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ISSUE 118 VOL 7 PUBLISHED 11/5/2004

The Breakfast Club

By Emelie Heltsley
News Editor

Friday, November 5, 2004

Fall Break. Those words alone signify a break from routine, whether it be a rest from classes, homework, people or just the Caf. As wonderful as Stav Hall and Bon Appétit are, there are times when students just need a break from Caf food, especially for breakfast.

Every morning, we scan our ID cards and gaze upon the myriad morning meal choices: cheesy eggs, plain eggs, bacon, sausage, toast and bagels, cereal and fresh fruit. Not bad, especially when compared to other college cafeterias. But there is always that yearning for something more, something beyond eggs and toast. Also, new this year, Stav Hall does not serve food before 11 a.m. on weekends. If students want to start their weekend morning off right, they will have to walk or drive to a breakfast establishment. So, this year for Fall Break, my visiting family and I ventured off-campus at ungodly hours of the morning to find out what lies beyond breakfast at the Caf.

Ole Store

First stop was the Ole Store on St. Olaf Avenue. Even though its within walking distance from campus, it is surprising how many students dont know that it is more than a store of Ole paraphernalia  its a popular Northfield eatery.

Known for its Ole Rolls, huge cinnamon rolls smothered in caramel sauce and nuts, the Ole Store provides a wide variety of breakfast foods, from omelets to French toast.

Ole Rolls, however, are the Ole Stores specialty. Theyre big and sticky, and covered in gooey wonderfulness, Meredith Sorenson 07 said about the rolls. Absolutely wonderful. Her family first sampled the rolls on Sorensons pre-college tour of St. Olaf.

Her sentiments have been shared by students throughout St. Olafs history. The phrase Let me see your Ole Roll was used as a Homecoming theme a few years ago, and some parents think of the Ole Roll as the ultimate treat for their son or daughter when they come to visit.

The Tavern

The next morning, we wandered further into Northfield to The Tavern, another popular restaurant located on Division Street, in the basement of the Archer House hotel. The Tavern has a wide variety of breakfast choices, including pancakes and build-your-own-omelets.

The Tavern is very friendly to the college students budget. With most menu items costing less than five dollars, students can fill up in an old-fashioned, tavern-like atmosphere and have money left over.

Also, the Tavern offers some finer dining to visiting family members. My visiting family was impressed with The Taverns antiquated feel, high-backed booths and tasty food. We both had omelets, and were impressed with their size and substance.

The Kitchen

Located next to The Tavern in the main floor of the Archer House, the Kitchen is the less-famous coffee shop in Northfield. The Kitchen often goes unnoticed because Goodbye Blue Monday, which is frequented by students and professors for their caffeine fix, is often thought of as the epitome of the Northfield coffeehouse experience.

The Kitchen, however, with its bright, sunny wood tables and small selection of café foods has a more down-to-earth feel than Goodbye Blue Monday. It is much better suited for a visit with your grandma than for a late-night study session. With quiches, scones and cinnamon rolls rivaling the Ole Rolls in their gooey-ness, the Kitchen is a good choice for breakfast and coffee in one stop.

During my visit to the Kitchen, I ordered a sweet roll and a café au lait. The sweet roll was warmed especially for me by the friendly staff, and the café au lait was served to frothy perfection. My family was pleased with the size of the Kitchens hot cocoa, which came in a 12-ounce mug, topped with whipped cream and chocolate syrup.


The breakfast odyssey ended with a visit to Perkins, a popular family restaurant chain. I was treated to a Mammoth Muffin, a huge and warm bakery creation. With an infinite variety of flavors, pumpkin to blueberry, from raspberry cream cheese to Boston crème pie, Mammoth Muffins are large enough to appease the most intense appetite, with enough varieties to satisfy the pickiest muffin connoisseur.

While not as cheap as The Tavern, and not as home-style as restaurants closer to our Northfield home, Perkins is the perfect place to go when the family is on the run. The service is fast, and the menu covers basic breakfast standards. Also, this 24-hour chain restaurants location in Lakeville is on the way to the airport.

Although Northfield is on the rise in population and new businesses are frequently popping up, there are few breakfast choices which the town of Cows, Colleges and Contentment lacks. When Grandma and Grandpa come to visit, students need a fine-dining establishment closer to campus than a trip to the Cities. While the Ole Store and The Tavern are nice, there are times when cloth napkins and uniformed food service personnel are preferred.

On the other hand, after a night of dancing at the Grand or watching a late-night hockey game, students could benefit from a 24-hour breakfast chain located in Northfield, such as IHOP or Dennys. These spots do not offer fine-quality dining, but buttermilk pancakes and waffles at 2 a.m. can be just what the college student needs.

The restaurants that serve breakfast in Northfield are consistent in quality but limited in quantity. More options are needed to satisfy an Oles early morning needs because sometimes an Ole Roll just doesnt cut it.

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