Skip to main content

Where we eat: The broasted chicken at the Brass Rail in Grandy is worth the drive

Some of Minnesota’s best restaurants are hidden in plain sight, out past the suburbs and miles off the interstate. This week, the Brass Rail in Grandy.
  • Author:
  • Updated:
    Original:

Some of Minnesota’s best restaurants are hidden in plain sight, out past the suburbs and miles off the interstate.

We recently asked readers for their favorite eateries in communities with 10,000 people or fewer — sometimes far fewer. The Where We Eat team will visit some of the top choices over the coming months and feature them here.

Today, we highlight The Brass Rail, one of the most-popular picks. Here’s the lowdown on Grandy's fried chicken haven.

How to get there

The Brass Rail is a roadside bar found along Highway 65 about an hour north of the Twin Cities, here's a map.

It can be found in the unincorporated community of Grandy, population 38.

What to eat

As the sign above says, it's known for its "World Famous" broasted chicken, which you can buy in either 1/4 or 1/2 bird portions.

Founded in 1969 by Donna and Ennis Biggins, co-owner Rod Knowles came on board in 2002 and took over the day-to-day running in 2010.

He said people keep coming back because they haven't changed their winning formula.

"We've tried to keep the same consistency with the food, we don't mess with the menu too much," he said.

That goes for all the food, but particularly the broasted chicken: "The recipe is the same as it's always been."

Our waitress suggested the spicy chicken sandwich was a favorite with diners, but I only had eyes for the 1/2 bird fried chicken, which arrive in four large pieces with two thick slices of buttered Texas Toast.

Diners also get a small pot of coleslaw to start things off, not to mention the choice of five sides – tots, fries, waffle fries, hash browns and onion rings – to go with the chicken. I opted for onion rings.

As a fried chicken eater who prefers the skin to the chicken (yes, I'm an abomination), this is one of the few occasions where the reverse was true. There was succulent, juicy meat beneath the southern coating.

Ultimately the portion defeated me, my belt was nearing breaking-point and I had one giant thigh still to finish – it came home with me. Small town diners = gigantic portions. I'm not complaining.

The vibe

For a town of 38 (according to the 2010 census) it was sure busy on a Tuesday lunchtime, though I suspect much of that is down to it being only a few minutes up the road from Cambridge.

Knowles keeps a picture behind the bar that shows how the Brass Rail looked around when it first opened in spring 1969 (below). Back then it was predominantly a bar, with only a tiny 8 by 8 kitchen in the corner.

The unassuming bar also has an uncanny knack for keeping people coming back. Knowles said their regular customers include ex-Minnesotans who now reside in Los Angeles and even Germany.

It's an easy trip from Minneapolis too, given it's a straight shot up Highway 65 on the way up to many summer cabins.

Prices and hours

Considering the amount of food you get, $11.50 for 1/2 a chicken with coleslaw and a side is a bit of a steal.

If you're not in the mood for chicken, there's a decent selection of burgers and sandwiches that come in below $10.

Open seven days a week from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. (10 p.m. Friday and Saturday), you can find out more about the Brass Rail on its website and Facebook page.

Next Up

FSmfYf0WABgrNhI

Stevens County may have been hit the hardest by Thursday storms

The entire county was without power after the storms blew through Thursday evening.

State Patrol

3 killed, 1 critical after trio of crashes in Minnesota Thursday

One person also faces life-threatening injuries in a crash that happened in Olmsted County.

Screen Shot 2022-05-13 at 1.25.08 PM

Mora woman saves pelican caught in fishing line for days

A birthday fishing trip shapes into a heroic tale.

Kelsey Peterson in the documentary, "Move Me."

Doc depicting MN dancer's journey with paralysis debuts at Twin Cities film festival

The film surrounds St. Paul-born Kelsey Peterson, who continues to pursue her passions in dance after being paralyzed from the chest down in 2012.

Milwaukee Ave

Gallery: Rare opportunity to own a home on historic Milwaukee Avenue

All the houses on the avenue front onto a pedestrian mall in south Minneapolis.

US Secretary of Defense COVID vaccine flickr

Minnesota's COVID-19 update for Friday, May 13

The next update will be provided Monday.

storm

Minnesota part of the top 2 hurricane force wind events since 2004

Photo above shows the ominous view in Marshall, Minnesota as a dangerous line of storms approached Thursday afternoon.

Screen Shot 2022-05-13 at 9.24.48 AM

DFL efforts to pass abortion, reproductive health bills blocked in Senate

The push to pass a slate of abortion and healthcare-related bills comes after a leaked Supreme Court opinion draft indicated Roe v Wade will be overturned.

Screen Shot 2022-05-13 at 8.16.56 AM

Teen pulled from St. Croix River Thursday dies

The teen was located around 40 minutes after he had gone under water.

Screen Shot 2022-05-13 at 7.23.52 AM

Thursday performances of Runestone! canceled due to COVID cases

This weekend's performances are still going ahead, History Theatre says.

Related

Where we eat: The broasted chicken at the Brass Rail in Grandy is worth the drive

Some of Minnesota’s best restaurants are hidden in plain sight, out past the suburbs and miles off the interstate. This week, the Brass Rail in Grandy.

Where We Eat: Urban style in a small town at the Henderson RoadHaus

We find ourselves at a bar in Henderson, Minnesota, where food and music go hand-in-hand.

Where We Eat: Urban style in a small town at the Henderson RoadHaus

We find ourselves at a bar in Henderson, Minnesota, where food and music go hand-in-hand.

Where We Eat: My favorite MN dish at The Crooked Spoon Cafe in Grand Marais

Our latest Where We Eat feature takes a closer look at this intimate restaurant on the North Shore.

Where We Eat: My favorite MN dish at The Crooked Spoon Cafe in Grand Marais

Our latest Where We Eat feature takes a closer look at this intimate restaurant on the North Shore.

Where We Eat: All-day bacon at the all-American Little Oscar's diner

For those who love their bacon thick, and their eggs runny.

Where We Eat: All-day bacon at the all-American Little Oscar's diner

For those who love their bacon thick, and their eggs runny.

Where We Eat: Chocolate malts fit for a VP at Red's Cafe in Montrose

Following in the malty footsteps of former Vice President Hubert Humphrey.