Minnesota’s Swedish food is more than meatballs and pickled herring

The New Nordic Food Movement that began in 2003 is no longer just Nordic. This movement has more recently penetrated borders and has been adapted by chefs across various U.S. communities, especially those with longtime Scandinavian roots. The culinary revolution, featuring sustainability, regional and seasonal ingredients and clean simple flavors, has become popular in Minnesota, which is home to diverse, authentic and creative Scandinavian establishments. Here are some Swedish restaurants to consider during your visit to Minnesota.

The Bachelor Farmer

This Nordic-influenced, all-day cafe in Minneapolis calls itself an “exploration of Northern food.” Owned by brothers Eric and Andrew Dayton, the Bachelor Farmer has been a favorite dining spot for locals and travelers for eight years. Chow down on the Minnesota’s Swedish food is more than meatballs and pickled herring popular groaning boards of housemade pâtés and charcuterie or have a hearty family-style red wattle pork dinner on the weekend. With its focus on bringing fresh, local produce to its tables, The Bachelor Farmer regularly updates the menu where you can encounter pickled strawberries, grilled venison, pasture-raised chicken and simply presented vegetables.

Annie’s Swedish Coffee Parties

Inspired by Gammelgarden’s oldest resident, Annie, this restaurant brings you a Swedish three-course Coffee Party each second Saturday from September through December to celebrate her coffee tradition.

Over some coffee and Swedish biscuits, learn about Swedish immigrants in Minnesota and the culture they revived over the years.

Afterward, take a guided tour of the five historic buildings at the Gammelgarden Museum, and if you’re in town in November and December, have a history discussion with the museum director.

Hewing Hotel’s ultra-stylish Tullibee restaurant

In Minneapolis’ historic North Loop, a former logging warehouse combines a hip, rustic-chic environment with traditional methods of butchery, foraging and fermentation. Inspired by a wood-fired grill, local dishes like a Hewing Burger for lunch or dry-aged flat-iron steak for dinner complete an authentic farm-to-table Nordic cuisine.

The Finnish Bistro coffee shop and bakery

In the charming St. Anthony Park neighborhood of St. Paul, an Edison lighted, comfortable, sunny cafe with a music stage features classic Finnish bites like potato pancakes, savory pies and meatballs. Try customer favorites like kielbasa, spicy reindeer sausage and delicious pulla bread as well as salads, sandwiches and all-day breakfast, cakes, and baked sweets.

Gustaf’s on Main Eatery

You can’t leave Minnesota without having Swedish meatballs. On Thursday evenings at Gustaf’s in Lindstrom, ask about the Swedish Meatball dinner. This historic red-brick, Victorian-style restaurant invites locals and visitors for flavorful and affordable food for breakfast, brunch, or lunch.

With their mission to restore and preserve the historic landmark, local owners Ed and Deannah Muha purchased the “crown jewel” of Lindström the red brick “Gustaf’s House,” a site on the National Register of Historic Places. With the opening of Gustaf’s eatery a year later, the Muhas revived an old world charm. This organic, farm-to table, locally sourced restaurant relates the stories of Swedish immigrants through its food.

Lindstrom Bakery

Voted one of America’s best doughnuts by Saveur, Lindstrom Bakery is the home of the Scandinavian donut. The doughnuts’ crispy texture on the outside and soft inside has made them a staple sweet in the Lindstrom area for 43 years.

By Nabiha Asim