Home Arts and Entertainment A&Eats Reunion: The new Northfield restaurant with rustic vibes, strange burgers

A&Eats Reunion: The new Northfield restaurant with rustic vibes, strange burgers

Madeline Everett / Manitou Messenger

Jazzy tunes and dark decor make for a classy vibe at new restaurant Reunion in downtown Northfield. However, pricey, passable food and slow service made me just as eager to exit as I was to enter.

When I first walked into the restaurant on Saturday around 12:30 p.m., my first thought was, “this place looks cool.” Exposed rock and brick walls, visible piping and beams in the open ceiling and warm, vintage lighting give the place a rustic feel. Splashes of dark grey, gold accents and clean-lined dark wood furniture contribute to the restaurant’s sophisticated, modern edge. Small touches like cloth napkins, spotless restrooms lined with vintage mirrors and luxurious distressed leather menus with Reunion’s geometric logo stamped on the front add to the refined rustic experience.

Tasteful decor abounds throughout the restaurant’s four different seating areas — a main area with the bar, a loft overlooking the main area, an outdoor patio and a side room next to the entrance. We were seated near the front of the side room that also houses an open kitchen where you can see (and hear) the food being prepared. Reunion prizes itself on its wood fired grill where most of the food is prepared, but the flashy grill only provided mediocre food and a lot of noise, even where we were, seated in the farthest corner of the room.

It was the trendy tomato jam that turned out to be Reunion’s downfall. The jam was tolerable on the first few bites, but by the time I neared finishing half the burger, I couldn’t bear to eat any more.”

– Madeline Everett ’22

After waiting for what seemed like hours (in reality it was only 35 minutes, but I was hungry) we finally got our food. It looked and smelled delicious — an artistic swirl of sauce adorned the steak, bright pieces of red pepper cheered the caesar salad, and golden fries and a towering burger topped with bacon and cheddar made my mouth water.
The burger, named “Burger Reunion,” was typical with a burger patty, cheddar cheese and bacon, and spiced up with “Reunion Sauce” and a tomato jam that covered the steak. It was the trendy tomato jam that turned out to be Reunion’s downfall. The jam was tolerable on the first few bites, but by the time I neared finishing half the burger, I couldn’t bear to eat any more of the sickly sweet sauce that didn’t quite pair with the bacon and cheddar. The burger was also a bit pricey — at $13, it seemed too expensive for the quality of food that I received.

The service was also less than impressive. Now, the wait staff was great — I used to work as a waitress, so I understand the difficulty of trying to manage tables during a rush. Even so, the restaurant seemed understaffed. There were a lot of customers there, but the restaurant was not very full and the waiters still seemed to struggle to juggle too many tables. When our waiter took our order, they asked me how I wanted my burger cooked, which is not uncommon. However, when my friend ordered his steak, the waiter did not ask how he wanted it done. Thankfully, it came back edible, but the inconsistency was odd. During the rest of the meal, our waiter was friendly but absent, especially when we just wanted to pay and leave.

Madeline Everett / Manitou Messenger

Although I had a decent experience, I won’t be heading to this restaurant again — tasteful decor and trendy food did not make up for my pricey, mediocre burger and odd service at Reunion in Downtown Northfield.

everet2@stolaf.edu