December 18, 2019

Famous For What? (House of Coates)

A great big sign that's all lit up so you see it clearly as you're driving down hwy 52 through Coates and Rosemount, Mn that reads; "World Famous Burgers". One might think with such a claim as this, I should probably stop and check it out. Let me make your plans a little easier for you... There is nothing famous about their burgers. They're not even in the same league as our top 10 burger list.

I was craving a burger and hadn't been to the House of Coates for well over 5 years and we had plenty of people tell us how amazing their burgers were. You have to check this place out! If mediocre burgers are your thing, then this is definitely a place for you to stop at. If you're looking for a flavorful and quality burger, then keep driving.  Also, if you like waiting over 40 minutes for your meal in a super small restaurant and watch tables who were sat after you get their food first as well, then this is definitely the place for you.

We ordered the Swanee Burger which apparently was added to a greatest burgers list for Minnesota, but I'm not sure who the judges were and if they had any culinary experience. Piled high with 2 slices of super thin bacon (may want to use different descriptive words here), American cheese and fried onions. Seriously, nothing exciting at all about this burger...
The other meal we decided to order was the Broasted Chicken. While the chicken was actually pretty decent, when broasted, it should never be Unfortunately, the chicken we received was just that, dry. Again, decent flavor, but needs some work.

Not a great experience at all and we have no reason to visit again anytime soon. If this is your favorite place, we're glad you find enjoyment in this establishment. But, it's just not "World Famous" and doesn't belong on a "greatest burgers" list.

House of Coates
16300 Clayton Ave E
Coates, Minnesota

December 6, 2019

On The Streets Of Philasota!

What!? So it's a made up word, but it describes something so perfect... We may not be in Philadelphia (and I would rather be anywhere else, but there), but we have some great Philly's being made right here in Minnesota. My wife and I have had some of the best throughout the Metro and we're always looking for a place to add to our top 10 list.

I have learned that the only way to enjoy a truly authentic Philly is to have it with whiz. Nope! That is truly just a myth and I've come across several articles defending this. I would much rather have my Philly's with either American or Provolone because I like things to taste good. Putting Whiz on a Philly is like putting ketchup on the perfectly prepared filet. It should never be done!

So, who's got the best Philly's in 'Sota? Let's get on with this madness of a challenge and start the search.

1. Tono Pizzeria + Cheesesteaks
I thoroughly enjoy recommendations, especially when they turn out to be winners. This one was one of those iffy recommendations for me and I can safely say, I'm an idiot for that. Awesome Philly! Tons of steak, the right amount of onions, the perfect amount of cheese and the roll was soft and warm. Their Philly's should definitely be consumed by the masses and I pray they open a location in the south metro, preferably Apple Valley. This was the description of their Original South Philly. Now I need to check out this pizza thing they have going as well....

2. O'Malley's Irish Pub - Woodbury
Absolutely amazing and made perfectly! Get the chicken or the beef, they're both outstanding and one of my go to places when I'm in the mood for a Philly! My wife and I keep going back to this place, because it's just that darn good. Seriously, you can not over look this place.

3. Goody's Hot City Pizza - St. Paul
A friend of mine was on me to check this place out as it’s the only Philly he enjoys eating. Really, that good? I had to check this place out and I finally did. I just wish I would have gone years ago when he first told me about Goody’s. Um yeah..... The Philly is a solid pick and you need to check this place out at least once.

4. T.O.P.S. - Rosemount
The Philly here is different than most places and very unique. You know it's an awesome Philly, when you're craving it for breakfast, actually eat it for breakfast and want it again for dinner that night, after just eating there the night before. Check out the full review, Rosemountphilly's Back Again.

5. Jersey Mike's Subs - Any Location
Yes this is a chain, but man is their Philly awesome! Check out any of their locations throughout the Twin Cities, but if you want the very best example, their St. Anthony Village location is king! Give me a local spot that can serve better and maybe, but highly unlikely, I'll remove the chain...

6. Pappys Chicago Style Eatery
They typically make their Philly's with swiss, but I asked to have American added to my Philly instead and they were kind enough to do so. Their Philly is definitely a solid one, great flavor, plenty of meat, good mix of onions and peppers and the cheese was plentiful. I would certainly go back for a second or third. And for under $6 bucks, ya can't go wrong.

