Encouraged by a lovely hometown-bestie-now-Madison-native-Twin-Cities-expert, I spent a lovely leisurely lunch a little while ago at The French Meadow. It’s in uptown, which is in the southern part of Minneapolis. I’m still trying to figure out why they call it UP-town. Probably has something to do with the zillion and a half up-and-coming delicious restaurants they have. On Lyndale, this gem of a cafe is, however, not up-and-coming. It’s legendary. Everyone knows about it. Everyone’s been to and gushed about it. My East-of-the-River eyes have been opened and taste buds, therefore, have reaped the benefits: every Farm-to-Table, organic, locally-grown, wholesome, and delicious grain of benefit.
The French Meadow has been a Minneapolis staple since 1985, gracing the market here since before cell phones, the internet, and Green-living, thanks to pioneer Lynn Gordon, founder, baker, and now co-owner.
She and her crew have “led, articulated, and demonstrated everything right and good about food in America in the last several decades: championing organics before there really was such a thing; promoting sustainable agriculture; making and serving slow foods; and generally providing a tasty little oasis of thoughtful and healthy living since the dawn of time. Or 1985, more specifically,” as Dara Moskowitz Grumdahl, a Minneapolis-based food and wine writer said.
And! They’re opening a location on Grand Avenue this fall! Yes! Additionally, they have recently opened a wine-bar called Blue Stem. Attached to the cafe. What more could you ask for? I’ll continue.
All of their bakery is made in house, which is hard to find in a city where space is premium. I felt like I got a great value with my sandwich: the Wild Acres Turkey Bacon Croissant. My lunch-mates had the Curried Chicken Croissant and Grilled Tempeh Reuben.
Their newly expanded location on Lyndale is quaint and airy, with blackboard menus and a farm-city decor juxtaposition. I wanted to stay all afternoon. It would have taken me that long to take all of it in. You eat with your eyes first, they say.
Your senses will be overwhelmed, in the best sense of the word. Baskets, cakes, tartlets, brown paper boxes, tall frosty glasses with fruit gracing the top. Case in point: our muppet-themed table number:
The Meadow’s vegan and vegetarian options, as well as countless other dietary specifics are accommodated with their extensive and colorful menu. Also, they serve chips and salsa with your meal. What is not to love?
I lunched with some dear friends; we found the service so great that we went back for dessert. You must. go. back. for. dessert. Or, if your fancy is caffeine, try something from the espresso and tea bar. I myself had a hibiscus iced tea. Summery and refreshing!
As we went mid-week, we found a table outside with no problem. I hear breakfasts/brunches, especially on the weekends at the French Meadow, are line-out-the-door kind of busy, so plan ahead. Bring an appetite for healthy, keep-coming-back-for-more foodie-caliber food.
The French Meadow Bakery and Cafe gets four stars from the St. Paul girl, dipping her toe in the ocean of dining delights on the other side of the river!