Quick Bites: These food wishes are made to order

Last week, we bid farewell to 2013 with a look back at all the new restaurants to grace our landscape in the past year. Now, let's see what's coming up for the new year.

You should know that I'll put this column in order from "most certain" to a kind of "in my fondest dreams" wish list, so most things on the list are by no means guaranteed. Some of them aren't even on the horizon. But it's a new year and a girl can dream, right?

My for-sures

Amid all the possibilities, we know just a couple things for sure: One is that Cowboy Jack's, another Western-themed steak house, is getting ready to open in Wyndham Gardenat the former America's Best Value Inn and Suites on South Broadway. With several Twin Cities locations, local fans' mouths are already watering for the blackened fish tacos, cowboy's famous chili, and their famous "sloppy jack" loose meat sandwiches.

The other certainty is the second location of Denny's, going into the former Krispy Kreme Donuts building currently under renovation. While it's not necessarily a new restaurant to Rochester, an expanding business is always a good sign for the food scene locally.


My hoped-fors

Is it or isn't it? Rumors have been flying for a few months about Dunkin' Donutscoming back to Rochester at long last, but they've been notoriously difficult to confirm or deny. While it's not looking very promising for the near future, I think it's safe to say that hope is still alive.

It seemed like a pipe dream only a few years ago, but with new locations opening in fast succession in the Twin Cities, Rochester has been mentioned in Chick-fil-a'slong-term plans for world domination, er, national presence. Now with full restaurants in Coon Rapids, Maple Grove, Apple Valley and Bloomington, as well as satellite or niche locations at the U of M, Minnesota State University in Mankato and the MSP airport, I have to believe that a Rochester location isn't too far off.

My fantasy wish list

In this space in past years, I've wished for sushi and Thai food in Rochester — both have come true several times over. I'm ready to do more naming and claiming to make something happen.

Ten years ago, my husband and I went on an anniversary trip to Italy, where I had the best pizza of my life. Is it possible to recreate that in Rochester? I have to believe yes, but I haven't had it yet. First on my wish list is Italian pizza, maybe within an authentic Italian restaurant where perfectly prepared risotto is also on the menu.

Then, to further liven up downtown and create activity in other areas of the city, I'd love to see a fleet of food trucks driving around. Fresh, simple tacos, gourmet ice cream treats, samosas, and lots of street food from all over the world I haven't tried yet.

Kim Van Brunt is a Rochester freelance writer. Send restaurant news and tips to her at To read more about good eats in the area, go to and click on the Great Taste blog.

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