On a recent trip to Rochester with my mom and sister, I stopped at Chester’s Kitchen and Bar in the downtown area. A play on the city name (Ro-Chester, get it?), Chester’s is quite the find. Exceptionally put together with a cozy ambiance, it’s perfect for a date, a night on the town or a place to take in live jazz on Friday and Saturdays. The gorgeous bar is great for hanging out during happy hour and watching a game. Located right behind Mayo Clinic’s Gonda building, my favorite part is the beautiful, heated patio where you can dine al fresco. It sits in the Peace Plaza at the Shops At University Square where you can see the stunning fountain. Although they are known for their rotisserie chicken, grilled salmon, New York strip, parmesan crusted walleye and bleu fondue, everything we tried we loved. Looking for something sweet? Try Chester’s Dessert Flight or the chocolate cake! My mom and sister loved the calamari and I was a little too enamored with the White Peach Sangria… They’re always busy so definitely make reservations, and expect a weighted check given the upscale dining. If you are in or planning on being in the Rochester area, you can’t go wrong with Chester’s!
While taking in the night life with my Mom and sister, Heather, we scoured Downtown Rochester, Minnesota looking for caffeine. Enter Café Steam. A locally-owned coffee shop that opened in January of 2015, ‘Steam’ is the perfect place to escape the fall chill with a hot apple cider, bravely take in the icy Arnold Palmer or the always popular, warms-your-tired-morning pour over. Showcasing local artists and musicians, Steam is just a stones throw from the Mayo Clinic. It is the quintessential neighborhood coffee shop where you might see people grading papers, some studying (lots it tables and outlets for laptops!), a few commiserating about their day with their best friends, all while live Americana music plays in the background. If you are in or are planning to be in the Rochester, Minnesota area, I highly recommend stopping by for a latte!
Today’s stop on the #MNbucketlist is Wild Bills, which I can only describe as rustic Texas bar and grill. Think over the top; its website ‘moos’, seriously. Wild Bill’s is a Midwest chain with five locations in Minnesota with others in North Dakota and Wisconsin. They have a ton of options for carnivores, not as much for vegheads. They also have a selection of craft beer and limitless troughs of ballpark peanuts you can snack on and then shuck the shells on the floor (not my thing, my OCD was running amuck in this place). Frankly, there’s not a lot to write home about. The service decent and the food was ok, not great. It was still worth a trip, and especially worthwhile for me, as I went with my littlest bucketlister (who is my cousin). Seriously, how adorable is she?!
If you are a fan of the new uprising of Oil and Vinegar Shops in recent years, then this stop on the bucket list is perfect for you. The Stillwater Oils and Vinegars (Stillwater Olive Oil Company) is a beautiful (albeit dark) artisan shop that features some pretty amazing combinations. I, of course, had to try the white and balsamic vinegars. You can shop online or stop by one of their stores: in White Bear Lake, Rochester or the one in the historic area in Stillwater (which is the one I go to). P.S. They have some pretty marvelous branding, don’t you think?