Started by a family with more than 50 years of dough-flinging expertise, the first Old River Pizza Company came to fruition in 2000, with two sister locations opening soon after. All three restaurants sport an outdoorsy, Northern Minnesotan motif and boast a menu of brick-oven-baked pizza. Pizza Picassos coat the signature dough—which was perfected over three generations of trial, error, and warlock magic—with a South Alma cheese blend and a seasoned, slow-cooked sauce made from vine-ripened tomatoes. More than 35 toppings, such as sauerkraut, taco meat, and locally sourced italian sausage, encourage customized crusts, and 23 preconceived specialty pies spotlight time-tested flavor combinations. An assortment of sandwiches also awaits the crispy kiss and awkward back-pat of a brick oven, and a variety of calzones, pastas, and salads round out the edible bill of fare.
“How do you take your coffee?” asks Andy Morse, son of Breezy Hills Vineyard owners Darrell and Roberta Morse. “We ask people that a lot.”
Here’s what they’ve learned: people who take cream and sugar usually prefer sweet, fruity wines, and black coffee drinkers tend to go for robust, smoky red wines. The staff starts with this simple question because they understand that wine tasting can confound the novice. No snobs, the Morses start off new wine drinkers by introducing them to the basics of tasting and then allowing them to explore for themselves the unique sensory experience of their 17 locally made wines. Handcrafted elixirs such as their popular Misbehavin'—which blends red and white wines to create the pale blush of a sunburned ghost—pair well with the vineyard’s delectable plates of chocolate truffles and nuts.
Nestled inside a two-story Victorian farmhouse, Garden Grove Eatery satiates stomachs with an ever-changing menu of seasonal eats, assembled often from family recipes and employing locally sourced produce, cheeses, and baked goods when possible. Diners can find mates for reluctant bachelor stomachs on the sandwich menu, which boasts the Turkey Bryan's roasted turkey, provolone, tomatoes, cucumbers, and avocado spread housed in a 6-inch focaccia hoagie ($4.49–$6.49). The Salinger blankets sourdough in hummus, pickles, and vegan mayo ($3.99–$5.99), and the signature philly cheesesteak celebrates moving away from home by topping its shredded roast beef with mushrooms and cream-cheese sauce ($8.29). Chefs also woo stomachs with sides of pepper-and-cheese-infused pasta salad ($1.99), and tap natural underground soup currents for chicken tortilla, creamy potato, and carrot ginger ($3.49–$4.99). The counter-display case showcases a variety of desserts such as cupcakes, pies, and tarts. Some restaurant produce traces its roots to the house's 2-acre garden, where staff practice traditional gardening methods without using harsh chemicals or non-union garden gnomes.
Cellar19 compiles a menu of freshly made sandwiches, salads, and appetizers to pair with their array of international wines. Select a bottle from the wooden racks lining the restaurant, or settle in for a laid-back lunch with an order of baked brie topped with apple slices, almonds, and berry preserves ($9) or cool shrimp cocktail ($8). Slices of bread bind high quality meats and fresh toppings to create 19 different hot and cold sandwiches, such as chicken cordon bleu with swiss-cheese-topped chicken breast and tavern ham ($6.99). The veggie crisp courts coy herbivores with a medley of avocado, sprouts, and other greenery on a baguette spread with white-wine mustard ($6.99). Glasses of the Chateau Ste. Michelle Riesling ($6) compliment crisp vegetables; the Windmill zinfandel ($7) boasts bold raspberry flavors to match heartier fare such as Cellar19's French dip ($6.99) or flannel salads.
Named after a Canadian non-profit dedicated to rescuing small-breed canines, The Orange Dog Bar and Grill packs patrons' bellies with hearty pub eats six days a week. Dining duos can kick-start their meal by thumb-warring over an order of the popular wings, which come in internationally inspired flavors such as American buffalo, Jamaican jerk, and Brazilian passion fruit guava. Then, tongue dive into a heftier main course, such as three fish tacos brimming with beer-battered filets—accompanied by a side of wasabi aioli—that hail directly from Poseidon’s neighborhood taqueria. Other entrees include the carefully grilled steak, which has the power to shape shift into the rib eye or New York varieties upon customer preference, and classic burgers prepared with beef, turkey, salmon, or veggie patties. During the meal, patrons can celebrate masterfully executed swallows by clinking together glasses of Coors Light, Blue Moon, Budweiser, or New Castle.
Adrie Groeneweg was 19 when he decided he was tired of leaving his hometown of Hull, Iowa, every time he wanted pizza. Armed with six pizza recipes from his mother, Groeneweg opened the first Pizza Ranch in 1981, delighting travel-weary pie lovers with dough and sauce made fresh every day. At more than 170 locations in 11 states, a bevy of signature pizzas form the backbone of the sprawling menu, with such options as the bacon- and beef-covered Bronco and the Tuscan Roma's delicate assemblage of spinach, tomatoes, and alfredo sauce. A wide variety of such specialty pies lines the buffet table, but diners who don't see their favorite combo can make a special request to the pizza chefs?who will not only bake it and add it to the buffet but also hand deliver the first slice to the table. Alongside the disks of mozzarella and pepperoni are trays of the Ranch's other specialty, crispy broasted chicken that's seasoned with a house blend of spices and then broasted so that its crunchy coating conceals ultramoist meat and the occasional winning lottery ticket.