I felt a twinge of nostalgia the other night when I stopped in for a bite at the Acadia Café, which recently moved from Franklin and Nicollet to Cedar and Riverside. Back in my college days – and for many years after, the space was home to the New Riverside Café, run by an anarchist collective. In the early years, there were no fixed prices – you were supposed to “Eat what you need, pay what you can afford.” A sign invited customers to practice dishwashing yoga, and I did, once or twice. I remember great acoustic music, and a couple of slogans “No Meat, No Bosses” and “The Bio-Magnetic Center of the Universe.” That was a time of revolutionary dreams and great optimism. Gradually, most of that spirit faded away, and the New Riv finally closed because of money troubles in 1997.
But there was something about the Arcadia that evokes a little of that spirit – mostly, it’s the busy program of live original music (“no cover songs allowed”. On Wednesday, when I stopped in, ace accordion player Dan Newton, leader of the Café Accordion Orchestra, had put together a program that started with him playing with Prairie Home Companion guitarist Pat Donohue at 9 p.m., followed by Orkestar Bez Ime playing Balkan Music at 10 p.m., and the Mill City Grinders, an old-time string band, at 11. (Dan and the Café Accordion Orchestra played at our wedding, so Carol and I are big fans.) We couldn’t stick around for the music, but I did have a first-rate Swiss and mushroom burger with skin-on fries ($7.25). A note on the menu says the beef comes from humanely raised animals. Carol’s appetizer order of fish and chips were a bit greasy, but still good enough to be enjoyable.
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The food menu is pretty basic – burgers, nachos, cheese curds, hot and cold sandwiches, but the beer list is one of the best in the Twin Cities – 28 beers on tap, and another 40 in bottles, including some brews I have never seen before, like a Furthermore Knot Stock American Pale Ale from Spring Green, Wisconsin ($4 a pint), and a dozen bottled Belgian beers.
If you park in the ImPark lot behind Midwest Mountaineering, they’ll validate your ticket for up to two hours on weekdays, or all day on weekends.
Acadia Cafe, 329 Cedar Ave., Minneapolis, 612-874-8702.