The Walker Art Center, a contemporary art mecca with a newly refinished sculpture garden, is one of the Twin Cities’ most beloved cultural assets. Add a beautifully designed restaurant with a menu from one of the country’s best chefs, and you have a winning combination, whether it’s date night, happy hour or brunch with out of town guests. I’ve touted the understated brilliance of chef Doug Flicker for years. The pickled pigs feet with truffles and soft scrambled eggs from his restaurant Piccolo, which he recently closed to move onto new endeavors, made my knees buckle. It was a very smart move to peg him to overhaul the Walker’s restaurant into a destination in itself.
Located at the new entrance of the museum, Esker Grove is sleek and minimalist yet comfortable with warm wooden accents and floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking a sprawling patio and that iconic Spoonbridge and Cherry. There’s casual midday counter service during the week, with pasta and rice bowls, sandwiches and salads. Artful dinner entrees include dry-aged duck with plums and fermented radish, clams with smoked potatoes and blood sausage, and a wide variety of vegetarian options, such as raviolo with carrots, peas and mascarpone.
Don’t miss the insane croque madame at brunch— a masterpiece of ham, raclette and apples, topped with an egg dripping with bechamel—or the cheeseburger.
There’s no shortage of great burgers in this town, but this one—with its perfect housemade griddled bun, pickles and American cheese—is certainly in my top five.
723 Vineland Place
Minneapolis, MN, 55403