When the Gaffer family describes The Nova as "an eclectic little wine bar," they're not speaking figuratively. This cozy spot was refurbished from half of the historic liquor store it's attached to, a liquor store with a cave that burrows 150 feet into the nearby hillside. The Nova is the Gaffers' love letter to wines, where chef Nate crafts seasonal menus inspired by the more than 200 bottles of wine onsite. And while pan-fried walleye with a cornmeal crust would pair nicely with a bottle of white, dishes such as the Nova dirty burger with mushroom-cream sauce would probably fare better with a craft beer from the restaurant's 12 rotating taps. As a proponent of wine, beer, craft cocktails, growlers, and all things spirits, the Nova and its sister liquor store often host events and tasting parties in the aforementioned cave.
A laid-back, personable eatery, Kozy Korner sates pizza and hops cravings with indulgent meal pies and a choice of slice-complementing draft brews. Kozy Korner's pizza scramble unites breakfast favorites in pie form as it bubbles with cheddar cheese, eggs, hash browns, special sauce, canadian bacon, bacon bits, and a bacon alarm clock set to chime at the first sound of hunger pangs (a $21.75 value). Volley hearty taste buds at the scramble supreme, which mirrors the toppings of its less supreme counterpart, adding a blanket of cheddar cheese, pepperoni, italian sausage, green peppers, onions, and mushrooms (a $21.75 value).
The Agave Kitchen grills, sears, and fries up burgers, fish, and border-inspired entrees with Southwestern flavor. The menu boasts decadent starters such as the twin filet mignon sliders with caramelized onion and blue cheese ($9.50), while main dishes range from the adventurous lobster mac 'n' cheese with apple-wood-smoked bacon ($15) to traditional deep-fried chimichangas stuffed with a choice of beef, chicken, or pork ($12). The Agave Kitchen's specialty burgers come with a choice of Angus beef ($11), chicken breast ($10), or black-bean patties ($12), and come in flavor-combinations such as the Shrub burger with bacon, jalapeño, and mac 'n' cheese, and the Steeburger Deluxe with bacon, cheddar and jack cheese, pulled pork, barbecue sauce, and coleslaw.
Cuisine Type: Seafood/American
Handicap Accessible: Yes
Number of Tables: 25–50
Parking: Parking lot
Most popular offering: Lobster roll, bone-in ribeye, jambalaya
Alcohol: Full bar
Delivery/Takeout Available: Yes
Outdoor Seating: Yes
Pro Tip: [We have] live music most weekends, check our website for details.
What is one of your most popular offerings? How is it prepared?
Pecan-crusted walleye topped with a Cajun cream sauce and candied pecans and served with a baked sweet potato and cinnamon butter, [as well as] sautéed fresh green beans. We pan fry the walleye and finish it in the oven.
In your own words, how would you describe your menu?
A little of a southern twist with jambalaya, shrimp and grits, and great dishes from the South, East, and West coast. [We also have] Kansas City barbecue ribs (where I grew up). We bring flavors from all over America. Our chef is a graduate of the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, New York.
Is there anything else you want to add that we didn't cover?
Boat docking is available.
The Afton House Inn sits on the banks of the St. Croix River, just 30 miles east of downtown Minneapolis. There, city-dwellers will discover a homey bed and breakfast retreat, with plenty of river views and unique guest rooms decorated with antiques. The inn has earned awards from Wine Spectator and Wine Enthusiast for its fine-dining restaurant, which, in addition to its extensive wine list, serves a classic American menu of steaks and seafood. Their Steak Diane, beef tenderloin medallions flamed with brandy and finished with a demi-glace, is prepared table-side. During the day, guests can build up an appetite at the Afton Alps Ski Area, just 10 minutes away, or take a river cruise on the St. Croix (between April and October).