4971 E. Highway 61
Hovland Minnesota 55606United States
Fresh-ground flour at this backwoods hole-in-the-wall makes for uncommonly tasty breads, bakery goods and multigrain dough pizzas.
It's easy to drive by the Chicago Bay Marketplace, which resembles a typical backwoods bar with neon beer signs glowing in the windows. But drive by the chance to taste Lisa Mesenbring's bakery and pizza creations (made from fresh-ground flour), and you'll be sorry.The marketplace is a humble grocery store and restaurant. The grocery store, while modest (only a few shelves), holds a surprising array of stock -- organic capers, for example. There's also a deli with basic sandwich meats and, notably, a few finer cheeses (such as white cheddar and cranberry). The bakery sells fresh-baked caramel rolls, sweet rolls and cookies.If you choose to eat in the restaurant (six tables in a small dining area), there are grilled sandwiches on the menu, all featuring Mesenbring's bread. A farm girl who moved to the North Woods, she grinds all her flour in the kitchen, which results in breads (honey wheat or multigrain) that taste more robust, grainier and definitely fresher. But the standout food on the menu are the 12-inch pizzas, with dough choices of fresh-ground white, wheat or multigrain. Expect a half-hour wait on your pizza because it's made from scratch. We opted for the Chicago Enterprise Pizza ($17.95) and were pleased with the fresh crunch and coarsely chopped nature of the veggies. But the dough really makes this pizza special. We opted for the multigrain crust, which had a strong rye flavor to it. You can order a song with your meal, too. Ask Mesenbring nicely, and she might sit down at a piano and play a little Gershwin for you. Surprising to find showtunes in the North Woods perhaps, but no more surprising than the fine artisan pizzas -- or organic capers.