Every now and then you come across a place that has everything you’re looking for. It has just the right vibe, great food on the menu, and perfect music. Once you’ve found it, you never want to leave, and as soon as you do leave, you’re thinking about the next time you will return. Aster Cafe is one of those places.The Aster Cafe is the understated first floor resident of a three story brick building right by the Mississippi at 125 SE Main St, Minneapolis. Sitting beneath the cafe’s simple sign, the front door leads to a rustic interior where brick walls surround classic wooden tables and their accompanying dark chairs. Up on one wall is a sign with the word “Aster” spelled in cursive and lined with dim bulbs. It’s a subtle reminder of where you’ll want to spend the next few hours.
Upon entering Aster Cafe, you’ll likely be greeted by the sound of one of the many talented musicians that grace the stage there. In the summer, there’s a different musical act nearly every night of the week. Many singer/songwriters and acoustic acts bring upbeat ambiance to the cafe’s interior and draw music lovers to the front of the stage. Some acts have residency at Aster for a period of time. Sunday brunch for example features Patty and The Buttons, who bring a 1920’s vibe to complement Sunday morning mimosa.
One of the biggest draws of the Aster Cafe is their beautiful, tree-lined brick patio. The views of downtown there are mesmerizing and put you at ease for long stretches of conversation with friends or a date. The patio is the perfect spot to meet for happy hour, which features great drink specials and runs from 3 to 6 pm Monday through Friday.
Whether you’re sitting outside overlooking the river or inside watching the band, the menu at Aster Cafe is sure to entice you. Executive Chef Drew Ledo does a great job keeping the menu innovative. Some “Aster Favorites” include Farmers Market Gnocchi and the Korean BBQ Bun. The gnocchi is tossed in herb butter, topped with freshly grated pecorino cheese and a lemon zest, and served with roasted summer vegetables. The Korean BBQ Bun offers a choice of pulled pork or mock duck on a sesame bao bun and is served with ginger garlic aioli and spicy pickles.
Aster Cafe has been heralded as one of the best spots for a first date. Whether you’re visiting the cafe with a new flame or your spouse, Aster’s Romantic Share Plates are sure to make your evening out memorable. BBQ Brisket Tacos with watermelon and jalapeno tops the list along with Avocado Toast, with features mashed avocado on pumpernickel with slow roasted cherry tomatoes and arugula and your choice of shrimp or roasted portobello.
The menu items, while varying in style and origin, are all uniquely delicious. Visit AsterCafe.com to view more of the delectable dishes they offer and check out some of their upcoming featured musical acts.
By Anthony Chiofalo