I’m dedicating this short post to one of the most surprising dining experiences I’ve ever had.
The Depot restaurant is located in a historic train depot building. According to this document on the Minnesota Historic Society, the Rock Island Train Depot was built in 1902. This depot was the biggest in Rice County and the train line served to connect southern Minnesota to Chicago and St. Louis. Chef Jeff LaBeau, a well-known chef in the community, owns the restaurant. His website mentions that he taught at the culinary program at Minnesota State Community and Technical College. This is where I completed a year of culinary school before we moved to Iowa.
The Depot menu offers a variety of American comfort dishes such as burgers, walleye, flatbreads, and appetizers. They make their fried cheese curds with the popular Faribault Dairy curds that sell out each week at the Cheese Cave. Other items include the famous Amablu cheese.
Read my post about visiting the Cheese Cave here.
I enjoyed one of the daily specials; a big bowl of Alfredo pasta tossed with shrimp and julienned vegetables. The kitchen was happy to swap the regular Alfredo sauce with the spicier version.
The really unique feature at The Depot is their patio situated about five feet from the train tracks. On nice days, you can enjoy a drink and a meal as the trains barrel by.
We dined inside on this chilly evening. After our meal, we walked around the beautifully lit (and fenced-in) patio. Serendipitously, a train whistle sounded. We waited as it moved closer and closer.
Living in Iowa and North Dakota, I’ve been stuck at countless train crossings. Sometimes the trains moved quickly, but usually they slowly lumbered by. This was what I was expecting to happen.
The train rushed by with much speed and much force that surprised me so much, I almost hit the ground. I released a silent scream that turned into laughter.
I tried to take a video before the train passed. You can see the clip in the short Instagram story I saved below in the last six seconds.
An adrenaline rush comes free with your local beer and cheese curds if you enjoy them on the patio. But if you’re not looking for a close encounter with a train, simply pull up a seat inside.
The Depot Bar & Grill
311 Heritage Place
Faribault, MN 55021