One of the things I love about visiting small towns is sampling local foods. My post-TBEX (Travel Bloggers Exchange) Conference tour―the Minne-Roadtrip to Northfield, Faribault, and Owatonna―gave me some serious foodie love for small town Minnesota. For each Southern Minnesota town, I picked two places you don’t want to miss.
First up, Owatonna.
There will be other foodie stops listed in future Minne-Roadtrip posts about where to stay and what to do, so be sure to come back and read more.
Foodie Stops on the Minnie-Roadtrip in Owatonna
Costas Candies & Restaurant
Costas Candies & Restaurant has been serving breakfast, lunch and hand-made chocolates for almost 100 years from their small town old school diner. There are Greek-inspired dishes, like the politki, horiatiki, and two different gyros, as well as, staples like biscuits and gravy, burgers and sandwiches. For chocolates, there is something for every palate like milk chocolate coconut crunch, almond bark, butter caramels, sea salt chocolates, pecan turtles, truffles and more.
What did I order? The politiki salad, a Greek chicken salad, with lettuce, cucumber, tomato, green pepper, red onion, feta cheese, olives, grilled chicken breast and Greek dressing ($9.5). The salad was loaded with fresh veggies, had cooked to perfection chicken, and the perfect amount of tangy salad dressing.
After my very healthy salad, I indulged in chocolates; two dark chocolate salted caramels and two English toffees. Both were divine, but my favorite was the English toffee. It was melt in your mouth cocoa buttery.
Tip: They ship their chocolates all over country but as you can imagine not during the summer months.
Where: 112 North Cedar Avenue, Owatonna, MN 55060
What: Breakfast, Lunch, and Candy Counter
Hours: Restaurant is open Monday to Saturday from 7:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. Candy counter is open Monday to Friday from 7:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., and Saturday from 7:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Pupuseria La Paz
Got a hankering for El Salvadorian food? Head to Pupuseria La Paz for pupusas, yuca fries, and pastelitos, as well as items you might be more familiar with like tacos, burritos, and tamales. If you aren’t sure what to order, there are pictures to help you pick what dish is right for you. Thankfully, my local guide ordered for us. We had a bean pupusa, a chicken tamale, yuca fries, and pastelitos. And, we split a sweet rice drink which reminded me of Thai tea, but I liked it a lot more.
My favorite was the pupusa, which is made with masa, a dough made with hominy. It has a pancake like texture, and the inside is stuffed with beans, cheese or a mixture of both. It is one of their most popular items, and you can hear the “slap” of them being prepared in the kitchen as orders fly in. The yucca fries and tamale were good, but a bit too starchy for me. The pastelitos was crispy on the outside and the carrot paste on the inside gave it a potato-like texture. It was really good dipped in their hot sauce and since it came with three could be easily split between two people.
Where: 153 W Bridge St., Owatonna, MN 55060
What: Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner
Hours: Monday to Thursday, 9 a.m. to 9 p.m., Friday 9 a.m. to 11 p.m., and Saturday 10 a.m. to 11 p.m.
Travel Tip: From the Minneapolis-Saint Paul Airport Owatonna is an hour drive.
Join Part 2 of Foodie Stops on the Minnie-Roadtrip is Faribault, MN