The Sample Room is a fantastic bistro in trendy northeast Minneapolis. The Sample Room is part tapas-style restaurants (small plates), and regular meals, served in an intimate, cozy bar and dining room. Plus, The Sample Room has a lovely little patio with skyline views of downtown Minneapolis if you’re in the mood to dine al fresco.
I’ve been a fan of The Sample Room for several years, and though I am choosy about the dishes I order, ultimately, I’ve kept coming back. I find the restaurant’s meat plates and the cheese plates are always terrific, and I consistently find myself drawn to the Limoncello for dessert (my advice: stay away from the Orangecello – it tastes like medicine). In particular, I like the warm camembert, the Stickney Hill goat cheese, and the tuna carpaccio plates.
The Sample Room kitchen, headed by Executive Chef Matt Paulson and Sous Chef Adam Beal, is a proudly self-declared scratch kitchen. That means any sauces, pastas, or dressings are made from scratch at The Sample Room – you’re not going to find them anywhere else in town. The Sample Room also works with many small, local farms to bring patrons the freshest local ingredients.
Part of the draw of northeast Minneapolis is its old world charm. The Sample Room is located in a historical two-story building dating from 1893. The top floor was previously a hotel run by the builders and owners of the space, Matthias and Rose Thies: The Thies Hotel and Sample room. The current restaurant is named after that business. The river-front building also has its own docks, so that patrons may arrive at The Sample Room by boat via the Mississippi river.
The Sample Room is very small – as are many northeast Minneapolis restaurants and bistros – so be prepared to wait if you arrive at peak times (The Sample Room does not accept reservations). The décor is chic: lots of dark wood, eccentric artwork, and sparkly light fixtures. The tin ceiling is lofty, adding depth to the dining room and bar area, which combine to make one space.
Though The Sample Room is located in the much-loved area of northeast Minneapolis, it’s a little off the beaten path on Marshall Ave (on the banks of the Mississippi River) in between Lowry Avenue and Broadway Avenue. The good news: there’s plenty of street parking in addition to The Sample Room parking lot.
With a warm, wonderful ambiance, great food, and plenty of ways to get there (by road or by boat), The Sample Room is a wonderful restaurant in beloved northeast Minneapolis, and shouldn’t be missed.