Brasa in Minneapolis and St. Paul

Lori Writer / Heavy Table

For new mothers, toting a sleepy newborn to a restaurant often means having the option to quietly tuck their carrier under the table or hang it in a carseat sling, all while savoring in the peaceful sounds of the not-crying-at-this-moment window. Bringing a kid out to eat? Not bad at all. Should they wake during the meal, they’d quickly be met with a bottle and often times drift back to slumber. Really, how much trouble could a miniature meal companion cause? Perhaps there are other parents like me who have also experienced these naive thoughts that come from the initial dining experiences with baby. Fast forward a year later and I take it all back.

Public mealtime with a one-year-old has evolved into a rushed state of trying to maintain some state of calm, all while trying to obtain a tiny slice of personal enjoyment. Preparedness is integral in achieving this. One must come with a stock of snack options, sippy cups, wipes, and toys to withstand his attention span (since it’s apt to jump from one thing to the next in a matter of seconds). This work is rewarded by the entertainment and pleasure you receive by introducing them to new foods. But being in the midst of a solid food exploration phase, it seems there’s usually not much to choose from that goes outside of the macaroni and cheese and / or hamburger box.

Becca Dilley / Heavy Table

Cue Brasa, the brainchild of Chef Alex Roberts (also of Alma, pictured above). A father himself, Roberts gets what parents want: a variety of nutritious food choices, quick and friendly service, and upbeat music to muffle the occasional scream or cry. Brasa, an American / South American / Caribbean rotisserie, has locally sourced, organic plates of dishes like pulled chicken and slow roasted pork available from 1/4 to a full pound. With side options like rice and beans, cornbread, and creamed spinach with jalapeno, there are a unique sampling of choices that are easily chewable. There are a few options for children: Order a meal off the kids’ menu ($7) — with a main course, side, drink, and dessert — get a side or two for the little one ($3 each), or go family style and share everything.

Brasa feels gourmet without being stuffy. The food is adventurous for kids. (Think crispy yuca and locally sourced roasted pork). Plus, on any given day it’s likely there will be other children there, promising sincere glances of empathy that are incredibly comforting when your little one decides to dump their cup of spinach on the floor to see what it will do. And if need be, order yourself a Surly and bask in the exhausting glory that is parenthood.

Learn more about this business on Heavy Table’s Atlas of Ethical Eating and Drinking.

Lori Writer / Heavy Table


Two Locations:

600 E Hennepin Ave
Minneapolis, MN 55414

777 Grand Ave
St Paul, MN 55105

Sun-Thurs 11am – 9pm
Fri – Sat 11am – 10pm
Beer and Wine
No / No
Yes / Yes
$5 – 20

Lori Writer / Heavy Table


  1. Aubrey

    As a father of two children under the age of 4, what I’d really love to see is a place with good food and a play area for the kiddos. I’ve always been respectful of other patrons and left a place as soon as my kids got too restless/loud but it’d be nice to let the kids run a bit to calm them down again and finish a good meal too.

  2. Eric

    My daughter (now 2 1/2) has grown up at Brasa St. Paul. The staff are incredibly friendly and good-natured, the food is nutritious, and the atmosphere is perfect for kids– there’s room to move around, stroll over and look at the chickens in the rotisserie, go outside for a bit…. And of course WE can enjoy some delicious food as well. And beer, as mentioned.

  3. Patty

    Why should an adult restaurant have a play area for children? It’s restaurant, not a preschool. If your children can’t sit through an entire meal, then don’t bring them. When my children were small, I’d take them out side until the food came. At an early age they unerstood that going out to eat was differnt then eating at home, in that you had to wait for the food to be cooked.

  4. David Foureyes

    How timely. My wife and I brought our infant for some dins with friends to Brasa on Sunday and felt the warmth and welcome. We look forward to watching this kid stuff his face with fried plantains, yams and green like his parents in the years to come.

  5. Aubrey

    Hey Patty, you dont see a market for such a restaurant? Seems like there would be a number of parents that would like such a place.

  6. Erin

    I’ve taken my 15 month old daughter to Brasa a few times – she loves the rice and beans. We haven’t gone in a few months and I’m guessing she’d love it even more now. It definitely is a great place for kids.

    There are a few local places that have pretty good food as well as a small play area for kids – Java Train and Riverview Cafe. Birchwood Cafe is also a good one – lots to look at and explore, and they have a great kids menu. No actual play area though. All three are the kind of place you just order at the counter and they bring your food out. (website seems to be down for me right now)

  7. Wurstmacher

    Criticizing free range children, more accurately overly passive parents is thin ice. To avoid the kiddos go later. The Brassi (new plural reference, you’re welcome) is far from fine dining. It is well sourced, quickly served welcoming food. The dinner for three can climb out of the clouds pretty quickly at the $50 level, but I haven’t felt any regrets in my many visits. Who has time to braise anyway?

    Everyone has a free chance to come up with their own well justified parenting method. Personally, when I’m shelling out buck-a-roonies, I don’t want kids distracting the vibe. I also don’t want amped up nervous/boisterous laughter coming from a table of cretins. I’ll take the free range kids over them any day.

  8. dizzyingintellect

    @Wurstmacher – “The Brassi”? You’ve been wanting to do something like that ever since you watched ‘The Social Network’, haven’t you? Too bad you got the plural form wrong – if anything, it should be “The Brassae”.

  9. deej

    Getasitter…Brassa has an entire vegetarian menu, and rarely have I seen a better educated staff when it comes to the ingredients in a particular dish. Unlike most meat-centric places, the nod to the veggies is quite substantial.

  10. Black Herring

    Does this restaurant actively seek out the patronage of people with kids? If so, I am striking them off my list. Count me among the ranks of those who think children should be imprisoned in the home until they are at least 10 or 12, or until their voices no longer make those shrill screamy noises.

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