7. Saint Paul Saints - CHS Field
A baseball team? Really!? Yes, Really! They have a Philly booth near the section of 112 that is serving up some down right amazing Philly's and the line that was there for the ENTIRE ball game simply proves how good they really are.

8. Mallory's Restaurant & Rooftop
Stopped by after a recommendation and sure glad we did. Lots of great menu options to choose from and one of our selections was their Loaded Philly. Their meat was seasoned like no one else's and it was very tender as well. Mushrooms were huge, onions and peppers were grilled just right and served on a soft roll. Check out my full review, Three Little Piggy's.

9. Lumberyard Pub - Afton
Not your typical looking Philly, but sometimes it's the unique places showing the rest of the Philly makers how to make something worth eating. They serve their Philly's on a ciabatta roll which I enjoyed and everything that went into making this bad boy was tasty. Lots of cheese, nicely seasoned and sliced sirloin.

10. Domonick's Pizza - Inver Grove Heights
Plenty of people were telling me I had to experience the Philly's found at Dominick's, but I wasn't completely convinced they were worth trying. Pictures (Including the one on their website) that I have seen, make their Philly's look like a large hoagie with some dried out roast beef and cheese inside. Change that picture, because this Philly is actually pretty darn good!

Places that once sat in the top 10 rankings or couldn't cut it in the first place;

B-52 Burgers & Brew
Frank From Philly
Jersey's Bar & Grill
Joseph's Grill
Tavern Grill
Uncle Franky's
Wild Boar

If you think you have a place with a good Philly that I should be checking out, let me know! 

November 17, 2019

Flying Buffalo's? (Twin Cities Best Wings)

Thanks to the Anchor Bar in Buffalo, New York, we get to enjoy tasty deep fried, baked or grilled bird anatomy by the dozens. It seems as though every restaurant and bar across the country has these delicious morsels available for their patrons and when they're prepared well, they sure are enjoyable to eat.

Not all chicken wings are made equally and since this is one of our favorite items on the food pyramid,  it was a must that we set out to find the best "Sota has to offer. What's it take to make a solid buffalo wing? Well, if you ask us, it's the following;
  1. Preparation of wings (cooked or undercooked)
  2. How well the sauce/dry rub adheres to the wings 
  3. Flavor quality and uniqueness (not just the use of Frank's
We're always accepting suggestions, but here is our current top 10 list;

1. Inver Grove Brewing Co. (Lakeville Brewing Co.)
Maybe it was just my visit or something, but I left wanting more wings and was completely full. Both locations are fantastic, but what I find more interesting is, their IGH location hasn't been open very long and it's packed every night! But, how about those wings???? Absolutely insane! Their house dry rub wings were perfect. Nice size, perfectly cooked with a nice crispy outside and the dry rub was lights out. A mix of salty, subtle sweet, well balanced heat and spice and your taste buds will be thanking you for consuming these bird parts.

2. Hickory Hut
Why no one told me to check this place out any sooner is beyond me... It may not be in the most appealing and safest neighborhood in St. Paul, but if that doesn't bother you or you believe in your 2nd Amendment rights, than there is no reason why you should be passing this place up. Full wings, long standing house dry rub that they've been using since day 1 and fried absolutely perfectly! I'm not at all a fan of coleslaw, but there are a few places that just know how to make it taste great. Hickory Hut happens to be one of them. I even went back for a second one! I was ready to eat every last chicken wing in the back, but was kind enough to enjoy my meal and let others enjoy their dining experience as well. Seriously, I could just eat the dry rub and slaw, but the fried bird anatomy is just as superb.

3. Icehouse Minneapolis 
These wings were hands down one of the best wings we've had thus far in our journey to find the best. Bleu cheese mousse, red chile, curried pickled veggies and some chipotle aioli accompanying some down right perfect wings. Cooked perfectly with a nice crispy outside (without having to ask) and an outstanding dry rub to boot. Really!? Bleu cheese mousse? Awesome! You can learn more about our full experience by visiting, Ice Ice Icehouse.

