Home cookin’

KINGFIELD — When it comes to food, there’s nothing better on a brisk fall day than a warm, home-cooked meal.

A day spent admiring the foliage, picking apples, carving pumpkins or taking part in one of this state’s many other autumn activities can build an appetite fast. And if you’re too tired come dinnertime to get behind the stove, there’s a cozy family-owned place in Kingfield that’ll do it for you.

From a turkey meal complete with mashed potatoes, dressing and stuffing to homemade meatloaf, Curran’s Family Restaurant at 4201 Nicollet Ave. S. has home cooking covered. The Curran family has owned the restaurant since 1948. It started as a tiny drive-in with one of the first car-to-kitchen ordering systems in the Twin Cities and gradually morphed into the family-friendly neighborhood restaurant it is now.

Serving breakfast, lunch and dinner, Curran’s is never empty. And about 60 hours a week, owner Dennis Curran is at the front counter greeting customers, many who know him by name and stop to chat before taking a seat in one of the eatery’s comfy booths.

One of Curran’s most recommended dishes is the country sausage, which he’s been serving for five years.

"Honest to God, I’ve never had anyone that said they didn’t like it," Curran boasted.

The meal comes with two enormous sausages served over sauerkraut, creamy mashed potatoes complete with a dark pool of gravy in the center and a Curran’s specialty — the deep-fried breadstick.

With just the right amount of spice, the sausages are flavorful and won’t leave your mouth on fire like some Italian variations. Curran said they’re made special for the restaurant. Don’t ask him who makes them. It’s a secret.

So are the gravy ingredients, which is a shame, because it’s delicious. Not runny, not too thick, just the right amount of zing. The potatoes have a hint of garlic in them and yummy bits of potato skin.

The deep-fried breadstick was also tasty. It brought me back to the last days of August at the State Fair Grounds. I’m pretty sure Curran could get a booth there. Deep-fried bread? It’s much less ridiculous than some of the other Fair offerings.  

To complete the comfort-food experience, I ordered a slice of pumpkin pie topped with whipped crème — never a bad decision this time of year and it didn’t disappoint. Curran’s has all sorts of pies to choose from if pumpkin isn’t at the top of your list.

At less than $11 not including tip, the meal was a bargain. Nothing at Curran’s is excessively high priced and the service comes from veteran employees, some of whom have worked there for decades. One server told me they’re "like a big gigantic family."

Curran’s is the place to go for a family-friendly atmosphere and a dining experience that won’t take you far from the dinner you had planned before all the fall fun.

Reach Jake Weyer at 436-4367 or jweyer@mnpubs.com.