Valentine’s Day is once again right around the corner. If you’re anything like me, you’ve probably spent more time than you care to staring into space trying to think of the perfect place to take that special someone. Somewhere original. Somewhere delicious. Somewhere with seating available before 10 p.m.
Good news! I’ve got a list of five fun, off-the-beaten-path options sure to make this Valentine’s Day one to remember. At least insofar as the meal is concerned. I’ll leave the romance up to you.
Strip Mall Tease: LYN65
There’s a restaurant in a strip mall in Richfield that’s guaranteed to change your image of restaurants in strip malls in Richfield. Tucked away, just south of Highway 62, LYN65 is a secret garden of a restaurant, perfect for a romantic evening. Especially if you love food. The entrées are solid, but I recommend smallplating your way across the menu. If you skip the bologna sandwich, we’re no longer friends. Trust me. It’ll win you bonus points later. As will the burger and the chicken wings. And pizzas. I could go on. Just go.
Secret Burger Escape: Tin Cup’s
Want to surprise your special someone with one of the best burgers in the Twin Cities? If your relationship is built on a mutual love for burgers, the answer ought to be yes. Throw convention to the wind, hop in your car, and head down to Rice Street in St. Paul for one of the best kept burger secrets in town. Grab a booth, some pull tabs, and an order of cheese curds while you mull over which burger best suits your fancy. This is not fine dining. It’s a damn good burger. Pro tip: the fried chicken makes a perfect appetizer. My second favorite in the entire city. You’re welcome.
Netflix and a Slice: Giordano’s
If the thought of getting all dressed up to go out for a fancy dinner on a Hallmark holiday makes your teeth hurt, I feel you. Never underestimate the power of sweatpants and takeout. It may not scream romance, but if you’ve celebrated a few Valentine’s with the same special someone, who’s screaming? Movie and a pizza will do just fine thank you very much. And I can’t get enough of Giordano’s right now. Order up a signature deep dish, an app or two, and maybe a salad on their website, then pop over and pick it up. Pair with a bingeworthy TV show like Making a Murderer and you’ve just hit a casual date night home run.
Southside Escape: Rincón 38
I’ve got a special place in my heart for neighborhood restaurants like Rincón 38. It was, in fact, the very place my partner and I first discovered we were capable of eating damn near an entire menu. In one visit. I promise, you’ll be hard-pressed not to do the very same thing. Spanish tapas is perfect for date night after all. Explore the menu together, tasting and sharing your way across an amazing landscape. Calamari, cannoli, queso frito…the list of favorites is long. Note: they do take reservations, so don’t dawdle.
Why Not Brunch: The Copper Hen
Valentine’s Day is on a Sunday this year so don’t let dinner be your only option. Think outside the box. Spark some romance earlier in the day with a heartfelt brunch at The Copper Hen. Let the coffee and mimosas flow as you lazily wander across their brunch menu, which boasts some pretty memorable fare. The biscuits and gravy, skillet scrambles, and steak and eggs are a personal favorite, but you’re not really going to go wrong with anything. And by anything, I mean you better order the bacon blueberry breakfast cupcake for your date. And one for yourself, because your date is not sharing. I know. This is another reservation destination, so get a move on.