Ea(s)t Lake Street Challenge: Serving up a dining destination


East Lake Street restaurants have made eating at local spots an even more delicious proposition with the recently announced Ea(s)t Lake Street Challenge.

Fourteen restaurants along East Lake Street are participating in this two-month-long challenge, which simply involves eating at a participating restaurant, collecting the receipts, and winning prizes, including Ea(s)t Lake Street t-shirts, and entry into a raffle for $250 gift certificate packs to restaurants along East Lake Street.

Serving up a Dining Destination

Wanting to increase awareness of the restaurants along East Lake Street, Shawn Cooke from Zeke’s Unchained Animal brought his idea for the challenge to Renee Spillum at Redesign. Cooke commented, “I thought it would be nice to highlight all of the great restaurants along East Lake Street, and get people thinking about it as one big destination for great cuisine.”

Spillum got to work, securing funding for the project from Redesign and the City of Minneapolis, and developing marketing materials.

The spectrum of offerings along the roadway is remarkable, explained Spillum. “Where else can you find Japanese food, Ethiopian food, Mexican food, and Indian food just on one block? All corners of the globe are represented here.”

East Lake Street has seen several new restaurants open in the last year, creating a higher density of restaurants in a relatively small area. Inspired by the marketing of foodie destinations in other parts of Minneapolis, Cooke hopes that East Lake Street will be thought of as a destination for great dining. He commented, “We want to redefine the area as a destination for cuisine, rather than fourteen separate locations.”

Participating Restaurants

Participating restaurants include Longfellow Grill, Craftsman, Dragon City Cafe, Parka, El Norteno, Blue Moon Cafe, Merlins Rest, Zeke’s Unchained Animal, Sonora Grill (opening soon), T’s Place, El Nuevo Rodeo, Gandhi Mahal, Midori’s Floating World Cafe, and Mosaic Cafe.

Take the Challenge

  • Step 1: Pick up an “Eat Lake Street” envelope from participating restaurant locations.
  • Step 2: Dine at and collect receipts from at least 5 of the 14 locations with a total of $50 or more for a free t-shirt. Collect receipts from at least 10 of the locations with a total of $100 or more and win a t-shirt and entry into the grand prize raffle.
  • Step 3: Bring the finished envelopes in to Zeke’s Unchained Animal to collect your prize. Everyone who completes the 10-restaurant challenge is entered into a raffle for Eat Lake Street prizes including four $250 gift certificate packs to restaurants along Eat Lake Street.

Halloween Challenge: Email photos of you and your friends in your Halloween costumes at any of the participating restaurants to be entered in another raffle for a grand prize gift certificate package.

Learn more at the Ea(s)t Lake Street Facebook page and website.

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Photo: Kathy Marthaler, manager of Mosaic Cafe, holds the Ea(s)t Lake Street t-shirt, one of the prizes in the challenge. She commented, “What’s so cool about the neighborhood is how much people care about the local businesses. Everyone just wants the businesses to do well.”