4. Northbound Smokehouse & Brewpub
If you like anything smoked you'll like these. If you like a heavy smoked flavor with some awesome spices as well, you'll love these! The one thing I talked to one of their managers about, Ryan was that they needed to make their buffalo sauce unique and I know they have a talented team that can easily pull it off. As for their BBQ, something completely different and delicious. Heavy smoked flavor meats aren't for everyone, but for me, these were easy to rank in this position. I would have gave them the third spot, but Lone Oak's sauce is awesome. You can see the full Northbound review at Smoking In The Back Room.

5. Nutmeg Brewhouse
This place is legit and sitting towards the top of my prestigious wing list. What? It is! Because of their preppy process. The wings are the perfect size and they soak 24 hours in their EPA brew and then you get to enjoy them. Homemade sauces set this place apart form other establishments and order the following for an awesome experience; Blackened Dry Rub, side of buffalo (any heat you like), side of ranch, extra crispy. Dip your wing in buffalo, then the ranch and enjoy! Check out my full review of the Nutmeg - Don't Worry, Be Hoppy.

6. Bennett's Chop House
Always enjoy going to Bennett's for their awesome dinner side salad or chop salad among a number of other great dishes they prepare. After a dozen trips, I finally took a shot at their dry rub wings and I am sure glad I did. Perfect size, cooked perfectly and they had amazing flavor. Need an app prior to your meal? Make sure you grab some wings.

7. Trail Stop Tavern
Since this place opened, we've been devouring the wings at Trail Stop. Their Trail Stop Dry Rub is absolutely delicious and their house made dressings make their wings even better. I never have to ask for extra crispy to ensure they're thoroughly cooked and they never hold back from the dry rub. If you're in the Eagan/IGH/Rosemount area and you're craving wings, this is the place to check out.

8. Tamarack Tap Room 
The Tap Room is serving some outstanding wings. They're a good size wing, not these tiny little guys you'll find elsewhere and they cook them perfectly and as always, I order them extra crispy. They're prepped with a great tasting dry rub that just adds to the perfectly cooked wing and while their buffalo sauce is a traditional buffalo, the whole packaged easily beats out some of the competition. Check out my full restaurant reviews of Tamarack Tap Room by visiting; Locavore Hear Me Roar & We're Jammin', Bacon Jammin'

9. Harry's Cafe
My wife and I were out-and-about enjoying the day and decided to stop by Harry's to grab a quick bite to eat before hitting up an antique shop in the area. Wasn't really sure what to order so I asked the server how the wings were. "You gotta try 'um!" Okay, why not! I'm hesitant to order wings because far too many places just open up a bottle of Frank's Red Hot and that's just not my cup of tea. Thankfully, Harry's buffalo wing sauce was not that at all. I got my wings extra crispy as I normally do and they were awesome. They had a nice salty flavor, cooked perfectly and the extra crispy outside just makes the wings that much better. Harry's wings are the full wing you have to break apart yourself and you get plenty with your order. To top it all off, the buffalo sauce was delicious as well. It had it's own unique flavor and I would definitely go back for more. IF you have an appetite, try one of their burger challenges and I'll say this... GOOD LUCK! 

10. Shamrock's
Mostly known for their outstanding juicy lucy's, Shamrock's should start being known for their wings as well. Stopped by with a group of friends and they all know I'm a foodie so of course they were curious what I was getting. We simply wanted an app after having a small lunch elsewhere and my wife and I tend to go for wings to try new places. What caught our attention was the MN Wild Wings. They sat high on the heat index, but no description as what they were. After asking and being told they were a dry rub and full of flavor, we had to try them. OUTSTANDING! They're lucky they were so good, because they were far too small. They were cooked perfectly and again, full of amazing flavor. I may have to go back for their wing challenge - 20 wings in their habanero sauce in a short amount of time without anything to drink. Doesn't sound that difficult after eating ghost peppers and scotch bonnets!

Wings that once held a spot on the top 10 list, but couldn't quite hang on to that 10th spot...

B52 Burgers and Brew
Blue Door
Buffalo Tap
Jake's City Grill
Jersey's Bar & Grill
Ray J's
Spring Street Tavern (City Pages says they're the best - Nope)

November 11, 2019

You Know I Like my Chicken Fried

There is something special about fried chicken, especially if the jeans fit just right after you enjoy some delicious fried bird. While I will always choose a local ma & pa shop first, when you need something fast and it's readily available, we unfortunately turn to fast food to fill the void.

