Citizen Cafe in South Minneapolis

Sarah McGee / Heavy Table
Sarah McGee / Heavy Table

Editor’s note: Citizen Cafe is now closed.

A wildly daring bistro opened by Chef Michael McKay (of the Sample Room), Citizen Cafe is a combination of simple, accessible food, chef-driven gambles and sleek graphic design. Occupying a relatively isolated location in South Minneapolis (not far from Ted Cook’s 19th Hole), Citizen Cafe has a rapidly changing menu that generally features of mix of accessible grilled sandwiches, creative but relatively foolproof salads and more challenging dishes such as country pate or seared scallops. The value tends to be excellent, but quality of food can be spotty; consistency is a bugbear of this otherwise charming restaurant.

Breakfast at Citizen Cafe is worth the effort, as it offers some of the best pancakes this side of Al’s Breakfast in Dinkytown. While Longfellow Grill offers a broader range of menu items and (in many ways) a similar experience to Citizen Cafe, Citizen is distinguished by a higher ratio of chef-driven surprises and a folksy, independent feel.


Sarah McGee / Heavy Table

BEST BET: The menu changes often enough that it’s hard to say, but the soup and sandwich combinations tend to be an excellent value, and the cheesecake has been so remarkable as to be extraordinary even compared to a good New York-made slice of the stuff.

Citizen Cafe
Bistro in South Minneapolis
2403 E 38th St
Minneapolis, MN 55406
OWNER/CHEF: Michael McKay
Sun 8am-9:30pm
Tue-Thu 7:30am-9:30pm
Fri-Sat 7:30am-10pm
BAR: Wine and Beer
RESERVATIONS/RECOMMENDED?: Yes and Yes on weekend evenings