Davanni’s

Davannis MNBucketlist

I love pizza so much that I drag (usually willingly) my closest friends and even my Mom, pictured above, to any place that gives me my fix. I can’t help it, I have a thing for a good Italian food. So when I found out that it was Davanni’s 40th anniversary this month, I was pretty excited. I mean, to be honest, I didn’t know it had been around that long and also I didn’t know that it started in Minnesota. And I really ought to know these things! Anyway, did you know that they were actually the first to offer hot hoagies in the Twin Cities? Originally called Pontillo’s Pizzeria, Davanni’s first location, off Cleveland and Grand in St. Paul opened October 1st, 1975, they later changed names in 1983. I decided to check out the newly remodeled Edina location, which will be having a Grand Re-Opening / 20th Anniversary celebration on this Saturday. If you want to go, you can meet the owners, get special deals, play trivia, lots of samples AND Indeed Brewing will be tapping a special cask ale from 5-8pm.

I went early so I could see their new bar (lots of craft beer and wine), the new renovations and the overall revitalization of their brand. Let me jump ahead, I was really impressed! It’s definitely not the dark walls, dim lighting and cramped quarters that I often encounter with restaurants that have been around forever (40 is forever for me). The design is bright, modern, and incredibly inviting. The staff was what really made the atmosphere for me, though. Attentive, friendly, great with suggestions and they actually like their jobs, which isn’t always the case in the industry. I’m going to attribute that to being a privately held company and constantly trying new ideas, from nutriment to innovation.

Now let me get into the food.

Davannis MNBucketlist

We devoured all different kinds of salads, sandwiches, beer and dessert. Hey! We are eaters, and also sharers, so we had to have a little of everything! And the pizza? Deep dish, flat bread, thin crust, white sauce, red sauce, you name it – we tried it. The crowd favorite was the Southwestern Chicken Salad, the Turkey Bacon Chipotle Hoagie and the Artichoke Chicken Pesto Flatbread (see, they are trying new things!). I was partial to the Veggie Hoagie and Garlic Cheese Bread. Needless to say, their Chanhassen location (their 22nd store) will get a little too much of my attention in the future. With the Twin Cities bursting with really great pizzerias, the new changes from layout to menu, to keeping the forever favorites like the New York style pizza and pasta and using their own bakery for bread and desserts, I know that Davannis will have a home here for at least another 40 years.

WANT A GREAT DEAL: When you order online, you can get a 10% discount when you use the code “ANNIVERSARY” at checkout through Saturday, October 31. Otherwise in-shop through the end of the month, a regular pop (it’s Minnesota, we say Pop) is only $1.

 A few recent articles: Star Tribune + Minneapolis/St Paul Business Journal + KARE11

The Mason Jar

The Mason JarBrunch, the portmanteau of 66% of your daily food intake has never been a concept I especially liked. To be fair, I love food, and I’m not in favor of cheating on breakfast and lunch. BUT my Grams and Grandpa (pictured above) love it, so, that means I do too, in their presence. We spent my birthday brunching at The Mason Jar in Eagan. Located in a Cupcake bakery, they are filled with charming, rustic, Minnesota décor and fad flair. And not to be out done by the Mason jar-filled windows, the jars also hang from the ceiling. With a bistro-cupcakery atmosphere, The Mason Jar’s menu is laden with Minnesota inspired dishes like different kinds of Hot Dish and they even have Cupcake Pancakes. I admit that the service was not so great, but I blame brunch. It’s an in-between. But don’t worry, I washed down all my sarcasm with cucumber water and mimosa’s garnished with strawberries.

Yogurt Lab

Yogurt LabsIf you haven’t noticed the surge in frozen yogurt shops, you are A. Not on the ball or B. Not sugar frenzied. My favorite is the Yogurt Lab. They are all over the place but I like the one off Lake Street in Wayzata, across from CoV on Lake Minnetonka. With crazy flavors that are (in my humble opinion) better than ice cream and a really great design, its worth stopping in – even in the dead of winter! (As I was told very recently, ice cream is better in the winter because it doesn’t melt!)

Jake’s City Grill

Jake'sJakes City Grille looks small from the outside but is really expansive and beautiful on the inside. I’m only talking about the Eden Prairie location as they have locations all over Minnesota; Eagan, Maplewood, Plymouth and Gull Lake. I highly recommend the flat breads, apple honey grape, specifically, and their pizzas.

Cupcake

CupcakeCupcake lover, check. Macaroon fan, check. Tried all the sweet shops within driving distance, workin on it. Which brings me to Cupcake. They have four locations, off University Ave in Minneapolis, MOA, Snelling in StPaul and Cliff Road in Eagan. Some locations have a café menu but the Mall of America is the smallest with the least options. They were the Cupcake Wars Champions on the Food Network, bringing the title to Minnesota, not sure why, but that’s more exciting to me than any sporting event, just sayin. They also do cakes and cupcakes for weddings.