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19 posts categorized "Burger wars"

June 23, 2011

New northwest Newt's ready to start pouring

06222011newtsnorthwestsignjk It is almost time to flip on the lights, fire up the grill and start pulling draughts from the tap.

The Creative Cuisine Corp. crew started running dress rehearsals Wednesday to prep for to coming opening of the eagerly anticipated new northwest Newt's bar and grill.

This younger sibling of Rochester's iconic downtown bar-restaurant fills the main level of the Wallin Building at 5231 U.S. 52 Frontage Road N.W.

Here's a video promo clip on this and a little from my column in today's paper.

Check out the print edition for the full piece.


May 31, 2011

Bacon Cheese Brat Burger + Rochesterfest

Glancing at the latest Rochesterfest newsletter, my hungry eyes fell upon an item that stopped me like a clogged artery.

The Med City's annual week-long bash is known for its selection of delicious festival treats, some healthy and most that are ... less than that.

 One new vendor called Berry Kabob will serve up a fruit pizza covered with bananas, strawberries, blueberries and white and dark chocolate. Then there’s the Berry Kabob, which is comprised strawberries and bananas on a stick.

Sounds like a pretty good choice for people looking for something a little better than fried cheese curds (My must-have fest food).

But the fruit treats are not all that Berry Kabob will be cooking up. This one tips the scale so far to the other side that it even intimidates a reckless devourer of fried foods like myself.

Here's the description from the newsletter:

If you’re looking for food that will fill you up, be sure to try a Meateater, one of the Meat-Eater-300x225
new items that will be served up on vendor row at Rochesterfest 2011. Berry Kabob, one of the six new vendors, takes a brat to a whole new level. Their brats are wrapped with cheese, a hamburger is wrapped around the brat and cheese, two slices of bacon are wrapped around the brat and then everything is deep fried to a rich golden brown finish.

Uh... yeah... Could I get some gravy on that, too?

April 04, 2011

Maid-Rite to go mobile

A Rochester restaurant is readying to roll this summer.

The Maid-Rite Diner is going mobile with a new lunch truck. Don Sanford — Mr. Maid-Rite — plans to take his diner's loose me06082010maidritejkat hamburgers and hot dogs directly to the Med City's lunch crowd.

 "Work is starting next week on my new truck. It'll be called the Maid-Rite Lunch Box," he says.
The plan is to cruise the truck to construction sites, offices or wherever to take orders, cook them up and serve hamburgers, hot dogs and chips.

"With gas at $4 a gallon, I think it will be a good deal for people who don't want to drive for lunch," he says.

Sanford already has a license from the state of Minnesota, which will allow him to sell food from the truck on private property, like a company giving him permission to cook and sell in their parking lot.

"If I pull off the street, I'm fine," Sanford says.

  City streets, however, are another story. At tonight's meeting, the Rochester City Council will discuss whether to issue a permit to allow the Maid-Rite Lunch Box to pull over anywhere and set up shop.

Sanford hopes the council will OK that, but he'll take the diner to the streets no matter what this summer, probably starting in June.

05122010maidritesign1 While a pair of staffers will run the lunch truck, he'll also have a Maid-Rite concession trailer working county fairs and festivals in the area.

And, of course, the original diner that he opened last year with his wife, Noreen Sanford, and their daughter, Reann Blumers, will keep cooking in Rochester's Crossroads Plaza.

"We've got some exciting stuff going on," he says.

March 23, 2011

Another Newt's is cooking

I had hinted at this deal before and then Matt34 broke this news earlier on here this week.

Now here are some more details.For the full piece, check out my column in today's print edition of the P-B.

If you can find it in today's snow, that is. Heh.


"We've thought about it for years and we've thrown the idea of another Newt's around for quite a bit," says David Curry, a member of the family behind Creative Cuisine Corp. "But we were always busy with other projects."

5079752136_c860d7d5e3 Dave and Mark Curry along with their sister, Denise Villeneuve, made plans to create a new Newt's in the Wallin's West building at 5231 U.S. 52 Frontage Road N.W.

The newest Newt's will fill the main level of the building known for once housing a western wear store.

The northwest Newt's, which will seat around 140 people, will be slightly larger than the original Newt's.

Curry estimates that the new place could open around mid-May.

February 15, 2011

Will Red Robin migrate to Roch.?

With the temps climbing and old snow piles starting to melt, some folks are looking for the arrival of the first robin of spring.

6a00d83451cc8269e2010536041389970b-320wi After I asked readers what restaurant brands they craved to have cooking in Rochester, it seems many of you are hoping for a specific robin — Red Robin Gourmet Burgers — to swoop into the Med City.

Here's a note that fluttered into my e-mail box today:

    "I was watching Food Network over the weekend and they did a     segment on Red Robin. I decided to look up their menu. Oh my, why     don't we have a Red Robin here?! Their menu looked great! I am     heading up to Plymouth to try one of their burgers! Thanks." - Terri

I have checked with the chain based in Castle Rock, Colo., before, but Terri's note spurred me to call to see if anything has changed in the past couple of years.

