OUT And About
BY BRIAN G. SCHOMMER
If you pay attention to social media, you might believe that there is no place to go for breakfast, lunch, or dinner in Hastings or Cottage Grove. You might also believe the only place around for a bite to eat is Prescott, Wisconsin, and if you are looking for breakfast, it is the only community in the surrounding area with a restaurant that you can get a plate of scrambled eggs, bacon, hashbrowns, and toast. This is one of the reasons The Journal has established the “Out and About” feature. Sometimes what you read on the internet simply is not true.
A great weekend breakfast spot in Hastings is Me & Julio with a special “delicious” nod going to their Captain Crunch French Toast. Omelets, and various house specialties, including a delicious breakfast burrito can all be enjoyed getting your breakfast fix taken care of. For lunch or dinner, Me & Julio has you covered as well. Their nachos are huge, and the chopped salad is highly recommended if you are looking for a bit of a healthier meal. The “tex-mex” menu has enough variety along with burgers and other sandwiches to suit the fancy of just about anyone seeking a place to eat. The atmosphere and outdoor patio/bar area are nice additions to eatery. While closed on Mondays, they are open Tuesday through Friday from 11am until 9pm (10pm on Fridays), 9am until 10pm on Saturday and 9am until 8pm on Sundays. To borrow from numerous infomercials, “but wait, there is more.”
In case you missed it, the long-awaited reopening of Perkins in Hastings happened back in July. Now Perkins might not be your “jam” for dining out, which is fine, but to say there is no place in Hastings to get breakfast is not even close to being true. The American Legion, with an incredible view of the Mississippi River, offers a GREAT BREAKFAST as well with all the options that come with breakfast. Let’s be honest, while many believe it is the most important meal of the day, it is often the simplest meal of the day. Breakfast can be as little as a couple donuts (by the way, did you hear Woullet Bakery, in the spot formerly known as Emily’s Bakery is now open) to eggs benedict, pancakes, steak & eggs, waffles and much more can all be found in Hastings. More research will be done regarding Cottage Grove, but from Coborns (great deli breakfast), El Mexican, pretty much every coffee destination and more… BREAKFAST IS SERVED in Hastings.
A favorite lunch spot is El Original, in the shopping center by Cub Foods. As one who could eat Mexican food 24/7, this place has EVERYTHING from fantastic service, a great selection of menu choices, and one of the best Fajita Taco Salads this side of St. Paul. The atmosphere is great, and the staff is extremely accommodating. All the beverages you would think to be available are and the guacamole is on point every time. Their lunch portions are fantastic and if you want more, they serve the full dinner portions all day as well. Another great lunch and dinner option is Lock & Dam, which has something for everyone. Mexican classics… sure and their chips are light and tasty with good guacamole, salsa, and other dips. If Mexican cuisine not your thing, Lock & Dam’s menu has burgers, sandwiches, Italian specialties, and some appetizers that eat like a meal. There are several other places downtown that you can get lunch or dinner as well that will be featured in next week’s article. For those thinking there is no place to eat in Hastings, the surface has barely been scratched. It is time now to head north on Highway 61 to Cottage Grove to dispel the rumor that there is no where to eat in that community.
While the fast-food type places outweigh the sitdown type restaurants in Cottage Grove, there are some really good places to eat. If you are a fan of Chinese food, Ho-King and Tom Moy’s Café both foot the bill. The “you gotta try that” award for the sesame chicken at Ho-King is well-earned and yes, that is a made-up award. It is so good and not over spicy. Chinese not your thing, another “you gotta try that” award goes to Willie’s Restaurant in the Cottage Grove suburb of St. Paul Park. They have some great burgers, and they open at 9am on the weekends for BREAKFAST. You read that correctly.
Junction 70 Grill is a great family-friendly hot spot with some excellent appetizers and great options from their smokehouse, including pulled pork and cherrywood smoked ribs. Again, there are even more options as the surface, like in Hastings, has not been scratched in Cottage Grove. We will be looking at a few more great places to eat while “Out and About” next week.
As you can see, there are plenty of places to eat in Hastings and Cottage Grove. If one wanted to go out to a different restaurant every day for a whole week (breakfast would be limited, but most people still have jobs, right?), it could be accomplished in either community. By the end of the “Out and About: Out to Eat” series is complete, we will be mentioning at least 35 places to sit down and grab a meal. While not all of them might be your cup of tea, or in this case, plate of food, there are lots of options, no matter what it says on social media.