Santana Foods in Minneapolis

Becca Dilley / Heavy Table

Stuck in the awkward armpit between St. Anthony Main and Dinkytown, Santana Foods’ colorful, neon-laced storefront is a bold beacon of hope for the area’s late night crowd. Its late hours (open until 4am on weekends!) make Santana a welcome anomaly in a town with few options for midnight munching or people watching. Though half of the business is a convenience store, with aisles of Pringles, canned foods, and cigarettes, their deli / cafe side is surprising in the scope and quality of its selection.

The food itself ranges from forgettable to great. The lamb gyro ($6.49, below left), for example, meets the standard definition of a run-of-the-mill Kronos gyro, but its only distinguishing characteristic is its saltiness. On the other hand, the deep-fried cauliflower and cheese curds ($5.37, below right), seasoned with Santana’s own spice mixture, are frighteningly addictive. They seem to like over-salting many of their menu items; that’s good for drunks, but not so great for sober folks. However, you can use their super-smooth and lemony house-made hummus ($3.59) to even out the saltiness of just about anything on their menu.

Becca Dilley / Heavy Table

Santana’s in-store decor is mostly minimalist with sparks of youthful personality, such as the fairy tale princess sticker on one of its counter signs. The requisite “Extra attitude: $1” signs also make an appearance.

BEST BET: The veggie special ($7) is a modest-but-satisfying mix of falafel, stuffed grape leaves, hummus, and salad with a side of tzatziki sauce. If you’re not terribly concerned about your cholesterol levels, the mix-and-match deep-fried appetizers ($5.37) make for a nice indulgence. Follow them up with a square of sweet, almond-rich baklava ($3.49) or a scoop of Sebastian Joe’s ice cream.

Santana Foods
601 University Ave SE
Minneapolis, MN 55414
(612) 379-8871
HOURS:
Mon-Thu 7am-3am
Fri 7am-4am
Sat 8am-4am
Sun 8am-3am
BAR: No
RESERVATIONS/RECOMMENDED?: No
VEGETARIAN/VEGAN: Yes and Yes
ENTREE RANGE: $7 Avg.

Becca Dilley / Heavy Table

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10 Comments

  1. If the address says SE than it is probably not in NE

  2. U Grad 04/09/2010 Reply

    Rick is right; that’s Marcy-Holmes

  3. I agree, Santana Foods is technically in Marcy-Holmes. I also think “stuck in the awkward armpit between St. Anthony Main and Dinkytown” sums it up well, even though neither are the official neighborhood names. Yes, Northeast is technically 7 blocks north. If you get too technical, however, The Bulldog Northeast is also not in Northeast.

    Reference: my favorite PDF from the City of Minneapolis: the authoritative neighborhood and community boundaries map.

    I’ve removed “Northeast” from the title to clear up any confusion.

    Aaron Landry
    Producer
    The Heavy Table

  4. downtowner 04/09/2010 Reply

    Santan is a sweet place to go when you are blackout drunk and want to have the salty aftertaste of greek seasoning on your breath for a couple weeks.

  5. How appropriate that this post hit my RSS reader at 4:00 AM.

  6. Aaron, sorry to quibble but the Bulldog NE is in NE. Just barely but it is.

  7. Bulldog NE in the Nicollet Island / East Bank neighborhood, which is part of the University community. References:

    http://www.ci.minneapolis.mn.us/neighborhoods/nicolletIsland_neighborhood_maps.asp
    http://www.ci.minneapolis.mn.us/about/maps/neighborhoods.pdf
    http://www.ci.minneapolis.mn.us/neighborhoods/nicolletisland_profile_home.asp

    St. Anthony West, which is part of the Northeast community is north of the rail tracks between 1st Ave NE and 3rd Ave NE. Everything south of that with the exception of Nicollet Island itself is not in Northeast.

  8. Aaron, I understand the confusion if you limit your references to ‘neighborhood’ maps. These maps change when the political process requires them to change. Please refer to any reputable mapping software or the USPS and you will see that the area north of Hennepin (between the river and Central) is NE.

  9. Heidi Q 04/12/2010 Reply

    I have to agree with Aaron on this one. The City of Minneapolis Property Information system places the address for the Bulldog in the Nicollet Island – East Bank neighborhood. These neighborhood boundaries don’t change. It isn’t like redistricting for Council Ward boundaries – which IS political. When redistricting occurs, the neighborhood boundaries are static. That’s why you have some neighborhoods split among several different wards. About as non-political as you can get, I think.

  10. Heidi, the ‘neighborhood’ designations and their ‘community’ assignments are defined by the city council – very political. The current neighborhood designations are evolving with the NRP. They do not change often but they do change. If Aaron and you feel these are the definitive boundaries so be it. On the other had I will remember the lesson of ‘A Miracle on 34th Street’ as to who is the final authority.

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