Minnesota Historical Society

Minnesota Eats Out: An Illustrated History

$ 34.95


A lavishly illustrated tour of the state's eateries - its soda fountains, nightclubs, hotel dining rooms, and resorts - from 1850 to 1960, including seventy treasured recipes from favorite restaurants.

“Let’s eat out!”

Minnesotans have always loved to, in the opulent dining rooms of fancy hotels, in piney resort halls, or in standard around-the-corner cafés, where the food is hot and plentiful. And the best of these eateries inspire cherished memories of fabulous food and charming camaraderie.

Minnesota Eats Out is a virtual romp through the state’s dining spots, from early health resorts to Prohibition-era speakeasies to A&W drive-ins, illustrated with nearly one thousand photographs, postcards, menus, matchbooks, and collectible dishes. Kathryn Strand Koutsky and Linda Koutsky narrate the history of dining in the North Star State, highlighting innovative foods, inspired restaurant architecture, and cutting-edge graphic design, along with anecdotes about beloved restaurants remembered through the decades. 

Accompanying this rich history is a priceless collection of recipes for dishes made famous through the years, like the pioneers’ Indian Pudding and old favorites from Eibner’s Bakery in New Ulm or Ruttger’s Resort in Brainerd. Eleanor Ostman revised these recipes for preparation in modern kitchens. Embellished with photographs of historic restaurants, collectible tableware, and restaurant ephemera, the recipes invite today’s readers to re-create cherished food memories.

Minnesota Eats Out, a one-of-a-kind venture into the state’s history, serves up over a century of fine and fun Minnesota dining.


  • By: Kathryn Strand Koutsky and Linda Koutsky with recipes by Eleanor Ostman
  • Format: Cloth, 224 pp., 9.25 x 12.25, 70 recipes, over 1,000 color and b&w illus., index
  • Publisher: MNHS Press (September 2003)
  • Product ##: 978-0873514521


Praise for Minnesota Eats Out:

“A virtual time machine to meals gone by: ladies’ lunches in downtown department stores, lemon-lime phosphates at pharmacy soda fountains, roast beef and big band music in northland supper clubs. The splendid research is sumptuously illustrated with evocative photos, menus, and postcards, and the vanished world described can be savored through prize restaurant recipes. Minnesota Eats Out is history at its most delicious!” — Jane and Michael Stern, authors of Roadfood


"Here is absolute proof Minnesota is not ‘The Land of the Bland.’ From dining palaces, supper clubs, and gangster hangouts to traveler’s rests, post office cafés, and soda fountains, Minnesota Eats Out is testimony of a people who have always known good food when they taste it. And there is more. This is important social history for a time when these traditions are slipping away without notice. Cook from your kitchen copy, read from your bedside copy." — Lynne Rossetto Kasper, author of The Italian Country Table and host of Minnesota Public Radio’s The Splendid Table

“What a nostalgic ‘virtual’ nosh! Most of the restaurants in our memories are in this good book. Read it and remember.” — Barbara Flanagan, Minneapolis Star Tribune columnist 

“Everything you ever wanted to know about chowing down in legendary Minnesota venues ranging from gossipy cafés to shrimp-cocktail-and-white-tablecloth supper clubs, from department store tea rooms to woodsy retreats ‘up north’ with their six-inch-tall slabs of homemade berry pie! This luscious book is a feast for the eye and the culinary imagination.” — Karal Ann Marling, author of The Colossus of Roads: Myth and Symbol along the American Highway

Kathryn Strand Koutskyis an award winning interior designer and a collector of antique postcards and drawings of Minnesota scenes.

Linda Koutsky is a collector of restaurant china and flatware as well as antiques and ephemera. She is the author of the Skyway News column "The Lunchtime Tourist."

Eleanor Ostman is the author of the best-selling cookbook Always on Sunday and for thirty years was the food writer for the St. Paul Pioneer Press.

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