Post by ● May 5, 2017

Nokomis: Community Life

Tagged: Community Life, Hennepin County, Minneapolis Communities

The Nokomis community is known for its primarily residential nature and is home to nearly 38,000 residents. While there are several local businesses and commercial developments that can be found among the community’s 11 unique neighborhoods, the majority of land space is reserved for housing and park land. While this article does not provide a comprehensive analysis of all that the Nokomis community has to offer, it gives a brief overview of the businesses, events, and amenities located within each neighborhood.

The Diamond Lake neighborhood is located on the southern end of Minneapolis. The Minneapolis–St. Paul International Airport is situated directly to the southwest, and the city of Richfield is immediately south. The neighborhood derives its name from the lake found on its western side. Diamond Lake’s northeastern corner attaches to Lake Nokomis recreation areas and parks.

First Course Bistro is across the park from Diamond Lake on 56th Street and Chicago Avenue. First Course has been providing its casual, chic design and classy yet soothing atmosphere of modern American cooking since it opened in 2001. First Course is ideal for a successful beginning to one’s night and wonderful for a multi-course evening with a loved one. Guests may relax the comfy furniture, enjoy the fireplace, or take seating at the bar before enjoying one of the uniquely handcrafted dishes. The menu offers a great assortment of meats, seafood, small plates and nightly specials. The 5-8 Club is a well-renowned restaurant throughout the Twin Cities metro area. Famous for their “Juicy Luicy” burgers, a Minnesotan invention where cheese is cooked between two burger patties resulting in a molten-hot delicacy, the 5-8 Club claims to be the inventors of this Minnesotan classic. The Juicy Luicy has been featured on several national television shows and in several magazines. It first debuted on the TV show Man v. Food, and since then has gained widespread notoriety. In 2014, The 5-8 Club was ranked #1 Tastiest Place to Chow Down by the Travel Channel, and TIME Magazine rated the Juicy Luicy as one of the most influential burgers of all time. A local favorite, The 5-8 Club is a must-try restaurant. At Fat Lorenzo’s, an award-winning, nationally recognized, and locally owned Twin Cities Italian restaurant, one will experience some of the most delicious food that can be found within the Diamond Lake neighborhood. The restaurant is known for excellent, authentic, Italian cooking and fun and distinct paintings created by local Twin Cities artist Ed Charbonneau. They have received awards for their pizza and gelato, and awards for being the best Italian restaurant in the Minneapolis area from multiple ratings boards and organizations.

The Ericsson neighborhood in southeast Minneapolis, is located within the Nokomis community. It derives its name from John Ericsson, who was a Swedish engineer and inventor who designed and built the U.S.S. This is a mainly residential neighborhood, with its western half littered by recreational areas. Lake Hiawatha Park and Lake Hiawatha Golf Course are two of the most noteworthy recreational sites. Additionally, Minnehaha Creek runs west to east through the southern portion of the neighborhood.

Known as the Twin Cities favorite ice cream shop, the Grand Ole Creamery is a delicious place to visit on a hot day. It is Minnesota’s first and longest-lasting top gourmet ice cream shop in Minneapolis. They serve over 300 flavors of ice cream and some are even customer created. From Black Hills Gold to Sweet Cream, they serve flavors you won’t be able to find anywhere else. The creamery has earned many awards and has been voted in the top ten favorites at the State Fair. Chris & Rob’s Chicago’s Taste Authority brings a taste of the Windy City to Minneapolis. With authentic, Chicago-style foods that are imported directly from Chicago, Chris & Rob’s offers the real, Chicago experience. Known especially for their “Chicago Style” hot dogs and their Italian beef sandwiches, this is one restaurant you do not want to miss. At Colossal Café, all meals are served in larger proportions than other restaurants. The cafe is mainly known for its breakfast items. There are three locations that can be found in St. Paul, Como, and Minneapolis’ Ericsson neighborhood. With its extensive menu and great service, Colossal Café “keeps them comin’ back”.

The Hiawatha Golf Club is an integral component of the Ericsson neighborhood. As a part of the nearby Lake Hiawatha Park, the Hiawatha Golf Club is 140 acres in size. Together the park and golf course encompass nearly half of the neighborhood. A par 73, 18-hole golf course, the Hiawatha Golf Club is known for its long, relatively flat fairways and small greens. Additionally, the course is known for its location on Lake Hiawatha, with two fairways and four tees bordering. Open to the public, the course also offers guests a pro shop, locker room, restaurant, restroom facilities, a driving range, practice green, golf lessons, and a FootGolf course where players attempt to kick a soccer ball into a soccer-ball-sized hole in the least amount of kicks possible. During the winter, the course is opened for cross-country skiing and snowshoeing.

