We’ve had at least three restaurants open in the last year or so in Shakopee — Bravis Modern Street Food in the downtown area last summer and more recently, Little Chicago Chophouse in Canterbury Park and McCoys Copper Pint in Southbridge. I’ve eaten at two of the three and the third is on my to-do list.

I’m not a foodie by any stretch, but I do enjoy eating out. It’s something our family rarely did when I was young. My parents have nine kids, so the restaurant budget was pretty limited. Now, as an adult, I still view eating at a restaurant as something special. With the exception of the new restaurant I haven’t visited yet, I’ve eaten at or gotten takeout from every restaurant in Shakopee. And I like what our town has to offer.

I like that O’Brien’s Public House, Stonebrook, Turtles Bar & Grill, Pablos Mexican Restaurant, and Qdoba support our local youth sports associations and four of those offer outdoor seating. I appreciate that Turtles lets my kids order an egg burger or Elvis burger, even though they’re not on the menu.

I also like that Mr. Pig Stuff, the VFW, and Wampach’s Restaurant are consistent and offer a great value. It’s nice to have a range of options in town, from numerous pizza and burger joints to ethnic food like at Sapporo Japanese Restaurant to several places that fill my summer craving for milkshakes and sundaes. I also like the food trucks that roll in to Badger Hill Brewing Company. Whenever the Med Box Grill is there, so am I.

I’m certainly not a food snob. I don’t have a condescending view of chains like Applebee’s and Chili’s. I’ve always had good experiences there and buy gift cards from both places to use as presents. If these restaurants didn’t fill a need in our community, they wouldn’t be so busy. I realize some people find it fashionable to criticize chains, but I’m not one of them.

I was a bit surprised by the people criticizing Copper Pint online before it even opened, saying the menu was too familiar. I’m glad it’s here, happy it’s open and like the menu. After the restaurant had to overcome a major hurdle of $250,000 in water and sewer connection fees, it’s safe to say we probably won’t see other restaurants racing to build in Shakopee anytime soon.

The restaurants in town also provide job opportunities for teens and others, which is good for Shakopee. It’s also worth noting that in all the places I’ve eaten at in town, the food is always good too.

Brett Martin is a community columnist who’s been a Shakopee resident for over 15 years.

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