Photo credit: Dan Anderson
I’ve eaten lunch in the skyway pretty much every weekday for the past 3.5 years. Well over 500 lunches. Not sure if that’s a good thing or a bad thing but here is my list if the top 10 spots to get lunch in the skyway.
To note: In general I lean towards local/independent restaurants and local beers whenever possible. Pretty much everything on the list costs between $5-$10 per meal – don’t expect any fancy restaurants.
What is the Skyway?
According to Wikipedia: The Minneapolis Skyway System is an interlinked collection of enclosed pedestrian footbridges that connects various buildings in Downtown Minneapolis enabling people to walk in a climate-controlled environment. The system forms a network of climate-controlled, pedestrian walkways that link sixty-nine full city blocks over eleven miles (18 km).
Interesting fact #1: The Minneapolis Skyway System is the largest continuous system of pedestrian bridges in the world.
Interesting fact #2: Minnesotans who work downtown LOVE the skyway – you can access your office, food, parking, and shopping without going outside (crucial during winter). Also: really good people watching and perfect for an afternoon walk.
Still curious what the skyway is?
Worried about getting lost in the skyway?
Skyway My Way has a great interactive map to help out.
alright on to the food…
1) Minneapolis Art Institute’s Gourmet Gallery
Located: 15 South 9th Street, Minneapolis, Minnesota 55402
This is the hidden gem of downtown Minneapolis lunch spots. Gourmet food at low prices. The culinary students create a fully functioning restaurant open to the public. They have a robust menu with the basics (burger, sandwich, salad, soup) and an every changing student inspired specials menu. Some of my favorite meals: swordfish, seared duck, and lamb shank.
Expect hot bread and homemade butter, white table clothes, and a glass wall that you can actually watch the students cook your food. If you’re nervous about students cooking for you, don’t be. I’ve been over 20x, I’ve never had a bad meal. Don’t forget to ‘like’ their facebook page as they often give away free meals via their ‘word of the day program.’ I’ve never had an issue with seating, but call ahead to ensure a table. (also: technically not accessible via the skyway… close enough)
Must try: Whatever they have on special, I usually get the grill or fish of the day
Located: 200 South Sixth Street, Skwyay level, Minneapolis, MN
“Fresh food fast” is their slogan – can’t argue there. This award winning Mediterranean Deli is always bustling with people trying to get their wrap or salad fix. Often long lines but they typically move really fast. The tables can fill up fast during peak hours, but don’t worry there is additional seating in the US Bank atrium.
Must Try: lamb kabob wrap + everything on it (red beans, rice, sauce, onion, tomato, cucumber, cilantro, jalapeños)
3) Kabobs Indian Grill (my personal favorite)
Located: 555 Nicolett Mall, 4th Floor, Minneapolis, MN 55402
If you like Indian food and can’t justify a $12 or $13 lunch at Bombay Bistro, Kabobs is here for you. For $7 you get one run through the buffet line which proves to be more food than most people can eat. They always serve the Indian Classics (rice dishes, Dol, Chicken Tikka Masala, Curries, Biryani, Tandoori) as well as 5+ specials each day. Some of my favorite specials include Saag Paneer and Baingan Bharta. Desert and naan come with every meal. Located in the State Fare food court, plenty of seating.
Must Try: just ask the staff to give you a little bit of everything!
Located: 50 South Sixth Street, Minneaoplis, MN
This NY style sandwich deli is the best place to get pastrami in the skyway. They sell every kind of sandwich imaginable. If you were looking for a tasty vegetarian option, go somewhere else – the cured meats are what make Brother’s deli special. Each time you eat there you also get a pass through their salad bar, don’t skip the potato salad. Can fill up during peak hours but I’ve always managed to find a seat.
Must Try: anything with pastrami!
5) La Loma Tamales
Located: 608 2nd Ave S. Suite 164, Minneapolis, MN 55407
My favorite Mexican spot in the Skyway. They are known for their tamales but they also make a mean plate of nachos if you’re in the mood for a 2PM nap. This tiny little hole in the wall doesn’t offer free water, which means either pay extra for it, bring your own, or spend $2/bottle at the convenience store across the way. Food court nearby– don’t worry about seating.
Must try: Tamales or Nachos!
Located: 825 Nicollet Mall #100, Minneapolis, MN 55403
This French Bistro specializes in making an outstanding Vietnamese Pho soup. They also have crepes and gelato if you aren’t in the mood for pho. Come for solace from a cold winter day in Minnesota. Expect fresh ingredients and a hilarious owner who usually works the register. Limited seating but usually not an issue, avoid peak hours to be safe.
Must Try: Pho with Meatball (or tofu) + Shitake mushrooms
7) Trieste Café
Located: 10 South 5th Street, Minneapolis, Minnesota 55402
This hole in the wall Greek/Lebanese spot is home to the best gyro plate downtown. For $9 you can get a giant plate full of gyro meat, hummus, pita bread, and a salad of your choice. Highly recommend the Baba ghanoush instead of the normal chickpea hummus. The same two guys have been running it for quite some time. Do yourself a “flavor favor” and upgrade from Valentino’s. Always busy but worth the wait!
Cost: Gyro sandwich ($6) & Gyro plate ($9)
Must Try: Gyro plate with baba ghanoush, pita bread, and a Greek salad
8) Real Meal Deli
Located: Baker Center, 733 Marquette Ave S, Minneapolis, MN 55402
Skip Subway and head here for a delicious sandwich at a great price. Their Chipotle Chicken sandwich is very popular but what really sets them apart is there many sirloin sandwiches. Besides sandwiches they also have soups and salads. Great wheat bread, friendly staff, and very fast service.
Cost: $6 sandwiches
Must try: Lemon Basil Sirloin Sandwich on wheat bread
Located: 700 Nicollet Mall, 12th Floor, Minneapolis, MN 55402
Best salad bar in the skyway for under $10. There are tons of options if you’re not feeling greens – they have a grill, sandwiches, wraps, pasta, etc. It’s a perfect place to take a long lunch with your friends/co-workers. Giant glass walls make for a cool view from the 12th floor. Sometimes there is a piano player doing his or her thing. Avoid Fridays if you don’t like lines.
Cost: $9.95 for salad bar, others meals around $8
Must try: salad bar, of course
Located: 527 Marquette Avenue Suite 205 Minneapolis, MN 55402
The newly renovated Allies can now serve more people, faster! The food is consistently good across the menu. I usually end up with a sandwich but many people swear by the salads and wraps. Always busy but the line moves very fast, lots of desert options, limited seating.
Must try: giant club sandwich (warning: it really is huge)
What is your favorite lunch spot in the skyway?