A visit to Pine Brook Farm

As we drove the winding roads of backwoods Wisconsin I was slightly concerned about the dining option for the evening. Really, what sort of restaurant would survive out in the middle of nowhere? Pulling into the packed driveway all my worries disappeared. In fact, I felt right at home (or at least like I was at my grandparent’s house) as we parked on the grass and approached the farmhouse.

farm houseAs we soon learned, the gorgeous farm was originally owned by Dr. Arthur Gillette whom the Gillette Children’s Hospital in St. Paul is named after. He had used the location as a retreat for himself, his family, and his colleagues. In 1921, Dr. Gillette passed away and left the farm to his great nephew. Throughout the years, several generations of the Gillette family worked the land and called the farm home. The land stayed in the family until it was sold in 2012 to Michele Law and Jason Martell.

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Burgers and Bottles: A Quick Review

There are a lot of criteria you probably use to judge a dining establishment before you even take the first bite. One that I’ve learned to not put a lot of weight on is the location.

Traveling around the world there have been plenty of locales that I could have easily overlooked and missed out on some amazing food. The sandwich shop inside a gas station in Switzerland, the ice cream shop literally in the middle of nowhere in Tasmania, or the Jamaican dive in the middle of a cornfield in Kansas. Recently, I found another one of those spots closer to home. The all to familiar strip mall that is often filled with chain stores and below par food sometimes holds tasty surprises.

Tucked in a strip mall next to a gas station in the nearby town of Eagan, MN we recently had the pleasure of trying a new establishment that I’m hoping will not be overlooked. Burgers and Bottles might be a narrow and rather non-descript restaurant from the outside, but you step inside and instantly see the energy and care that the owners have put into their dining dream.

The owners did the demo themselves to turn the space into a cool bar with light wood and stone running throughout. The lights made of old glass soda bottles were fun to look at and the wall of colorful bottles kept Olivia entertained. The service was friendly and you can tell that the owners and staff are working to build a local following. This funky little space is a community gem – a cool place to hang out with great food and friendly locals.

Cheer Wine light

Speaking of the food, the menu is always changing, but it is full of handcrafted burgers, tasty sides, and killer desserts. The drink menu held our attention even without any mixed drinks on it; especially since there were a few regional sodas from back home that I don’t see here often. The soda list is extensive and a rundown of nostalgic pops made only with natural sugar. This throwback to a different time in restaurant food is really the overall theme. Burgers and Bottles prides itself on hand crafted burgers, fries made from real potatoes (did you hear McDonald’s fries have 18 ingredients!), sodas without high fructose corn syrup, and craft beers from family owned Minnesota breweries.

The hand crafted burgers were delicious! The juicy patties were perfectly seared on the outside and tucked in a soft fresh bun. We had a hard time deciding since all the unique combinations sounded delicious. We’ve been back twice now and tried the grilled mushroom & swiss burger, the guacamole burger, the chorizo burger, the bacon brisket burger, and the fried pickle burger. All amazing!

Guac burgerChorizo burgerPickle burgerReal potatoes

The fries were good, but what we really got addicted to were the battered green beans. The whole petite green bean is coated in a slightly spicy batter and quickly fried so the whole thing comes out crisp and delicious. Dip it in the chipotle ranch sauce and you could have a whole basket of them as a meal.

Good thing they offer carry out with online ordering because this might be our new go to on busy nights. Enjoy!

P.S. Share some of your favorite places to dine and I’ll add them to my wish list 🙂

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