — Minneapolis

Instead of cringe-worthy clichés like lutefisk, cream-based casseroles or Jell-O-whatever-the-hell, The Bachelor Farmer’s new chef wants to know what’s good and edible from our own forests, fields and shorelines.

Book Club — Minneapolis

The veggie burrito at Book Club seems almost too simple, but so is the “West Coast” style that encompasses the menu.

The Lynhall — Minneapolis

Kristin Tyborski is that coveted MVP who can play all the positions, moving gracefully from front of the house to the kitchen and back again without grandstanding.

The Noble Lion — Victoria

Patrick Donelan grew up in a family where everyone cooked, and everyone hunted. “We did everything by hand,” canning the majority of their food, he says, especially sauerkraut.

Vann — Spring Park

The Octopus appetizer at Vann in Spring Park, already the subject of several early reviews of the restaurant, is here to stay. “It was never intended to be on the menu this long,” points out Erik Skaar, the executive chef and owner of the four-month-old, fine-dining establishment on Lake Minnetonka.

Benedict's Morning Heroes — Wayzata

During a busy weekend, the cooks at Benedict’s in Wayzata crack more than 2,000 eggs as they prepare various breakfast standards.

Casablanca: Worldly food with a fresh twist

Casablanca’s moment of silence started as a way for Chef Youness Bojji to catch his breath. There were 42 people in his original restaurant’s tiny dining room and he was the only one in the kitchen.

Martha’s Daughter: Food advocate with a female focus

Although Nyanyika Banda’s Duluth restaurant is just nearing its first birthday, the concept itself has been a lifetime in the making.

Ingredients Café, Burger Bar: The anti-diva chef

Fourteen years ago, a 26-year-old Ben Pratt was fresh off a cooking stint at the fancy Cosmos restaurant in downtown Minneapolis, and ready for his opening night as chef/owner at Ingredients Cafe in White Bear Lake.
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