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Summer Day Trip #2: West Concord, Minnesota

West Concord, Minnesota: Population 782
Distance from Rochester, Minnesota: 31 miles
Reason to drive there: Only one – Omar’s Café for Sunday Brunch

Sunday mornings in West Concord are incredibly quiet. No one in town is stirring, and except for the few cars in front of Omar’s Café,  you might be forgiven if you thought you were in a ghost town. 


The view in the middle of Main Street looking to the east. 

Why did Omar decide to open a cafe in, of all places, West Concord? I've never asked him the question directly, but I'm sure part of it has to do with the location. Yes, it's a 30 mile drive from Rochester, but maybe that works in his favor. If you want to have Sunday morning brunch at Omar's, you're going to have to make a firm decision to go. It's not a cafe that you end up going to on accident. 

Linda and Octavia heading in. 

Is it worth the drive? Sure it is. We've had Sunday Brunch at Omar's maybe a dozen times over the years, and every time is exactly the same. In some cases "sameness" wouldn't be something to brag about, but in Omar's case, it most certainly is. Omar's daughter is the only waitress, and she welcomes you with coffee and a smile. If you want an omelet or a Belgian waffle, she'll order it for you; otherwise, you stake out your own table and make your way over to the buffet. Later, maybe when you're about halfway done, Omar himself will take a break from the kitchen and stroll over to say hello. Generally, he'll simply check to make sure everything is okay, and then he'll thank you for coming. That's it, but it's comforting to know that he cares.

Meanwhile, his wife makes sure you remember to have a dessert or three. And if you still have a sweet tooth after the meal is over, she will point out the containers of cookies for sale by the front door, left over from that week's Farmers' Market. 


On this visit, she caught me admiring her knick knacks.

Exhibit A: Knick Knacks. 

Are any for sale? I'm not sure, but she asked me what I was looking at, and I pointed out the frog. She was quick to mention that the frog played music, and she cranked it up for us to have a chance to hear it play its song.

A frog with a tune.

While the knick knacks may or may not be available for purchase, Omar's does have quite a few old prints and paintings and such for sale on the walls. Included among them, one will usually find at least a couple versions of "the Last Supper," which, if you think about it for a moment, is an interesting choice for a cafe serving Sunday Brunch to display. 

Art for sale.

Other than Omar's, West Concord on a Sunday doesn't have much to offer. Rice Lake State Park is about 10 miles away, and it's a nice way to burn off some of those excess brunch calories. Unfortunately, it's 10 miles in the opposite direction of Rochester.

Across the street is a shop named Woody's. It's not open on Sundays, but it looks like an interesting place. Maybe it's an antique store? Maybe it just has miscellaneous items for sale? Who knows. On this particular visit, the Confederate flag on display in the front window caught my attention. The flag was fairly big, and if I recall the price marked on the tag correctly, they were only asking 12 bucks for it. Not a bad price if you're in the market for a Confederate flag. 

 Woody's -- Not open on Sundays.

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First stop: Caledonia, Minnesota. Where's that? It's a small town in the southeast corner of the state. Before I opened my Rand McNally Road Atlas, I had never heard of it, and before I punched the town name into Trip Advisor, I didn't know if there was anything there worth visiting.

Distance from home: About 75 miles.

Challenge #1: Leaving by 6:30 a.m.

Challenge #2: Taking my dog, Atticus.

Actually, Atticus is a good dog on a road trip, but the forecast indicated that it was going to get into the 90s. I wanted to leave early in the …