There has been a lot of hype lately about the new chicken sandwich found at Popeye's. Reports of people being assaulted for their chicken sandwich, A CHICKEN SANDWICH! People willing to do anything to get their hands on this chicken sandwich. Calm down people, there's plenty of fried birds to go around for everyone. Just have a little patience when they run out... 

Any who... It was time to try one for myself and I was able to purchase said chicken sandwich without myself or anyone else being hurt. In fact, I walked into my local Popeye's, was greeted very nicely and walked out with my sandwich in hand for 3.99.  But, is the Popeye's chicken sandwich legit? Is it worth assaulting someone to get it? No to the assault charges, but I think it's time to reveal the rankings for fast food chicken sandwich and coming in at number 1 - Popeye's!

1. Popeye's
I've heard the good, the bad and the ugly about this sandwich and in my opinion, it's a solid sandwich. Well, at least the classic sami that I received. That great flaky and tasty exterior Popeye's is known for, the chicken was super juicy on the inside, grilled brioche bun and a mild helping of mayo. I've always liked Popeye's after first experiencing it in a Texas airport during some traveling with my wife. Was hooked, but had to wait a couple of year's until Popeye's appeared in the Twin Cities. 

2. Chick-Fil-A
A place that I thoroughly respect for their beliefs, closing on Sunday's for a day of rest and serving some delicious chicken sandwiches and nuggets. Seriously, their nuggets are killer. But, this is about the chicken sami's and they're certainly delicious, but just not quite that flaky crust that I enjoy so much from Popeye's. Definitely not as big as Popeye's as well... 

3. KFC
Seeing more and more of these close down it seems like, but their chicken has always been tasty, greasy, but tasty. It's fried chicken, it's going to be unhealthy for you! Pretty simple sandwich, smaller than the previously mentioned sami's, but worth the try. 

4. Burger King
A pretty decent fried chicken sandwich that has some similarities to their classic oblong chicken sandwich that they're known for (besides the obvious whopper). Not an overly large sami like some of the others, but a nice helping for lunch. 

5. Culver's
Known for their delicious "better brand of beef, makes a butter burger better" and yes, they are tasty, the chicken sandwich is pretty solid as well. I prefer their chicken tenders myself, but if you're craving a chicken sandwich and the above mentioned isn't available for purchase in your area, then check out a Culver's Chicken Sandwich. 

6. Wendy's
While I'd rather get a junior bacon cheeseburger, nuggets or a chocolate frosty, their chicken sandwich isn't half bad. Decent flavor in the breading and the chicken isn't dry either. Nothing special for a bun like the rest of the options you have to choose from here. 

7. Raising Cane's
Their big thing is their chicken tenders, but yes, you can get a chicken sandwich if you're really craving the extra carbs and need that bun. It's just a couple of tenders in a bun. Not terrible, but I'm sot sure anything else really needs to be said... 

8. McD's
Big Mac's. Chicken Nuggets. The Quarter Pounder. The Happy Meal, gotta have that toy... Yes, McD's is known for these things first and foremost and they've steadily been trying to make their food more appealing and making changes to the menu. The old chicken patty has a competitor in their buttermilk crispy chicken sandwich. It's what you would expect from McD's. 

9. Arby's
I would simply say, stick to making roast beef's and shouting out, "We Have The Meats!" 

There you have it. The fried chicken sandwiches found at our local fast food joints throughout the Twin Cities. But, everyone knows that if you truly want an amazing fried chicken sandwich, you bypass every single one of these places and head straight to Revival! 

November 3, 2019

Duck Duck Gray Duck

Duck.... duck... duck... duck... GOOSE! Just kidding, everyone knows it's duck duck gray duck. And, while everyone continues to debate this, let's talk about the Gray Duck found in downtown St. Paul. Gray Duck Tavern is settled right in the heart of downtown St. Paul and providing patrons with comfort food they say is "inspired by the north star state."

