Hays Take On is a blog series where we explore the Twin Cities (and more) in order to find the best and most interesting food and drink stops. Check for updates every Wednesday and follow along to see what we find!
Sometimes finding the best hidden gems is as easy as walking right outside of your office… and this week on Hays Take On, that was the case! Newly opened in the Galleria (and conveniently on the way in and out from our offices) is the Barnes & Noble Kitchen. In the new renovation to the Barnes & Noble, they added a full kitchen/restaurant/bar in the basement level of the story, that is one of five across the country. The other kitchens are in New York, California, Texas, and Virginia and each one is slightly different, with some being a fast casual/deli style and others being a full dining experience with waiters. At Galleria you can get the full dining experience or just grab a quick bite to eat at the bar, but either option will satisfy.
Barnes and Noble Kitchen is tucked away in the basement floor of the eastern side of the Galleria, but the dining area feels nothing like a basement. With huge windows that surround the dining area, you get natural light coming from outside of the building as well as the light coming from the inside of the mall. Beautiful wood features fill up the space from the bar to the tables and chairs to the art of the wall. One of the best features of the B&N Kitchen and why it works so well in Galleria is the combination and complement of the busy mall with the calm and quiet vibe from the bookstore. This feeling plays into the layout of the kitchen with their option to quickly sit down in the bar for a snack or the ability to sit and enjoy a full meal. They also feature long group tables that can seat 15-20 people to cover parties of all sizes. It doesn’t matter if you’re looking for a quick bite or a fancy dinner, Barnes and Noble Kitchen can provide either.
When you first read that Barnes & Noble now has a restaurant attached to their bookstore, your mind probably went right to the classic Starbucks style food like ham and cheese on a croissant wrapped in plastic, or a few scones and muffins, or maybe some yogurt with granola crumbles. Well we’re here to tell you: you’re completely wrong. Not only does Barnes & Noble Kitchen cover different varieties of food, they also do each exceptionally well. Their warm tortilla chips and outstanding guacamole is the perfect starter for a sit down meal or the perfect snack to tide you over throughout the rest of your shopping experience. Their Chicken Caesar salad also fits perfectly into both dining scenarios, with shredded chicken mixed throughout the salad allowing for the perfect combination in each bite. For a full meal, Barnes and Noble offers a variety of options, from pasta, to chicken, to salad, but to no surprise to anyone who knows us well, the brisket burger is by far our standout favorite. We might have to go as far as saying that it’s in our top ten burgers in the Twin Cities right now. We aren’t alone in that judgement either, Barnes and Noble also was nominated in Star Tribune’s Top 10 Burgers in the Twin Cities for this one, and it doesn’t disappoint. While the classic combination of cheddar, lettuce, onion, and special sauce on a nice juicy patty with a warm flaky bun isn’t anything new, that melt in your mouth sensation is something that’ll make you crave another. Their on the bone chicken comes with a super smooth potato purée with a spiced cream sauce that makes for a well rounded dish. While these are our favorites, there are plenty of great options to explore as well as some great wine and Minnesota craft beer choices.
Barnes & Noble Kitchen will continue to be a top tier hidden gem until everyone has gotten over the “bookstore cafe” stereotype. The food here is the real deal, especially the award winning burger. It also provides a dynamic dining experience, whether you’re taking a quick lunch break from shopping or looking for an elegant dinner experience. With plenty of options to choose from it’s well worth a few trips in, but their staples are going to be hard to top if they ever change the menu.
For more check out their website here: http://barnesandnoblekitchen.com/
Or check them out for yourself at: 3230 Galleria Edina, MN 55435
Make sure to check back next Wednesday for the next adventure and if you have any suggestions on places we need to check out let us know in the comments!