In a college town like Northfield, academic types need a place to gather over a pint or a meal. The Contented Cow (302 Division St., 507/663-1351, www.contentedcow.com) offers just that, informally and formally, with its Politics and a Pint gab fests on Sunday nights, starting at 6 p.m.
The pub also hosts live music, poetry readings, and outdoor barbecues. The menu is lighter in the summer (salads and sandwiches) and heavier in the winter, with the addition of dishes like shepherd’s pie and pork stew, and there are 13 beers on tap.
Another pub with a great riverside view is Froggy Bottoms (302 Water St. S., 507/664-0260, www.froggybottoms.com, 11 a.m.–11 p.m. Mon.–Sat., $8–12), a cozy, stone-walled main dining room and a small, flower-filled patio right on the river. The menu includes filling sandwiches, pizzas, and pasta dishes. There’s also karaoke on Thursdays and Saturdays starting at 9 p.m., for those who want to watch professorial types at the mike.
The cozy Tavern of Northfield (212 Division St., 507/663-0342, www.tavernofnorthfield.com, 6:30 a.m.–10 p.m. Sun.–Thurs., 6:30 a.m.–11 p.m. Fri.–Sat., $5–18), below the Archer House Inn, has something for everyone. The menu spans lamb pitas, steak sandwiches, jambalaya, roast duck, lasagna, and bean burritos.
You can get soup, a hoagie, and a beer for around $7 at Hogan Brothers’ Acoustic Café (415 Division St. S., 507/645-6653, 9 a.m.–9 p.m. Sun.–Thurs., 9 a.m.–10 p.m. Fri.–Sat.).
Chapati (214 Division St. S., 507/645-2462, lunch and dinner Tues.–Sun., $8–18) serves some wonderful tandooris, biryanis, and curries. Mild is the standard, but if you request it spicy, they will deliver. The menu is large, though you are limited to the about $11 buffet during weekday lunches.
With everything delicious and cheap, the Quality Bakery (410 Division St., 507/645-8392, 6 a.m.–5:30 p.m. Tues.–Sat.) lives up to its name.
© Tim Bewer from Moon Minnesota, 3rd Edition