In 1962, Lawrence William Yanz opened Hastings Bierstube, where he dished out German delicacies such as bratwursts, Reubens, and 6-ounce sirloin steaks. After his passing in 1983, his sons, Jim and Mike, started two new locations before forming a fourth with a family friend. The sons expanded Hastings Bierstube’s already extensive menu, introducing the Taste of Deutschland sampler platter, which features a selection of wienerschnitzel, sauerbraten, and house-made spaetzle.
Along with slinging authentic cuisine, the owners send lucky diners on vacations to Germany during giveaways, which fall on special occasions such as Oktoberfest and David Hasslehoff’s half birthday. For visitors remaining on American shores, the restaurants host weekly events, including bingo, open mics, karaoke, and live music.
Sgt. Peppers Grille and Bar's fun-loving atmosphere lures hungry revelers with daily happy-hour specials and a bevy of burgers and classic entrees. Temper meat yearnings with a Philadelphia burger ($8.50), which combines ground beef, cream cheese, garlic, and green onions to please palates with the authentic flavors of America's capital. The towering club sandwich ($8.50) induces mouth watering by conjuring up images of country-club-style eats and fills tummies more easily than a turkey-and-bacon flavored 5-wood. For more substantial fare, fill up on wood-roasted baby back ribs ($13.95 for 8-bone, $16.95 for 12-bone), slathered in homemade barbecue sauce, or treat taste buds to underwater flavors with pan-fried or broiled Canadian walleye ($16.95).
Though the particulars of Duke's pizza recipe remain shrouded in secrecy, its resulting flavors—thin, crispy crust, sweet sauce, and obscure toppings such as bacon bits and chicken Alfredo—are practically public domain. Seated among crimson walls and wood paneling, guests dig into pies as the kitchen churns out a well-rounded menu of pub favorites, from burgers and hand-cut fries to classic breakfast fare such as omelets and gravy-soaked biscuits. An extensive lunch buffet lines the walls amid the glow of flat-screen TVs, allowing patrons to imagine that sports commentators are narrating the scoops of soup and pasta when they breathlessly exclaim, "Commercial break!"
From its humble origins as a soda fountain in 1930s Saint Paul, Green Mill Restaurant and Bar has grown into a franchise with more than 28 locations all over Minnesota and the Midwest. As TV screens blast sports news in the background, patrons at each eatery dine on a menu of classic American and pizzeria fare. Thick, hand-pressed burgers form bunned towers with hefty toppings such as smoked bacon, haystack onions, and chipotle mayo. Families looking to bond can practice fractions on regular, deep-dish, or thin and crispy pizzas or group juggling acts with samplers of 27 juicy wings. In addition to pastas and salads, each location's bar carries a varied drink menu that includes draft beers such as Blue Moon and Samuel Adams alongside wine, martinis, and margaritas.
At Indian Aroma, spicy Northern Indian dishes sizzle inside a traditional tandoori oven. This oven's clay interior adds a smokey flavor to the food, which exits the oven looking as colorful as the dining room's cumin-colored walls. The restaurant's chefs, who are Indian natives, create these curries and biryanis à la carte, but they also serve them up on the buffet alongside spicy sauces, refreshing yogurts, and warm pieces of naan. Together, these components create a meal that is both hot and cool, much like a leather jacket that's been left in direct sunlight too long.
"People trust our judgment," Cravings Wine Bar & Grille owner Greg Rick told Woodbury magazine. "Many people come in and say, ‘Pick a bottle of wine for us. We pride ourselves that our servers are able to do that.” The sommelier-like skills of the wait staff aren’t the only draw. A menu of seasonal specialties, made with fresh ingredients, is complemented by a long and carefully curated list of well over 100 wines from across the globe. Selections by the glass or bottle pair nicely with parmesan-crusted walleye, caramelized shallot and gruyere fondue, grilled peach and ricotta salad, and pasta primavera with roasted garlic.