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.
Sometimes, you’d rather just enjoy a view of the fairways than be on them. That’s why the staff at Danny’s Bar & Grill, located at Stoneridge Golf Club, welcomes guests to sit on their expansive patio, which gives them clear views of the green. The patio features an outdoor fire pit where guests can keep warm on cool nights as they wait for plates of chef Bohnert’s Guinness-braised short ribs or mahi mahi encrusted with macadamia nuts. When patio weather is over, guests can still hang out by the indoor fireplace in the dining room where a slew of high-definition TVs showcase golf matches and, if the golf match turns out right, golf fights. On weekend evenings, live bands entertain in the dining room.
It's not every day that a dinner with friends risks a murder accusation. That's a good possibility for the guests of The Murder Mystery Company, who find themselves in the middle of a investigation for which any one of them could stand accused by a hapless detective. During each interactive dinner, the company's troupe of professional improv actors ignites the dining room with entertaining outbursts and hilarious one-liners in an effort to divulge clues and redirect guilt. Meanwhile, guests work together to sniff out the real culprit, which is definitely not the school janitor in a mask. Birthday parties, bachelorette celebrations, and corporate events can also get in on the interactive action by scheduling a private murder-mystery dinner.
Hosted by an eclectically elegant collection of inns and museums peppered throughout the St. Croix River Valley, the 2011 Chocolate March launches guests on self-guided, cocoa-centric excursions. Guests munch on chocolate delicacies and take in architectural desserts with chocolate-dipped innkeepers at five separate stops, one of which will feature a wine pairing, on the Sunday jaunts (different destinations are featured each weekend). Depending on their chosen date, chocolate hunters can relax under the mannered, leaf-shaded porticos of Rosewood's Queen Anne mansion, take in the brick-draped Gilded Age grandeur of the Water Street Inn, or plot a sweet rustic retreat or candy-coated coup d'état by Wissahickon Farms' general store façade and peppermint-stick split-rail fence.
The mealtime mavens at Rafters Food & Spirits adorn their pub-centric menu with deep-fried appetizers, meaty sandwiches, and saucy pastas within an eatery situated alongside the scenic St. Croix River. Roust slumbering appetites with starters such as spicy-ranch battered pickles ($6.99) or bamboo shrimp skewers arriving in a piquant-garlic or spicy-Cajun incarnation ($7.99). Then stretch out your gullet further with a more sizable spread, such as the butter-crusted walleye sandwich ($10.99) or the hot roast beef and cheddar ($8.99), a hoagie-bound amalgamation of succulent slices cut thin enough to craft a perfectly folded beef airplane or meat crane. Sauteed mushrooms and onions team up with hickory-smoked bacon to top off the Rafter's Burger, whose duo of third-pound patties bridge the gap between two halves of a ciabatta bun ($11.99). A lineup of draft beers ($3.75 each) is ready to accompany hearty plates.
Just 90 seconds is what it takes to get one of QuickFire Pizza's pies from the chef's hands to the server's tray. The wood-fired oven cooks these 15 signature pizzas faster than any microwave or sidewalk in the summertime, and makes them much tastier as well. Classic neapolitan-style pizzas include those topped with sausage and roasted red peppers or wild mushrooms with four cheeses, both of which can be paired with craft beers. Specialty pizzas take on inventive themes, including the hawaiian pig roast topped with pulled pork and barbecue sauce, or the macaroni-and-cheese pie that supports alfredo sauce, rotini, and smoked bacon.