I have lived here for 34 years and have never heard of Euclid. Even more troubling, I was born in Kansas City, where Barbecue is a passion. How had I lost this? The word “search” came to my mind.
Given the pandemic, I wasn’t sure if the restaurant was still open, so I called and talked to Chris Weiland, the owner.
“Still open?” I asked.
“Are the ribs still that good?” I asked.
“No,” he said, then stopped. “They are the best.”
I looked at Euclid on a map. Population 149. Ninety miles from home. Far from the promise of an extraordinary meal? Aspak.
My wife and I invited some friends and set a date. The car, on a warm, sunny afternoon up to Highway 75 was a reminder of how beautiful the Northern Plains can be. And it was the promise of good food before us.
Chris knew we were coming. When we arrived, he said he would have booked the best table for us, a window. There was also a small paper tent with a handwritten “reservoir”.
Our server, Erin, was prompt and friendly. Of course, we ordered drinks and snacks, shrimp nachos in a queso sauce, where the shrimp were nachos, goose cheese with bacon and onion rings. Everything was very good. The salads came in paper cups and were mostly not considered because the salad was good. We were in the mood for theater.
Then came the meals and as Erin handed over the dishes, our table calmed down. The main rib was large.
The main rib is soft with a perfect crust. W. Scott Olsen / Special for Forum
The ribs, covered with sauce, shone in the summer light.
“Oh my,” someone said.
There will never be a universal arrangement for the perfect rib plate, but those served in One N Only will be approached. They are not hot. They are soft and sweet and creamy. Every bite is a joy. However, there is something beyond sweet. There is a kind of kick back. Something that makes the palate want to delay or come back. A smoke, perhaps. And they fell from the bone.
I asked my friends for appreciation.
“The sauce is plentiful,” I was told. “They have not lost a meat molecule with sauce.”
“It’s a knife and fork plate with ribs.”
“The main rib has a good crust of pepper.”
“It’s good. It’s big. It’s delicious. The main rib was made in the right softness. I do not order many ribs in restaurants because I’m always disappointed, but I’m not here.”
My wife, Maureen, who has a long history of barbecue in Missouri, said: “These are good! Not too spicy. Like sweetened bacon, in a way. ”
“These hash coffees are cooked really nicely,” said a friend. “They are crunchy outside and soft inside. They are exactly what I want from hash coffee in the restaurant. “
“Which tells me,” added another, “they do really good work on the grill here.”
Brown sugar is provided. The rest of the ingredients are a closely kept secret. W. Scott Olsen / Special for Forum
Erin, our server, confirmed that the recipe is secret.
“Barbecue sauce gets a lot of compliments and Chris will not tell anyone the recipe. I have tried, “she said.
“Almost everything he does is his recipe,” she continued. “Home chips. Homemade potato salad. Garlic sliced potatoes are his. “Everything.”
After dinner, I talked to Chris in the kitchen as he gathered a portion of Alfredo pasta with onions, Cajun sausage, pepper, a nice creamy sauce and then put a grilled sandwich on, not missing a step.
“Did you go to cooking school?” I asked.
“No,” he said. “My parents bought this place when I was 12 or 13 years old. It was mostly a grocery store back then. I bought it when I was 25 years old. I am now 44 years old. We started with a bar. Then the smoking cessation occurred and I started getting more into food. “He got up from there.”
“These are not things you just do,” I said.
“A lot of research,” he said. “The first ribs I ever made were not very good. I studied the internet. Eventually we came up with the recipe we have now. It has been the same recipe now for over a decade. ”
“It takes two days to make these ribs. They are marinated, boiled, cooled, baked. “I can not say beyond that,” he said.
“If no one else can cook the ribs, aren’t you stuck in your kitchen?” I asked.
“We go on vacation in December,” he says.
“Would you say someone else cooked your ribs?”
“No. We have a three-day supply. I do all the dressing before we leave. Then no one can have ribs until I get back. ”
One N Only in Euclid, Min., Is home to extraordinary ribs and more. W. Scott Olsen / Special for Forum
I imagine a whole city waiting, looking forward to the long view of Highway 75. Yes, the food is so good.
When we left, the ample safe remains in the back seat, the drive house was even more beautiful. The meal is worth every mile.
W. Scott Olsen is an author and professor of English at Concordia College in Moorhead, Minn.