Conversion of Southgate to Culver’s

Culver's Southgate interior Southgate interior

Construction of the new Culver’s restaurant began last week. They’re gutting the Southgate Cinema Theater, not tearing it down.

Update 12/21: I’ve added two photos of Culver’s below, taken about a week before they opened on Dec. 15

culvers culvers-drive-up


  1. Patrick Enders said:

    Interesting. The cut of the building should end up looking a fair bit different from the typical Culvers:

    Hope it turns out well, and the business is successful.

    I do love custard (I’m a Milwaukeean, after all), but I’ve never actually been inside a Culvers. Mostly it’s because of the word “Butterburger” (TM), which makes me feel my arteries hardening up just passing by their stores. And yes, that is a negative association I’ve been actively cultivating – for my own good.

    Now, if only Taco Bell would prominently display the word “LardTaco” on their buildings, I might be able to kick my fast food habit once and for all.

    September 1, 2008
  2. Anne Bretts said:

    The Culver’s here is a new model, with no blue roof, no fast food feel, more like a Perkins or other restaurant, according to the owner’s report at the council meeting where he made a presentation. Yeah, the food is what you’d expect from the heart of Wisconsin, where the company is based. Kind of like having the state fair all year.

    September 1, 2008
  3. Jerold Friedman said:

    I’d like to see more health food type restaurants here. Sounds like Culver’s is not going to be it.

    September 1, 2008
  4. I love Culver’s, and it is complete wrong of me, but no one likes perfect people and if I have to be imperfect let me do it with an Atlantic cod sandwich in one hand and a Culver’s vanilla custard, (or me and D share a concrete mixer) in the other and the best iced tea next to George’s Vineyard, just waiting for me to get around to it. I eat that once every 2 or 3 weeks when I am in Apple Valley or Owatonna and I still weigh in at 116.5 ish. Let me qualify that by saying that meal would be lunch AND dinner for the day.

    They do have roasted chicken in salads, and if you stay away from the onion rings, cheese curds, cheddar fries and the large sizes, you won’t be too far off your diet for the week.

    September 2, 2008
  5. Charlene Coulombe- Fiore said:

    Thanks for adding the thoughts and hopefully welcoming Culvers into the community. There are plenty of sensible food choices on the menu, so just give it a shot. Please!

    As you may or may not know, the owner has lived in Northfield almost a decade with his family. He has taken a dream, and gave up a high paying job to be closer to home and run a business he believes in.

    I am sorry Tom, I am not there to help you. I am also sorry you were not able to be open in time for the great summer months. However, I am happy to hear (read) you are on your way. My best wishes go out to you always.

    Keep us posted on your progress and know I am just a phone call away if you need me.

    September 2, 2008
  6. Anne said:

    The Culver’s here is a new model, with no blue roof, no fast food feel, more like a Perkins or other restaurant, according to the owner’s report at the council meeting where he made a presentation.

    Has anyone been by there lately? It looks nicer than Southgate did, but so much for the “no blue roof” thing!

    I will say it doesn’t look exactly what I think of when I think “Culver’s,” but it still has that distinctly Culverish aesthetic. It looks a lot like the one that was put up at 78th and Nicollet in Bloomington.

    October 28, 2008
  7. Anne Bretts said:

    Well, Sean, that’s the thing with plans, they tend to change, particularly when a company is testing a new prototype. I could have lived without the blue roof, but the stonework is nice. Let’s see what happens inside.

    October 28, 2008
  8. Shane said:

    When is the opening day?

    November 25, 2008
  9. Katie Prichard said:

    Would it be possible for pictures of the renovations to be added to this thread? I’m off at school right now but I would love to see what’s been done to the building.

    November 26, 2008
  10. Griff Wigley said:

    Hi Katie, yep, I took a photo today and will add it soon.

    Shane, I don’t know an opening date yet but I’m guessing it’ll be soon… before xmas.

    November 26, 2008
  11. Griff Wigley said:

    There’s a sign taped to the door of Culver’s that they’ll be opening on Monday, Dec. 15.

    December 4, 2008
  12. Martha Cashman said:

    I surely hope that Northfielder’s who are lining up to sample a “butter burger” or whatever other attractions Culvers offers do not forget to patronize the best fast food joint (with slow cooked food) in town — The QuarterBack Club! They not only have the best burgers, they are also big community boosters.

    December 20, 2008
  13. Deb Praus said:

    As a former, long time Northfielder, I could not agree with Martha more………You cannot beat QB Club! Not only in taste but in community spirit. Whenever I asked Dale for something, for whatever group I was working with………he always came through and always with a bit extra!
    I follow this site regularly, keeps me in touch with “home”.

