South Saint Paul does not get a lot of love for its unique dining options. But it should. In fact, there are some really unique places to eat in SSP, which outsiders would enjoy if they came into the city some people in the Twin Cities confuse as being just a neighborhood in St. Paul.
When you think South Saint Paul and food what comes to mind? There’s some obvious favorites – T&T Galley for breakfast, The Coop for chicken, Angelo’s for pizza, the VFW for tacos or a fish fry, Black Sheep for coffee, Wong’s for Chinese, The Cro Hall for anything and everything, and Illetschko’s Meats for all your butcher shop needs (including the best steak sandwiches in IGH and SSP).
Those are all some really good options.
In fact, we still say if SSP was part of an eclectic or trendy Minneapolis neighborhood, all the west metro-biased food blogs (Eater, City Pages Food, Heavy Table, Star Tribune Food), would be all over some of these unique, small, local restaurants and businesses. But maybe it’s better these secrets of the city are kept to the locals who know them well (the business owners may disagree, however).
But we at Eat IGH feel that, even some of the more popular SSP restaurants are still overlooked. Which ones are they? Below, we list five good places to eat and drink in South Saint Paul that are overlooked:
1. Al’s Corral Bar
Cheap beer ($1 happy hour taps), stiff drinks, good food (burgers, pizza), better people, the best owner (Al is as kind and generous as they get). What’s not to love about Al’s Corral? Belly up, share a story, share a shot, a toast with a friend, make a new friend. Al’s is historic, the last of its kind on Concord Boulevard in SSP, and a true gem of not only South Saint Paul, but the state of Minnesota.
One review on Al’s Facebook page said it best: “A cool small town bar with cheap drinks and an eclectic mix of people.”
Right on. See you there soon!
Al’s Corral Bar is located at 440 Concord St S, South St Paul, MN 55075.
Don’t judge a book by its cover, right? Don’t judge a restaurant by its storefront. WishFULL is in the old Southview Restaurant location at 229 13th Ave S South Saint Paul, Minnesota, MN 55075, which because of the old, drab storefront and signage, leads many to believe it’s the same old drab restaurant.
It’s not. Not even close.
WishFULL serves made-from-scratch breakfast, lunch, and dinner. We’re talking orange cognac French toast, banana pancakes, wild rice sausage links, basic and craft burgers, small plates, Mason jar salads, and much more. WishFull uses better quality ingredients, and everything is made fresh, to order. In other words you won’t find boxed or processed foods at WishFULL, and you can tell. The food just tastes better. There were some growing pains with the paperless billing system, but with training these seem to have been fixed. This is all a part of WishFULL’s efforts to remain as “green” as possible. The restaurant also uses biodegradable, compostable to-go products, and recycled paper for the tables.
We truly feel that if WishFULL was in St. Paul, or Minneapolis, the trendy food blogs and food writers would be all over this unique restaurant. Sure a new sign and updated interior would help, but let’s support the business so they can make that happen. WishFULL does food right.
Even better: WishFULL now delivers via UberEats and will launch delivery through Amazon later in May.
WishFULL (check out the WishFULL menu) is located at 229 13th Ave S South Saint Paul, Minnesota, MN 55075.
3. Concord Lanes Bar and Grille
The bowling alley formerly known as Mattie’s Lanes has undergone a bar remodel, and has a new menu. The bar is bright, the craft beer list is extensive, and the food, featuring a wide variety of appetizers, burgers, sandwiches, tacos, and pizza, is good. It’s basic bar food done right. The bar area features pool tables, TVs to watch sports, and ample room and seating, in the dining area, or at the bar. Bowlers and non-bowlers can enjoy a pint and some pizza, or other pub fare at Concord Lanes Bar and Grille.
Check out the full menu to learn more about Concord Lanes Bar and Grille.
Concord Lanes Bar and Grille is located at 365 N. Concord Exchange South St. Paul, MN 55075
4. Kwik Trip
A gas station? For real? Ahhh but Kwik Trip is so much more than a gas station. Where else can you get cheap produce (3 apples for $1, bananas, tomatoes and potatoes for .39 cents a pound), $1 burgers, three donuts for $1, numerous coffee choices, ready-to-eat pizza, hot dogs, brats, chicken tenders and other hot sandwiches, along with fountain soda, ground beef, steak, pork, chicken, salads, soup, frozen foods (salmon and shrimp), and more? Kwik Trip has got it going on. In fact, we almost prefer grocery shopping at Kwik Trip than the Cub Foods in IGH. If you’re looking to make a quick trip to grab some necessities, Kwik Trip is the place to go.
Kwik Trip is also conveniently located across the street from Al’s Corral. So make a quick stop at Kwik Trip, and make it a longer stop at Al’s Corral.
Kwik Trip is located at 455 Concord St S, South St Paul, MN 55075.
5. Polish National Alliance – PNA
The Polish National Alliance is a bar in a basement in a residential neighborhood of SSP. That’s all that needs to be said. It’s awesome. Find it and check it out.
The PNA is located at 622 1st Ave S, South St Paul, MN 55075.
The South Saint Paul restaurant, food and bar scene may not get a lot of publicity, but there are some good, unique restaurants in the city. And these are some of the most overlooked in the city. Check them out soon.