Dining Outside the Lines

What adopted immigrant-born dish best represents the Minneapolis area? Do images of Lutefisk and Lingonberries come to mind? How about Tamales and Tabbouleh? If you’re traveling to Minneapolis, don’t miss a visit to Midtown Global Market to update your knowledge on the evolving flavors of this rapidly changing city.

By Caitlin Nugent

Where the Line is Drawn

Midtown Global Market is known for its rich celebration in multicultural cuisine, from Moroccan tagines to croissants, it's truly a gem of Minneapolis. Photo by Urmila Ramakrishnan

Midtown Global Market is known for its rich celebration in multicultural cuisine, from Moroccan tagines to croissants, it's truly a gem of Minneapolis. Photo by Urmila Ramakrishnan

Secrets tend to stay secret. And along those quiet divides runs a line of a similar type. It is a line running north-south, dividing the city of Minneapolis cleanly in half. It’s as much psychological as it is concrete, and as a traveler visiting the Minneapolis area you might be completely unaware of it’s divisive power. It’s given name is highway 35W, but it could just as easily be the proverbial tracks that separate the most popular eateries in which locals create daily traffic in well worn neighborhoods, and those unsung heros of the other side. Given this divide, you might be wondering if crossing this boundary is worth your while. Yes, residents tend to lean west for the myriad of worthy establishments on that side of the city. But insiders know that some of the very best food in Minneapolis can be found east of 35W at a culinary juggernaut by the name of Midtown Global Market.

Just east of Lake Street and Lyndale Avenue, Midtown Global Market stands like a towering foodie fortress on the eastern horizon. Promoting and protecting a true cultural food experience within its indoor public market. Midtown Global Market opened its doors in 2006 inside a long vacant Sears and Roebuck building that was primed for a re-vamp. It’s business tenants are a diverse mix of neighborhood immigrant families who have started a cooperative of small business highlighting all of the foods and culture they brought with them from all parts of the world. A year-round farmers market, unique international goods and an amazing variety of food, blend like a harmonious cultural ecosystem that treats locals and visitors alike to the very best of this culturally diverse neighborhood.

What to Expect

A Taco Cat burrito and Salty Tart chocolate croissant, photo by Urmila Ramakrishnan

A Taco Cat burrito and Salty Tart chocolate croissant, photo by Urmila Ramakrishnan

The layout of Midtown Global Market promotes exploration, so prepare to wander while making frequent stops. The space presents itself much like a commercial bazaar within a busy college quad-like atmosphere. One shop flows into the next inside the large, square-ish footprint of the buildings ground floor. Important to note; arrive on an empty stomach, and get ready to pig-out on the many, many worthy establishments inside. Just a few of its must-try spots include; Hot Indian, Holy Land, and the uniquely named palindrome of eateries, Taco Cat. Some of TC’s carefully conceived and swoon-worthy daily specials include vegan friendly Banh Mi tacos and crispy fried Halloumi cheese tacos with apricot mostarda and pickled serrano. The love is equally strong for food-truck-made-big, Hot Indian, with its popular “Indurritos”. A Hot Indian original recipe, these Indian-style burritos are wrapped-up in a tandoor oven-baked Roti flat bread. Look for the the welcoming, HI! messaging to greet you at the counter. Another long-time beloved local, Holy Land, brings its mediterranean and middle eastern culinary best with everything from spicy and crispy Falafels, stuffed grape leaves, beef and lamb gyros, and skewered Tandoori Chicken. Plan to meander, taste, try, and discover your way through this ground zero of gastronomic markets.

Get Schooled

Kitchen in the Market 's Head Chef Michael Lamon (left) with  World Street Kitchen  and   Milkjam Creamery  owner Sameh Wadi are excited to eat some paella. Photo by Urmila Ramakrishnan

Kitchen in the Market's Head Chef Michael Lamon (left) with World Street Kitchen and  Milkjam Creamery owner Sameh Wadi are excited to eat some paella. Photo by Urmila Ramakrishnan

As long as we’re crossing lines and exploring what’s new, why not step out of your own comfort zone a bit and try out one of the Midtown Global Market’s truly unique cooking classes. Have you ever had a personal psychic reading while tossing some pizza dough, or rolling sushi? How about learning how to make an awesome brunch for your friends? It all happens inside MGM at locally-born catering company and commercial kitchen, Kitchen in the Market. Get an a close-up view of how a professional kitchen operates, while trying out your own abilities at one of Kitchen in the Market’s out-of-the-box cooking classes.


Stock up at the Market

One stop shopping never looked so appealing, and unique, as it does at Midtown Global Market. Located in the center of its vast space is a year-round farmers market of fresh meats, organic produce, and a variety of essential pantry staples. You can pick up both common and exotic produce alike from The Produce Exchange, grab a baguette at the award winning Salty Tart bakery, and even gift-ready-yourself with handmade glass, bead, and stone jewelry products produced by local and international artists. There are over 50 vendors represented inside, many sourcing directly from the unsung pioneers of the organic and sustainable industries. Enough worldly goods to go around, and around. The antidote to cookie-cutter shopping malls everywhere.

What’s New

Hungry for your consideration, the market has some new tenants inside its culturally inclusive walls. The aforementioned, Hot Indian, has been a freshman favorite. Other newbies to MGM include Sabbini Express, a Thai and Cambodian eatery serving lunch, dinner, and take-out, Fresco’s Italian Market and Pasta Bar (their salads have received a positive reception since its opening) and Moroccan Flavors, a brand new player at MGM that specializes in Morocco’s traditional dishes like couscous plates and tagine-style stews.

Getting There

Located at 920 East Lake Street, Midtown Global Market is just a few blocks east of Highway 35W, and just south of the outermost circle of downtown Minneapolis. Easy access parking for MGM can be found at the Midtown Exchange Parking Ramp (validation for up to 1.5 hours with any purchase) and is located on the east side of the building. Additional parking can be found at the metered lot located on the west side of MGM, at the intersection of Elliot Avenue and East Lake Street.


Midtown Global Market

General Market Hours

Monday - Saturday 10:00am - 8:00pm

Sunday 11:00am - 6:00pm


920 East Lake Street Minneapolis, MN 55407

Telephone : 612-872-4041

Email : info@midtownglobalmarket.org

Website : http://midtownglobalmarket.org

Twitter : @MidtownGlobal


Caitlin is a Minneapolis-based freelance writer and contributor for Carry On. She has a background in the world of graphic design and art direction, and her writing and design work have been on exhibit at the Minnesota Center for Book Arts. She keeps her creative focus fueled through travel, and enjoys its renewing quality. She admits to having a mild deviled egg fixation and recently discovered her love for Okonomiyaki. She has three children and a sheepdog named Wendel who works overtime to keep things interesting. Read more about Caitlin on her website.