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If you follow me on Instagram, or any social media, you know what a good time I had researching the bit on Waconia for this issue. I love and live in our cities for most of the week, but like nothing better than being a boondocker on the weekends. Getting out into the open expanses that only we of the northern prairies are afforded is something of a tonic for me. And while I am usually a western-headed girl, in the summer months I am predisposed to let the compass whirl.
Of course for me, the best part about digging into new territories and new towns is the pit stop. The 12-year-old and I are always in search of new Frisbee-golf courses, but it’s the promise of a dive-bar burger or local ice cream shop after throwing disc that really makes for a worthy afternoon. I thought I’d share some of our finds from last summer:
- Down in Winona, you have plenty of familiar stops you could make, but ignore Subway and go to Rocco’s Pub & Pizza, which has an outstanding oregano sauce to contend with.
- Many people don’t know that there’s a large Mexican population in the sleepy town of Willmar, but there is. El Tapatio is great with kids and Rosita’s Grill has fat burritos.
- Smokey’s Pub n’ Grill is right along Coon Lake in East Bethel. The pit-smoked barbecue game is legit and there’s a meat raffle every Saturday afternoon.
- On the far side of the lake in Buffalo, Mill Creek Inn serves zippy 25-cent wings and totally drive-worthy burgers.