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Chippewa Falls: small town, big food

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Driving to a small town doesn't mean you are driving away from good food options. I found that out this weekend when I took a trip to Chippewa Falls, Wisconsin. The trip was a mere 1.5 hours from Minneapolis and is a nice getaway if you are in the mood for country roads, forest scenery, or Lake Wissota.

The Bake and Brew pulls together different kinds of furniture to create its casual feel.

The Bake and Brew is a restaurant that is definitely off the beaten path. Located on 17255 County Highway X, it's not part of the small downtown collection of Chippewa Falls' restaurants and shops. Its many different kinds of tables and chairs add up to an eclectic, casual atmosphere. You can tell it's a meeting spot for small groups of regulars who meet for coffee or breakfast. The Bake and Brew also serves lunches -- like chicken salad on walnut wheat bread ($4.95), buffalo burger on homemade honey wheat bread ($5.85), or tuna salad on rye bread ($4.50).

Breakfast at the Bake and Brew is $4.50 or less.

My breakfast at the Bake and Brew consisted of buckwheat pancakes served with sausage and applesauce. All three were a hit -- the pork sausage were nuggets rather than flat patties or links, and were full of flavor (if slightly greasy), the buckwheat pancakes were darker, thicker, and drier than most pancakes I've had. I welcomed the change and thought they were tasty whether dry or with some syrup drizzled over them. The biggest hit of all was the applesauce -- rather than being supersweet, the sauce tasted liked mashed up apples and had the moderate and natural sweetness of the apples. Watching me eat and talk about my applesauce and pancakes, another person in the restaurant mentioned "You're not going to find that just anywhere." My companions were also pleased with their cheese omelet (eggs and cheddar cheese) that came with the same tasty nuggets of sausage and diagonally sliced wheat toast ($4.25). Some wished the toast had been toastier -- not just warm, but crunchier, but we all loved the small container of whipped butter that we could spread on the toast.

Other breakfast options include three crepes with strawberries, yogurt, and fruit ($4.25), Canadian Bacon and Egg English Muffin ($2.95), cinnamon roll french toast with bacon and fruit ($4.50), and oatmeal pancakes served with ham and yogurt ($4.25). That's right -- all breakfasts cost $4.50 or under! Take that for the small town advantage.