Northbound Smokehouse riffs on old techniques

The Twin Cities' first brewpub in 11 years has been worth the wait

"I knew I would have porketta on the menu no matter what type of restaurant we decided to open," Strickler admits. "That is a total childhood nostalgia taste for me, and I wanted to introduce it to people down here." You'll be glad he did. If for some reason you can only go to Northbound one time and order one sandwich, this should be it. The shredded pork has nice notes of fennel and garlic, offset by the sweetness of the onions and tang of the homemade barbecue sauce. I predict this will never go off the menu and will become Strickler's signature. If you can go more than once, I'd strongly advise getting the heavenly smoked beef sandwich, with rich mineral flavors and the traditional horseradish accoutrement — just a pleasure to eat, though a more substantial, more interesting bun would make it even more of a winner.

But the Iron Range influence is most evident in Strickler's approach and sensibility. "Just like where I grew up, I think this neighborhood is pretty blue-collar, and for the demographic and what's up and coming in the area, I wanted to do good, made-from-scratch, meat-and-potatoes type cooking."

To that end, Strickler says he plans to add some specials in the near future including a Friday fish fry, a monthly prime rib dinner, and another Iron Range classic: pasties. But that's all in due time.

"We don't want to run before we walk, so to speak," says Strickler. But judging from the line around the corner, bubbly late-night happy hours, and contented smiles of customers at the bar, Northbound already seems to be a runaway hit.

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1 comments
k2yeb
k2yeb topcommenter

I love the restaurant scene in this city. One of the best in the country if you ask me...granted only lived in 2 major metros and now this....but way to go twin cities. If only people were as willing to be open politically as they were gastronomically. 

 
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