Bite of the Week: Baby Cheeseburger at Band Box Diner

Bite of the Week is a weekly feature showcasing an exceptional meal or dish, curated by The Growler. Calling the Baby Cheeseburger at Band Box Diner “no frills” really doesn’t express how completely frill-free this lunch option actually is. This humble patty topped with melted American cheese is housed in a thoroughly buttered and griddled bun … [ Read more]

Living Outside the Box: A Q&A with pianist, activist, and musical auteur Lara Bolton

Lara Bolton’s impressive array of performances, creations, and occupations defies any attempt at being clearly labeled, and her work⁠—imbued with sparkle and elan⁠—can be relied upon to trigger something of the unexpected in those who experience it. Recently praised by the Star Tribune for her “heroic presence at the piano,” Bolton is known for her versatile … [ Read more]

Whirlwind Tour: A 15-stop dining excursion through Door County, Wis.

If you grew up vacationing in Door County in the ’80s and ’90s, you likely remember Wisconsin’s premiere vacation peninsula as being stuffed with classic supper clubs, superb cherry pie, fish boils, mediocre hot dogs and pizza, and little else. Time flies, and (in this case) it brings with it some wonderful changes. While the … [ Read more]

Order Up! Keg and Case 2.0

Updated August 15, 2019 Order Up! is the Growler’s ongoing biweekly account of noteworthy Minnesota restaurant openings, closings, and future openings. Please send any tips to [email protected] All dates are approximate based on best information available; opening dates, in particular, tend to shift around a lot. THIS WEEK’S GIST: The evolution of the Keg and Case food … [ Read more]

Now Open: Trout City Brewing in Preston, Minn.

A giant trout statue welcomes you to Preston, Minnesota. Downtown, a bicycle rack shaped like the fish jumps out of the sidewalk. The city has dubbed itself “Minnesota’s Trout Capital,” so it’s only natural that its new brewery, opening August 15 next to the National Trout Center, would name itself accordingly—Trout City Brewing—and prominently feature … [ Read more]

Bite of the Week: Falafel Sandwich and Mint Lemonade at Zait & Za’atar

Bite of the Week is a weekly feature showcasing an exceptional meal or dish, curated by The Growler. Falafel goes awry more often than it goes to plan—too stodgy, too bland, too mushy, too hard. The perfect piece of falafel has a crisp, mahogany exterior that gently cracks to reveal a tender (but not paste-y) interior, … [ Read more]

Now Open (Or Damn Close): Thesis Beer Project in Rochester

The central thesis of Thesis Beer Project is to make good beer and do good. Located in Rochester’s uptown neighborhood a stone’s throw away from Mayo Clinic’s Saint Marys campus, Thesis Beer Project will be the city’s sixth brewery when co-owners Allyson Palmer and Adam Fredericksen open its doors on August 13. The building is immediately … [ Read more]

Opinion: Why Craft Beer Is Dying

Simon Nielsen is the head brewer at Central Waters Brewing Company in Amherst, Wisconsin. He has worked in the craft beer industry for six years. The opinions expressed in this commentary are those of the author.  As I write this, I am sitting at the counter of a coffee shop in my hometown of Appleton, … [ Read more]

Bite of the Week: Jerk Chicken Wings at Octo Fishbar

Bite of the Week is a weekly feature showcasing an exceptional meal or dish, curated by The Growler. Chicken wings may seem off-brand for Octo Fishbar, the Tim McKee-helmed St. Paul spot probably best known for its seafood towers and crudo plates. But the restaurant’s pimento wood-smoked Jerk Chicken Wings ($8) benefit from the same attention … [ Read more]

Nominate the Best of the Best for the 2019 Kind-of-a-Big-Deal Readers’ Choice Awards

It’s time! Each year, we give Growler readers the chance to nominate the best of the best in Minnesota food, drink, and culture for our annual Kind-of-a-Big-Deal Readers’ Choice Awards. Make your voice heard this year and nominate who you think is Kind-of-a-Big-Deal. The nomination period is open now through September 6. (One submission per … [ Read more]

Blazes of Glory: Pyrotechnic designers and engineers add fiery drama to the concert experience

When you go to a concert by Macklemore, Pitbull, or Marshmello, it’s not just for the music—you’re also going for an elaborate spectacle, and often that means waterfalls of sparks raining down from the ceiling or pillars of fire erupting from the edge of the stage. In short, pyrotechnics. Pyrotechnics can incorporate anything from fire … [ Read more]

Order Up! Boutique Brands Expanding in the Twin Cities

Updated August 1, 2019 Order Up! is the Growler’s ongoing biweekly account of noteworthy Minnesota restaurant openings, closings, and future openings. Please send any tips to [email protected] All dates are approximate based on best information available; opening dates, in particular, tend to shift around a lot. THIS WEEK’S GIST: The growth of boutique local restaurant groups … [ Read more]

Up in Smoke: Alejandro Castillon is using the smoker at Prieto Taqueria to unite classic Mexican fare and global techniques

The fiery heart of Alejandro Castillon’s new restaurant is an Oyler Pit smoker big enough to be a sauna. “It’s probably the biggest in Minneapolis,” Castillon says. The monstrous red box can cook six or seven hogs at once and it sports a hood that could comfortably vent a burning SUV. The chef’s takeover of … [ Read more]

Feeling the Burn: How Chile Peppers Change the Way We Cook, Dine, and Even Process Pain

Chile peppers have been on the menu since at least 6,000 years ago, when people living in current-day Mexico cultivated them for their heat and flavor. The world-spanning Portuguese Empire helped spread them to nearly every corner of the planet in the 16th and 17th centuries, and now they’re a cornerstone of dozens of cuisines … [ Read more]

Firehouse Feasts: Building bonds and perfecting recipes around the station’s dinner table

The kitchen at Edina’s Fire Station 1 is designed for utility: ample pale-wood cupboards, extensive white countertops, gas stovetop with a sizable range hood overhead, stainless steel mixer and toaster, and a heavy-duty, easy-to-clean concrete floor. Adjacent to the equally utilitarian tables and chairs is a set of recliners, looking for all the world like … [ Read more]