Nelson’s Meats in St. Louis Park

Nelsons Meats in St. Louis Park

Katie Cannon / Heavy Table

Between Yum! Kitchen and Bakery on the east end and Thanh Do on the west, Minnetonka Boulevard in St. Louis Park hasn’t had much going for it culinary-wise for quite some time except for a few pizza joints. That changed four months ago when Nelson’s Meats, a Hopkins institution for nearly 50 years, relocated to a small strip mall at the corner of Minnetonka and Dakota Avenue South after eminent domain for the expansion of Shady Oak Road forced the deli and butcher shop to find a new home. Since then, nearby residents have welcomed the family-owned shop — now run by Rick Nelson, son of founder Leonard — into a neighborhood that could use an injection of local flavor.

Nelsons Meats in St. Louis Park

Katie Cannon / Heavy Table

A large meat case dominates the small, light-filled shop, but customers also can grab a sandwich or hot plate from the deli or a cookie from the bakery case. The hot food bar dishes up meaty, stick-to-your-ribs meals six days a week starting at 11am, and while the plates are spiced for the stereotypical Minnesota palate from 50 years ago, there’s comfort in digging into a generous pour of beef or turkey tips over mashed potatoes on a cold day.

Nelson's Meats Beef Tips - St. Louis Park

Katie Cannon / Heavy Table

Those beef tips ($7.50 with two sides) arrive in large chunks with a thick sauce that could use a little more seasoning to really sing, but paired with buttery, whipped mashed potatoes, they make a satisfying lunch. Although the accompanying green beans look like they come from a can, they retain enough firmness to succeed. The more flavorful choice is the goulash ($6), a tomatoey tumble of ground beef and macaroni that, based on appearance, could come straight from a high school cafeteria but tastes fresher and meatier.

Nelson's Meats Goulash

Katie Cannon / Heavy Table

The thick, almost-stew-like chicken wild rice soup ($4.75 / bowl) looks like a cross between the traditional soup and the filling from a chicken pot pie. Fortunately, it blends the soup’s salty, brothy flavor with the enormous pieces of chicken and vegetables you’d expect from a pot pie, making one bowl enough to fill a hungry belly.

The meat case offers beef, pork, lamb, chicken, turkey, and seafood at reasonable prices, especially considering you can order many cuts wrapped in store-made bacon. Trays of sausage and meat sticks tempt the carnivore, along with several varieties of jerky. Hot heads will gravitate toward the spicier Cajun and “Dare You” flavors, but the heat will overwhelm only the most sensitive palates. A small bakery case offers cookies and muffins (the double chocolate muffin definitely is worth the calories), while freezer displays several varieties of fruit pies.

Nelson's Meats in St. Louis Park

Katie Cannon / Heavy Table

Nelson’s Meats isn’t fancy or trendy. Its lunch selections won’t shake up your taste buds like Thanh Do’s pad thai or accommodate your diet like a salad from Yum. But a solid, old-school, family-run establishment is an anchor of any neighborhood, and Hopkins’ loss is SLP’s gain. Perhaps the extra seasoning will come with time.

Nelson’s Meats
Deli and butcher shop in St. Louis Park

6318 Minnetonka Blvd
St. Louis Park, MN 55416
952.935.9092
HOURS:
Monday-Friday 6am-6pm
Saturday 8am-5:30pm
OWNER: Rick Nelson
VEGETARIAN / VEGAN: Limited / No
ENTREE RANGE: $4-8

Nelson's Meats in St. Louis Park

Katie Cannon / Heavy Table

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Jill Lewis

The great-granddaughter of an Eastern European Jewish baker, Jill Lewis cannot escape her genetic predisposition to carbs. Her love of baked goods, wine, cheese and chocolate may not come in handy for her day job as a Twin Cities PR professional, but it proves infinitely helpful for her gigs as a contributing writer for The Heavy Table and the co-author of the Cheese and Champagne blog. A former resident of Illinois, Texas, Wisconsin and suburban Washington, D.C., Jill now lives with her husband, two young sons and cat in St. Louis Park.

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2 Comments

  1. annmartina 03/06/2014 Reply

    I’m sad it’s not in Hopkins anymore, but I still love this place. It’s great when you’re craving some Minnesota potluck-style comfort food and also need to buy some oxtail!

  2. Richard Mullen 01/30/2017 Reply

    I like your different types of Jerky especially the pepper one. I really like your store location. Do you still smoke Carp? You smoked some for me a couple of years ago and it was delicious. My friends like it also and have asked me
    if I could get some again this spring.

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