Think for a moment about your favorite comfort food. Is it something your mom or grandmother made for you when you were a child? Maybe it’s a dish you created out of college-dorm desperation that turns you into a puddle of nostalgia each time you taste it. Or perhaps it’s something you make for your own kids.
No one knows comfort food better than Scott Hill, co-owner and head chef at Minnetonka’s Crossroads Delicatessen. Hill has been serving up delicious dishes—and warm-fuzzy feelings—since 1996, when he and a few business partners, including his brother Kevin, took over a struggling eatery on Hedberg Drive and transformed it. “When we decided to create a delicatessen,” Hill explains, “that directed the type of food we were going to serve.” Hill’s vision for a traditional deli menu included lots of classic sandwiches like pastrami and corned beef, which are still bestsellers 18 years later.
But, you might be wondering, how does a kid who grew up on a Minnesota lakeshore become an expert in New York-style deli food? It all began when Hill worked in a few local restaurants as a teenager. “I enjoyed it. It was very interesting,” he remembers. “A friend of mine was going to this school I’d never heard of before: the Culinary Institute of America (CIA). He convinced me that I should enroll, and go out to New York to go to school. So I did.”
Hill left Minnetonka for Hyde Park in 1973 and started his world-class education at the CIA, which he calls “eye-opening.”
“I was studying things I’d never dreamed about, seeing foods I’d never seen before,” he says. “And that made [my] interest grow exponentially. It was like going to another planet. I never knew there so many different styles of cooking. In New York City, you see them all.”
When he graduated from the CIA in 1975, Hill returned to Minnesota and spent the next several years working for various Twin Cities restaurants and hotels, setting up kitchens and training other chefs.
Now, he loves being the head honcho. “It’s fun being the boss,” he says with a chuckle. “Everything is my recipe, my design. I’m always thinking, ‘How can I play around with this dish?’ The creativity is probably the most enjoyable part.” Of course, running a restaurant kitchen is not all fun and games. “Getting up at 4 in the morning when the baker doesn’t show up isn’t so fun,” Hill says with a wry laugh.
Crossroads serves up a scrumptious menu all day—from breakfast and lunch to dinner and dessert. In addition to a sit-down plate, you can get pastries to-go from the bakery, or pick up some meat, cheese, salad or soup from the deli counter. Everything, including the bread, is made from scratch every day, and Hill and his team stick to old-fashioned goodness in the kitchen. “The food trends that come and go kind of pass over us here. Our customers are trying to get the flavor they remember from Grandma’s chicken soup or meatloaf.”
That meatloaf is a fan favorite—a perfect version of a beloved classic. “We do play around with it,” says Hill. “It’s a bacon meatloaf, and we’ll grill it on the char-broiler and serve it with barbecued candied onions. It’s that little Crossroads twist that we put on things.”
Mother’s Day Brunch
Treat Mom (and the rest of the family) to a home-cooked smorgasbord in her honor. “Mother’s Day brunch is our biggest, most spectacular meal of the year,” says chef Scott Hill. Come for the classics, like omelets and pancakes, and stay for some of Hill’s signature dishes: Malted waffles, anyone?
Mother’s Day Brunch
May 11 // 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Call restaurant for more details.
2795 Hedberg Drive
Brunch at Home
Crossroads Deli chef Scott Hill shares a few of Hill’s signature brunch recipes are perfect for whipping up in the comfort of your own kitchen—and perhaps let Mom enjoy Mother’s Day breakfast in her PJs!
Creamed Chicken Gravy Benedicts
4 biscuits (English muffins or toast slices work well, too)
4 tomato slices
4 eggs, poached
4 Tbsp. butter
4 Tbsp. flour
1/4 tsp. thyme
1/4 tsp. black pepper
Pinch of red pepper flakes
Pinch of salt
2 cups milk
2 cups cooked chicken, roughly chopped (leftovers work well)
Make a roux with the butter, flour and spices. Add the milk and bring to a boil. Add the chicken and let the gravy cook to your desired thickness. Warm a slice of tomato and place it on a biscuit or English-muffin half. Top with a poached egg and pour chicken gravy over the top.
Wild Rice Quiche Makes
For the crusts:
2 pre-baked, 9-inch pie shells
For the filling:
2 cups cooked wild rice
3/4 cup cooked bacon, chopped
3/4 cup cooked sausage, crumbled
1/2 cup chopped red pepper
1/2 cup sliced green onions
1/2 cup sliced mushrooms
3 cups shredded Swiss cheese
For the custard:
1 1/2 cups sour cream
4 tsp. Dijon mustard
1/4 tsp. black pepper
Pinch of salt
Using half of the Swiss cheese, cover the bottom of the pie shells. Divide and evenly spread the bacon, sausage, peppers, onions and mushrooms between the two pie shells. Whisk the custard ingredients together and pour into the pie shells. Sprinkle the remaining 1½ cups of Swiss cheese over the tops of your quiches. Bake at 350 degrees for about 35 minutes.
French Toast with Blueberry- Raspberry Compote
For the batter:
1/2 cup milk
1/4 cup sugar
1 Tbsp. vanilla
1/2 tsp cinnamon
Pinch of nutmeg
Pinch of allspice
For the berry compote:
2 cups blueberries (fresh or frozen)
2 cups raspberries (fresh or frozen)
2 cups brown sugar
2 Tbsp. butter
1/4 tsp. cinnamon
Whisk the batter ingredients together. Dip each slice of bread in the batter and soak it on both sides. In a lightly oiled pan, cook each slice until golden-brown. To make the berry compote, place all ingredients in a wide, shallow pan over medium heat. Stir occasionally and bring to a slow boil. When the liquid is reduced to a syrupy consistency, remove it from the heat. Before serving, let compote cool until it’s just warm.