The Best of Bayport, MN – Food

Bayport, MN is a small town on the banks of the St. Croix River with big charm. Little did you know, it used to be named Stillwater South, and was considered a part of Stillwater until 1922. Many people were confused by the names, and so the towns separated and it was dubbed Bayport instead.

Many Minnesotans consider Stillwater a summer vacation destination with all of it’s shops, restaurants and scenic views. It’s also quickly becoming a winter getaway with their cozy B&B’s, the completion of the ice castles, and with Hockey Day Minnesota putting up a rink next to the river this year. Unless you are in the know, Stillwater’s neighbor, Bayport, sometimes gets overlooked. It’s a hidden gem and is worth a visit every time you are in the East metro. It may be less touristy because it doesn’t boast many specialty shops, but the views are just as beautiful, and the food can rival anything you will find in the North Loop or on Eat Street in Minneapolis. Next time you are in the area, pop over to Bayport for one of the best meals you can find in the metro!

 

The best European inspired Restaurant:

L’Etoile Du Nord

This is a Belgian restaurant opened by a true Belgian. They serve breakfast, lunch, and dinner. It has a focus on high quality ingredients, and serves some of the best waffles in the Twin Cities. The waffles are TRUE Belgian style (I promise…. we visited Belgium two summers ago and the waffles there are vastly different than American Belgian waffles) unlike all of the other waffle joints in the Twin Cities. Try their take on Eggs Benedict. You won’t regret it. http://letoiledunordcafe.com/

The Best Cafe:

Not Justa Cafe

This cafe has been in Bayport for many years and is considered a staple. They have done so well that they even have locations in Somerset and New Richmond, WI. In the not so distant past, they even opened Not Justa Bar if you are looking for a vibe that’s a little bit less family style. http://www.notjustacafeandbar.com/

 

not-just-a

 

The Best BBQ Joint:

Bayport BBQ

This is not a “swimming in sauce” kind of joint, and I like it. Bayport BBQ does some of the best dry rubbed BBQ in the state. They cook everything to perfection, and their seasonings are the kind that could win a competition. They’ve even been featured on TV! Check them out if you are wanting a true southern experience right here in Minnesota. Make sure you check out their records and CDs if you are a blues fan as well. Good BBQ is necessary for that southern experience, but great music is too! http://www.bayportbbq.com/

bayport-bbq

 

The Best Bakery:

Bread Art

This bakery always leaves me wanting more. ALWAYS. I’ve seen a lot of the bakeries and donut shops pop up over the last few years and make a killing solely because it’s trendy, not necessarily because they are really good (the right vibe, the right location, and voila, money maker). Bread Art has been in the business longer, and they remain a staple because they are great at what they do. What initially drew me in was a simple sugar cookie. They carry them at the locally owned grocery store in my town and I splurged by buying a bundle of them once. Well, let me tell you, that one time splurge turned into a weekly necessity. No cookie I’ve eaten since then has rivaled them. You can taste the quality ingredients in their baked goods and honestly, there is nothing better than a chewy, heavy cookie to curb a sweet tooth. Don’t just read my post and believe it, go taste anything in their bakery to see what I mean. http://breadart.biz/

bread-art

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Where YOU can find the BEST pizza in the Twin Cities

My love affair with pizza started in college. You move into your first apartment, don’t know how to cook, and suddenly you meet Jack. You love him instantly but wonder if there is something out there better. What are you thinking? Of course there is, because unfortunately Jack is cheap, and was found in the frozen pizza section. That’s all you could afford and that’s all you had time for at that point.

Luckily I have upgraded my tastes as I have upgraded my budget (although you will still see my freezer stocked with Jack’s Pizza at all times), and I’m on a never ending journey to find the best pizzas around.

The Twin Cities has an amazing food scene where you can find almost anything. I’m so thankful that gourmet pizza is included on that list. For me, ambiance is just as important as taste , and so listed below  are the restaurants I have thoroughly enjoyed in the metro that serve up a great atmosphere and a great pizza. The list is not in any particular order and I highly recommend you hit each place. Comment below if you think I could add to this list! We could add a part 2 to this blog if you give me more inspiration! Like I said, I am always on the hunt for the best pizza, so if it really wows me I will blog some more.

1. Roma

460 Stillwater Rd

Willernie, MN 55090

First of all, I love that this place is off the beaten track a little bit. It feels a little mom and pop-ish but classy at the same time. That is what makes it so charming in my opinion. The ambiance is made up of warm lighting, Italian decor, a beautiful bar, and a cute little deli off the dining room. They are perfect for a quiet date that shows you want to have a meaningful time without being pretentious. Our good friends introduced us to this place a couple of years back and I find myself thinking of Roma often.

