Dear Woodbury


Dear Woodbury,

We were close once. Really close.

I vividly remember those days, right after my wife and I got married back in 2011. We had this little one-bedroom townhome off Courtly Road and Lake Road. The kitchen was the size of a walk-in closet, and we used my wife’s bookshelf to separate the living room from a little makeshift “computer room” I worked and played in. I could walk to Jordan Meats from the place, run to Carver Lake Park, or stumble home after closing down Cowboy Jack’s. Super Target was right up the street. Ronnally’s Pizza was up there, too. A good craft beer bar was a few years off, but that didn’t matter because you can bring your own to Ronnally’s.

Our three years in Woodbury-or-maybe-St. Paul were happy times, for the most part, but our careers took us to the other side of the Cities right around the time we’d outgrown our little one-bedroom townhome. We were happy over in Plymouth, too, but we thought about you quite often. We spent three years on Parkers Lake and grew by four feet.

Then, our careers took us to the other side of the Cities right around the time we’d outgrown our two-bedroom, two-bathroom apartment.

Which meeeans


We handed the key over to the ol’ Plymouth apartment on Thursday. We’re technically in Newport, but get this: from our old stomping grounds on Lake Rd. we’re off the very next exit south on I-494. We know where our waking hours will be spent. I’m so excited to be back, I’m declaring it Woodbury Week at The Minnesota Skinny. I’ll re-introduce you to some old favorites, and swing open the doors to some new ones. We’re gonna have so much fun.

Tell that Jordan Meats on Lake Road I’m coming for all of their bratwurst, most of their chicken, and a few steaks. We have a house now, with a big ol’ deck to grill on. I require all of their brats. We’re five miles from ol’ Woodbury Jack’s. I require a Lyft driver, too.

You’ve been evolving, I see. Is that a Cafe Zupas I see off Radio Drive there, out by that gigantic Whole Foods? I cannot wait to talk about how I cannot wait to hit Zupas at lunchtime – it’s really, really good – but then completely forget when lunchtime actually comes. Seriously, though, the $9 soup and sandwich one-two? You were lucky to land one of these. And a Portillo’s!

You have a Lund’s and Byerly’s right by Target in the Valley Creek Center? Excellent! In Plymouth, driving from home to Target, then Lund’s and Byerly’s, then back home was a nine-mile route but over a half-hour of drive time. I couldn’t tell you how much we missed running errands in a well-laid-out city. Actually, I can: A LOT. I probably spent two months of my life waiting on Highway 55 at red lights over there. I don’t think your citizens realize how lucky they are. We do.

That shopping center also has Total Wine. Meh. No offense, but Cottage Grove has one of the best liquor stores in the state and I look forward to bringing my business there.

RELATED: A report from the City Council meeting at which Total Wine’s liquor license was approved.

Let’s talk about pizza. We’ve been back a week, and we’ve already had pizza three times. Woodbury’s embarrassment of pizza riches has never been properly documented (yet!), but here it is in one place: A Punch Pizza that made us happy repeatedly sits on Valley Creek Road and Radio Drive (Editor’s note: I predicted Woodbury’s restaurant growth three years ago!).  In that same shopping hub is Rocco’s Pizza, and their sneaky-good deep dish pies. When I buy out Jordan Meats’ bratwurst, I could also pick up Carbone’s. Oh, and Dulono’s just moved in on Weir Drive. As if that isn’t enough, you can be at three more heavyweights (Mama’s Pizza, The Little Oven, and Cossetta) within minutes.

It begins and ends with Ronnally’s, though. Their glory will be spoken about at great length in the days to come, and don’t think I forgot about the pizza date Sen. Susan Kent and I planned over Twitter like five years ago. Speaking of politics, Erik Paulsen isn’t my state representative anymore! I can hose that stink off once and for all.

We’re back, we’re back, we’re back. We’re back for the Woodbury Police Report (MY FAVORITE THING!). We’re back for the Tavern Grill’s waffle fries and build-your-own pizzas. We’re back to make your Home Depot employees balance comically large Christmas trees onto the roofs of our cars. We’re not back for wading in Carver Lake, but we’re definitely back for grilling on summer days at Carver Lake Park. I’ve already found my Dolphins-watching bar, and we’ve already had Yang’s delivered.

We might not have planted in Woodbury, but you can bet most of the roots will be growing that way.

Until We Eat Again,

RELATED: Read about Woodbury’s MOST EXTREME obstacle course, and the good-bye letter I wrote before we left back in 2014 (it was slightly more emotional).

Minor clean-up edits were made shortly after initial publication.


  1. Welcome back to the east side! I will second you on Ronally’s, been eating there since 1976 when I moved out by the ski jump. A bit of a drive from where you are, but Nino’s on Larpenteur and McKnight has a great NY slice along with his uncle I believe Pino’s in Woodbury off Eagle Creek. You are also close to Tinnuci’s deli – great fried chicken.

    • Thanks! Happy to be back. I’ll most definitely give Nino’s a try – thanks for the recommendation! I actually went to Tinucci’s last week for their buffet. It was pretty good, but I definitely need to try them again when it isn’t a buffet.

      • Tinucci’s is always a buffet, but I believe they do have a menu you can order from or at least they used to. I know there is a take-out menu in the deli next door.

  2. Welcome back!

    First the bad news. Jordan Meats has closed. But you can find an amazing selection of brats at Jerry’s. My fav is the Mango Habanero. Of course, there are excellent meat choices at Whole Foods, Byerly’s, Kowalski’s and Von Hanson’s, too. The best part of having so many choices is that, inevitably, at least one of them will have something I desire on sale.

    Now I will let you discover (rediscover) all the amazing eats Woodbury has to offer, but let me tell you about a few others outside Woodbury that you might want to try. The Shanghai Bistro in Hudson has amazing lunch specials. For around $6, you get choice of soup, an entree and rice. My favorite has the worst name, but is amazing – Strange Flavor Chicken. Trust me.

    Also in Hudson is the new Club 304 in the Pudge’s Bar building on old mainstreet. The food is solid and the prices are reasonable. Just down the road is the Subhouse – a nice, family-owned alternative to Subway. Keep going up Wisconsin 35 and you will find: The Season’s Tavern (Friday Fish Fry), The Kozy Korner (google their radio ad for a smile), and Mama Maria’s for amazing Italian.

    Again, welcome home and I look forward to reading about your food adventures.

    • Aw, man. I checked Google and it looked like it was still open! Dangit.
      My mother-in-law lives in Hudson, so we’ve gotten pretty familiar with their food. Fun fact: I had my groom’s dinner at Mama Maria’s! Great stuff! Strange Flavor Chicken, though. That … that I have not had.

      Thank you for the recommendations!


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