Photo by Peter Wong
Hazeltine National Golf Course
Hazeltine National Golf Club
If you're just waking up to find out that one of the golf world's biggest contests, The Ryder Cup, is being played out at Chaska's Hazeltine National from Sept. 27 - Oct. 2, well you're either allergic to polo shirts or can't follow a white ball against a white sky on a television screen (guilty). But even if you are one of the sportzies and spectators who is psyched to head out and see some of the top American and European golfers roll around our turf and smack whitey, I'm betting you didn't score one of the hospitality packages or have access to some of the corporate chalets where the food and bev will be flowing. So, what's a hungry caddy to do? Well, I'm no stranger to a Carver County burger and beer crawl, and I can promise you there are plenty of great spots to stop in before or after a day walking the fairways.
Photo by Katherine Harris
Burger and fries at Crooked Pint Ale House
Pass through that cluster of chains just south of the course on Pioneer Trail and 41, there's really nothing to see here besides Detello's which is family-run red sauce Italian, though there's a decent deep dish pizza here. Keep heading south, past 212, to Chaska's very quaint, historic riverside downtown. In the old mill, Cy's Bar & Grill (used to be the Chaska Mill Tavern in my day) is a great town bar to kick back, play some pool or darts, and grab a burger or pizza. Crooked Pint Ale House recently came to town, attached to the new curling center, and it has a ton of great craft beer, pub pot pies, burgers and amped up bar food. Scoot up the street for Patron Chaska, where the margaritas are strong, the guac is green, and the enchiladas supreme. Near the end of town, down by the river, is Tommy's Malt Shop. The malts are thick and old-timey, though it might be hard to pass up the deep fried brownie sundae. Just try to leave room after your cheese curds, honey glazed grilled cheese, or BLT.
Floyd's Bar Bloody Mary
Head north up 41, back to Hwy. 5, West past the Arboretum (a great spot if you have kids in tow) to the little burg of Victoria. Right away you're going to want to go to Floyd's Bar and you're going to want to order a signature Bloody and Mother Plocher's grilled wings by the dozen. Don't fight it, go with it. Enki Brewing is down the block and has a cozy little taproom (even as they are preparing to launch the new one on October 15) where you can chill with some Tail Feather IPA or Victoria's Gold cream ale. Over at School of the Wise, you can grab some strong coffee and pastries or creative panini and subs. Victoria House is where you want to plan a fancier wine-fueled hang, it's the neighborhood supper club with steaks, meat loaf, pot roast, foil-wrapped potatoes and all those imply. Vic's Bar & Grill, is a great corner bar with a nice patio, and the best burgers in these parts: freshly ground and hand pattied. Though it will be hard to ignore the Heggie's Pizza on the menu. And then there's The Social, a favorite of kids and bikers who've earned their ice cream treat from the Dakota Trail. It's a family-owned ice cream shop trying to hold to that small town feel, just get a banana split with three scoops of ice cream for about $5 and see if you can't feel it.
Photo by Caitlin Abrams
Lola's Lakehouse in Waconia
Maybe you're thinking, well I'm out here, I should just keep heading West. Trust your gut, because Waconia is one of my favorite Liquid Lake Towns. There are no fewer than three wineries: Sovereign Estate has an out door tasting bar, Parley Lake has an orchard, and Shram is also a brewery and bocce haunt. And don't forget the J. Carver Distillery: go say HI to Gina in the cocktail room, she'll make sure you're well-quenched. But get into town and cop a squat on Lola's Lakehouse lake side deck for fresh fish, stone-fired pizzas and great cocktails. Pangea is only open for breakfast and lunch, but they have the freshest tacos in the region. Hopper's Bar & Grill is your town bar for burgers and tots. Iron Tap is the new kid in town, with a rooftop deck and plenty of craft beers, 30 on tap at least. Plus they've got a smoking habit, which works out great for smoked deviled eggs, smoked turkey clubs, smoked baby back ribs (psst, every Wednesday is all-you-can-eat rib night), brisket, chicken, pork shoulder, you dig? Pop into Waconia Brewing to grab a growler on your way out of town, for the memories, man.
People, you are so close to Lion's Tap that it would almost be a crime to miss those spectacularly stacked thin burgers off of Flying Cloud Drive.
If you've made the blood sugar mistake of heading back to the city, thinking you'll grab something closer to town, don't crash, stop in to Chanhassen's Piada Street Food for a quick bite of freshly made food that is a far cut above the other chains.
If you're keen on seeing the ACTUAL GOLFERS, both American and European teams are staying at the Sheraton Bloomington, so I bet your sightline from the bar at Lela might payoff at some point.
And if you're not into traditional golf, let's say you're more of a disc golfer, this area still comes highly recommend for the 18-basket course at Crown College, which should be followed up by a fat sandwich from Cathy Mackenthun's butcher shop.
Want more to do around the Ryder Cup? Check out our complete guide to doing the Ryder Cup without tickets.