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 King's Place (or King's Bar and Grill), one of the most-popular picks. Here's the lowdown on Miesville's heavenly burger bar.
How to get there
Miesville is situated along Highway 61 between Hastings and Red Wing about 45 minutes southeast of the Twin Cities.
As of the 2010 census, the population was 125. Here's a map.
What to eat
Burgers. And lots of them.
Arlene Greenlee bought the bar in 1984 and originally only offered four burgers. Since her daughter Terri Lawrence and her brother took over 20 years ago, they've expanded the menu big-time.
Open up the menu and there are two pages of nothing but burgers – 88 varieties in total. There are also 25 sandwiches, as well as pizzas, shakes, soda and, of course, beer.
There are chess-themed "King" and "Knight" burgers, which both have bacon, American cheese, sautéed mushrooms and onions – with the Knight adding lettuce, tomato and mayo.
Oh, and there are daily specials too. Newer burgers are tested out with regulars to see if they will be permanent menu additions.
Our waitress recommended the "Bench" – among the many baseball-themed burgers honoring their local team, the Miesville Mudhens – which comes with peanut butter, lettuce, bacon and mayo.
I opted for the "Stealer," with Swiss cheese, lettuce, tomato, sour cream and jerk sauce. My companions ordered the Ballpark (sautéed green peppers and onions, jalapeños, bourbon sauce and gouda) and the California Blue (blue cheese crumbles, lettuce, tomato, blue cheese dressing).
The verdict was unanimous – they were all great.
Aside from the ridiculous variety of burgers, Lawrence said her bar makes fresh ingredients a high priority.
"We use fresh meat and we patty them up two or three times a day," she said.
Friendly. Inside it's like any number of traditional, small-town pubs, but their customers are a mix of locals and visitors.
Currently, it's fall color hunters at the nearby Miesville Ravine Park Reserve. In the winter, they get skiers and snowboarders visiting Welch Village, 10 minutes down the road. Golfers from nearby courses keep King's busy during the spring and summer months.
"We are family owned and family-run, we want out customers to feel they are special when they come here," Lawrence says.
Prices and hours
The prices aren't half-bad either, with burgers generally coming in at between $5-8, plus an extra buck or two if you want fries or seasoned waffle fries.
A meal for three, including three tall Oktoberfest beers, cost us just over $50 including tip.
If you have suggestions of other restaurants we should try, let us know! We're looking for spots away from major population areas (i.e. Twin Cities, Rochester, Duluth) that have unique charm and great food.