Tom Wallace, Star Tribune


Russell and Desta Klein in the doorway of Meritage.

Russell and Desta Klein in the doorway of Meritage. Photo Tom Wallace, Star Tribune

Take a seat at downtown St. Paul’s top-performing sidewalk cafe and enjoy the urbane setting and chef/co-owner Russell Klein’s seafood-focused French cooking.

410 St. Peter St., St. Paul, 651-222-5670, meritage-stpaul.com



Photo: Rick Nelson

The patio at this colorful beachside stand hugs the shores of beautiful Lake Nokomis. The varied menu swings from a classic BLT to a brown rice bowl topped with roasted vegetables and tangy kimchi. Other highlights include dolled-up hot dogs, well stuffed shrimp tacos, a first-rate pulled pork sandwich and soft-serve ice cream, all at reasonable prices. Beer and wine, too.

4955 W. Lake Nokomis Pkwy., Mpls., 612-721-0756, sandcastlempls.com

Wise Acre Eatery


Photo: Tom Wallace, Star Tribune

Owners Dean Engelmann and Scott Endres also operate the neighboring Tangletown Gardens, which guarantees that their restaurant’s outdoor spaces — they’re huddled around a vintage service station — are blooming showplaces. The farm-fresh fare is sourced from the duo’s 100-acre spread in Plato, Minn.

5401 Nicollet Av. S., Mpls., 612-354-2577, wiseacreeatery.com