After modeling their first eatery, ROMA Restaurant, after the Roman Empire, Chef Brent Pilrain and his family opted to try something new, setting their sights on a colonial American theme. So when the family was greeted with the opportunity to open up a new kitchen in Liberty Village, the birth of Patriots Tavern seemed like kismet. Today, Chef Pilrain keeps up the colonial theme in both cuisine and décor, churning out a menu of New England–inspired fare and wood-oven-fired pizzas within a whitewashed mansion. Rich mahogany and stone details create a warm yet spacious interior dabbled with American flags and historical knickknacks, such as lanterns and George Washington’s original set of wooden press-on nails.
Greeting diners with the coziness of a North Woods lodge, Season's Tavern warms bellies with a hearty spread of burgers, steaks, fish, and sandwiches. The rustic eatery showcases fresh Canadian walleye throughout its menu in a variety of preparations. Cooks lightly bread and fry the fish to fill appetizer baskets, blacken fillets to line sandwiches, and fashion walleye into cakes to celebrate sailors' birthdays. Diners can also customize 7-ounce burgers with onion rings, cheese curds, and other toppings, or sample the tavern's monthly specials, such as the Wisconsin beer-cheese burger.
It's said that it takes 10,000 hours of practice to become an expert in your field. Hudson Optical's staff of professional eye-care specialists graph and bolster their patients' vision health inside a facility that hit its 10,000-hour mark more than 52,000 hours ago. Celebrating its 35th anniversary in 2012, Hudson Optical's trained associates continue to practice their learned craft while bringing in new technologies to ensure patients get optimal care. Doctors David P. Parupsky and Se Cecelia Xiong brandish skills gleaned from conquering their own hour cap to diagnose eye disease, address eyes' refraction needs, and perfect their own language of Morse-code blinks. The practice is located just off I-94, approximately 15 miles East of St. Paul.
SOS Coffee Bar and Dance Club inspires toe tapping with weekly dance lessons and parties in a positive environment free from the influence of alcohol or other substances. Taught by Robyn Mills, one-hour beginners' line-dancing classes introduce basic steps and coordination, progressing to more challenging routines that incorporate intricate choreographies, fancier footwork, and transcribing Victorian literature via toes. After mastering timid toes over a series of lessons, solo dancers can flaunt their legs and lyric-powered compasses to the public at Friday-night parties, featuring a soundtrack from a live DJ. Students can shuffle and slide the night away, demonstrating their newly acquired moves for randomly matched partners or impressing blind dates with complicated steps that cut through rugs and the metaphysical walls that separate dimensions.
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.
Chef Dennis Lewis of Ursula's Wine Bar & Cafe draws from his cornucopia of seasonal produce, sourced from local farmers, to craft his monthly changing menu. It’s a menu that has earned OpenTable Diners' Choice Awards for "Best Food" and "Best Overall" experience. In the kitchen, Chef Lewis chops greens from local producers, including Twin Pine Farm, Grandmas Bakery, and Pine Tree Apple Orchard, to toss with blueberry-balsamic vinaigrettes and curried, creamy coconut dressings. His monthly updated menu has included appetizers such as goat-cheese gratin with sun-dried tomatoes and spicy red-pepper hummus with warm flatbread. The kitchen team also prepares entrees that are seasonally inspired, like reindeer lawn ornaments and air-conditioner window decorations. An example of this seasonal food is the pork loin rubbed with ancho-chipotle chili and served with pumpkin mashed potatoes and bacon brown butter. The dining area accommodates 39 guests, meaning there are more than three times as many varieties of domestic and imported wines—150 to be exact—as there are guests at any given time. There’s also an outdoor patio, where wine flights can be sipped while plane flights sip the sky overhead.
Generally speaking, there's not a bubble to be found in bubble tea. Instead, the "bubbles" that the cold Taiwanese drink takes its name from are chewy tapioca pearls or jellies resting at the bottom of the glass, waiting for a straw to suck them up. The tea is there, however—but it's not alone. Mixed with it is the flavor of mango, matcha, or peppermint. In fact, at Steepery Tea Bar—owned by the same aficionados as the Tea Garden—more than 30 flavors combine with 10 bubble varieties to exercise creative muscles and comfort anyone who's afraid of repeating themselves.
Bubble tea is just one of the drinks at Steepery Tea Bar. And it's not even the only drink that can contain bubbles. Shakes and coolers can also hold the chewy treasures in their depths, as well as the cafe's signature drinks such as the royal tea latte. Of course, being a tea bar, Steepery brews up hot drinks too. More than 50 kinds of green, black, white, and herbal loose-leaf tea—most of which are fair-trade, organic, and inclined to give only positive fortunes to tellers—fill cups and pots.