Minneapolis, Minnesota – October 2001
Copeland’s of New Orleans Restaurant
2 South 7th Street (Hennepin and 7th Ave)
Cajun food in Minnesota? That’s right, and it’s good too. Although I think they may have dumbed down the spices for us Minnesotans. The mood in the restaurant is low key and high profile. Everyone seems to do a little fluffing before they come to enjoy a drink called “The Hurricane” served in a modified fish bowl and food portions that even I can’t finish. There’s fresh juices in the juice drinks and plenty of bartenders to tend to your needs. Try the Copeland’s Margarita, it’s a regular margarita with the advantage of fresh squeezed (before your eyes) orange juice on top.
Ask the help about the food and they will rave about it. Everything New Orleans is on the menu, Catfish, Jumbalaya, Po’boys, shrimp, and blackened crab cakes. In the appetizer section of the menu they take cheese bread to a new level, with two huge pieces of soft bread smothered in Cajun sauce and catfish, then topped off lightly with cheese. It’s one appetizer you might not want to share. The main courses are delicious, most of them dripping with a “not too spicy” Cajun sauce. It’s a large restaurant buzzing with people inside and out in the heart of Downtown.
Nye’s Polonaise Room
112 Hennepin Avenue East
This is the kitschiest place in Minneapolis. Except it’s all original gear from 1950. The sparkly gold booths and pylon-looking hanging lamps are actual relics from the past. And I think the original wait staff are still working the tables. Which is why you get some of the best service in Minneapolis. There’s usually a polka band playing in the adjoining bar, also with its original members.
However, the main attraction at Nye’s is not the traditional Polish food, attentive wait staff, or man playing accordion, it’s the piano bar in the middle of the restaurant. Tipsy locals, regulars and tourists (people from St. Paul), all become Frank Sinatra at the sight of the words to “When I was 17” . There are some regulars however that are local singers who come in to just belt something different out or maybe to try out a new technique, who are quite good. It’s tough to get a spot in the sparkly red chairs surrounding the piano, but keep your eyes out for an open seat. The food is traditional Polish fare plus steaks and plenty of fish and poultry options. Not cheap but worth it ($16 entree).
Only one place in the entire world can be called the “Halloween Capital of the World”, and that place is right here in Minnesota. Anoka, Minnesota to be exact. It’s said that in 1920 Anoka had the first Halloween celebration ever. In 2001 it’s still going strong with a month’s worth of activities including a Haunted House at the Anoka County Fair grounds, the Miss Anoka/Ambassador Scholarship Pageant and two parades.
On October 26 at 1:15 pm all the little ones get together at the Elementary School and parade down Main Street dressed in their ghoulish costumes. The following day is the Grand Day Parade with floats and people throwing candy.
Check it out, after all, it is the “Halloween Capital of the World”, that’s the WHOLE WORLD. Yes, right here in Minnesota.