Too many cooks? Not on Lake Street

Customers enjoyed the food — and the afternoon sun — at Manny’s Tortas, one of four East Lake Street restaurants that will take part in the Twin Cities Food and Wine Experience in late February.

Photo by Jeremy Stratton

Longfellow restaurants share a food and wine experience

For people from across the metro area, Lake Street restaurants are only a pocket-change bus ride away. But folks who drop serious change on fine wining-and-dining will also get a taste of Lake Street this month.

Sharing a pair of booths at the 14th annual Twin Cities Food & Wine Experience will be nine Lake Street restaurants, including four North Longfellow destinations: Midori’s Floating World Café, 3011 27th Ave. S.; The Craftsman Restaurant and Bar, 4300 E. Lake St.; the Town Talk Diner, 2707-1/2 Lake St.; and Manny’s Tortas, 2700 E. Lake St.

The Lake Street Council organized the effort to bring the street’s eateries to the attention of people attending the event, to be held Feb. 23–24 at the Minneapolis Convention Center. Each restaurant will have a two-hour rotation at the Lake Street booths, ready to serve 600 appetizers to hungry event attendees.

Lake Street Council Executive Director Joyce Wisdom said sharing booths allows participation by smaller restaurants that otherwise couldn’t afford the exhibit fee or, indeed, the time away from the restaurant.

Tickets for the event are $60 ($65 at the door). The Lake Street restaurants will be at booths 412 and 414, sharing the hall with varied exhibitors including the new BANK restaurant Downtown and the Minneapolis Cadillac Dealers.

The Lake Street Council’s outlay for the event is close to $3,000, Wisdom said. That includes an exhibitor’s fee for a double booth, as well as costs to produce inserts for gift bags provided to all event attendees: 6,500 refrigerator magnets with a “Visit Lake Street” design by Ricardo Levins Morales of Northland Poster Collective, as well as a listing of handy cooking measurements.

Seward-based Digigraphics Photos, Inc. created banners with photos of other businesses in East Lake Street, Midtown and West Lake Street that will hang at the booths and at future Lake Street Council events.

The Lake Street Council holds its own annual wine and beer tasting fundraiser, but participating in the Twin Cities Food & Wine Experience takes connisseurship to a new level. Wisdom said the group is trying to expand its marketing, in this case to show the upscale crowd attracted to this month’s event what Lake Street has to offer. The Council, Wisdom said, wants Lake Street to be more than just “a hidden treasure.”

Other restaurants in The Bridge’s coverage area will be well-represented at the event’s Minnesota Cooks stage, where chefs from across the state show off what they can do with locally produced ingredients. Three of the eight chefs taking the stage over the course of the two-day event are local: Mike Phillips of The Craftsman (Feb. 23, 2:45 p.m.); Nathalie Johnson of Signature Café, 130 Warwick St. SE (Feb. 24, 12:30 p.m.); and Anna Christoforides of Gardens of Salonica, 19 Fifth St. NE (Feb. 24, 3:15 p.m.). Other Bridge-area exhibitors include the Mill City Farmer’s Market, Peace Coffee and the University of Minnesota.

Greenspring Media Group, publisher of Minnesota Monthly and other magazines, produces the Twin Cities Food & Wine Experience. The event benefits Minnesota Public Radio. Tom Gavaras, Greenspring’s director of operations and marketing, said other groups of restaurants, including those from The Mall of America’s Twin Cities Originals group, have shared booths at the event in past years.

The Twin Cities Food & Wine Experience is an adults-only event; attendees must be 21 years of age or older. To emphasize the point (or to combat hors-d’oeurvres hoarding?), strollers are prohibited.

last revised: February 18, 2008