Coming soon: the reincarnation of the Ideal Cafe

Sweet Lou's Waffle BarIdeal Cafe signTracy mentioned in her blog post of last week’s Friday Memo that there "… are rumblings that another restaurant will be locating in the space held by Sweet Lou’s Waffle Bar."

Last week, Northfield restaurateur Norman Butler (Contented Cow, Chapati, Butler’s Steak and Ale) signed a lease for the space. He intends to name it The Ideal Cafe and open by year’s end. Cuisine? He’s open to suggestions. Attach your comments here.

See Maggie Lee’s June 21 column, Bargens leave legacy of Ideal Cafe, for a bit of history on the restaurant. The photo of the Ideal Cafe’s sign above is cropped from a photo on the Virtual Tourist web site when the site was the Las Delicias restaurant.


  1. Oh, good, I can post again. I seemed to be locked out for a while there (a few weeks ago) and temporarily gave up.

    September 28, 2009
  2. Dave Flynn said:


    Northfield desperately needs some non-Indian, non-Chinese cuisine. Failing Thai, go Italian; I’d love a good Italian restaurant.

    September 28, 2009
  3. Leisa Irwin said:

    I have been asking one of my favorite restaurateurs in Charlotte, North Carolina to bring a replica of his restaurant here. I think we have the perfect town for this eclectic french/european style cuisine. The owner hasn’t been receptive to the idea, but maybe Norman can do something similar in Northfield without actually replicating it.

    The name of the restaurant is Crêpe Cellar Kitchen & Pub. Their website is And in an article from Charlotte Magazine… (

    “And, while intriguing and unique, crêpes may very well be the last reason to visit the Crêpe Cellar. There are mussels and shrimp, succotash, mac and cheese, French bread pizza, gnocchi, hanger steak, and fish and chips.”

    I added that because I didn’t want everyone to think it was “just” crepes, although the crepes happen to be my favorite.

    Also, coffee is served in a French press with a timer on the top, and customers pour their own perfect cup of coffee right at their tables.

    Obviously I am a fan. Norman, if you decide this might be a cuisine you be interested in having in Northfield, let me know. I promise to be a regular customer. 🙂

    September 28, 2009
  4. Deb Praus said:

    I hope Norm does some research(I am pretty sure that NHS has old menus) and keeps some of what was on the older menus….they had “killer” onion rings! Will the sign be moved?

    September 28, 2009
  5. John S. Thomas said:

    Latest Rumor: Norm Butler to open centralized distribution center in old Ryt-way complex to supply his new Northfield restaurant empire!

    Even Later Rumor: Griff works with Norm to develop unified online presence, with online ordering and payment system.

    Even Better Rumor: Norm deploys a fleet of electric mopeds to provide delivery service from his empire.

    😎 Seriously though. I hope that this is true, and I wish Norm good luck on his endeavors.

    DISCLAIMER: None of the above rumors in my post are true, and purely figments of my overactive imagination.

    P.S. I would really like to see the sign kept and placed somewhere downtown, even if it is moved, rather than lose it to new development.

    September 28, 2009
  6. Rob Palmquist said:

    I’ll put in a vote for Crepes — here’s a resturant I’ve been to in New Orleans.

    September 30, 2009
  7. kiffi summa said:

    Norm : I’ve been to all the cafes mentioned by Mr. Beimers in #7 , and they are all the perfect style of menu for you… all day fare, all day… and requiring the best ingredients , which we have a lot of locally.

    The key to all of the above named group is a high level of attention to the detail and quality of the product. Doesn’t take a genius; just a good cook, working from good recipes, and using good ingredients.

    September 30, 2009
  8. John S. Thomas said:

    Being that close to Carelton and being downtown, if you offer good home cooked food, with fresh ingredients instead of the typical frozen “Sysco” type items, you should have great success.

    September 30, 2009
  9. Andrea Nixon said:

    Thai would be great… or good Italian fare.

    October 2, 2009
  10. Daniel Groll said:

    Definitely Thai if that’s an option. If not, then Italian.

    October 6, 2009
  11. Gilly Wigley said:

    Crepes! I vote for Crepes and of course have some other items on the menu as well. That or Italian would be lovely too.

    October 6, 2009
  12. Bright Spencer said:

    Thai if done right.

    October 6, 2009
  13. Scott Kelly said:

    Fish/seafood of a NON fried variety would be a welcome addition. Failing that, a menu similar to what Byzantine offered. Although I imagine Norm would dispute much difference between that and what Chapati offers, I feel otherwise

    October 8, 2009
  14. john george said:

    Scott- How about saute’ed fish/seafood?

    October 8, 2009
  15. Scott Kelly said:

    john george,

    That works, though I will admit grilled is my preference. WOW, now I’m hungry, lol. I just recalled 1 other option. For a time, we had a southern BBQ option on the corner of HWY 3 and 2nd St. Despite my pleas, they never added catfish to the menu. The sides were tasty, but without a main course I only visited them twice before they closed

    October 9, 2009
  16. john george said:

    Scott- Yep, it is hard to beat a good catfish, pan-fried or grilled. Having grown up in SE Iowa, channel catfish was the walleye of the area. They are really good with white, flakey flesh. My son now lives along the Red River, and this is a great catfish haven. We have caught a few nice ones right in downtown Fargo.

    October 9, 2009
  17. Bright Spencer said:

    Here’s another great menu.
    The Medici is a long, long time restaurant near the U of Chicago…over 50 years. Pay attention to this one. Me and dh practically lived in there for several years.

    October 13, 2009

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