A few weeks ago, a longtime friend emailed me inviting me to join her for lunch. When I asked him where, his comment was, “Savage, because you have so many choices.”
It made me think of the change we’ve seen in restaurants in recent years. My husband and I took an afternoon and drove around town to check things out.
We have seen very few vacant storefronts, but many successful new small businesses that are succeeding through creativity. Obviously they are here because they live here or because they feel the customers are.
We started downtown along Hwy 13 at Savage Market Plaza, where the parking lot is always full. Two of our eight grocery stores are located here: Asian Direct Oriental Market and Supermercado Panaderia and Taqueria. It’s great to browse and try new things. The cookies that were served at the recent Coffee and Conversation came from there. The bakery is awesome and one of my granddaughters had a tiramisu birthday cake, and my friend and I are known to have a pastry or two. Neighboring stores are The B and Pho, Bubble Tea and Sama Bonita Street Tacos.
Further west in Plaza West is Super USA, where I buy my Earl’s popcorn from Simon. Nearby at IWOK they have pho and really good cream cheese puffs.
Next door is La Michoacana, with about as many ice cream flavors as you can imagine. Continuing down the street there is Culver’s where my friend and I stop for a “beer” – root beer that is, with custard for a good float. Or cross the street for a healthy drink at Epic Nutrition.
El Loro has a long history of the best margaritas around. Casa Deli is the Depot’s new restaurant. It’s called fusion – Mexican, American and Mediterranean cuisine with great cocktails. Gyros are good.
The Buffalo Tap on the Credit River has been around for a long time, with the biggest menu in town. Neisen’s Sports Bar and the Dan Patch American Legion both have live music and we look forward to the Windmill Cafe reopening after their fire.
Moving further west on the 13 you will find the Tin Shed Tavern and Pizza. Check out their party rooms and the Up & At ‘Em burger with a fried egg.
Now we headed south on Hill 13. And look both ways! I recently attended the ribbon cuttings for Nautical Bowls (acai food bowls) from Fresh Thyme and across the road Song Tea and Poke (sushi bowl) from Cub.
Leeann Chin Asian Cuisine, Super Dragon, Freddy’s Frozen Custard & Steakburgers – love these fries and dip. Noodles and Company, Taco Bell, Chipotle, Tropical Smoothie Cafe – love the Island Green smoothie and Thai wrap.
Back at 13 there’s Crooked Pint which opens daily at Bonfire’s location; Buffalo Wild Wings, where Dan Barreiro interviewed me on KFAN; Whiskey Inferno, where owner Tony met me to talk about local history; and Pau Hana, the great Hawaiian restaurant in the renovated Perkins location. Minnesota’s own Spam is a bestseller in Hawaii and yes, it’s on the menu. Don’t miss Oishii Japanese Ramen and Domburi, a great treasure from Giggle Gals Boutique, and Caribou.
Heading east on 42, Wahlburgers is one of the few breakfast places around. The French toast explosion is a beauty and McHugh’s Public House hosts Burnsville-Savage Lions Club fundraisers where they generously donate their profits to city projects.
Kyoto Sushi is famous for its sushi buffet and I like the hibachi. O’Connell Square is also home to the Asian Bowl and the Que Taco Mex Grill. Moving on, D. Fong arrived in 1996 and David is a strong supporter of the Savage Chamber of Commerce and Dan Patch Days. Spice Thai Cuisine is another long standing restaurant our out of town customers love to come back to and next to them is the newly opened Sambosa and Taco John’s.
Cross the 42 to Southcross Shoppes and you will find two more of our eight grocery stores – LF Food and Dollar Store and Super Mercado, El Parian Mexican Bar & Grill with a large patio out front.
Wow, that’s quite a list and I haven’t even included the pizza places – Dominoes, Carbone’s Pizza Man, Davanni’s, Pizza Supreme, Papa Murphy’s; or chains like McDonalds, Dairy Queen, Wendy’s and Arby’s; or our sandwich shops — Subway, Jimmy John’s and now Jersey Mike’s. Of those eight grocery stores, I didn’t mention Cub, HyVee, Super Target, and Fresh Thyme. They also change over time.
We are grateful to each of them and I apologize to anyone I missed.
And obviously they are aware of our census data, because our median age is 35 and we are changing. The variety of foods is impressive, as are our other businesses. That would be another long column to write them down.
Maybe my husband and I need another ride into town!
Janet Williams is the mayor of Savage.