St. Boni Bistro (St. Bonifacius, MN)

By Bruce Schneier and Karen Cooper
The Mix
July/August 2010

There's nothing quite as nice as a brand new bike trail. Good smooth asphalt flowing towards your wheel as you pedal along through woods and fields, enjoying surprising drafts of cool air and looking for turkeys and turtles. The new Dakota Rail Trail runs from Wayzata to St. Bonifacius, and by the end of 2010 will continue all the way out to New Germany, with a bridge over Highway 7. Now it's about 14 miles, beginning along the Minnetonka shore, down the thin peninsulas that separate all the bays of the lake and give the little towns a place to anchor. Once you clear Mound, ride the fine Minnesota countryside all the way to St. Boni, the last little town in Hennepin County.

For now, that's where the trail ends, right at the St. Boni Bistro. And here's the great secret of the trail: Along with seeing Minnesota beauty and getting some good exercise, you can have a healthy, organic, local, sustainable meal at a reasonable price. You won't find growth hormones, antibiotics, or steroids in the meat here. They avoid artificial flavors and colors in their ingredients. Heck, their vegetables don't even come pre-cut. Everything is made to order. They don't, and this might be going a bit too far, microwave or deep fry.

The individual dishes aren't new or innovative on the menu. You'll find well-done basics here.

Breakfast is served all day. The fundamentals are all good: eggs, pancakes, French toast, oatmeal. They also serve a nice frittata omelet, fluffy and filled with your choice of a laundry list of ingredients.

The hamburgers are great. We like ours with onions, mushrooms, and bacon, but you can order yours the way you like. St. Boni Bistro is so confident of the quality of their meat that they'll even cook them rare if you want.

Other sandwiches include a BLT, steak sandwich, and a gyro. We prefer the beef to the chicken gyro, and suggest you ask for extra vegetables; the one we got was pretty scant in that department.

St. Boni Bistro serves three salads: steak, Greek, and bacon. We only tried the steak salad, which came unpleasantly over-dressed. We asked for a new plate and transferred the works to the new, drier, plate. The dressing was fine; there was just too much of it.

And finally, they make a perfectly good quesadilla, with snappy salsa and plenty of good cheese.

There's indoor seating when the weather is bad, and a front and back patio when the weather is nice. To better cater to bicyclists, they've got bike racks in front and in sight of the back patio.

Even with their insistence on organics, local sourcing, and sustainability, St. Boni Bistro is no more expensive than any other sandwich shop. Breakfasts and sandwiches are $8-$10, burgers and sandwiches are $8-$13 (the larger number is for two 1/3-pound patties), and salads are $10-$13. Throw in a fresh lemonade -- much better than the iced tea -- for $2.50, and you've got a good lunch. And the portion sizes are reasonable, so you can easily get on your bike for another ten miles after you've eaten.

St. Boni Bistro
38516 Kennedy Memorial Dr.
St. Bonifacius, MN 55375
(952) 446-9198

http://www.stbonibistro.com/

Cuisine type: American
Reservations: None
Diet choices: Menu is appropriate for everyone

earlier review: Chris and Rob's Chicago Taste Authority (Minneapolis, MN)
later review: Haute Dish (Minneapolis, MN)
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