Eating by the St. Croix River during a balmy summer or fall day in Stillwater, Minnesota makes any meal a tranquil experience. Savoring breakfasts, sandwiches, or salads as delicious as the fare offered by Tin Bins is an added bonus. Fresh bakery goods, coffees and espressos tempt from the moment you approach the counter to place your order. Regulars and first-time visitors line up for just a pastry and a cup of joe, or for a tasty breakfast, fresh lunch, or light dinner. If you’ve come for a meal and not just drinks and treats, there’s plenty of interesting options to choose from.
The basket pictured here housed a toasted ciabatta bun with Rondelé garlic cheese spread and honey toasted pecans, with sliced apples and provolone as well. My sandwich had ham added, a suggestion from our server. I had commented on the sandwich being vegetarian, and she’d said, “Oh, you can add some ham, and then get a side salad of greens and strawberries.” It sounded great, so I agreed. Then when my meal was delivered, there were huge chopped ham chunks plopped on top of the salad. Apparently I gave a colossal eye-roll at the error, which cracked up my cousin Vonnie as I marched back into the kitchen to ask for slices on my sandwich…instead of cubes smothering the greens. Once the situation was amended, I thoroughly enjoyed the salad that was loaded with tender greens, fresh berries, and drizzled with a zesty vinaigrette. The toasted bread warmed the herbed cheese and honey pecans, making for a wonderfully light and tasty sandwich. My other relatives enjoyed their meals as well—the fresh ingredients were perfect parings with the herbs and seasonings.
Tin Bins doesn’t just offer interesting food—the history of the place is intriguing as well. The grain elevator structure tells you of it’s humble beginnings. Then the place had a stint as a climbing gym and outdoor clothing store called Otterfitters. Next Mike McGuire, one of the owners of the neighboring Dock Cafe bought the building to provide a venue a little different than the Dock, a place with a European coffee shop vibe. To further the Euro flare, the Tin Bins offers poetry readings on Thursday nights, and bands or acoustic guitar on Friday and Saturday evenings. Even with all that evening entertainment available, they say breakfast is their most popular meal. Whether you go for breakfast, lunch or dinner, patrons settle in at the outdoor patio or trendy tables indoors, and are in no hurry to leave their serene surroundings.