It's been open for the last couple of year's now and we've been wanting to check this place out and just not got around to it. Changes in the kitchen and the menu now has Gray Duck Tavern what it is today. We recently read an article that the Pioneer Press published on burgers; In 2019, the burgers in these cities are better than ever. And, while some of the burgers on this list are absolutely worth trying and on our top 10 list, there is plenty on the list worth staying away from and others we hadn't tried. Gray Duck's was one of them.

What really got us wanting to check Gray Duck Tavern out was the fact that Chef Sutherland, a very well-known chef throughout the Twin Cities Culinary Scene is running the team behind the scenes. But, while Chef Sutherland may very well be a top notch chef, his burger game needs some help.

I give you, the Animal Burger. Double chuck patties, american, caramelized onion, bibb lettuce, tomato, special sauce, pickle, mustard on a thick and dried out bun. Upon arrival to the table, the patties came across as the ones that are typically pre-made and stored for a later date (even a much later date), not very fresh and the cheese was just barely melted. I removed the bibb, tomatoes and pickles and started getting my hands dirty.
At first bite, I immediately knew, that even though we like to try variations of burgers, it wasn't going to even compete for a spot in the top 10 list. The meat was flavorless and all you really tasted was the dry bun, mustard and onions. Absolutely nothing to brag about or include in the Pioneer Press.

Not all was bad though... We also ordered the Gray Duck Tator Tot Hotdish. Prepared with a red wine braised short rib, carrot, pea, wild mushrooms, cream, parmesan and of course golden brown tots to top it off. One bite of this dish and you will want seconds and definitely the type of comfort food anyone would enjoy.
Each and every bite from this dish was enjoyable. The braised beef was exceptional and very tender. That melt in your mouth like butter type of tenderness. Wasn't overly heavy on the cream and just the right amount of veggies to complete the dish.

Tag you're it! Time for you to do some running around the bar which is what my wife was doing with her eyes looking at other patron's drinks wishing she hadn't ordered the Old Fashion. According to her, not worth the money and lacking any flavor and substance. As a former craft beer aficionado (8 months clean), searching high and low for the very best the region has to offer, the craft beer selection is weak at best.

Okay, now you are it! You'll have to check this place out yourself and not everything was a letdown. But, I was expecting a whole lot more out of our visit and left craving the best burger money can buy, a burger form The Parlour Bar.

Gray Duck Tavern
345 Wabasha St. N.
St Paul, MN 55102

October 12, 2019

Small Town Burger Man

I was never brought up workin' on the land like my daddy's daddy before me and falling in love with a small town woman. However, I was brought up on delicious food prepared by my mother who learned from my mommy's mommy and I might just be a small town burger man.

Working in construction, I'm traveling all over the place and one of our foreman told me that our next destination has some pretty solid burgers. With him well aware of my top 10 list - I'm A Meat Eater (Best T.C. Burgers), he wanted to see if it had the potential to be added. 

I decided to go with a classic bacon cheese burger, double American cheese and comes on a standard bun (untoasted), with a side of tots. My pal Phil went for his favorite at the bar, the Curd Burger. A 1/2 lb. burger, lettuce, tomato, fried onions, fried curds and bbq sauce on a toasted bun. I didn't try the curd burger, but the toasted bun is of significance... 

My burger was a classic "diner style" burger, nothing more, nothing less. It definitely had some great potential and I would certainly go back for another one and a great start with their burgers being prepared on a flat top. I do have some suggestions.

First, add some additional seasoning (combination of salt, pepper and something additional that is unique to set you apart from the rest). Next, I would ball my chuck up with a small chunk of butter (about the size of a peanut M&M) and set aside for later. Then, I would smash the burgers on the flat top and get a nice crispy sear to retain those flavors, flipping and placing the cheese immediately on the burger. Finally, I would serve EVERY burger with a toasted bun.

I can see why the locals would like this place instead of going to Applebees (which you never need to go to). Decent burgers, plenty of burger creations, small town feel and I think even Alan Jackson himself would enjoy a burger. So, would their burgers make my top 10 list? Not quite! But, again, a decent burger and maybe with some changes for the better, the potential could be there...

