A Night Out for Valentines


Posted by womanabouttown | Posted in Restaurants, Theater, Willmar | Posted on 14-02-2012

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My husband and I had an evening out this past Saturday night, to celebrate Valentine’s Day ahead of time. We started out at Cafe Persepolis, a nice Greek restaurant on the outskirts of downtown Willmar. I can’t believe this place is not more popular. This was my second dining experience there, and there were plenty of empty tables both times, and on Saturday nights. What is that about? I spent four years in Salt Lake City, which boasts one of the nation’s largest Greek communitities. In fact, they have an annual Greek Festival that attracts thousands. And that’s in a city full of conservative Mormons. Anyway, I do have an affinity for all things Greek. In fact, we have a running joke in my family that some Southern European blood probably got mixed in with our Swedish ancestry, as we all love Mediterranean culture and food. And my sisters and I look a little Greek. I can understand that not everybody shares our admiration. Nevertheless, it’s fun to step out of the American/Scandinavian box, and I definitely recommend Cafe Persepolis for that.

Cafe Persepolis has a large menu, with both Greek and American items. On my first visit, I got Moussaka, a traditional Greek dish with lamb, eggplant, and cream sauce. It is a taste sensation. This past Saturday, I got Ghorme Sabzi, which has beef, kidney beans, and herbed saffron rice. That was also good, though I preferred the Moussaka. Of course they also have gyros, and I really must go back for that. Our waitress was very nice, informative of the dishes, and conversational. We told her that we were heading to the Barn Theater after dinner, and she said that she is a volunteer there and had good things to say about the Barn and also about the play “Almost, Maine.”

Two minutes after leaving the restaurant, we were at the Barn Theater. How nice to be so close to our next destination, and to be able to park on the street rather than in a big, concrete parking ramp. It is great to have this community/regional theater in town, and it’s good that it has withstood the test of time. As you may know, and as the name implies, the theater started out in a real barn, in Southwest Willmar. The theater now is housed in the former JCPenney site, ever since 1988. As I sat in my seat in preparation of the performance, I felt the thrill of seeing live theater, but I also felt so relaxed. It helped that I was comfortably wearing jeans, as opposed to dressing up a little more to go to the Guthrie in Minneapolis. The play that we saw was “Almost, Maine” which is a collection of nine different short plays centered around people who fall in and out of love at the drop of a hat, or shoe (inside joke for those who have seen it.) The actors and actresses all did a great job. I especially liked the woman who wanted to pay her respects to her dead husband by seeing the Northern Lights, believing that she could help him find his way to heaven. She was so spunky and childlike.

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Comments (2)

I really like Cafe Persopolis myself, not really sure why it doesn’t have more patrons. In fact, I’ve been wondering how they have managed to stay open at all because I rarely see cars there.

You mentioned the possibility of starting a New to the Area group. I think that’s an awesome idea and I would be happy to help with that if you are interested. Maybe a “meet up” group for newcomers to the area where we meet at different local spots of interest.

My email is cloeyny2mn@msn.com if you are interested.

Hi Cloey: Sorry about my delayed response. About Cafe Persepolis, yes, I have wondered how they stay in business too, and I have heard other people wonder the same thing…About starting a New to the Area group – I feel like I have a full plate right now and don’t want to be bogged down with too many things. Maybe in the near future? Give me a couple weeks or so. I will copy down your email as well. Thank you for your interest!