Daily Day Guide: Wander around West Bank

The Daily Day Guide plans your perfect day in a Twin Cities neighborhood so you don’t have to.

Nina Raemont, Arts and Entertainent Reporter

To some University students, West Bank is where we go to school: We study at Wilson Library and learn in Willey Hall.

But go beyond the classroom, and you’ll find that the West Bank and the Cedar-Riverside neighborhood have an indescribable charm that makes the place a hub of great food and an underrated atmosphere.

One cup of joe for the day:

Hard Times Cafe: Begin your day with a cup of cheap coffee and a tasty pastry. This classic, grunge diner spot is currently operating takeout and will slowly but surely open its patio and reopen its indoor dining room. Until then, order the vegan donuts to go.

Three places to shop/window shop:

May Day Books: This progressive bookstore hasn’t been making a profit since 1975, and that’s reason enough to check it out. May Day Books, a no-profit shop, offers left-wing literature at discounted rates. Before the pandemic, it held political and educational gatherings, but not too much gathering has been taking place recently. Visit the bookshop, and find a reason to be radicalized.

Midwest Mountaineering: Feeling the sudden urge to rent a canoe? Head over to Midwest Mountaineering for outdoor gear that will have you covered if you ever feel ambitious enough to kayak on the mighty Mississippi. Or check out the selection of reliable outdoor apparel if you need some warm socks.

The Annex by Opitz Outlet – Riverside: This clothing shop offers designer apparel at a reduced price. Find the newest shoes, dresses and spring looks from your favorite designers while staying on budget.

Four places to eat/order takeout:

Dilla’s Ethiopian Restaurant: A stop at Dilla’s for some savory injera will leave you feeling nourished and whole. Try the Ethiopian-style collard greens, sauteed with warm spices and enough onion and garlic to make your heart sing, or the yebeg tibs, lamb marinated in wine and herbs and sauteed in tomatoes, onions and jalapeños.

Baarakallah Restaurant Somali Cuisine: Load up your plate with signature Somali dishes from Baarakallah. Try the chicken suqaar, cubed chicken and vegetables, or the isbeeso, stewed goat meat.

The Wienery: We’re nearly 410 miles away from the windy city and the famous Chicago dog, but luckily there’s a spot on West Bank that has you covered until you make your way to Chi-town. The Wienery offers 18 hot dog options that would even please the vegan in your life — it has a tofu dog on the menu. Travel the country with its dogs, from Chicago to California and all the way back to Minneapolis. An interesting point to note: The Minneapolis-style hot dog is just a Chicago dog covered in slaw. That begs the question: Is Minneapolis just Chicago covered in slaw? Food for thought.

Keefer Court: This authentic Hong Kong-style kitchen offers a slew of tasty bakery items, from its new red bean sticky rice cakes to more traditional Chinese dinner options like roast duck noodle soup or congee. The shop is currently operating takeout and curbside pickup only, but we’re yearning for the day we can get back to the shop and huddle together with some warm tea in hand and black sesame balls on our plates.