Pandemic Takeout 5: Quarterback Club (Northfield, MN)


It took a pandemic and a “stay at home” order but I finally have a review of the food of Quarterback Club, possibly the most iconic restaurant in our small town of Northfield, Minnesota. This is not because we’ve never eaten their food before. We’ve stopped in a few times over the years for their signature fried chicken; and that same fried chicken features every year on the table at our neighbourhood’s annual fall potluck, paid for by some communal pool of money that the neighbourhood was bequeathed at the time it was incorporated by the city. This fried chicken is quite good but it never seemed like enough of a reason to write them up. And with El Triunfo at the other end of the large parking lot they anchor, we never quite seemed to make it to Quarterback Club very often. But now that our options for food made outside our house have shrunk—long round-trip drives to the Cities don’t appeal for take-out—the variety offered to us by Quarterback Club seems more appealing. Here therefore is a quick write-up of a recent meal of fried chicken and more.

They have a pretty good system for pandemic pickup. You call in your order and have the option to pay over the phone. Someone in a mask and gloves brings your food out to the parking lot and you take it away and eat it. So, what did we take away and eat?

We got a 10 pc “bucket” (cardboard box, actually) of their chicken and got it with the “more dark meat” option which gives you three thighs, three drumsticks, two breasts and two wings. I should stop here and say that while I have been calling this “fried chicken” it is actually “broasted chicken”. And it’s only while resizing and uploading the pictures for this review that I have finally learned what “broasted” refers to. My eye stopped on a sentence on the box of chicken that referred to 60+ years of flavour—confusing as Quarterback Club’s signage notes prominently that they were founded in 1967. I’d imagined previously that “broasted” was just some cutesy menu thing but it’s actually a patented chicken cooking process from this Wisconsin company. The chicken is fried but in a pressure cooker. The company licenses the process and equipment to various restaurant operators, of whom Quarterback Club is one.

From what I can make out from the Genuine Broaster Chicken website licensed operators have to use a particular marinade and recipe and prepare the chicken in the proprietary equipment. They can even purchase pre-marinated chicken from the mothership. Presumably, this means there’s nothing very unique about Quarterback Club’s chicken and that were you to happen upon another licensed operator of Genuine Broaster Chicken in the wild you’d be able to eat more or less the same thing. Anyway, it’s good fried chicken. You can read more about it all here if you like.

In addition, we got a rack of baby back ribs. These were decent enough (as to whether these are made in-house or acquired from somewhere else, I do not know). The younger brat asked for a cheeseburger and was indulged. On the side: fries, onion rings, cole slaw and mashed potatoes and gravy. All were unobjectionable and the cole slaw was good. Decent food that was enough for two meals for the four of us (with some other leftovers in the fridge added on). I can’t say it made us resolve to eat at/take out from Quarterback Club more often but we had no regrets about having done it on this occasion.

We’ve been doing takeout from El Triunfo every week. Next week I might have another report on the food we’ve been getting from them. And we’ve been getting takeout from Grand Szechuan once every two weeks as well—I’ll probably have another report on those meals too soon. By mid-May I’m guessing I’ll have begun to go a bit further afield for takeout. The Joy’s Thai meal left us yearning for our University Ave. favourites and I’ve also been jonesing for Ethiopian food. I am also dying for a really good burger.

Before all that though I’ll have another report from our visit to Goa in January. I need to finish writing up those meals as well as our meals out in Calcutta right after.

8 thoughts on “Pandemic Takeout 5: Quarterback Club (Northfield, MN)

  1. Oddly, Quarterback Club opened up in 1967 also in Hibbing, Minnesota. I had to leave college for a semester and worked there when they opened. I do remember their broasted chicken. They made a big deal out of it, but I had no idea they had invented it. I remember it tasting pretty good, but not remarkable enough to create a lifelong craving. I don’t think I’ve had broasted chicken for all those years, so I’m thinking now I should try. Quarterback Club only lasted a few years in Hibbing. It had been a pretty unique place with their big football on top. I don’t think even McDonalds or Hardees was in town at that point.

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    • Did you mean to say “no idea they hadn’t invented it”? Because it’s not their invention–they license it from the Wisconsin company whose founder did invent it back in the 1950s.

      And I had no idea there was a Quarterback Club in Hibbing. Turns out it was a franchise owned by Vikings’ players and now only the Northfield location survives.

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  2. Love broasted chicken. My grandma would get it for us in Eau Claire, WI when we were kids,from a little diner. Now a lot of places call it broaster but it’s just plain fried. Like they don’t want to pay the use fee or something.

    Our favorite burger is still Matt’s Bar. They’re doing take out. The double cheeseburger is what I get, but the Lucy is the big draw. Toppings are very limited – pickles and onions, catsup and mustard. No mayo, etc. But it allows you to really taste the burger. This is not another $18 cheffy burger thank goodness. A pet peeve of mine.

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  3. I just looked at the menu pricing I can’t believe how cheap everything is. I love the daily specials, classic diner stuff. The 4 piece chicken is $7.95 that’s like free.

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  4. Broasted chicken seems to be a very Midwestern thing, and given that I am also very Midwestern, I’ve had my fair share of it. It’s fine. It’s chicken. When we have guests from outside the Midwest it’s never something I think of as “a thing.” Maybe I should?

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    • I dunno. It doesn’t finally seem so very different from other types/brands of fried chicken. Then again I am not a fried chicken connoisseur.

      I was struck by the reference on the Genuine Broaster Chicken though to this being a Wisconsin Supper Club staple from days of yore. If that’s true and not simply marketing piffle then there’s an interesting regional food thread there (even if the food itself in this case is not so unique). That said, it appears that Broasted chicken (under their trademark) is available all over the US. It does seem like it’s more likely to be found in fairly downmarket dining settings—gas stations included.

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