    December 21, 2008
  14. Griff Wigley said:

    Culver’s of Northfield opened last Monday as noted above.

    Their parking lot has appeared to be crowded when I’ve driven by but I’ve not been inside nor eaten there yet.

    Anyone have a report on their dining experience?

    December 21, 2008
  15. Griff Wigley said:

    I’ve added two photos of Culver’s to the blog post above, taken about a week before they opened on Dec. 15

    December 21, 2008
  16. Rob Hardy said:

    I see that Bright has reviewed her positive experience at Culver’s in her blog.

    December 21, 2008
  17. Jerold Weber said:

    I did not have a good experience at culvers and I will never go back! Order was wrong Twice and food was cold. Horrible service. I was actually first told I ordered wrong! Sad part, I only order 2 butterburger combos plain,and they gave me 2 burgers 1fry and 1 soda and the burgers were fully loaded which I was specific about being plain. My cashier was also rude!Save your money and go to Tiny’s or the QB club!

    December 27, 2008
  18. Scott Davis said:

    I have been to Culver’s several times since it opened and it has been busy every time… that’s a good thing!

    The staff has been very helpful in explaining their expansive menu and I have left with a positive experience each time.

    I agree with Martha and Deb that we are blessed with great locally owned restaurants in Northfield, but please don’t use this article to move the spotlight away from a new owner who invested a life savings into Northfield to build a new restaurant. Give them their day to shine!

    December 30, 2008
  19. My mother and I visited Culver’s and, though she prefers to be waited on all the way, like at a certain froggy establishment we frequent regularly, we thought the basic hamburgers and fries we ordered were good, as was the service tracking you down when your order was ready.
    There will be bugs to be worked out in any new venture, so give them a chance. P.S. My mother liked the decor, even if there were no frogs.

    December 30, 2008
  20. Jerold Weber said:

    I have to give an apology to Culver’s. I was having a very bad day that particular day and I think I have been a little over aggressive in my comment. I was not satisfied that day but I should not have posted it for others to see. I have also received an e-mail from the owner offering to right the situation anyway he could. His swift response lets me know that Culver’s is working very hard to improve customer service. I am sorry to go public with my dissappointment.

    December 31, 2008
  21. Charlene Coulombe-Fiore said:

    There should be an opportunity on this site to “delete”
    What a shame it would be to google Culvers in Northfield and read only the “disappointment posting” and not read beyond and see the retraction.

    Perhaps Griff can work on this…. Positive development during hard times is crucial.

    I will never forget when working with Culvers, I was called a golden angel.
    It is these words and clients who keep me going each day!

    December 31, 2008
  22. Bright Spencer said:

    Yes, I was very pleased with Culver’s and find this one to be the best of three in the area.
    They have a nice interior with three different types of areas, and they had an electric outlet for me. The service was really good and fast and friendly and above and beyond the usual.
    The food is great. The only thing I suggest is to bring a friend along to share the treats so you don’t outgrow your Vera Wangs. 🙂

    December 31, 2008
  23. Stephanie Henriksen said:

    There is always a lot of interest in a new place, but I think we should have more thoroughly discussed whether we need to duplicate types of businesses we already have. Somebody gets driven out.

    St. Paul Pioneer Press had a report by Mary Divine in Sunday June 29 paper (twin cities section) “Is there such a thing as too much ice cream?” Subhead “Downtown businesses say yes and agree DQ won’t fit the area.” That was a franchise w/local owner also.

    January 2, 2009
  24. Stephanie Henriksen said:

    Forgot to say the DQ was trying to get in downtown Stillwater.

    January 2, 2009
  25. Tom Zenk said:

    You are an angel Char, don’t let anyone ever tell you different. We owe gratitude to many people/organizations in this area not the least of which is you.

    January 7, 2009
  26. Happy New Year to Culvers Thank-You for the great and most wonderful taste delight in the custard shake the Egg Nog Flavor with a touch of Nutmeg Thank-You Great Taste

    January 7, 2009
  27. Charlene Coulombe-Fiore said:


    Thanks for your kind words. I wish only the best for you and your family. May your business venture be everything you want it to be.
    Northfield should be proud!


    January 7, 2009
  28. […] 2) that they had a bloodmobile drive card (coming Feb. 27, 8am-1pm) on every table. See my previous blog post on the conversion of Southgate Theater to Culver’s. Here are two more photos of the new […]

    February 1, 2009

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