UPDATE: Plenty of great suggestions in the comments, make sure to check them out!
Since I'm being asked this question more frequently as the time approaches, the answer is no-- I will not be attending the Above All Earthly Powers Desiring God Conference this year. I blew my conference budget already with T4G and Resurgence. And, even if you offered me the money to cover the trip, I need to spend this fall concentrating on my thesis (I just dropped my ETS plans as well). Plus, the conference registration is closed, so stop bothering me about it.
But, since many of my friends and others who read this blog will be attending the conference, I thought I would throw out some of the places you should visit while you're in the Twin Cities. I love Minneapolis. I lived in Minneapolis. I would move back to Minneapolis in a heartbeat.
What follows, therefore, are the things to do, places to go, food to eat that I would suggest if we were there together and you said, "Hey Kevin, you lived here, what should we do?"
I will update this list as things come to my mind. Feel free to offer suggestions for stuff you think I've left out. I will keep updating this through the conference weekend. I suggest that you print it on your way out the door for Minneapolis, and carry it with you every place you go...think of it as my opportunity to annoy you by proxy!
DGM will no doubt supply you with a nice brochure outlining all the eating establishments close to the conference center. However, if you feel inspired to step a bit off the beaten path, and have a rental car, here are a few alternatives to fast food and chain restaurants:
1. Bobby & Steve's | For those who know me well, you know why I struggle to include this under the "food" category. In fact, you know why I struggle to have any list following this fine establishment. Let me put it this way. If you go anywhere in Minneapolis, go to Bobby & Steve's. I'm not kidding. Skip the conference if you have to, go to Bobby & Steve's.
Doubters and skeptics will tell you, "Is he still talking about that place, it's only a gas station..." Pay them no mind. After you have visited Minneapolis' Most Sacred Shrine, you will pity them. Seriously. Go to Bobby & Steve's. It is always my first stop when I visit Minneapolis and it will be yours. For those of you planning on blogging from the conference, or doing anything requiring wireless, head over to Bobby & Steve's-- they have free wireless, and the best cokes you will ever drink. You think I am kidding? I am not kidding. Even if you don't drink Coke, go get one from the fountain at Bobby & Steve's. It will change your life. In fact, if anything will get me to come to the conference without a ticket, it will be Bobby & Steve's. You can stop reading my guide now. It's all down hill from here.
2. The 5-8 Club | Originally a speakeasy, the 5-8 offers mediocre food in a smoky environment. But, I suspect that when Driscoll gets the troops fired up to eat meat and be men, this might be a place you want to check out. They are famous for the "Juicy Lucy" hamburger (pictured below). If it doesn't make you a man, it will at least give you a heart attack in the attempt.
3. If you want better burgers, better environment, food normal people will be willing to eat, and some photo opportunities, head to Saint Anthony Main (just down the street from my old apartment) and eat at Tuggs. They have decent fish and chips and fantastic stuffed burgers. Whether you eat or not, I would recommend checking out the Stone Arch Bridge. Beautiful views of the city and a fun walk (Stone Arch @ wikipedia)
5. If you like Thai, check out Sawatdee. There are several locations in the Twin Cities, and you can pick up one of their famous "Thai it you'll like it" bumper stickers to make all your friends back in Delaware wise to the fact that you eat hip cultural food.
6. I used to eat at a little diner in the Seward neighborhood, it was right next to the Seward Co-op, but I don't know if they were or are now the same thing (things have changed a bit since I moved away). If it's still there, they had the best buckwheat pancakes I have ever had-- and a great veggie burrito-- as well as good coffee if you want to hang around for a while.
7. Though it would undoubtedly be labeled "chickafied" by at least one of the conference speakers, I always loved eating at Damico & Sons. They have a few locations, and, if memory serves me correctly, they have delis and nice restaurants-- think Maggiano's & Corner Bakery, but different. You can eat Damico at the airport in MPLS if I recall-- so grab a sandwich on the way out of town. Or, if you're feeling "uber chickafied", find some quiche or wrap!
1. When in Minneapolis, I love Dunn Bros Coffee. They have good coffee, relaxed environment, and free wireless. My favorite location in the city is 530 University Ave (again, just down the street from where I used to live, and right by Saint Anthony Main).
2. I also love Espresso Royale (I visited their Dinkytown location pretty regularly)
-The Electric Fetus | Great music. Great selection. Fun store. Host to my weekly trip while I lived in MPLS (browse their catalog)
-Know Name Records | Not as good as Electric Fetus, but a good music store, and I recall them having a good selection of jazz. They used to have a store walking distance from my old apartment, but it looks like they closed it.
-You're going to be close, so I recommend hanging out a bit in the West Bank (I would give Mark Van S a call if I were going there-- he can tell you good food, good coffee, and heck, you might even get to meet him, like I'm hoping to do some day). Trust me, there's more there than the Chipotle and all the other places @ Seven Corners. Walk a bit farther...
-I don't think any guide to Minneapolis-- especially given the conference I'm writing it for-- would be complete without at least mentioning Loome Books. This is an amazing theological book shop in Stillwater, MN.-- just a short drive from the Twin Cities. You may not have time to check this place out, but I would have been remiss if I didn't tell you about it.
-If you make the trip to Loome, drive a bit further and check out Taylors Falls. Photo geeks will love this place and it simply isn't that far from Minneapolis.
-Lake Calhoun is just a cool area in general, and a great park.
-Dinkytown (think University of Minnesota) is fun. And, though I've heard it has since been torn down (confirmations?), Piper's favorite restaurant in the world is there!
Hope everyone has a great time! I'm praying for the conference-- for the speakers-- for connections, friendships, and ministry partnerships to form-- and for you (well, probably not you, but people that will be there with you, and you in general...)
CORRECTIONS? SUGGESTIONS? QUESTIONS? COMMENTS? SPELLING/GRAMMAR ERRORS?