Sunday, February 22, 2009

Cafe Twenty Eight

Visited on Friday, February 13th with Ben's parents Greg and Lisa

Outside Cafe Twenty Eight

Ben's Review
My dad recently became a big fan of Surly beer so we planned to go on a brewery tour with my mom and dad and then out to eat afterward. Upon learning that Cafe 28 was co-owned by one of the Surly brewers, we decided to head over there after the tour to continue the Surly theme of the evening.

I did a poor estimating job and made the reservations for 8:40 because the tour was scheduled from 6-8. We got done a little early at the brewery, so we were really early for our reservation. We only had to wait ten minutes or so, and there is plenty of reading material in the lobby of Cafe 28. The restaurant is in an old fire station that has a lot of old newspaper clippings on the walls from old Minneapolis papers.

Cafe Twenty Eight Hallway

After we were seated I was browsing through the beer list, and although they had plenty of Surly available, I was feeling a little "surlied out" from the beer we had while on the tour. It was odd feeling, to be sure :) I still went with the Furious just because nothing else jumped out at me. They do have an extensive list of beers, so if you're looking to try something new I have no doubt that you could find it here.

Inside Cafe Twenty Eight

We ordered a small chorizo pizza for an appetizer that was really good, it had a crispy crust and a good mix of meat and cheese. The burgers on the menu were sounding very appetizing, even though I just had gotten a burger at Salut AND we made burgers at home last week. Still, they sounded good, but Erin convinced me to get the pork in adobo sauce and she would get the burger so we could try each other meals.

Spanish Chorizo Oven Crisp Pizza

After getting our food I was very glad that I took her advice because the pork in adobo sauce was excellent. It came with a side of black beans and salsa and when you mixed it all up, mmmm boy! I really want to try and make a similar dish at home now, it doesn't seem like it should be that difficult. My mom got the grilled pork loin and my dad got one of the specials for the day, scallops in some sort of sauce. I did not try either of their meals but they both claimed to like their food :)

Fisher’s Farm Pork in Adobo

Fisher’s Farm Grilled Pork Loin Scallops Special

By the time we left I was totally stuffed. After drinking beer at the tour, then having the pizza, some bread, and my large meal, I was ready for sleep. We were still heading up to NE Mpls for a birthday gathering, so sleep had to wait a couple hours.

  • Service: The service was great, the host sat us early and the server was a nice guy.
  • Food: My pork in adobo was awesome, Erin's burger was just OK.
  • Drinks: Good beer list and plenty of wine choices. No hard alcohol I believe.
  • Ambiance: It's certainly cozy at Cafe 28. It's a small restaurant to begin with and then the lights are dimmed a bit to make it even more intimate.
  • Price: Cafe 28 is a little on the expensive side, especially if you're drinking. With exotic beers come exotic prices. I only had one beer so it wasn't too bad, but I wouldn't go here for a couple drinks. The food is more reasonably priced, with the entrees ranging from $10 to $19.
  • Convenience: Not so much. I find Linden Hills to be an inconvenient place to go as there is no major road to get there and you have to maneuver around the lakes. No parking lot, but there were several spots available on the street.
Erin's Review
After touring Surly Brewing, it seemed only appropriate to go down to Linden Hills to Cafe Twenty Eight, co-owned by Surly brewer Todd Haug. The restaurant was packed when we got there slightly early for our reservation, so we spent some time reading all of the memorabilia in the entryway.

Inside Cafe Twenty Eight

Inside Cafe Twenty Eight

We were seated as soon as a table opened up, and immediately ordered the chorizo pizza. 8:30pm is a little later than we usually eat, so we were all starving! I also ordered Surly Mild to continue the Surly experience. I had tried Cynic Ale, Bender, and Three at the brewery so this was a new one for me. It was quite good - and as the name implies, very smooth and mild. I believe those who are into beer would call it a session beer.

Surly Mild

The pizza and bread we were brought soon after being seated were both very tasty. I couldn't really pay too much attention to the flavors because I was very intent on just getting something besides beer in my stomach.


Even though I looked at the menu beforehand, I still had no idea what to get. A burger seemed kind of lame, but I finally decided to go with that because nothing else was jumping out at me and I needed to order. I knew Ben wanted to try it, so I got the one with cheddar and bacon because that was his preference. The beef at Cafe Twenty Eight is ground at some place right around the corner. I don't know if I'm used to burgers that are premade but this one tasted different to me. It wasn't better or worse, just different. I thought the burger was fine, but everyone else's meals looked much better. The fries were quite good - I liked them more than Salut - they seemed fresher. I loved Ben's pork - I would highly recommend that dish if you go to Cafe Twenty Eight!

Clancy's Organic Beef Burger

As I mentioned in our post about Salut, I love small intimate neighborhood restaurants, so unsurprisingly, I loved Cafe Twenty Eight. The interior reminded me of a Pottery Barn catalogue and it just felt very cozy and warm. I feel like this is the type of place you could stay and linger over a meal without feeling rushed. I would love to come back during the day because I'll bet the space is even more beautiful when filled with sunlight. Linden Hills is kind of a pain to get to from our house, so I don't know how soon we'll be back, but if we are in the area I'd definitely love to go for brunch or lunch.

Inside Cafe Twenty Eight

Cafe Twenty Eight
2724 West 43rd Street


Liz said...

We went there about a year ago with friends who live in the area, and really enjoyed it. I agree it's a bit of a haul for St. Paulites. If it were in St Paul, I think we'd be there often.

Matt said...

I believe the beef comes from Clancy's Meat Market around the corner and it was probably grass feed, hence the different taste.

HungryinSW said...

The braised pork is one of my favorite dishes in the Twin Cities. So good! I love this place. The burgers are usually awesome and the chicken tacos are really good too!

De Nueva said...

Makes me homesick! Alex and I loved Cafe 28 living in Linden Hills. You have to go back for brunch!! Also, the turkey pizza as an appetizer is also super delicious!

NM said...

One minor correction--Cafe Twenty Eight does have off-street parking available in a lot behind the Famous Dave's at 43rd and Upton. As mentioned, though, there is usually plenty of street parking in the evenings. (I'm not affiliated with the restaurant, just a neighbor who has seen their parking signs.)

ben said...

Thanks for the clarification NM, I didn't realize that they had a lot, nice!

vegetarianperspective said...

I live within walking distance of Cafe 28, and it's a lovely place to have a drink and a meal on their terrace in the summer. From the vegetarian perspective, their menu planning is thoughtful and healthy. Try the tofu tacos. They are amazing. Meat eaters, too would love them!