My mom and I are huge fans of scoping out the local scene while we are traveling. We love finding the chef owned restaurants, the "mom & pop" shops and small boutique hotels. I am currently planning a trip to Charleston, SC and I cannot tell you how excited I am to check out the city and experience the atmosphere there (if you're planning a trip there anytime soon, come chat with me- I'll hook you up). My mom was just in LA, and even though she lived there for 9 years, the LA Guide Book by Cereal helped her find new spots to check out (Otium restaurant was one of her new favs!).
That being said, it can be difficult to find those restaurants and shops just by googling "best shops" or "best restaurants". Often these searches lead you to spots that "pay to play" as we call it. We want you to have the real, authentic experience of Excelsior. So we've decided to give our guide to Excelsior- especially for those of you that will be coming here in February for... dare I say it... Super Bowl LII.
A GUIDE TO EXCELSIOR
Although only 4 blocks long, downtown Excelsior packs a mighty punch. Located on the shores of Lake Minnetonka, Excelsior is a quick 25 minutes from downtown Minneapolis. Our quaint streets are filled with locally owned and operated shops, cafes and restaurants. You will want to spend the day and walk the main street, also known as Water Street, to check everything out, but here are our must go-tos!
Owned by Bill Damberg, Brightwater Clothing & Gear has been around for 25 years, so you know Bill knows what he's doing!
Brightwater searches for brands that standout. Companies that standout for integrity, companies that standout for fit, companies that standout for style. Some are outdoor classics, like Filson, from Seattle, WA. Some are American heritage companies, like Gitman Bros.; a custom ready-made shirt factory that has been making shirts in Ashland, Pennsylvania for over 70 years. Others are made right here in Minnesota, like Red Wing Heritage Boots, and beautiful leather and canvas bags from J.W. Hulme Co., made in St. Paul.
We look to Europe and Britain for companies that fit the bill too. Be it iconic sturdy clothing from Barbour, of England, or high fashion pieces from Dale of Norway or Parajumpers, of Italy, our goal is to provide great products that you reach for first
Jewelry artist by trade, Erin opened up GOLDEN RULE with the idea of cherishing the artist behind the product. You can find original art, small batched apothecary, locally made jewelry (including her own which you can have personalized!) and specialty clothing and shoes.
GOLDEN RULE seeks to support art and good design and to promote kindness and community. GOLDEN RULE has always been more than a shop. At its heart it is a place to come together, connect, create, share ideas and thoughts and hold space for one another.
Owners of Solid Manufacturing Co., Alex and Dan embarked on a new venture this fall by opening up a retail concept to complement their line of leather and wood items. Ace General Store is filled with gifts, clothing and home goods that is specially curated in their tiny space (located between us and GOLDEN RULE). Items are made by artisans and focused towards men.
In need of a kid's gift? Look no further. Owner, Pei-Lin, will help you find the perfect gift for any kid. Her vast inventory means she is sure to have the latest and greatest toys. You won't leave empty handed!
You can't go wrong with one of our personal favorites. Coalition's menu is a modern take on classic American dishes. Their tight relationships with farmers and breweries means you'll be getting the highest quality food and drinks.
The newest edition to chef Eli Wollenzien (owner of Coalition), comes this old school Italian restaurant where you can find big portions and skillet pizzas.
"The goal was really to keep it fun and friendly. We want to make really good Italian food that you can eat any day of the week, in a restaurant that feels like an easy place to hang out."
Our favorite sushi place in the Twin Cities- and not just because it's located here in Excelsior. Their signature rolls are unique with large portions of fresh fish. My personal favorites are the 2-14, Titanic, and Mexican.
You bet their pizzas are made form homemade dough rolled into thin crust and finished off in their wood fired oven. Try one of their 12 signature pizzas or get creative and make your own!
Need to reboot with a latte? Head over to Patisserie and grab some coffee and a pastry- muffins, croissants, cookies and the coveted macaroons. You must try the salted caramel macaroon- the blue one!
Scratch made sauces, burgers, pizza and hot dogs is the name of their game. This sports bar is a good spot to go if you're craving some good ol' midwestern tater tots. Great spot to bring the kids too!
If you like beer, this is a spot to be. Here you can find 4 main brews plus a handful of season brews rotating on the taps. Check their calendar for a list of bands that play (some of the best in town) and for specialty tournaments (Cribbage is always a good one!) Pro Tip: Get Olive's Fresh Pizza Bar delivered to the brewery to enjoy while you sip some beer.
This wine shop carries only sustainable and organic wine. Patti, the owner, can assist you in finding the right bottle for your taste. They also offer tasting events so head over to their website to look out for dates!