The Field neighborhood, is located in the Nokomis community. Field is named for the local school, which was named after Eugene Field, a popular writer of children’s poetry. Mainly a residential neighborhood, it is features a close-knit community of just over 2,500 residents.

The Turtle Bread Company is one of several businesses within the neighborhood. A local bakery specializing in artisan breads, pastries, and desserts, the Turtle Bread Company has been baking since 1994. With several locations around the city, Turtle Bread believes that quality bread takes time, hence the turtle in the name. Visitors can also enjoy breakfast and lunch at the bakery. Town Hall Tap is a local favorite bar and grill. Owned and operated by the well-renowned Town Hall Brewery, “The Tap” hosts a wide variety of specialty microbrews and a rotating selection of guest beers. Additionally, visitors can enjoy a variety of pub foods. For many years, Pepito’s has been a popular Mexican attraction for not only the neighborhood, but also the Twin Cities Area. Their authentic Mexican food is so delicious, that they are the exclusive Mexican catering service to the Minnesota Twins. In addition to their restaurant, Pepito’s has its newest attraction, their Parkway Theater. Their sense of imagination and creativity allow them to put on continuous shows that are entertaining for all visitors. Their events center is the perfect place to host birthday parties, corporate events, and more.

The Hale neighborhood is located in southeast Minneapolis and is bordered by Minnehaha Creek to the north, Cedar Avenue to the east, and Chicago Avenue to the west. The neighborhood got its name after the Hale elementary school, and has a focus on music and art within the community. The Hale neighborhood is primarily residential with some open park spaces. Hale’s section of Minnehaha Creek offers a path for running, biking, and inline skating.  

The Hot Plate Diner is a staple of the Hale neighborhood. Serving breakfast from 8am-2pm daily, the Hot Plate Diner offers guests traditional American breakfast foods with an artsy twist. Known for their generous portions, quality pancakes, and unique decor, the Hot Plate Diner is especially busy on the weekends, and holds a special place in the hearts of the community. Aqualand Aquarium Center is another business located within the Hale neighborhood. Specializing in all things aquarium related, visitors can see one of the largest selections of tropical fish, marine fish, aquatic plants, decorations, aquariums and aquarium supplies in the state. Aqualand Aquarium Center has been open since 1966 and the knowledgeable staff is ready to assist customers with aquarium delivery, setup, cleaning, and maintenance. In 2012, Hale, and several other surrounding neighborhoods wanted to start a local farmers market. Eventually, the committee decided to act upon this request and grant the market. The Nokomis Farmers Market was established in the Hale neighborhood. It takes place on Wednesday evenings, and many visitors come to enjoy the fresh produce and communal atmosphere.

The Keewaydin neighborhood is located on the south portion of Minneapolis, and within the Nokomis community. Keewaydin neighborhood derived its name from an Ojibwe legend stated in Henry Wadsworth Longfellow’s poem, The Song of Hiawatha. “Keewaydin” is Ojibwe for “northwest wind”, or “the home wind”. Tree-lined streets with smaller homes in a assortment of architectural types are typical in this area. The beautiful and radiant neighborhood is home to around 3,000 residents, all of which enjoy the amenities that Keewaydin has to offer. The housing styles consist of cozy single-family homes on small lots. Most of the homes were built between 1920 and 1960 and were constructed as bungalows, mini-Tudors, with occasional one-story ranch styles.

Nokomis Library was built in 1956 and modernized in 2011 containing Minnesota limestone. It serves the Nokomis community in south Minneapolis. The building was initially intended to replicate its legendary surroundings, as told in the classic Henry Wadsworth Longfellow poem, “The Song of Hiawatha”. The library is named for Nokomis, one of fictitious characters in the poem. It is a member of the Hennepin County Library System. A library system that is consistently ranked in the top 10 libraries nationwide, residents have access to all of the books and resources that are a part of this network through an interlibrary loan program.

