The St. Croix River—local businesses, homes and even this magazine are all built around the great body of water. It’s no surprise that any spot offering a vantage point of the Valley’s crowning glory would be popular among residents and visitors alike. Mallory’s Restaurant and Rooftop is no exception. Located off downtown Hudson’s main street, the family-friendly restaurant has become a destination for its curated menu—and its hard-to-beat alfresco space.
Mallory’s is celebrating its one-year anniversary this month, and owners Jason and Abby Johnson had an incredibly well-received rookie year. The Johnsons are longtime Hudson residents, and between the restaurant’s menu and rooftop setting, it’s evident the couple knows what matters to those who call the St. Croix area home. The roof, which is open all four seasons, offers Midwesterners the prized ability to enjoy the outdoors before the ice thaws. Heated lamps and tabletop fireplaces ward off any chills in the winter, and fans and umbrellas keep the space refreshing in warmer months.
“Downtown really revolves around the outdoors—it’s such a patio town,” Jason Johnson says. “So many people come here in the summer and expect that outdoor element, so we put a lot of time and energy into getting it right.”
One trip up, and it’s not hard to see why it has become such a popular spot. The perimeter of the patio is lined with tables, offering premier views of the St. Croix, and a full bar offers seats for those looking to try out the specialty cocktail menu. But the best spot in the house is the set of corner couches, boasting the most complete view of the water and a fire pit to keep everyone cozy. Loyal sports fans will also feel right at home, with multiple large-screen televisions for prime game-day viewing.
The menu takes a cue from its setting, a celebration of land and water. Both beef lovers and seafood enthusiasts can rejoice in the ample offering of surf and turf, and though the rooftop has its own menu, it still honors this dual sentiment. Johnson recommends starting on the sea side of the offerings with an order of cast-iron scallops ($12). After a classic extra-virgin olive oil sear, the colossal diver scallops are finished off with a cherrywood-smoked bacon aioli. After the scallops, opt for the pork carnitas tacos ($11). With hand-shredded carnitas, onion, sriracha, cilantro and Mallory’s housemade salsa, these tacos pack major summer vibes into every bite.
Those who come to sip will not be disappointed. In the true spirit of the city, try the St. Croix-tini ($10), a gin-based martini marrying St. Germain liqueur and lemonade. Those who favor a savory spin to cocktails should opt for the Naughty Pickle ($8); think Bloody Mary gone culinary—honey white balsamic is the perfect bittersweet boost to vodka, chili oil, pickle brine and Mallory’s own fresh organic bloody mix. Beer-drinkers have a reason to smile, too, with a large selection of domestic and regional beer on tap.
“I’ve lived in Hudson my entire life, and my wife grew up here, too,” Johnson says. “The businesses and people who live here mean so much to us. We designed Mallory’s with this in mind. When people come in here, we want them to have the same feeling we have about Hudson—like it’s home.”
Though Mallory’s is still a relatively new kid in town, it’s safe to say the rooftop has developed a loyal following. No matter what the original reason for wandering up, there’s more than one good reason to want to stay.
Pie A La Mode
The latest from Selma’s Ice Cream Parlour.
If Mallory’s is the new kid in town, Selma’s Ice Cream Parlour is surely the tried-and-true veteran of the St. Croix Valley. Located in downtown Afton, the shop has been serving up scoops almost continuously since 1913. Residents, visitors and boaters flock to Selma’s every summer to indulge in the 30-plus flavors of ice cream, ice cream cake, coffee and candy. For the past few years, Selma’s has introduced new offerings with each annual opening. Last year was the advent of fresh cookies, and this year Selma’s will begin to sell freshly baked pies with in-season, locally sourced produce. Full pies are available for purchase ($5) and individual made-to-order pies (courtesy of Sara’s Tipsy Pies) are available for those who call ahead of time. Owner Becky Nickerson suggests a sundae that shows off the best of both Selma’s worlds, a chocolate chip cookie sundae: chocolate chip cookie dough ice cream topped with hot fudge, fresh-baked chocolate chip cookies and housemade whipped cream. For purists who want strictly ice cream, try out lemon poppyseed or cherry chocolate bomb, two flavors that are new to the menu this summer. ($2.95/1 scoop; $4.50/2 scoops).