If you ask online food magazine Eater, the Midwest has 38 "essential" restaurants – and four of them are in Minnesota.
Before we get started, the publication wants to make something clear: by "Midwest," they mean the Great Lakes region. So in other words, these six states: Ohio, Michigan, Indiana, Illinois, Wisconsin, and of course, Minnesota.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, the Land of Lincoln leads the pack, with 12 homegrown spots making Eater's 38 Essential Midwest Restaurants. And all but one of the eateries is in the Chicago area (also not too surprising).
But Minnesota is well represented too, with four restaurants making the cut:
1. Matt's Bar, Minneapolis
The legendary Matt's Bar sits on the corner of Cedar Ave and E. 35th St in the Powderhorn neighborhood of Minneapolis. As you're probably aware, it claims (along with the rival 5-8 Club, also on Cedar Ave) to be the birthplace of the "Jucy Lucy" – Minnesota's signature cheese-filled burger.
The 1950s-era bar and grill gets top billing on the Minnesota part of the list, with Eater saying their version of the "Jucy" is "an unceremonious thing of blue-collar beauty."
2. Spoon and Stable, Minneapolis
The reason it made Eater's list? Aside from the menu, the website says, the establishment "serves the community equally as a special-occasion restaurant and, with its brick-lined front bar, as a casual stop-off for drinks and apps."
"The modern American cooking shows polish without too much rigid control," Eater adds.
3. Meritage, St. Paul
Meritage has been around for about a decade now, and has also enjoyed plenty of praise from the gourmet food community. And though there are plenty of restaurants offering French cuisine in the Twin Cities, Eater thinks Meritage is a standout.
"Beyond the textbook menu of raw seafood platters, moules frites, eggs poached in red wine, and crackly-skinned roasted chicken, look for spectacular shout-outs to Minnesota," the website says.
That includes dishes like a "sublime foie gras from local supplier Au Bon Canard and squid tossed with native wild rice in bacon vinaigrette."
4. Young Joni, Minneapolis
Popular for its wood-fired pizza and "inspired small plates," Young Joni made GQ's 10 Best New Restaurants earlier this year. And like other restaurants on this list, it's also been nominated for the James Beard Award.
It caught Eater's eye for its originality.
With its cross-cultural inspiration, "chef and co-owner Ann Kim evades cliches by winningly personalizing every element of her restaurant," the publication says.
After all that, we apologize if you're still stuck at work and we made you hungry.