With traditional recipes handed down through the generations, the Dominguez restaurant will provide an experience of authentic Mexican cooking that’s at its finest. The food is carefully prepared using the freshest ingredients and ageless methods. At Dominguez, one will find a great selection of Mexican dishes at an affordable price. Dominguez also carries a variety of Mexican beers as well as an extensive assortment of fine wines. For those looking to have a good start to their morning, they need to look no further than Nokomis Beach Coffee. Nokomis Beach Coffee is located near Lake Nokomis and offers a wide range of coffee drinks and breakfast items. What makes the store unique is its atmosphere. With a location on a street corner and outdoor seating, Nokomis Beach Coffee is a very relaxing and cozy destination. Another breakfast option is the Mel-O-Glaze Bakery. Located on the northern side of the neighborhood, the Mel-O-Glaze Bakery specializes in donuts. Known specifically for their traditional glazed donut and their apple fritters, the Mel-O-Glaze bakery is another great breakfast destination.

The Minnehaha neighborhood is found in south Minneapolis, and within the Nokomis community. Minnehaha, as well as its neighbor, Hiawatha, derived its name from an Ojibwe phrase cited in Henry Wadsworth Longfellow’s poem, The Song of Hiawatha. Minnehaha means “laughing waters,” as the waterfall in Minnehaha Park was nicknamed in Longfellow’s poem.

Minnehaha is a part of the Nokomis East Neighborhood Association. Every year, NENA puts on several community wide events. The annual NENA garage sale brings buyers and sellers together for a neighborhood wide sale. Whether you’re looking to clean out the basement or seeking reasonably priced hidden treasures, this is the event for everyone. Another event held in early fall is the Monarch Festival. The festival offers everything from food, music, and dance, to Monarch and habitat education, to hands-on art and native plant sales, all while highlighting the Minnesota-Mexico connection and celebrating the Monarch butterfly’s amazing 2,300 mile migration. The Night Before New Year’s Eve celebration on December 30th, is a family-oriented, free event, that offers parents and kids a chance to celebrate the coming New Year a night early. The celebration includes food, carnival games, live music, marshmallow roasting over a bonfire, hayrides, a photo booth, the famous Nokomis Fish Pond, a “midnight” (7:55pm) countdown complete with noisemakers and much more.

Al Vento is a popular Italian restaurant in the area that offers many special dishes. The restaurant serves a buffet, as well as appetizers and entrees. This dining location is a must visit, and is the perfect place for a date night or a celebration. Al Vento will be sure not to disappoint. Sassy Spoon offers visitors a truly unique dining experience. An entirely gluten-free restaurant, Sassy Spoon serves “wholesome food with attitude.” What began as a food truck quickly became a popular hit among health enthusiasts and those with dietary restrictions. Today, Sassy Spoon operates its own restaurant and delights customers with its healthy, wholesome approach to food. Cap’s Grille is another unique restaurant located within the neighborhood. Specializing in BBQ, namely their BBQ pork ribs, Cap’s Grille offers delicious food in a scenic location. Additionally, their unique “Picnic in the Park” service is popular among visitors. Customers can call ahead and order all of the supplies needed for a picnic meal in the nearby Minnehaha Regional Park. Like all great things, mastering the perfect BBQ ribs takes time, and Cap’s Grille has put the time in. Pioneer Press named them “Twin Cities Best BBQ’D Pork Ribs”, the Star Tribune proclaimed them “Best Pork Chops in the Twin Cities”, and City Pages declared that they have the “Twin Cities Best Weekend Breakfast” and one of the “Ten Great Takeout Spots”. With accolades such as these, one can not go wrong visiting Cap’s Grille. For those looking for something entertaining to do in the Minnehaha neighborhood, the Town Hall Lanes hold the answer. A bowling alley, bar, and grill, Town Hall Lanes provide the perfect venue to get together with friends.

Morris Park is located in the southeastern border of Minneapolis. The neighborhood borders the Twin Cities Air Force Reserve Base on the south, and is within the Nokomis community. Morris Park got its name from Mary C. Morris, daughter of Franklin Steele. Steele was the first European-American settler of St. Anthony, which is north of Minneapolis, and he donated land to the University of Minnesota. Today, 3,000 residents enjoy living in this private community that is in close proximity to the downtown area.

Boss’ Pizza & Chicken is one of the only restaurants located within the Morris Park neighborhood. They offer over 30 specialty pizzas as well as broasted chicken. What makes Boss’ Pizza & Chicken so popular, in addition to their quality food, are their late store hours. Boss’ is open until 3am every day, making it a favorite destination for quality food among the night-shift worker and late-night bar crowds.

