It was only a matter of time before something was done about Northfield’s lack of a brewing community. It finally happened in 2011, when a home-brewer named Randy Clay dashed through a farm field. Randy had lived in the area since 1996 with his wife, Tonja, and had spent the previous 4-5 years trekking to the Twin Cities for home-brew clubs. There had to be...

THE RIVERSIDE BOOKSHOPS

Chapter 5: Driftless Books and Music in Viroqua, Wisconsin

If you walk into Driftless Books and Music too quickly, you’ll miss the headstone leaning out against the front stairway. It commemorates La Crosse’s...

Chapter 4: Pearl Street Books and Buzzard Billy’s in La Crosse

Last time I was out on St. Patrick's Day weekend, my man Hornish and I hit 7th Street in St. Paul after a Minnesota...

Chapter 3: A Visual Tour of Minnesota’s Most Famous Toy Store

The appearance of LARK Toys on Highway 61 hit us the way Harmon Killebrew hit baseballs back in the day. It's a long building...

Chapter 2: Fair Trade Books in Red Wing

“Outside of a dog, a book is man’s best friend. Inside of a dog, it’s too dark to read.” — Groucho Marx Before we get started,...

Chapter 1: Valley Bookseller and Daily Grind Coffee in Stillwater

My wife and I spent St. Patrick's Day making up for postponed Valentine's Day plans. This year's romantic adventure? A 171-mile drive to a...

Fong’s Pizza in Des Moines, Where Cocktails are Cheerful but the Toppings are Serious

In 2010, according to City View magazine, the second-best place in Des Moines to see beautiful people was Fong's Pizza. I've had my wife with me every time I've been to Fong's Pizza, so the place has always been easy on my eyes. My poor...

FOOD

If you were driving over the Wabasha St. Bridge around 8:15 p.m. Saturday, I must offer my apologies for that evening's visuals. You probably saw me lumbering up the bridge like a tree monster: eyes big and deep; hair blown about like branches in the wind; and a thick, uneven body. I was the guy with that shirt, the one with the cheeseburger on front and MAN’S BEST FRIEND underneath, the one with a trail of sauce dribble right down the chest of it. That...

Pig Out! The Wild Boar Makes Their First Twin Cities Burger Battle Appearance

Who’s ready for wild boar facts?! Did you know, a group of wild boars is called a sounder? Speaking of sound, a wild boar’s squeal...

My Love Affair with Ham’s Sandwich Shop Started with a Fiery Train Wreck

There’s an old riddle about one town with two barbers, one with great hair and one with shaggy hair. The barber with great hair...

Take Me to the River: Springtime at the Mississippi Pub

I stop into the Mississippi Pub on a textbook Minnesota March morning. The sky is bright, but the wind is brutal. The Mississippi River...

Fully-Loaded Omelettes and Bacon Avocado Benedict at Fat Nat’s Eggs

I stopped in to Fat Nat's Eggs in New Hope last week for lunch, and the person seated next to me at the counter...

At the Vermilion Club, You Save Your Best Stories for the Bamboozler

When the Bamboozler shows up, everybody moves. You shove your napkins to the side and pull your drinks back toward your chests. You scoot your...

Aging Tastefully: Eighty-Five Years in West St. Paul for the Cherokee Tavern

The Cherokee Tavern has changed its name, changed its name back, and changed owners twice since it first opened in 1933. But has the...

Never Too Far Away: Euclid Hall in Denver

Duck chips and dip at Euclid Hall in Denver, Colorado
I found Euclid Hall for the first time on a Saturday night. I had toughed out both sessions of the Great American Beer Festival that day, and gotten some good time in at the Left Hand Brewing Company after-party. I must have walked 15...

ON THE ROAD

Nexus. It's a term often used to describe a central, important place. Neighborhoods, industries, worldwide movements, all have such a place. As an example, I'd consider Grumpy's Northeast in Minneapolis the nexus of the Twin Cities craft beer community. Most small towns have a Main St. around which its collective heart beats. Individuals can have them, too. Maybe it's an entertainment...

At the Vermilion Club, You Save Your Best Stories for the Bamboozler

When the Bamboozler shows up, everybody moves. You shove your napkins to the side and pull your drinks back toward your chests. You scoot your...

With Over 100 Burgers, the Kings Place Lineup is Most Impressive

I watched the Super Bowl at Kings Place. You should have been there. You could have been relaxing to the sound of grease crackling...

The Bear’s Den in Bruno, Where My Vehicle Makes Frequent Stops for Cheeseburgers

When I was 27 years old, I was a goof-off posing as a Mesabi Daily News sportswriter. I'd bring four chili dogs with me to...

Dog, Gone! Conquering the Mutt at Gator’s Grilled Cheese Emporium

“What do you mean, I have to eat the sides, too?!” You have to eat the sides, too. My man Eliot and I were in Ely,...

Coming Around: My Gordy’s Hi-Hat Story

One of my favorite songs all-time is Murder by Death's "I Came Around." In it, the singer attends the wake of a man he'd long disliked. He thought he...

Food with Old Friends, Drinks with New Friends: Mike’s Pub in Hibbing

Where were you when you had your first cheeseburger with grilled cheese sandwiches used as the bun? I was in Hibbing, dining and talking with two...

Newport’s North Pole Restaurant

First, you kick some serious ass. Maybe you kill a few dudes, maybe a building explodes, and maybe you need to wrap your bloody hand on the way out. After that, you swing into a diner for coffee, maybe throw down a light breakfast,...

You asked for it!

Tonight’s (and Every Night’s) Best Burger Deals in the Twin Cities

I've had a few people tell me this, and it has crossed my own mind a few times: Everyone has a list of cheeseburger...
A woman holds a slice of birthday cake at a restaurant

The Twin Cities’ Best Birthday Deals, Ranked

It's 2018, and you're still paying for stuff on your birthday? Cut it out! You should be having no trouble living the high life on...

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@MNSKINNY

We see you, Wisconsin!

I know, I know, MINNESOTA Skinny ... but don't think for a second we go hungry when we cross over into Wisconsin. The world's best cheeseburger is in Superior! We named our dog after a beer made in Hudson! And you should SEE the size of the cheeseburger at Frankie's in Sheboygan. It's all right here! ... over there.