A Recipe From Colony Cafeteria In The Medical Arts Building

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The Medical Arts Building in Minneapolis was a central, downtown location for doctors and dentists to open offices. The original part of the building along Nicollet Avenue was completed in 1923. The 19-story addition was added in 1929.

Its exterior may be a bit simple, but take a closer look, and you’ll see that the building is covered in creamy terra cotta tiles. The ornamentation at the top of both buildings is intricate and captivating. Inside, the building’s lobby is much the same as decades ago: decorative terrazzo floors, lots of marble, and brass elevator doors decorated with medical symbols. The lobby also showcases Art Deco pendant lights and a stunning barrel-vaulted, coffered ceiling painted sky blue.

The Fountain Terrace restaurant was located in the building’s arcade for many years before being rebranded as the Colony Restaurant in the 1950s. The eatery was open from 7:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., Monday through Friday, making it a popular downtown lunch spot and a great place to grab a snack after an appointment in the building.

In the 1940s and 1950s, the menu offered hot and cold sandwiches, salads, soups, and a variety of desserts. When the restaurant changed to quicker, cafeteria-style dining in the mid-1960s, the menu was simplified. Customers at the renamed and Colony Cafeteria could choose from a wide variety of salads, vegetable dishes, spaghetti, and casseroles. Bakery items could be purchased across the hall from the restaurant.

Most of the offices are still used by medical professionals, but general office space is also available. The Medical Arts Building is connected by skyway to one of my other favorite downtown gems, the Young-Quinlan Building.

Eggplant with Tomato and Parmesan Cheese

This dish was served at the Colony Cafeteria in the Medical Arts Building in downtown Minneapolis in 1976.
Servings 6


  • 2 eggplants
  • ¾ lb. mozarella cheese, sliced
  • 4 cups tomato sauce
  • 1 cup parmesan cheese, grated
  • seasonings, to taste


  • Peel eggplants and slice in ½-inch rounds. Place into a well-oiled cake pan. Cover completely with mozzarella cheese slices.
  • Cover with cheese clices with seasoned tomato sauce. Top generously with grated parmesan cheese.
  • Bake in a 350° oven until eggplant is soft, about 40 minutes.
Course: Side Dish
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