Hey Charles Barkley: Forgetting your Minneapolis visits? Here’s where to find a more memorable meal in St. Paul.

We know a few things about Charles Barkley. Good basketball player, comically uncomfortable actor, bad at remembering Minnesota.

The Timberwolves came back in the second half of game seven of the Western Conference Semifinals on Sunday night to grind the Denver Nuggets into, well, nuggets. It was the Timberwolves’ best showing since 2004.

Afterward, Barkley, now a TV commentator, told Wolves player Anthony Edwards he hadn’t been to Minnesota “in probably 20 years” and needed some restaurant recommendations.

Fact check: He was in town in 2019 for the NCAA Final Four — where he lambasted the Wolves, onstage at a Katy Perry concert of all places, and was met with boos — and again in 2021 for the 3M Open in Blaine.

On social media Monday, fans offered up plenty of suggestions to eat around Target Center in downtown Minneapolis, including Spoon and Stable, new Argentinian steakhouse Porzana and Fhima’s, reportedly a Wolves players’ go-to.

But may we humbly suggest that the reason Barkley might not remember his visits is because he didn’t spend enough time on our side of the river?

Let’s fix that.

Here are just a few ideas of where Barkley should grab a more memorable bite to eat in St. Paul.

What else do you recommend? Email us at


Colossal Cafe

You can pretty much count on this place to do everything right, from yeasty pancakes to breakfast burritos that shouldn’t be overlooked. And those caramel rolls are big enough to feed several regular people or, probably, one Charles Barkley-sized person.

1340 Grand Ave., St. Paul, 651-414-0543; or 2315 Como Ave., St. Paul, 651-797-4027;

Trung Nam French Bakery

The Twin Cities’ Vietnamese dining scene — one of the best anywhere, in our opinion — is massively underrated. There are plenty of spots in or near St. Paul for top-notch classics (Em Que Viet, iPho by Saigon, Mi-Sant in Roseville), but Trung Nam was among the first and makes legendary rolled croissants that come in about a dozen flavors.

739 University Ave. W., St. Paul; 651-229-0887;


Ruam Mit

The longstanding Thai and Lao favorite just reopened this month in a new downtown location after a 10-month closure, and we’re thrilled that they’re back in action. The egg rolls, papaya salad and curry entrees are especially good — but keep your spice tolerance in mind when ordering, so your meal isn’t as painful as getting a Naz Reid tattoo.

367 Wabasha St N; (651) 222-7871;

Afro Deli

One of this restaurant’s top dishes is called Chicken Fantastic, after all.

The downtown deli, which also has a few Minneapolis locations, serves East African and Mediterranean sandwiches, salads and entree bowls. The Somali steak sandwich and chapati wrap are also both particularly delicious, and portions here are great for the prices.

5 W. Seventh Place, St. Paul; 651-888-2168;

West Indies Soul Food

Sharon Richards-Noel knows what she’s doing, folks. She grew up in Trinidad, moved here as a teenager and launched West Indies Soul Food as a catering company in the 1990s. A revived brick-and-mortar location opened a couple years ago, serving tender jerk chicken, sweet potato pie, curry stews and Jamaican patties worth waiting for.

839 W. University Ave.; 651-726-4120;


Mancini’s Char House

Now in its third and fourth generation, the Mancini family has lovingly kept up (and, occasionally, inconspicuously restored) the old-school steakhouse. Sure, you could get lobster, walleye or chicken, but come on: Char-grilled steak, a supper club relish tray, garlic toast, martini.

And what other restaurant has been inducting local athletes into its own Hall of Fame for nearly four decades?

531 W. Seventh St., St. Paul; 651-224-7345;

W.A. Frost & Company

The classy Cathedral Hill restaurant has long been a favorite special-occasion spot for both locals and visitors — such as, for example, Queen Sonja of Norway, who dined here during a visit in 2022. No guarantees our friend Charles Barkley would be treated to a custom menu and a meal plated on fine china like the queen was, but hey, we think it’s worth it anyway.

Plus, the patio, with cobblestones and lush greenery, is one of the best in town.

374 Selby Ave., St. Paul; 651-224-5715;


We’re talking oysters. Glazed duck breast. Steak frites. An already killer wine list (with plenty of bubbles!) that was kicked up a notch last year. There’s a reason the upscale French restaurant has been a reliable classic ever since it opened about 16 years ago. It’s a great spot to celebrate a Wolves win, and probably also a good pick-me-up if the games go the other way — but that won’t happen.

410 St. Peter St., St. Paul; 651-222-5670;

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