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Sep 26, 2009 07:14 AM

Chow destinations between MSP and Ferryville, WI?

Next weekend I'll be driving down to Ferryville (along the Mississippi north of Prairie du Chien) for a big family gathering there. The tentative plan is to meander down 52 and pass through Decorah, IA. Are there any must-stops for good food along that stretch of 52? We'll be needing a lunch spot and would also be interested in provisions for the weekend (cheeses, sausages, beer, wine, anything else local and good). Any suggestions would be much appreciated.

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  1. Kristin, Newt's in Rochester has been voted best burgers for a number of years. Just a little out of route is the scenic Lanesboro MN, which has some interesting restaurants and cafes. Also a little out of route is Spring Grove, who has a small family owned company named Spring Grove Soda Pop with some interesting and tasty flavors. You can buy directly from the factory office or in the local stores. Google all three for their websites.

    In Decorah is an authentic Jewish Deli that will make you swear you are in Brooklyn or the Bronx. But beware! The place needs a good dusting and hosing down, you will be able to see that immediately. Don't be fooled by the packages, either. I was trying hard to find something clean and fresh looking to take home with me, and finally bought a multi-pack of Jewish chocolate bars. Bad, bad, bad. Old, stale, hard. I wouldn't spend a penny in that place again.

    Again somewhat out of route is the St Olaf Tap in tiny and old St Olaf IA, they won top tenderloin in a statewide contest. Near there is the Gunder Tap, with the Gunder Burger, renowned locally. You can google them as well.

    Also google Pete's hamburgers in Prairie du Chien WI for a one-of-a-kind hamburger stand that celebrated their 100th year this summer. 100 years! PdC also has a couple interesting "general store" type places that you can find some good supplies. And another in Marquette IA.

    But why don't you meander down the river instead of the boring flatland? There are great river views, and many, many places to find very good food. Search this site for a lot of suggestions, or I can give you some good local places.

    3 Replies
    1. re: rudybaga

      Or, you've got to go back, don't you? You can go "up the river."

      1. re: rudybaga

        Hey, that St Olaf thing is a pork tenderloin sandwich,the Iowa specialty, not a beef steak. Sorry, local language, I guess.

      2. re: rudybaga

        Thanks for the tips! We are going the boring route because it's supposed to be yucky weather on Friday when we are driving... the river drive is much less worth the extra time in the rain, in my opinion.

        We will definitely head to PdC at some point in the weekend, so it's good to know about Pete's. I had read about Spring Grove Soda Pop somewhere online but forgotten until this reminder-- maybe I'll have to stop for my preggo sister, since the rest of us will have fun drinkables for the weekend.

      3. Along Hwy 35 a few miles north of Ferryville, there is an English pub, which serves British and Anglo_Indian pub food:

        I have no idea if it is any good but I am very curious about it! Hopefully you can check it out and report back!

        1 Reply
        1. re: EarlOfSandwich

          Wow! Did not expect to find curry in that neck of the woods. I will make every effort to check it out. I will be with a pack of beer lovers, so a pub should not be a tough sell.

        2. i live in rochester, if you're driving through on friday during business hours, parking would be a bit difficult downtown.

          i have only been to rainbow cafe in pine island once, but was quite impressed. it's not too far off hwy 52. here's a menu though not sure if it's up to date but at least give you an idea.

          1. Decorah has some nice places. Dayton House has excellent seafood, there is a new Japanese place down the street from them. There is also a good Japanese place in Prarie du Chien called Wasabi.

            For the best bargain in the area go to The Irish Shanti (home of the Gunder Burger).

            I would choose the Rainbow Cafe over any lunch spot in Rochester also.

            1 Reply
            1. re: Stan

              Old Man River Brew Pub

              accross the river from Prarie Du Chien has nice food and home brewed root beer for your sister.

            2. For some interesting provisions there is a small Amish community with a couple of candy stores and bakery. From Decorah you take Hwy 9 east to Waukon. In the center of town is a road out called Elon Road. 2 1/5 miles East is Sherman Ridge Road. Turn right and then veer to the left at the first intersection. About a mile down on the right is the first candy shop. (I'm going there tomorrow myself) She can give you directions to the Bakery and Pie shop.