St. Croix Valley Magazine
By James McManis
The town of Prescott, Wis., is a waypoint. Waypoints are crossroad locations in which travelers ultimately determine whether to continue ahead or to change course. Situated at the confluence of the St. Croix and Mississippi rivers, this little town has offered refreshment to travelers and residents alike for nearly two centuries. It’s perfectly appropriate that we begin 2018 with a visit to the last stop on the St. Croix, or the first, depending on which direction your river flows.
Located at 211 Broad St., The Kitchen Table sits perfectly at the center of Prescott’s main drag. Chef and owner Aaron Wolf found himself at a bit of a waypoint in his life when he decided to open in 2014. At the time, Wolf owned and operated Cafe Two14 adjacent to the St. Croix. Looking for a new opportunity, he bought the building on Broad Street with the hope of establishing a one-stop breakfast restaurant for the town. “I knew all of these boaters and how busy that place used to be,” says Wolf, referring to his first restaurant job in Prescott at the Slipp-Inn Grill. The Slipp-Inn has since closed, but as Wolf puts it, “The river really didn’t go away.”
The Kitchen Table crew starts their days at 6 a.m., offering the earliest breakfast in town. While they serve the classic bacon and eggs or biscuits and gravy, manager Alexis Gilles says their Eggs Benedict is the signature dish most desired by The Kitchen Table faithful. This classic comes with plenty of homemade hollandaise over a steamy English muffin, ham and a poached egg for a new take on an old favorite ($8 full/$6 half).
For diners with more of a sweet tooth, The Kitchen Table’s seasonal French toast is not to be missed. Wolf takes a fresh loaf baked at Emily’s Bakery in Hastings, Minn., and doctors up the crust with a corn flake crunch for a bit of texture. Topped off with tangy apple-cranberry chutney, you’ll soon find syrup becomes deliciously optional. ($9).
“When you work for other restaurants, you don’t exactly get the ability to do what you want and to speak with the food…I can actually change things,” he says. Not content to deal exclusively in breakfast, Wolf and his staff also offer an extensive entree menu for lunch and dinner during the summer months. A signature Reuben sandwich is another twist on an American classic. Packed full of delicious corned beef, sauerkraut and Swiss, and drizzled with 1,000 Island on marble rye, this dish is prepared traditionally before reaching peak perfection with The Kitchen Table’s addition of bacon and jalapeno peppers for the full flavor effect ($10).
Along with providing Prescott with new and inspired flavors, Wolf also provides a refuge within the restaurant for wayward travelers. “The term ‘the kitchen table’: I feel I named my restaurant that, because it kind of means something to everybody. It always reminds you of something positive, your grandma’s house…or something that happened around a kitchen table.”
Regulars and a collection of new diners respond strongly to this sense of community.