Cambridge Bar & Grill
216 South Main St.
​Cambridge, Mn 55008

September 25, 2019

I'm A Meateater! (Best T.C. Burgers)

Oh-oh here I come, watch out cow, I'll chew you up! It's no secret that I love hamburgers and I especially enjoy them when they're prepared perfectly. I've been reading "top burger joints" from every news outlet and paper in the Twin Cities, so I figured I should share the places that I think 'Sota residents and visitors should consider trying even after they're done reading the top 5, 10 or 15 from other local outlets.

What's a good burger you ask? Well, I probably wouldn't go with anything in the super lean category or stop by a place known for great salads. In addition, If your burger looks perfectly round, symmetrical and like the one you buy from Sam's Club for the family grill out, chances are, it's exactly that and not worth eating.

If your burger has bits of morsels falling off, cooked to a perfect pink, nothing symmetrical about it with juices dripping off it and some outstanding flavor, then you have found yourself something worth biting into and devouring. And even more so, it needs to be on a flat top - period!

Whelp, here we go! Here are the top 10 places I think you should consider stopping by for a delicious burger to enjoy and each of these definitely brings something different to the table;

1. Parlour Bar Minneapolis
It has been a fun journey trying to find the best burgers being made in Minnesota and the best has been found. Their simple, yet perfect blend of ground chuck, ribeye and brisket is a burger that could be a last meal. So simple, yet phenomenal! Two perfectly prepared patties with two slices of white American. Some serious perfection and I've been craving more since enjoying my first one. Job well done Parlour! Ask for some house-made aioli, you'll thank me!

2. Revival
Known for having some of the most amazing chicken you will find in the Twin Cities, Revival has also received high praises for their simple, yet perfectly made Revival Burger. So, with all the hype, I had to check this place out and I'm glad I did. What a perfect burger! Full of seasoning with salty bites from start to finish. Melty, gooey American cheese covering the whole thing. Just the right touch of mayo, two HUGE, THICK cuts of bacon on a perfectly grilled bun. Get it single, double or triple stacked - I guess it just depends on how hungry you are. I recommend a double with a side of their hush puppies. Always look forward to make returning visits.

3. Saint Dinette
A lot of hype saying that Saint Dinette's burger could take down Parlour's. And, while the Saint Dinette burger was a fantastic burger in its own right, it just wasn't the Parlour burger. Nothing to be upset about, I'd stop by Saint Dinette for another if I was in the Lowertown neighborhood of downtown St. Paul without thinking twice. Another perfectly prepared double stack, but with classic American cheese.

4. Peppers and Fries
Had a few people tell me I should check this place out and telling me that a couple of their burgers have done well at the annual Burger Battle. I drive by it on a weekly basis with a construction project near by and thought to myself - "That place? Really!?" Well, I finally had a chance to stop by and ordered up the burger that won them 3rd place for both the people's choice and judge's choice. Just one problem with that... It should have been first! Which burger was it? Their Peppers PB&J. WOW! Tons of delicious bacon, a perfectly prepared burger, some melty cheese and PB and the best part - their house made pepper jam! Seriously, an insane burger and a must get!

5. McKinney Roe
Like my other favorite place for a burger, Brunson's Pub - Perfection! They entered their Big Stag burger into the 2017 Burger Battle and took home gold. I had to check it out for myself after all the hype and see if it really was worthy of 1st Place. Oh my word, yes, yes it is definitely worthy of the top spot! Check out my full review - Let McKinney Roe Go?

6. Kendall's/Bunker Hill Golf
Took a shot (no pun intended) on this place after a recommendation and told it was a must try. I'll try anything once and I'm glad I did. Constructed like an In and Out Burger, but with a ton more flavor and excitement. A double double, lettuce, tomato, onions and thousand island dressing and not from the grocery store. I was actually thinking I would be let down, but instead was actually very impressed by this creation. Think I'll go back for another soon enough...

7. Brunson's Pub
Their Classic Double and Schwietz Burger are some outstanding burger creations. You cannot pass this place up and you cannot say no to either of these burgers. This is the type of place that needs to be enjoyed, shared with everyone and appreciated! Check out the full review - May The Schwietz Be With You!.

8. Birch's Lowertown Taproom & Barrel
A visit based on a recommendation from a friend of ours and glad they did. A solid burger creation with its own unique flavors and super delicious. Add a basket of skinny cut fries, glass of Birch’s Blood Orange or Double IPA and you have yourself a complete meal.