They are a family run Italian place, but they also do wood-fired personal pizzas. The crust is thin and bubbles beautifully. You can get something standard if you would like, but go out on a limb and you won’t regret it. My favorite pizza there has blue cheese, prosciutto, figs, and fresh greens on top. The combination of the sweet fig and the savory prosciutto is what brings me back for more. One can rarely go wrong mixing meat (especially salty cured meat) and fruit together in the same dish. As far as price goes, you can spend a little there with pizza prices from $10-$18, or a bit more for an Italian dish.

2. Burch 

1933 Colfax Ave. S 

Minneapolis, MN 55403

  

Everyone is raving about Burch right now, and I’m raving right along with them. Their chef Isaac Becker won the James Beard Best Chef: Midwest award, and highly deserves it. Apart from Burch, he also owns 112  Eatery and Bar Lagrassa, both of which have served me some great eats. 112 was created to give the chefs of Minneapolis a place to go, so obviously the menu is fabulous and the atmosphere is understated. Their owner and head chef claims to hate concept restaurants but now owns 3. Thank goodness for that, because each serves some of the best food in our state.

When you walk into Burch it instantly feels high class. You have to valet your car because it’s Uptown and they have no parking, but that just adds to the experience. Burch reminds me of a restaurant you would find in NYC. Everything is chic and elegant but simple. Although the waiters look as if they would be cold and indifferent (because of how cool and hipster they are – it is Uptown after all) they wait your table with kindness and a vast knowledge of the menu. I can tell they really care about the food they serve.

The staples at Burch are steak, dumplings, and woodfired pizza. All of which I’ve had, and all of which were made with quality ingedients and creativity. You can obviously spend a pretty penny on their steaks, but their pizzas are reasonably priced at $12-$25 each. So don’t shy away thinking you can’t afford it. The object of my desire there is called the Coppa Cotta pizza. It has hazelnuts, smoked pork shoulder, roasted red peppers, and mozzarella balls. I mean seriously, who thinks to put hazelnuts on pizza?! They are fantastic and compliment the smokey pork shoulder well. I have yet to try their Tonno Diavolo with raw ahi tuna but in my opinion, that’s the stuff that dreams are made of. Raw fish + pizza = obsession. Your tastebuds will be amazed at the combination of flavors piled high on their soft fluffy crusts.

3. The Copper Hen Cakery & Kitchen

 2515 Nicollet Ave. S

Minneapolis, MN 55404

    

Opened in the spring of 2014 on Eat street (aka Nicollet Ave.), they focus on home grown flavor and well sourced products. A catchphrase they have adopted is farm-to-table. They serve breakfast, lunch, dinner, baked goods, and coffee. They even hold wedding receptions in their restaurant! They were partially funded by a Kickstarter campaign, and so you know the locals wanted this in the community. It did so well that they raised over $12,000 to be exact. I think it’s great to see the citizens rally around some people that have a great idea for a restaurant.

Upon opening, they did not disappoint. I am writing about them having only visited the restaurant once. That means I am very impressed. I have a lot more to try on their menu, but during my visit I ordered a lavender lemonade and the Chicken Coop pizza. I know this article is about pizza, but lavender lemonade is my new official favorite drink. They make it so the lavender doesn’t overpower, and really comes out as more of an aftertaste. Okay, now back to the pizza – The Chicken Coop features prosciutto, spinach, ricotta (REALLY good ricotta I might add), pecorino bechamel sauce, and two sunny side up eggs. I didn’t ever think of eggs on pizza, and after I had  this, I wondered why more people aren’t doing it! It’s great! The yoke and the bechamel sauce combine so well that it makes you feel like you are eating at grandma’s house. Their crusts are similar to Burch’s in the fact that they are fluffy, but there is a denseness to these that make them feel more like home. Their prices come in on the low end at $12-$16. Grab dessert at the end of your pizza dinner too, they are a cakery after all.

4. Broders’ Cucina Italiana

2308 W 50th St.

Minneapolis, MN 55410   

    

Take one step in the door and you’ll feel like you have crossed the Atlantic and landed in Italy. This restaurant has charm galore. When you first walk in, you can peruse the shelves filled with specialty Italian cooking items. Around the corner from the shop is their quaint dining room and deli. All food is ordered at the deli and you can get meats, cheese, pasta, salads, desserts, side dishes, and pizza to stay or to go. Of course, everything is fresh and hand made.

Since this article is specifically about good pizza, I will tell you why Broders’ Cucina is at the top of my list. It’s all about the meat. My favorite there is a good ole’ pepperoni and sausage. Their pizza is thin crust, with a light amount of sauce  (I hate too much sauce), piled with cheese, and topped with the best meat I have ever had on a pizza in my life. Their sausage is made in-house with high quality herbs and spices. Even though you can take your pizza to go, try and find a spot in their quaint dining room with the mural painted ceiling. Sit and enjoy your little Italy and savor their authentic flavor. The products on their shelves and the food from their kitchen is imported from Italy. You don’t get much more authentic than that.

Get their pizza by the slice for just a few dollars or order a medium or large to share. Prices for full pizzas range from $10-$20 and are shareable.