Northrop is located in the southern portion of the city of Minneapolis, and within the Nokomis community. Along with many other neighborhoods in Minneapolis, Northrop is named for its elementary school. Northrop Elementary derives its name from Cyrus Northrop, second president of the University of Minnesota. It shares with Field, the neighborhood located to west of Northrop, an active business center at Chicago Avenue and 48th Street. Restaurants, shops, a theater and other facilities are around this busy intersection.

Sovereign Grounds is one of the most unique businesses within the neighborhood. A coffee shop and playroom, Sovereign Grounds prides itself for being a kid-friendly coffeehouse. Parents are encouraged to bring their children of all ages along and allow them to play in the playhouse while they enjoy their coffee. Sovereign Grounds roasts their beans in-house daily, and they also offer a light food menu in addition to their full-service coffee offerings. Bagu Sushi is a local restaurant specializing in Japanese and Thai foods. A more upscale restaurant, Bagu Sushi offers premium seafood and sushis. Guests can enjoy dining indoors or outdoors. Bikes and Pieces is a local bicycle shop and repair center. What makes the store so unique is their habit of turning recycled bikes into pieces of art. In addition to enjoying a good selection of bikes and services, guests can also admire the unique bike-related artwork that is on display.

While this small neighborhood does not offer much in the way of commercial amenities, it offers a residential haven within the large city of Minneapolis. Many families live here, and commute to the downtown area for work, utilizing the convenient transportation options available. Northrop is the ideal location in which to live for those looking for a quieter neighborhood that is near larger commercial areas.

The Page neighborhood is on Minneapolis’ south side, and within the Nokomis community. The neighborhood, as well as so many other neighborhoods in Minneapolis, took its name from the local elementary school. Page Elementary School was named after Walter Hines Page, who was an American editor and diplomat born in the mid 1850’s. The neighborhood is mainly residential with Pearl Park in the very center.

A major landmark within the neighborhood is the Minnehaha Bunny. A gateway landmark for Page and the surrounding neighborhoods, the Minnehaha Bunny is a favorite location for the community. Kids love to climb and play along the sculpture, and it makes a common meeting place among locals. Since 2002 the bunny has been a staple of the local community.

The Regina neighborhood, located on the south side of Minneapolis, and found within the Nokomis community. This is a residential neighborhood with mostly small single-family houses built before 1940. The neighborhood is named for the former Regina parochial school. Mainly a residential neighborhood, it is features a close-knit community of just over 3,200 residents.

The main commercial attraction in the Regina neighborhood is The Cottage House. The Cottage House is an antiques and furniture store offering a wealth of creative merchandise. Several of the store’s employees are home staging designers who take old furniture and restyle it. The result is a store that is always changing and full of one-of-a-kind treasures. Locals and visitors alike appreciate the magical atmosphere and diverse assortment of items that are constantly changing.

Regina is primarily a residential neighborhood. With very little development commercially,

it offers a private way of living for its locals. As a family friendly neighborhood, employees are able to commute to the downtown area for work, using the many convenient transportation options available. For those desiring greater excitement, amenities, or parks, a multitude of options exist within walking or biking distance from the neighborhood.

The Wenonah neighborhood is located on the southern edge of Minneapolis, and found in the Nokomis community. Near the southern border, a piece of the neighborhood ranges into the city Richfield. The Wenonah neighborhood got its name after Hiawatha’s mother, the daughter of Nokomis, from a legend that Henry Wadsworth Longfellow attributes to Ojibwe people in his poem, The Song of Hiawatha. Before 1900 the neighborhood was a major American Indian center.

Berry Sweet Kitchen takes pride in operating with natural ingredients and baking all of their food fresh from scratch every day. They sell the best produce and fruits available to give their customers on a consistent basis. If you like desserts, their treats are as delicious as they are beautifully decorated. The extensive selection of unique confections includes signature cupcakes, weekly and holiday specials, and custom created desserts. In addition to dining in, they also offer catering services as well. Las Teresitas is a local Mexican restaurant known for its extensive menu, generous portions, and in-house salsa bar. Patrons not only get an authentic Mexican food experience, but are able to add seemingly limitless flavor with the offerings found on the salsa bar. Additionally, Las Teresitas offers delivery in the local neighborhood, making it an even more popular option. One of the most popular stores is the local Crafters Haven. An arts and crafts store with numerous supplies for all types of projects, residents enjoy the friendly staff and extensive displays.

If you would like more information regarding any of the individual neighborhoods found within the Nokomis community, please refer to our supporting articles.