9. King's Place
With more burgers to choose from than any other place you'll ever visit, there is definitely a burger for everyone at King's Place. Cooked on a flat top like they should be, seasoned nicely, cooked to a solid pink on the inside and always tasty every time we stop in.

10. Burger Burger
If you're traveling out to the Mall of America for any reason at all, the only place worth eating a burger at is Burger Burger. Several creative options to choose from, but we recommend The Classic. May not hold on to this spot that long if another competitor is found, but still a solid burger option.

So there you have it! These are my top places to find a delicious burger and will always keep this list up-to-date as I journey out to find other places serving up some tasty red meat. Don't forget, if it's not pink, don't eat it!

Just because it isn't in the top 10 list doesn't necessarily mean it's not worth a shot yourself. Here is our honorable mention list;

* Busted Nut
* Hazelwood Food & Drink
* JL Beers
* Shantytown Bar & Grill
* St. Paul Tap
* Tamarack Tap

Places that once made the cut, but couldn't hang on to that 10th spot...  

- 7th Street Social
- B-52 Burgers and Brew
- Burgers and Bottles
- Burger Moe's
- Burger Jone's
- Jersey's Bar & Grill
- Muddy Cow
- Ox Cart Ale House
- Patty Wagon
- Red Cow

July 27, 2019

Life At The Northern Taphouse

Ah hey ma ma mommy doo-dine-in-ya, ah hey ma ma ma hey-y-yah, life in the Northern Taphouse… So what is life actually like in this new place called the Northern Taphouse? While you continue to sing Dream Academy, I will gladly share that information with you.

After taking over one of the many Applebee’s locations to close down in Lakeville, Lincoln Hospitality stepped in to revitalize one of those closed down “Neighborhood Grills” and turn it into one of their taphouses. They also own Milwaukee Burger Co, a couple of Grizzly’s and a few other taphouses throughout the region. An environment for the sports minded, beer drinking, burger eating, pizza loving type of person! We really wish they would have made the decision to enter Rosemount instead, but it’s not too far away…

But, there are still questions to be answered. Is the food good? Is the beer list good? Are there enough TV’s with sports coverage? Will the Salvation Army band play? Will the children drink lemonade? I’m not so sure about the last couple of questions, but I have answers for you on the first 3!
First, there are plenty of TV’s with every type of sporting event on for all to enjoy; no matter the sport you enjoy watching the most. Secondly, the food is pretty decent, but nothing that will knock your socks off - still better than Applebee's. Finally, as a former consumer of alcohol, the beer list can hold its own and 99% locally raised beers.

For our first visit to Northern Taphouse, my family and I went for the Garbage Pizza and a Maple Butter Burger, while the kiddos enjoyed some cheese pizza. Their pizzas are stone fired ‘zzas and, had they entered the Rosemount market, would have been the best pizza in town. The Garbage Pizza we had was prepared with; pepperoni, red sauce, mozzarella, cob smoked ham, house fennel sausage, green peppers, onions, mushrooms, and black olives. My wife and I absolutely loved the fennel sausage and the smaller pepperoni slices are an awesome addition as well. Not too spicy for either protein, but definitely full of flavor.
As for that burger, not terrible, but some minor adjustments would make it a better burger. All their burgers are prepared with two fresh Midwest raised Certified Hereford Beef patties and smashed on the flat top. When preparing doubles using thin patties, the process shouldn’t’ take any longer than 3 minutes a patty. Smash, flip, add cheese immediately, remove and construct burger. I would encourage the staff to shave about 30-40 seconds of the cooking time to keep the patties pink and still juiced up.
The Maple Butter Burger was prepared with sweet maple butter, Muenster cheese, thick-cut bacon and a sunny-side up egg which we decided to leave off. All the flavors together made for a pretty decent creation, but a tad dry for being a flat top made burger. None the less, it had some positive burger vibes. The question my readers are probably asking themselves, “Would it make your top 10 list?” Probably not, even if they made the minor timing changes I mentioned above.

But, I would still go back to order up another ‘zza, definitely try the wings next time because every order that went by our table looked darn tasty and yes, I would even order another burger. I would just build my own next time. I would encourage you to check this place out for yourself. It hasn’t been open very long, but if they remain packed like it was while were there, they have a bright future ahead of them.

