TOM HORGEN'S TOP SUMMER HANGS

Tom Horgen (@tomhorgen), Assistant A&E Editor at the Star Tribune and avid#minnstagramer, caught our attention with his hole-in-the wall finds and killer taste in Minnesotan food. Naturally, we asked him to spill the beans. Where will he be spending this season’s final days? Below, Tom shares his Top 5 Summer Hangs.

 

Sandcastle 

These days, a cool urban park isn’t cool if it doesn’t have a delicious, distinctive outdoor eatery. Doug Flicker’s Sandcastle is a gem on Lake Nokomis because it gives the fine-dining chef (he also owns Piccolo) a chance to let loose on casual bites. His hot dog (“The Dog Flicker”) is jacked up with kimchee, cilantro and a fried egg.

 

Saint Dinette 

Hey, you can’t eat outside every day this summer! So I’d suggest spending an evening inside this new restaurant from the owners of the hyper-acclaimed Strip Club Meat & Fish. Saint Dinette’s giant windows overlook Lowertown’s newly bustling street scene (thanks, Saints!). The cheeseburger is an immediate top 5 contender in the Twin Cities.

 

Conny’s Creamy Cone 

After you’ve had your fill of farm-raised, sustainable, organic blah blah blah in our precious food scene, come to Connie’s. It’s as old fashioned as a no-frills ice cream and hot dog walk-up joint can be. There’s more than two dozen flavors of soft serve, plus chili dogs and the don’t-miss cheese curds. I love the giant shabby cone that juts out above the neighborhood intersection.

 

Fika 

The American Swedish Institute used to be the old, frumpy museum in town. Not anymore, the Swedes say! Fika has been the best museum restaurant in the Twin Cities for a few years now, but it still gets overlooked. Every lunch I’ve had here has been memorable. This is the open-faced shrimp sandwich with a pickled egg. It looked so good I almost didn’t want to eat it. And make sure to spend some time in the under-used courtyard.

 

Como Zoo & Conservatory 

St. Paul’s massive park is both overcrowded and under appreciated. It’s a mob scene on weekends. But if you get there early-ish (9 a.m.), there’s something tranquil about walking these beautiful grounds. Take a run around the lake, do some meditation in the Japanese garden, say hi to the Silverback gorilla, ride the carousal and check out the buzzy restaurant Como Dockside. And be sure to take a stroll through the brand-new Centennial Garden that celebrates the park’s 100th birthday.

 

Pictures and words by Tom Horgen.