Minnesota Prairie Roots

Writing and photography by Audrey Kletscher Helbling

One last chance to dine at The Historic Highland Cafe in southeastern Minnesota November 16, 2012

YOU SHOULD ALL know by now, if you’ve followed Minnesota Prairie Roots for any amount of time, that I’ll dine at a home-grown restaurant any day over a chain. I appreciate uniqueness and creativity and all those good qualities that typically define independent ownership.

In two days one of those delightful, mostly undiscovered by the general population, rural eateries closes.

The unassuming front of The Historic Highland Store & Cafe.

And that saddens me because I only found The Historic Highland Store & Cafe in October and ate there with my husband for the first, and last, time. (You can read all about that experience, and why this cafe is closing, by clicking here.)

On Sunday, November 18, owner Vicki Starks Hudson and crew will open for the final time in the historic 1894 wood-frame building along Fillmore County Road 10 southeast of Lanesboro in unincorporated Highland. It’s about an 80-mile drive for me, so I won’t be heading back for another meal. Not that I don’t want to do so.

The special of the day will be a roast beef dinner featuring real mashed potatoes, gravy and carrots and a side organic spring mix salad. How enticingly Sunday dinner at Grandma’s house comforting does that sound? And you’ll get all of that home-cooked goodness for only $8.99. Be sure to thank long-time faithful cook Sharyn Taylor, Vicki’s mom.

The breakfast my husband ordered when we dined here in October included two organic eggs, multigrain toast, hashbrowns and kielbasa. I photographed his plate after he broke the egg yolks.

You can also order soup and sandwiches or breakfast all day, hours being from 8 a.m. – 3 p.m.

A sunny front corner of the restaurant showcasing the vintage tables and chairs.

Not only is the food wholesome and homemade and delicious, but the atmosphere—with its original worn wood floor, wood-plank walls, lunch counter and hodge-podge of 1940s/1950s Formica and chrome tables and vinyl chairs—sets the scene for a relaxed and homey dining experience. Pure retro.

The absolutely fabulous lunch counter.

Now, if you dine there on Sunday and the place charms the bobby socks right off your feet and you are looking for an investment or a business to run, the building is for sale. Or it will be, in the spring after Vicki’s husband finishes some exterior updating.

On a Monday afternoon in October, the Highland Cafe was a popular dining spot.

But before then, you can also do a little shopping in this building which originally housed a general store. Vicki and her family had originally planned on opening a consignment shop upstairs. But they didn’t and now have some merchandise—mostly women’s clothing and home items—to sell.

Sale hours will be from 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. on Black Friday, November 23; 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. on Sunday, November 25; and 10 a.m. – 6 p.m. on Monday, November 26.

The Historic Highland Store & Cafe is closed on Saturdays as the building serves as the ministry site for the Seventh Day Adventist Highland Chapel.

FYI: Click here to reach The Historic Highland Store & Cafe website.

© Copyright 2012 Audrey Kletscher Helbling


Twenty-five years ago this beautiful daughter came into my life

Filed under: Uncategorized — Audrey Kletscher Helbling @ 8:15 AM
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Miranda, almost two, eating chocolate cake.

MY SECOND BORN of three, Miranda, turns 25 today.

What does a mother write about her girl that truly encompasses all her daughter has become as a young woman?

Miranda celebrates the Argentine World Cup soccer victory at Plaza de la Republica in Buenos Aires. The balloon is soccer legend Diego Maradona, at that time the coach of Argentina’s national team. She’s lived in Buenos Aires twice.

I will tell you that my dear daughter is kind and compassionate, adventuresome and fearless (except for spiders), a woman of faith, soft-spoken, yet there to speak for those whose voices need to be heard.

She works as a Spanish medical interpreter and has a heart for helping non-English speaking Hispanics in northeastern Wisconsin. It is an important job. Her ability to interpret under time and emotional pressures impresses me. She cares. Deeply.

Yet, it is that very profession which keeps my girl away from Minnesota. Because she is on call so often, including many nights, weekends and holidays, she is able to make the 5 ½-hour trip back home only several times a year. Likewise, those hours limit times my husband and I can visit our daughter.

Time with her is precious. Just like our daughter. Precious.

A photo of Miranda when she was back in Minnesota in June for her brother’s high school graduation.

Happy birthday, Miranda/Tib! We love you now and forever and miss you and if you were here, I would bake you a chocolate cake.

© Copyright 2012 Audrey Kletscher Helbling