When Travis Dickey opened the first Dickey’s Barbecue Pit in 1941, the menu offered beef brisket, pit hams, barbecue beans, potato chips, drinks, and that’s all. By focusing on perfecting the flavors of a few dishes, Travis was able to increase quality, and, ultimately, customers. Patrons were so enamored of the food that the restaurant eventually expanded into a nationwide franchise, allowing Americans all over to wear badges made of barbecue sauce. Over the past 70 years, Dickey’s has been passed on to Travis’s sons, but not much else has changed—the quality meats are still seasoned and smoked on site, and except for the addition of spicy cheddar sausage in 2011, the menu remains the same. Regional meats ensure that the most succulent Texas-style chopped beef brisket, old-recipe polish sausage, and fall-off-the-bone pork ribs make it to tabletops. Sides such as mac 'n' cheese and green beans with bacon continue to enhance feasts with an extra punch of homestyle tastiness. Each meal comes complete with complimentary ice cream, soft rolls, and dill pickles.
In its cozy retro space, Town Talk Diner uses fresh, local ingredients to create modern versions of classic lunch-counter food. Tickle your tongue freckles with Town Talk's tasty frickles: fried pickles with dill mustard sauce ($7). The popular kitchen sink burger comes loaded with cheddar, bacon, and Chef Tommy Begnaud's kitchen sink sauce ($12). Meanwhile, the baked mac 'n' cheese unites fontina, asiago, gruyere, and cheddar with elbow macaroni and a choice of smoked chicken or bacon ($14). Lusty gents who normally pour a shot of bourbon with breakfast can skip a step by ordering the bacon Manhattan, a cocktail of bacon-infused bourbon, homemade cherry liquor, and homemade cherry vanilla bitters ($8). Alcoholic floats include the monkey business, which fuses chocolate, bananas, peanut butter, and bourbon ($12.00) into a lazy malted river. Town Talk's bartenders are the discussion of the village, having recently claimed City Pages' Iron Bartender award for the second year in a row.
Since 1984, Champps Americana's kitchen has sizzled with made-from-scratch dishes, satiating sports fans and families with a comfortable atmosphere. Amid sunlit dining rooms, diners seated at wooden tabletops can root for their favorite pixels on flat-screen TVs broadcasting live sports. In the kitchen, chefs prepare pastas with grilled chicken and roasted artichokes, pile buns with barbecued pulled pork and spicy buffalo chicken, and fill soft taco shells with grilled steak. Behind the bar, bartenders whip up specialty cocktails and margaritas and fill goblets with wine and local craft beers on tap.
Jersey's Bar & Grill serves up plates of hearty pot roast, thick burgers, and crispy chicken tenders as live country and rock bands serenade crowds. Like Garrison Keillor's alternate glam-rock stage persona "Gary Sonorous," the selection of Juicy Lucys combines a treasured Minnesota touchstone with a touch of decadence. Beef patties are stuffed with provolone, applewood bacon, or American cheese before getting topped with caramelized onions, Cajun mayo, or grilled peppers. Burger aficionados pore over the customizable burger menu, building their own creations from multiple topping, bun, and meat choices. For breakfast (9 a.m. to noon Saturday and Sunday), chow down on omelets, hash browns, steaks, and pancakes.