One particular destination is Savories European Bistro (108 Main St. N., 651/430-0702, www.savoriesbistro.com, 10:30 a.m.–9 p.m. Tues.–Fri., 8 a.m.–9 p.m. Sat.–Sun., $8–23). The menu changes every month or so but always features pizzas and pastas with a touch of luxury—whether its lobster or house-made sausage.
An equally luxurious meal can be had at The Dock Café (425 Nelson St. E., 651/430-3770, www.dockcafe.com, 11 a.m.–9 p.m. Mon.–Thurs., 11 a.m.–10 p.m. Fri.–Sat., 11 a.m.–8 p.m. Sun., $15–30), with the added bonus of a broad shaded patio right on the river. Although none of the fish itself comes from the St. Croix River, the location calls for a menu heavy on the seafood, from the local favorite walleye to scallops, shrimp, tuna, and salmon. Even if the weather isn’t right for dining alfresco, the large plate glass windows in the dining room make every meal feel like outdoor dining.
Luna Rossa (402 Main St. S., 651/430-0560, 11:30 a.m.–10 p.m. daily, $9–23) brings the taste of southern Italy to its attractive dining room. The pizzas are cooked in a wood-fired oven, and there is create-your-own pasta during lunch.
Another great place to splash out on fine dining is at Domacin Restaurant & Wine Bar (102 2nd St. S., 651/439-1352, 4–10 p.m. Sun.–Tues., 4–11 p.m. Wed.–Thurs., 4–midnight Fri.–Sat., $16–24). Even if you don’t want a big entrée, like paella or mustard-crusted salmon, you can enjoy one of their 300 kinds of wine with one of their small plates, like mini-burgers or a grilled cheese sandwich and green salad.
Both the Water Street Inn (101 Water St. S., 651/439-6000, www.waterstreetinn.us, 7 a.m.–9 p.m. Mon.–Fri., 8–10:30 a.m. and 5–9 p.m. Sat., 9 a.m.–2 p.m. and 5–9 p.m. Sun., pub open until 1 a.m.) and Lowell Inn (102 2nd St. N., 651/439-1100, www.lowellinn.com, breakfast 8–10:30 a.m., lunch 11 a.m.–2 p.m., dinner 5:30–9 p.m. daily) have well-regarded fine-dining restaurants.
The Gasthaus Bavarian Hunter (8390 Lofton Ave. N., 651/439-7128, 11 a.m.–9 p.m. Mon.–Fri., noon–9 p.m. Sat., noon–8 p.m. Sun., $10–19), a longtime favorite three miles west of town (follow Laurel Street, which becomes McCusick), serves authentic Old World recipes. Vegetarians need not fear, as they have a couple of meat-free options. An accordionist plays on Friday nights and Sunday afternoons; the occasional polka band heats things up at other times.
There’s no reason you can’t fuel your stroll through Stillwater with a more down-market, but entirely enjoyable, meal at Chicago Dogs (402 Main St. N., 651/323-7150, www.chicagodogsmn.com, 11 a.m.–9 p.m. daily Apr.–Nov.). Order your all-beef hot dog with all the right toppings from the window at this little nook in the Isaac Staples Sawmill.
It’s always a party at Nacho Mama’s (312 Main St. S., 651/439-9544, www.stillwaternachomamas.com, 11:30 a.m.–9:30 p.m. Mon.–Thurs., 11:30 a.m.–11 p.m. Fri., 9 a.m.–11 p.m. Sat., 9 a.m.–9:30 p.m. Sun., $10–15), with heaping portions and a colorful atmosphere. During lunch and dinner, the focus is on the dozen kinds of pancakes. Breakfast includes blue-corn pancakes and plays on huevos rancheros.
The River Market Community Co-op (215 Main St. N., 651/439-0366, 9 a.m.–9 p.m. daily, $3–7) has sandwiches, sushi, and smoothies to go.
The best pastries in Stillwater are found in a bike shop. The Bikery (904 4th St. S., 651/439-3834, www.thebikeryshop.com, 7 a.m.–7 p.m. Tues.–Sat., 8 a.m.–4 p.m. Sun., closed Mon.) makes European-style bread and galettes—and, yes, they sell bikes, too.
© Tim Bewer from Moon Minnesota, 3rd Edition