Kafe 421 – A friendly & fine dining experience near campus
Kafe 421 has been a Dinkytown favorite since 2002. When owner Georgia Sander used to visit her daughter Antigoni at the University of Wisconsin – Madison they would go out to eat around the campus. She wanted to open a place near the University of Minnesota where parents could have the same experience with their kids, making Dinkytown the perfect location. Georgia was in the catering business but wanted to open a place of her own where you could get a nice sit-down dinner experience near campus in a friendly and cozy environment.
In 2007, Antigoni joined the business as Kafe 421’s General Manager, after living in New York where she worked as an actor, and then eventually transitioned into full time work in the hospitality industry, starting out as a server and eventually working as Restaurant Manager for a major New York City restaurant Group. While, Antigoni does a lot of behind the scenes work at Kafe 421 she can regularly be seen running the floor in the restaurant; visiting with guests, hosting and helping out the service staff. She also runs a blog called A Pinch of Lemon, and worked on popular local talk show Twin Cities Live for nearly a decade!
Georgia does most of the menu creation, which is inspired by her Greek heritage and includes Mediterranean & European influences. They do update the menu a few times a year but are careful to keep all of the well-loved favorites that they are known for and keeps the regulars returning. They use their regular specials to get creative and try new dishes. Their popular menu items include the Pavo sandwich and tomato basil soup, but have a full menu of soups, salads, pastas, burgers & sandwiches, and other full entrees.
Kafe 421 seats up to 90 guests, and they are available for private events. They have about 25 staff members, 80% of which has been with them since they opened. They have a busy catering aspect and average over 25 off-site events per week. They see a lot of local regulars on weekdays and weekends people often travel in from other areas.
They have great weeknight Happy Hour specials, 1/2 price bottles of wine on Monday & Wednesday evenings, and on Tuesday night you can enjoy the “Cheap Dinner for Two” where you and a friend can each get a salad, pasta entree, and a desert to share for only $30.
Their favorite part about being in Dinkytown are all of the University of Minnesota regulars that they have come to know and love. They also enjoy all of the young couples coming in on dates, and love it when couples who had their first date at Kafe 421 come back years later to celebrate milestones with them. Over the years, they have been the location of several marriage proposals, gender reveal parties, and grooms dinners.