Backyard Getaways Explores Highway 55
This week in Backyard Getaways, CCX takes a spin on state Highway 55. We start on the fringe of Plymouth, where the scene is more country than city.
There are plenty of pastoral views out here, where the pace is slow and easy.
Just a few hundred yards from the double nickels highway, real chickens could be spotted crossing a road. Not far from there, a cartoon-like chicken painted on the front of Peg’s Countryside Cafe lures people off the road.
“They love the breakfast,” said a Peg’s employee named Susan. “Love the staff. Love the kitchen.”
Peg’s has been a roadside attraction since the late 1950’s.
“There used to be just a couple trees here,” said Joel, one of the chefs at Peg’s, and just a flat field here.”
The throwback cafe sits in the shadow of a fast food giant. But not even McDonald’s can eclipse this trendy place that has a tug on celebrities and locals and plenty of photos inside.
“We get everybody from Bert Blyleven to Tim Laudner to Terry Steinbach,” Susan said. “Corey Koskie lives in the area. He’s here quite often with his family.”
Peg’s clearly had a lasting impression on Mickey Rooney, who was performing in the area in 1984.
“Came for lunch then breakfast the next day,” Susan said. “Some of the people directly above him said, ‘well, we’re here every day. How come he’s so special and gets his picture on the wall?’ So here we are years later, all the pictures, generation after generation.”
Plant passion and flower power
Another popular spot his Dundee Nursery, which has been a Highway 55 staple since 1943.
“It’s a family-owned business…” said Dundee’s John Henning . “People love the plants. That’s the primary thing they come in here for. They look for the flowers., they look for the new varieties. They love to watch ’em grow.”
Dundee is 15 acres of plant passion and flower power. The colorful setting can brighten anyone’s mood.
“I believe so,” Henning said. “Rarely do you get angry customers walking in here because they are all here for the fun.”
Not much has changed at Dundee through the decades. Even their sign is still retro. As for the road that runs past it?
“That has changed quite a bit,” Henning said.
A few miles east on 55 – or the Olson Memorial Highway as it is sometimes called – there is a place that brags about being the wurst.
New Bohemia in Golden Valley has a variety of bratwursts on the menu and their slogan is, “the best wurst in town.”
“We came here and they had the rattlesnake brat and everything that was unique,” said Juscin Jokumsen of Elko-New Market, MN. “I was like this is awesome.”
If brats aren’t your style, try a jumbo pretzel or drink some suds at dollar beer happy hour.
“Being in the cities that’s a real unique thing,” Jokumsen said. “Paying a dollar for basically anything is a good deal.”
Across the parking lot at the Lighting Outlet Center, we discovered some illuminating factoids. The structure is the first round glass building in the world.
“They just voted this building the most interesting architecture in Minnesota last January,” said Bob Roth, who works for Lighting Outlet Center.
The circular gem has somehow survives in a world of constant change.
“We still get bus tours which blows me away,” Roth said.
Despite the hustle and bustle of a busy road like highway 55, it’s easy to escape the traffic. “Not too far from the road is Theodore Wirth Park. We found something called the quaking bog.
The bog is a lush green space that seems more like Northern Minnesota than Hennepin County.
“It kind of puts the importance of standing in one place and just taking everything in,” said Seth Meyer of Eagan.
Finally we capped off the journey at Theodore Wirth Golf Course which on some holes has views of the Minneapolis skyline.