Elk River to Maple Grove, MN
Hi, I'll be in Elk River and Maple Grove again next week on business. I'm looking for a lunch place in or between these cities (preferably nearer Elk River). Lunch must cost $10 or less and I'd love it if it included a nice serving of veggies. Any recommendations?
Yeah, sorry about the lack of non-chain restaurants in ER. I was reading your post about Diamond City and I would agree, that it is good. That location has been like three different restaurants and I have liked all of them. It used to be the Old Maine Eatery, and it was good Mom and Pop place.
Then I started reading that you wanted to go downtown again and my first thought was, God, I hope he didnt try Daddy-O's. I would also have to agree with you on that about that place. I have not been there in years and can not figure out how it is still open.
Still trying to think of some places in ER and will respond again if I can think of somewhere.
OK, so I was in Elk River on Friday last week. I wish I had gone back to the Diamond City bread company (where I went last time I was in ER - see my previous post if you're curious).
Instead, I thought I'd try a new place. I headed for "downtown" again, because I like to support businesses trying to make it in small town "downtowns". I chose Daddy-O's Cafe, for no particular reason other than it looked open and I'd never been there before.
I walked in and found a clean eatery covered in 50's rock paraphernelia. OK. I found a booth with a nice view of the Mississippi. Great, I thought. The waiter came over quickly and gave me my menu, took a drink order. I asked what I should order - what were they know for, or what did people really seem to like on the menu. He said, "We're actually really known for our Maxican food - we used to be a Mexican restaurant, so people come for our tacos." That should have been my warning signal. But I didn't want to be judgmental - I always have hope that I'll be surprised. So I ordered the tacos.
So sorry I did - it was exactly what you'd expect if you got school-lunch tacos. Seriously: Sysco refried beans, shredded lettuce, and shredded cheddar cheese stuffed into Sysco "crisp" corn taco shells, with some so-called spicy Pace salsa served on the side. The tacos were supposedly beef, but I didn't see any beef inside - perhaps it was mixed in with the beans, but if that's the case, eiwww.
The kicker? Three of these not-as-good-as-even-an-average-home-cook's tacos cost $7. If that is what Daddy-O's is known for, I fear Daddy-O's will not be around for very long. Oh, Daddy-O...
In the interest of fairness, I will reiterate that the place was very clean. I will also add that, though I didn't care much for his recommendation, the server was very quick, efficient, and friendly. However, I'd gladly have sacrificed all this for an even moderately interesting, fairly priced meal. When in Elk River, my recommendation remains the Diamond City Bread Co.
OK, just have to add that when I Googled Daddy-O's, I learned that it was the location of the late Senator Paul Wellstone's last campaign stop beforehsi death in a plane crash - so there's an interesting historical point about the place I didn't know until now - it's probably a good thing I didn't know when I was there - I would have felt even more like crying.
Oh, looking back at my post I realize it's not very specific. Sorry!
I am aware that there are a lot of restaurants in the area. What I'm looking for is any place you think stands out in the crowd. If you were me and you had to choose one place to go, what would it be? And why would you go there?
I don't care what type of food it is. I do care that the food is skillfully prepared and uses at least good quality ingredients. I don't care if it's sit down or not, and ambience is also not a concern. Price IS a concern, and I want to stay under $10 (not including beverage).
I am especially interested in a place in Elk River, since that's where I'll be when I start my lunch break, and I tend to get pretty hungry! But I will be heading to Maple Grove after I'm done in Elk River, and if it's worth waiting until I get there, then so be it.
I hope this is helpful - I really appreciate your regional knowledge! Being a St. Paulite with a cruddy car, I rarely venture to the Northwest suburbs/ex-urbs.
Your choices in Maple Grove are pretty vast with the amount of restaurants they have there and depending on what type of place you are looking for. Here is a list of Maple Grove restaurants.
Now on your trip from and back you have a bit less to choose from. You would most likely if coming from ER to MG you would head up 101 to 94E passing through Ostego and Rogers until you hit MG. From there you have fast food options and your more sit down longer visit restaurants. Asking for veggies I am assuming you are interested in more of a sit down restaurant? Elk River has some sports bars, Asian restaurants, pizza places and bigger chain places ranging from fast food to sit down. On your way to MG on 101 you will pass a place called Rock Woods that use to be part of a small 4-5 restaurant chain called Black Woods and this one has split off on it's own. They have very good food but would be on the spendy side. Once in Rogers you will have the same chain options (it being an interstate exit) and some small pizza, Asian, sub shops. The other thing that might float your boat is the new Cabela's that has a full cafeteria/deli style restaurant on the second floor. If you feel like checking out the gigantic outdoors store there is plenty to see and people watch and the food is not all that bad or expensive. Maynard's, Black Bear, and Nature's Hideaway would all fall under the Family restaurant/sports bar umbrella of sandwiches, burgers, pasta, steak, salads and all do a pretty decent job with those. I have had good and not so great at all of them. When you drive by what you see is what you get as far as decor and atmosphere. I also like the Mexican restaurant in Rogers Guadalajara they have a great staff and good food and are especially quick for a lunch visit. From Rogers you head up to MG were there are all of the options from the link above. Good Luck. If you describe your desired place a little more I may be able to help a little more.