I fell in love with food and wine when I was living in Milan, Italy. Italians just get it right when it comes to dining experiences. I have special memories basking in the sun on a patio in Lake Como sipping chilled Lambrusco, eating blocks of fresh mozzarella with thick slices of tomatoes tossed in balsamic vinegar. Italians value taking things slow, a fact that can make working in the country difficult for someone like me. But when it comes to food and eating out, taking things slow teaches you to savor your food, to stop and think about your wine and your surroundings. No one was rushing through a meal to get to the next activity, because the meals were always the main activity. After Italy, I wanted to get my hands on anything that could teach me more about food. I marked up cookbooks before bed, listened to podcasts about dining trends and cooking tricks, and most importantly, began to notice little details of a restaurant. Details are important and they factor into our decisions on what we love to eat and where we love to eat it.
I started a food Instagram to capture my experiences in 2015 and was surprised at the reaction from complete strangers who followed me. I got questions like “where should I take my picky eater husband for our anniversary dinner?” “Where is a place in St. Paul that would impress my parents in town from San Francisco?” I started to track the questions I was getting in a spreadsheet and analyzed the type of experiences my followers were craving and asking about. This was my inspiration for madisoninmpls.com. Dining out is an experience. More often than not, diners are looking for a restaurant that fits the occasion they’re celebrating more so than a specific dish or cuisine they’re craving. My mission for this website is to provide experience-driven, food-loving people with reliable recommendations on where to eat in the Twin Cities. I also want to help routine-driven people who have their go-to stops (for date nights, for Monday morning coffee, for a casual happy hour) to branch out and learn about amazing spots to eat and drink they haven’t discovered yet.
The Twin Cities dining scene is incredibly unique, and I’m honored to be plugged into it. Yelp and other crowd-sourced recommendation sites have the benefit of a high quantity of reviews, but what they lack is personality and reliability. My database houses reviews for hundreds of restaurants I’ve been to personally, and I work hard to provide suggestions for places I love – from the taco truck that recently took over the vacated Arby’s parking lot in Uptown to the fine dining, small-plate restaurant in North Loop. If you can’t find what you are looking for on my site, please fill out a Personal Recommendation Form so I am able to suggest the right place for you.
To sum this all up, I am thankful for all of you who have pushed me outside of my comfort zone with encouragement and positive feedback over the past two+ years. If you told me back then that I’d be launching my own brand and website, I would have laughed. I am actively pursuing a huge passion of mine, and I’ve had the chance to meet countless others with the same passion in the process. This journey so far has been a blast and I have a feeling it’s just getting started. One day I will live on a tiny little Italian street with bustling cafes and wine bars, but for now Minneapolis restaurants are my focus!