[Note this thread was split out of the "Most Controversial Opinions" thread by the Chowhound team]
DQ – I don’t want you to think I sit in my boat in the garage and reminisce about the good old days before I arrived in the cities, as someone else suggested above. We set out on weekends in search of good things. I’ll admit that some of the ideas proposed here and other threads have not been attempted by us yet. Some other suggestions made here are just not our preference like Thai.
I think we have found all the Chicago dog joints in town. Including the ones mentioned here. Joey D’s now AKA Chris & Rob’s I understand has opened another location in Fridley. Another that has not been listed is in Burnsville at Cliff and 13, Papa T’s. They do about as good as job as Chris & Rob’s but I fear for their future since I’ve never seen more than a few patrons there. As stated above, all these places are missing the whole menu of a true Chicago dog joint like Gryos, char dogs, fried polish sausage, etc. Considering they probably have to bring everything in from out of town I think they do a fine job, they even have the nuclear green south side relish! Sadly I didn’t make it to Scala’s Beef who opened a restaurant in Maple Grove last year but apparently not enough customers so it is already gone.
Since you asked for what we have discovered south of the mason Dixon line as some here appear to think of anything south of 494, here’s a short list.
El Loro – RT 13 Savage
Good authentic sit down, salsa and chips included Mexican. Make sure you try the spicy pork on cheese enchiladas! They have a great carne asada too.
Pablos – Downtown Shakopee
Also great spicy pork on cheese enchiladas. The great part about this place is across the parking lot from there is a supermercado that has a great assortment of Mexican cuts of meat including skirt steak. They told me they get their skirt steak from Chicago. It is about ½ as thin as what we typically find but if you cook it fast it is very good.
Edelweiss Bakery – Downtown Prior Lake
Great pastries, special occasion cakes and homemade breads.
Perron’s Sul Lago – Downtown Prior Lake
I was surprised at this find. It doesn’t show up on most boards or reviews. It’s a small place, reservations recommended. I’ve been to most of the Italian restaurants hyped on this board including Luci (sp?) and this if much better. The downside is they a very limited menu.