Marine on St. Croix destination dining

Brookside Bar & Grill, Olive's, and other must-visit places

The Marine General Store has been serving Marine on St. Croix, Minnesota, since 1870, when it opened as the company mercantile for the state's first commercial sawmill. The town is home to nearly 700 residents, and the store anchors its commercial district, a wide spot in Highway 95, about halfway between Taylors Falls and Stillwater. A good share of Marine on St. Croix is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, and nothing but the sound of a passing motorcycle pack tends to break the town's quaint traquillity.

Marine on St. Croix has long been home to several eateries worth a pit stop en route to William O'Brien State Park or a day trip from the Twin Cities. But within the last year, the arrivals of a new wood-fired pizza joint, a bicycle-centric coffee shop, and a gourmet chocolatier have turned the town into a bona fide dining destination.

Marine General Store
101 Judd Street, Marine on St. Croix
651.433.2445

At Marine Landing, enjoy unfussy breakfast fare like waffles or bacon and eggs
Ed Neaton
At Marine Landing, enjoy unfussy breakfast fare like waffles or bacon and eggs
Ed Neaton

Location Info

Map

Marine General Store

101 Judd St.
Marine on St. Croix, MN 55047

Category: Restaurant > Bakery

Region: Outstate

Brookside Bar & Grill

140 Judd St.
Marine on St. Croix, MN 55047

Category: Restaurant > American

Region: Outstate

Marine Landing, B.O.T.M.

10 Elm St.
Marine on St. Croix, MN 55047

Category: Restaurant > American

Region: Outstate

Village Scoop

101 Judd St.
Marine on St. Croix, MN 55047

Category: Restaurant > Ice Cream

Region: Outstate

Olive's

11 Judd St.
Marine on St. Croix, MN 55047

Category: Restaurant > Pizza

Region: Outstate

The Bikery du Nord

41 Judd St.
Marine on St. Croix, MN 55047

Category: Restaurant > Bakery

Region: Outstate

St. Croix Chocolate Co.

261 Parker St.
Marine on St. Croix, MN 55047

Category: Restaurant > Comfort Foods

Region: Outstate

Details

Marine General Store
101 Judd Street, Marine on St. Croix
651.433.2445

Brookside Bar & Grill
140 Judd St., Marine on St. Croix
651.433.1112; www.brooksidebarandgrill.com

Marine Landing, b.o.t.m.
10 Elm St., Marine on St. Croix
651.433.4577

Village Scoop
651.433.3030

Olive's
11 Judd St., Marine on St. Croix
651.538.2124

The Bikery du Nord
41 Judd St., Marine on St. Croix
651.433.5801; www.thebikerydunord.com

St. Croix Chocolate Co.
261 Parker St., Marine on St. Croix
651.433.1400, www.stcroixchocolateco.com

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A paper sign on the Marine General Store's front door lets visitors know that tickets to the sixth-grade play are sold inside, along with the grocery items, drain plugs, linden-scented hand lotion, and refrigerated nightcrawlers. Marine General has some contemporary upgrades, including new solar panels on the roof, but it still sells old-fashioned penny candy—though those syrup-filled wax bottles and candy cigarettes will now set you back 25 cents.

As you walk through the narrow merchandise aisles, the hardwood floors ripple like river currents. Head to the deli in the back of the store, which prepares a variety of scratch-made sandwiches and salads. If you're lucky, you'll find the cheeseburger soup, an exemplar of Midwestern crock pot cooking (think spicy beer cheese soup blended with chunks of potato and ground beef). During the summer tourism season, baked goods are made fresh daily and priced to sell: doughnuts, caramel rolls, cookies, and pies, as well as the cinnamon-sugar-sprinkled rounds of leftover pie crust known as Elephant Ears. If weather permits, tote your rations across the street to the city park for a picnic.

Brookside Bar & Grill
140 Judd St., Marine on St. Croix
651.433.1112; www.brooksidebarandgrill.com

From the outside, the Brookside looks like it belongs in Bavaria, with its beautiful carved wood facade. But inside, it's your basic American bar and grill, spiffed up a year ago when new ownership took over. Interestingly, the Brookside's building originally housed a creamery, and the small brook that, believe it or not, actually runs through the building's basement was believed to have been used to keep the milk cool.

The Brookside is open daily for lunch, dinner, and late-night reveling, and it has become known as a popular gathering spot for motorcyclists, who sometimes blanket the restaurant's backyard with denim and black leather. (The outdoor seats are enhanced by several shade trees, a fire ring, and a small stage set up for bands to play on the weekends.)

The grill menu consists of greasy bar foods like cheese curds and tater tots to pair with sandwiches and burgers. The best thing to order is a delicious mess called the Hunter's Extreme, which tops a half-pound beef patty with American cheese, smoky bacon, and caramelized onions.

Marine Landing, b.o.t.m.
10 Elm St., Marine on St. Croix
651.433.4577

Better not to rely on the Force to find Marine Landing. If you plan to arrive by land, start at downtown Marine on St. Croix and follow these directions: Head down Oak Street, make a left on Second, then a right on Elm. Park next to the dry-docked pontoons adjacent to the garage and walk down the hill. From the middle of the 19th century until the mid-1950s, the secluded, leafy site you'll come upon served as a ferry crossing between Minnesota and Wisconsin. Now it's a restaurant attached to a small marina, where sea dogs refuel their boats and their stomachs.

Megan Kavanagh and her husband, Mike Zajac, took over the restaurant last season, and you'll typically find her waiting on tables while he's stationed behind the grill. (True story: Kavanagh first worked at the restaurant when she was a teenager. After several unsuccessful attempts to get a job there, the plucky gal just grabbed a broom and started sweeping. When the owner told her, for the umpteenth time, "I don't need you," she swept a pile of dirt to his feet and replied, "Yes, you do.")

Kavanagh and Zajac have put Marine Landing "back on the map," as they say, returning what was most recently Norman Quack's into something closer to its original form: a breakfast-and-lunch spot of unfussy fare, where the favorite spices, Zajac likes to say, are salt, pepper, and garlic.

Marine Landing is open only during the summer, Memorial Day weekend to Labor Day weekend, Wednesdays through Sundays. On Fridays the restaurant serves barbecue rib dinners, from 5:03 to 8 p.m., according to the sign painted on the window—a family inside joke about what time Megan shows up for work. (If you're wondering about the other sign, "Boozer slept here," it refers to the town dog, a stray basset hound that the community ended up adopting. Boozer was so popular among residents that he acquired his own T-shirts and bank account, so he could bail himself out of the pound.)

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1 comments
Marneyryan
Marneyryan

That's a great looking desk you show in your article, but where is it and what is it? We've been often to Marine on the St. Croix and never seen such a place.

 
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