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Scream for ice cream at Trout Scream

By Janet Kubat Willette

Date Modified: 11/22/2013 11:34 AM

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WELCH, Minn. — There only are a few regulars at the Trout Scream Cafe on this rainy day.

Owner Peggy Hansen is seated at a table, dining with her guests.

The day is quiet because it's rainy, Hansen said. Cafe traffic picks up with the weather. On nice, sunny days, bicyclists frequent the nearby Cannon Valley Trail and often stop at the Trout Scream. Welch is equal distance from Cannon Falls and Red Wing on the bike trail.

People who tube, canoe and kayak on the nearby Cannon River also stop at the Trout Scream.

"We're really busy during the summer," Hansen said. People from all over the world, including many from Sweden, frequent the cafe.

At the height of the season, Hanson has six employees serving up entrees and 16 flavors of ice cream. Now, it's only her and three others and 14 flavors of Chocolate Shoppee Ice Cream.

The 14 flavors still in the cooler are all popular, Hansen said. The flavors include Fat Elvis, a banana ice cream rippled with peanut butter and chunks of chocolate, and Heaps of Love, a creamy vanilla ice cream with chocolate, caramel, brownies, Oreos, pecans and cookie dough.

Hansen moved to Welch 26 years ago, and she's owned the Trout Scream for 11 years.

"I've always wanted this place. I love this building," Hansen said.

The Trout Scream building is tucked next to the Welch Post Office. It's a 1914 building.

"This was a hopping town back then," Hansen said. There were tracks on both sides of the river and stockyards. The Trout Scream building was a bank. The bank vault is now a storage area and the vault door is laying out in the woods. There's a hole in the bricks where a rifle was poked through and aimed at the door for security.

The building has been a lot of things through the years, Hansen said.

It was when the movie, "Here on Earth," was filmed in Welch that a kitchen was added to the building.

The cafe's name came from the previous owners who liked to fish, and the scream came from the ice cream served at the cafe. Plus, she said, she didn't want to paint over the big fish mural.

The cafe is decorated with fish and barn-wood framed 8-by-10 photos. A couple larger photos — one of students from the school just down the road, which now is a town hall, and another of winter in downtown Welch with farmers bringing cattle to the stockyards in sleighs — hang from the wall.

Regulars come to the cafe daily. It's a place for them to hang out. It's the regulars who give her grief about closing for the winter. The cafe is open from May 1 to Dec. 1. Hours vary seasonally, depending on tourist business.

"I like that the regulars — the farmers and the people around here — have a place to hang out," Hansen said.

The regulars have three favorite breakfast entrees, she said. The No. 1 favorite is the Cajun breakfast. No. 2 and No. 3 are Peggy's Stuff and the Mexican breakfast.

Peggy's Stuff is hashbrowns, ham, onion, green pepper and Cajun spice mixed together with two scrambled eggs. It's served with toast and sells for $7.95.

The Mexican breakfast is hashbrowns, onions, green pepper, spicy sausage and salsa wrapped up in a four-egg omelet topped with sour cream and served with toast. It sells for $8.95.

Popular lunchtime entrees are barbecued beef, Reubens, deli ham and chicken sandwiches.

The house salad, a spring mix with golden raisins, sunflower seeds and a House recipe tangy vinaigrette is a popular salad. People either love or hate the vinaigrette, she said.

The cafe seats 35, and there's a patio in back for additional summer seating.

Hansen said visitors need to bring their patience when they come during busy times because the grill is table-sized, holding only six hashbrowns or eight eggs at a time.

The Trout Scream is for sale, but Hansen won't sell to just anyone.

"I love this place, and I won't sell it to someone who won't keep it what it is," she said. "It has to stay here."