The sear and sizzle of a piping hot grill is synonymous with summer. From hand-trimmed and seasoned cuts of meat and seafood to seasonal veggies and savory marinades, these local restaurants serve a great selection of food from the grill and worth the trip when you’re ready to give the Weber grill in your own backyard a night off.
All-You Can Eat Barbecue Buffet
For an authentic taste of real oak pit-smoked Texas-style barbecue, family-owned Bayport BBQ offers an all-you-can-eat buffet of smoked beef brisket, pulled pork, chicken, ribs and more, along with homemade bread and cornbread, sides and sandwich toppings (dinner $15 per adult/$1 per age of child). “Texas-style barbecue is known for dry rubbed meat with sauce on the side and a heavier smoke flavor. We pit-smoke meat with real whole-log smoke from white oak,” owner Chris Johnson says. The restaurant is open Wednesday through Sunday for lunch and dinner buffet, and accepts cash or check payments only. Check out the website for a listing of weekly live blues music.
328 Fifth Ave. N., Bayport; 651.955.6337
St. Thomas Grilled Shrimp
Marx Fusion Bistro
Enjoy the taste of the islands at Marx Fusion Bistro. The restaurant’s St. Thomas grilled shrimp is served with grilled pineapple, fried plantains, jalapeño oil, and a rhubarb and orange glaze ($24). A unique blend of Caribbean, Asian and Italian-American cuisine, the casual-chic bistro offers several grilled items as well as nightly seafood specials. “We often have a tuna special, such as grilled ahi tuna with a Vietnamese red chili sauce with fresh basil, cilantro and mint” (market price), owner and chef Mark Hanson says. The grilled filet mignon with caramelized onion, fennel, and red wine bordelaise is also popular ($28).
241 Main St. S., Stillwater; 651.439.8333
Grilled Octopus Meze
Phil’s Tara Hideaway
Asked about the grilled items the Phil’s Tara Hideaway offers, general manager Nick Barbatsis replies with a laugh: “The better question is, what don’t we grill?” The restaurant offers Greek- and Mediterranean-inspired cuisine including a wide variety of grilled steaks and chops. A popular starter is the grilled octopus meze (Greek for “small bite,”) which features octopus in a white-wine butter, poached and finished on the grill with a lemon demi-glace and Mediterranean garnish ($5). The Mediterranean-style lamb chop is also popular (double $26; triple $36).
15021 N. 60th St., Stillwater; 651.439.9850
Grilled Heart of Romaine Salad
Barker’s Bar & Grill
Barker’s patrons enjoy the restaurant’s weekly grill features such as adobo marinated half-chicken or grilled seafood dishes like mahi, swordfish and grouper (market price). “We like to offer items that are more upscale and not on the standard menu,” owner Pete Foster says. Barker’s prides itself on steaks and chops cut fresh in-house and lean burger that is ground fresh each morning. “One unique item is our grilled heart of romaine salad,” Foster says. The lettuce is lightly grilled with a whole charbroiled chicken breast, topped with chopped bacon, crumbled Amish blue cheese and oven-roasted tomatoes, then drizzled with a sun-dried tomato vinaigrette ($12.45).
413 Second St., Hudson; 715.386.4123
At Southwestern-inspired Agave Kitchen in downtown Hudson, you’ll find a great array of grilled items such as the tequila lime chicken ($17) or “the Chop”—a hand-cut premium bone-in pork chop, rubbed with Agave’s Cajun mesquite spice, then grilled (single $12/double $25). “Another popular item is grilled mahi mahi tacos,” general manager Andrea Haffner says. They come with our house Loredo sauce, a homemade Southwestern ranch, topped with lettuce and black bean corn salsa, and served with flour tortillas ($11). If you want to get your grill fix late at night, Agave Kitchen is open until 1 a.m. seven days a week. “We never close early and we offer the full menu,” Haffner says.
501 Second St., Hudson; 715.381.0099
Reve Bistro & Bar
For a special evening, the contemporary American cuisine at Reve Bistro & Bar includes some excellent grilled dishes and a large selection of steaks and chops. “Our twin medallion entrée with two 4-ounce sirloin steaks with a blue cheese bacon cream sauce is a popular item,” chef Mike Willenbring says. It is served with mashed potato ($26). If you’re heading to Reve, be sure to visit them at their new location in the Chestnut Building in downtown Stillwater.
200 E. Chestnut St., Stillwater; 651.342.1594