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Sep 19, 2010 12:00 AM

What's good along Hwy 52?

So, I'm coming through The Cities on my way to a friend's wedding in SoMN in a couple weeks. I know the wonderful food that's available in the confines of civilization, but will be traveling south on Hwy 52 and need some help with what's available before Rochester - or in Rochester. Not picky about cuisine, just something worth writing about. Thanks, chow friends!

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  1. well.... nothing comes to mind. if you want to go "off the beaten track" many good words have been said about bob's smokestack in elgin.

    1. In Rochester, I really like Jasper's Alsatian Bistro. It's run by the folks who have Daube's Bakery and the food is quite good. - - It's also on the cutest little cobblestone street in downtown Rochester. They are a bit more upscale, but it's a casual atmosphere and they do serve some Alsatian specialties. Oh, and because the bakery folks run this place - don't skip out on dessert!

      Also in Rochester and not too far from Jasper's is Chester's Kitchen & Bar. It seems like it could be a slightly more upscale TGIFridays, but the food is pretty good. It's really classic American food in a fairly casual environment. We've eaten there a few times and I can't say we've ever had a bad meal. Plus it's quite a bit bigger than Jasper's (which is pretty tiny). -

      North of Rochester is the Rainbow Cafe in Pine Island. I've not eaten there, but my husband has and has raved about it. Really tiny town with this amazing restaurant. Some Chowhounders have also raved about it in the following posts:

      Oh and if you're willing to take a scenic drive a little out of the way you MUST go to the Harbor View Cafe in Pepin, WI. The food is phenomenal. Seriously - it gives a lot of places in the Cities a run for their money. Word of warning though - the portions are huge!

      8 Replies
      1. re: Seige

        I just bookmarked a few of those. Thanks! That place in Pepin seems realistic for a drive...that whole river / bluffs area is awesome.

        1. re: aguynamedbob

          Harbor View doesn't disappoint. They don't take reservations or credit cards so be prepared with cash and you might have to wait a bit, but it's SO worth it!

          1. re: Seige

            Hey, if a recommendation gets caps twice, I'm down to try it! I might be down around there in October.

        2. re: Seige

          I enjoyed my meal at Rainbow Cafe in Pine Island (dinner once). Pine Island flooded yesterday :( Not sure how Rainbow Cafe is since I don't live there... Hwy 52 around Pine Island is closed I think right now, but there are detours around it... so if you go down this way when you come down, you may want to check DoT first.

          1. re: Ummm

            Hey thanks for the warning! We're flying in on Thursday....

            1. re: ms.frisky

              Things may be cleaned up by then and Hwy 52 may be reopened. Rochester itself is okay and didn't have much damage. Which town are you heading to?

              1. re: Ummm

                We're heading down to Peterson. Really looking forward to the complete change of scenery from Las Vegas!

                1. re: ms.frisky

                  Have fun! Never been to Peterson, but had been to Rushford which is close by. Definitely get a GPS!

                  Not sure what time you're passing through, but heard good things about this cafe in Cannon Falls (note their hours though as they close soon after lunch)


        3. The House of Coates is on 52 - the burgers are great. I think the exit is County 46 - its south of Inver Grove Heights.

          House of Coates
          16300 Clayton Ave, Rosemount, MN 55068

          1. It is a good wasteland between the previously mentioned House of Coates and Rochester proper (though Greg's Meats is worth a stop if you are getting meat to grill later...excellent sausages. They are on 252nd St. south of Rosemount).

            In Rochester, I have two favorite dive places. First, right on 52, is John Hardy's BBQ. Little road house right off of 52 (there is another one just south of town). Roscoe's is the other Rochester BBQ institution, but I am a John Hardy guy. My go-to dish is the pulled pork and jo-jos, with the medium sauce.

            The burger place of renown in Rochester is Newt's which is downtown on 1st. Ave. It is a second story place, but I just saw new signage down there a few weeks ago that makes it easier to find. Well worth spending 5 minutes to find.

            Rochester is a better eating town than it was even 5 years ago.

            House of Coates
            16300 Clayton Ave, Rosemount, MN 55068

            1. For a really good breakfast (as the sign says, "You'll go hog wild over their bacon"), try Little Oscar's Restaurant in Hampton. If I remember right, they had good pancakes, too.

              Little Oscar's Restaurant
              23470 Emery Ave, Hampton, MN 55031