Northern Taphouse
18404 Kenrick Ave
Lakeville, MN 55044

February 1, 2019

A Worthy Dinner Pairing Indeed

When you combine exceptional culinary expertise with a brewer’s expertise, you will get something pretty amazing. Now, let those same geniuses use their creative minds to put together a five-course meal pairing for their guests, you will undoubtedly receive nothing, but the very best.

Well, that’s exactly what took place when Chef Frank with Woolley’s Kitchen & Bar sat down with the Indeed Brewing guru’s and creating one of the finest five-course dinner pairings my wife and I have ever experienced. To our followers, family and friends, it’s no surprise to them how much we thoroughly enjoy dining at Woolley’s. And, it’s also no surprise to anyone how much we both love beer. Combine both loves and we weren’t passing this up and super glad we didn’t!

Let’s jump right into it and break the menu down:
First Course: Dish – Crab Frisee Salad, Beverage – Lucy Session Sour, 4.2% ABV
A very simply dish with fresh crab, frisee, green asparagus sticks with pureed white asparagus, speck (the prosciutto family) and fresh slices of avocado. An excellent combination of fresh; salty, sweet, bitter, buttery ingredients with a well-balanced session to cleanse the palate. I would eat this every single day, minus the traditional asparagus. Not a fan, but certainly am of the white asparagus – completely different and enjoyable flavor.
Second Course: Dish – Scallops, Beverage – Brandy Barrel-Aged Mexican Honey Imperial Lager, 8% ABV
Expertly prepared scallops sitting on an insanely made puree with roasted corn, Mexican white corn, black berries and finished off with the most amazing Mexican inspired seasoned bacon. WOW! Bacon, that every person should be enjoying and something I will be working with in the future with regards to a burger creation. Stay tuned for that! The addition of this specific lager was a perfect match and a beer I could see in my fridge on a regular basis. It was a super easy drinker and excellent flavors.
Third Course: Dish – Duck & Butternut Squash, Beverage – Wooden Soul: Wood-Aged Saison, 7.5% ABV
Perfectly prepared duck breasts sitting in a butternut squash (bisque consistency), with wild mushrooms, cipollini onions and cherry. Great flavors working well together and the addition of the Wood-Aged Fruit Saison, with the subtle notes from aging in the wine barrels was spot on for this dish.
Fourth Course: Dish – Short Ribs and Dauphine Potatoes, Beverage – Day Tripper Pale Ale, 5.4% ABV
“Fall off the bone” short ribs with heirloom carrots, dauphine potatoes that should replace French fries on every menu, Humboldt fog and a rosemary jus. Humboldt fog is a super, rich and creamy goat cheese with similar notes to the likes of the best blue cheese you can find. I was enjoying bite after bite after bite and didn’t want this dish to be gone. With the explosion of flavors taking place, the simplicity of Indeed’s flagship pale ale was the perfect selection for this dish.
Fifth and Final Course: Dish РChocolate Pot De Cr̬me, Beverage РRum King Imperial Stout, 10.5% ABV
A dessert that all should have the opportunity of enjoying! This perfectly prepared chocolate cup of custard (it’s literal translation) with Himalayan sea salt and hazelnut was easily one of the most amazing desserts I’ve consumed and yet, it seems so simple. The perfect beer to pair with it? Of course, a heavy imperial stout! But not just any stout, a stout made with orange peel and cacao and sat in barrels for a lengthy period of time until the perfect stout for Indeed was born. Super bold with a quick upfront sweetness from the orange and finishing with the cacao and rum notes.

It was the perfect way to end such an amazing line-up of dishes and beverage pairings and great conversation with table guests sitting with us and having the opportunity to speak to both Chef Frank as well Tina, a brewer with Indeed. My wife and I are never disappointed when we get the opportunity to enjoy the culinary experience Chef Frank provides guests at Woolley’s. And, after speaking with the Chef, as well as management, there might just be a new burger creation that may make the menu and inspired by the evening’s ingredients and my own creative juices. We shall see! In the meantime, make sure to check out Woolley’s for dinner and Indeed for some delicious beverages.