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Remodeled historic train depot home to great food

By Carol Stender

Date Modified: 04/11/2013 9:07 AM

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ALEXANDRIA, Minn. —You can almost hear the sounds of the conductor hollering, "All Aboard!" when entering The Depot Express in Alexandria.

The building, located at the north end of Broadway Avenue, was the town's train depot on The Great Northern line. It opened for business on June 7, 1907, ended passenger service in 1967 and was used for freight deliveries until 1976 when it closed.

Bill Seykora and Ken Neumann had other plans for the eclectic building that is now a historic registry site.

Seykora and Neumann have restaurant backgrounds. They were both working at the Holiday Inn — Bill was food service manager and Ken, the bar manager — when they purchased the building. They remodeled the interior and kept much of the original woodwork while staying true to the period feel of the building. They opened the bar and restaurant on May 6, 1984.

Food is Bill's passion, although he said he stumbled into his culinary career. In his youth, he liked two things — skiing and art. His ski instructor also taught cooking classes. Bill enrolled and discovered he had a talent for creating tasty dishes. The rest, he said, is history.

He completed the cooking courses and traveled to Switzerland with 20 others to learn more about food preparation. The Owatonna native worked at ski resorts and restaurants before moving to Alexandria.

Ken and Bill developed an All-American restaurant. It has one of the largest menus in the area from chicken and seafood to burgers, sandwiches, pizza and pasta.

Its signature popover with honey butter is included with the chicken and seafood entrees.

For an appetizer, try the barbecue pig wings for $9.95. Duck wings are also featured. The lightly breaded delicacies are deep fried to a golden brown.

True to its Minnesota roots, Depot Express offers walleye. The walleye bites appetizer is made from bite-size pieces of Minnesota walleye breaded with The Depot's own seasonings for $10.95. Or try the broiled walleye with lemon butter sauce or walleye fryer cut in strips and fried in beer batter. Like all of Depot Express' chicken and seafood entrees, the meals are served with soup or salad, choice of potato and a popover with honey butter.

Its sandwich and burger offerings range from the classic hamburger to Bill's Prime Burger, featuring a homemade hamburger with Swiss cheese and sauteed mushrooms and onions.

The Chicken Avocado Club Melt for $7.95 includes sliced chicken breast, avocado, bacon and melted Swiss cheese served on marble rye. The Depot Prime Burger is made with an 8-ounce handmade burger topped with Swiss cheese, sauteed onions, mushrooms, tomatoes and bacon for $8.95.

The Fish Tacos are created using soft flour tortillas filled with deep fried perch and topped with tomatoes, onions, avocados, cilantro and cabbage slaw.

All sandwiches are served on a bun or garden spinach wrap with choice of soup, salad or fries.

Pasta selections include Baked Chicken Parmesan, Chicken Angelo Penne Pasta and Bella's Chicken.

In addition to traditional pizza, unique selections include the Great Minnesota Pizza, which includes wild rice, chicken, mushrooms and white sauce. The Reuben Pizza is made with Canadian bacon, sauerkraut, onions and black olives. The Popeye Pizza features spinach with fresh mushrooms, onions, black olives and chicken.