Brunching in Stillwater
By Kelly Fitzgerald
I love brunch. It allows a night owl like me to sleep in a bit longer, but still enjoy that delicious early morning fare—eggs, bacon, sweet rolls, and orange juice (preferably with a splash of Champagne!).
If you fall in this breakfast fan club, don't mind imbibing before noon, or simply are up for some tasty exploration of Minnesota's birthplace, then the Foodies on Foot "Bloody Mary Brunch" tour in Stillwater is for you.
Nestled beautifully along the St. Croix River, Stillwater is a booming tourist town, and the mom-and-daughter tour team behind this adventure is ready to highlight why, while pointing out the city's historical gems, some fun facts, and the best places for food and drink. A ticket buys you this educated guide around town to try various dishes and drinks without the hassle of paying, tipping, or really deciding anything along the way—except maybe which of the featured cocktails you'd like to try.
Speaking of, though this tour has "Bloody Mary" in the name (which certainly captured my attention after booking a "Savor the Flavors" tour over the summer), I was happy to try a couple other "breakfast drinks" as well, and see that with so many Stillwater establishments to choose from, Foodies on Foot can change things up, vary stops, and continue to develop the tour.
The brunch version is a bit shorter than the dinner-focused tour, but just as tasty. Handy "passports" were provided this time for note taking, reference, and coupons from local businesses to use after the tour—which we did.
Here's where we went:
Stop #1: Reve 324 Bistro & Bar
Served: Peach mimosas with sweet, syrupy bananas foster French toast. Yes, please!
Crackling fireplace aside, Reve has a warm, welcoming interior perfect for starting any day, especially this one. 324 Main Street S., Stillwater, 651-342-1594, reve324onmain.com
Stop #2: Smalley's Caribbean Barbeque & Pirate Bar
Served: A spicy Bloody Mary and beer chaser with killer (seriously, beware) sea-salt roasted jalapeños and a delicious jerk pork taco. This Diners, Drive-Ins, & Dives wonder always is tasty and impressive. Not sure what jerk had to do with brunch, but it's devourable and recommendable any hour! 423 Main Street S., Stillwater, 651-439-JERK, SmalleysPirateBBQ.com
Stop #3: Spice & Tea Co.
A relatively new shop along Main Street, this was a welcome pit stop to stretch our legs and rest our stomachs! We smelled all sorts of tea varieties and spices, and tasted distinct flavored sugar and salt—like truffle, rich chocolate, strawberry, and raspberry. 212 Main Street S., Stillwater, 651-351-5155, spiceandteaco.com
Stop #4: Shanghai Bistro
Served: Make-your-own Bloody Mary bar or Screwdriver, with steamed Cantonese salmon and sesame glaze. Plus tiramisu! Mixing fusion Asian, Chinese, and Japanese cuisine, this restaurant is located in the Grand Garage building, showcasing historic touches of architecture along the way. 324 Main Street S., Stillwater, 651-430-9000, facebook.com/Shanghaistillwater
Cost for the tour is $50. Buy your ticket online at foodiesonfootmn.com, and then you'll receive a confirmation e-mail with details on where to meet.