The spokeswoman Jamie Winter was happy to chat, but…

"Unfortunately, I don't have any news about Red Robin opening in your area," she told me. "And I didn't see anything on the radar for 2011."

Red Robin's nesting plan for this year is to build 10 or 11 new restaurants. It already has about 450 in operation across the U.S.

In Minnesota, you can get Red Robin burgers in Apple Valley, Plymouth and Shoreview.

The majority are corporate owned and about one-third are franchises.

Despite the melting snow, it doesn't look like this Robin will be flying into Rochester this spring. Sorry, Terri.

At least the roads should be clear for your drive to Plymouth.

November 11, 2010

Good, better…best

  Large347fd8aa8d Do you think you know best?

If so, then go vote for your choice of the Med City's Best Happy Hour, Best Cup of Joe, Best Breakfast Spot, Best Steak Dinner, Best Waiter/Waitress and lots of other tasty and Large001d51cb47subjective categories in Rochester Magazine's annual Best Restaurant poll.

This annual poll decides who gets the always hotly contested titles of Best New Restaurant, The One Restaurant Rochester Needs Immediately and Rochester's Best Restaurant.

Go to this link at and tell Roch Mag's Steve Lange what you think.

November 07, 2010

Going big in Dover

When the Fergusons do something, they do it big.

The couple, who already have a number of businesses in the Dover area including Ferguson Truck and Trailer Sales, super-sized their Road Trip bar by expanding into an adjacent building and adding a full steakhouse restaurant.

Roadtrip Now called Road Trip Roadhouse and Bar, the downtown Dover restaurant is serving up steaks, blackened catfish, stuffed trout along with burgers and other traditional steakhouse menu offerings.

It now seats up to 130 and the bar's staff has been "tremendously expanded" to 26 employees to cover the restaurant.

Why did Sue and Craig Ferguson add such an ambitious project to their already long list of businesses?

"Uh.. Because we're crazy," joked Sue Ferguson.

The real story is that the Fergusons visited Manny's Original Chophouse in Haines City, Fla., and Sue realized its roadhouse decor was very similar to Dover's Road Trip Bar.

"This is more my dream. It is my baby," she says.

Besides the huge amount of work creating the restaurant and its menu, Sue Ferguson says the portion sizes are gigantic.

Options for a prime rib meal range from 12 ounces, 14 ounces and 20 ounces. A full rack of ribs weighs two pounds. Hamburgers come in at a pound or half pound of beef.

And many meals are served with "an endless" bowl of salad.

August 30, 2010

Big question: When will trader Joe's open?

What's the question I get most often these days?

313373920_135df241ec "When is Rochester's new Trader Joe's grocery store going to open?"

Usually the person asking has a dreamy, euphoric look in their eyes usually reserved for spiritual people talking about a religious experience or maybe hamburgers from Newt's, Five Guys or White Castle.

The answer is that plans are still a go to open the doors yet this year in the former Cost Plus-World Market building at 1200 16th St. S.W.

Alison Mochizuki, Trader Joe's director of public relations, says the time line announced in May is still on track.

"We are still scheduled to open this year," says Mochizuki, who recognizes my voice on the phone after so many years of  fielding my calls asking about Joe's coming to the Med City.

So if everything goes as planned, Rochester shoppers should be able to buy Thai lime-and-chili cashews and whatever else they want from Hawaiian shirt-clad "crew members" before the changes to 2011.

For everyone hoping to join the Joe's brigade as a crew member, here's an interesting chunk from a very interesting article called "Inside the Secret World of Trader Joe's" by Beth Kowitt that came out in Fortune magazine and CNN last week:

You can't buy engagement from employees, but the pay at Trader Joe's helps.

Store managers, "captains" in Trader Joe's parlance -- the nautical titles are a holdover from Coulombe (newly promoted captains are commanders; assistant store managers are first mates) -- can make in the low six figures, and full-time crew members can start in the $40,000 to $60,000 range.

But on top of the pay, Trader Joe's annually contributes 15.4% of employees' gross income to tax-deferred retirement accounts.

August 16, 2010

Five Guys in Roch. opening at 11 today

Today the meat hits the grill in Rochester's burger vs burger battle.

At 11 a.m., Five Guys Burgers and Fries open the doors in the shopping center along 41st Street Northwest, near Target North.

6a00d83451cc8269e20120a553e0c7970c-250wi This popular national burger chain has been heating up plans for the Med City for a while.

And owner William Humphries, who is the father of former Minnesota Golden Gopher standout and Dallas Maverick NBA player Kris Humphries, says he is gunning to be the best burger in the city.

"We're aiming to knock Newt's off their throne," he told me in mid-July. "The Burger Wars have started in Rochester."

Humphries, who also has restaurants in St. Cloud and Duluth, gets his chance to back up those statements today.

Anyone that gives Five Guys a whirl today, please send me any comments or photos you might have from the experience.