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Burger Hunter: Wagner’s Drive-In

wagners drive in

You know who he is, you know what he does. Check out all The Burger Hunter’s meaty exploits at the #GreatAmericanBurgerHunter tag on Instagram and at @BurgerHunterUSA on the twitter.

Now and then we all need to go back in time to get that sweet taste of nostalgia. It’s what makes us appreciate the small things more. Life is simpler at the historic Wagner’s Drive-In. Yup, just pull right up and hit the switch and out will come your happy smiling waitress, minus the roller skates. First thing to notice is the prices . . . I think someone forgot to update them. They are very low folks. I ordered the bacon double cheese. Coming out hot at under $7. Damn Gina. Let’s start with the bun. Pretty regs but it’s butter grilled. The beef is chucky and smashed onto flattop with a very loose pack. Cooked through, but hella juicy. Bib up cause you’re in the car. Full burger flav with a nice salty finish. The cheese is American and pretty standard. The bacon is double crisp and just perfy for my 1 and only topping. Now this is a drive-in so you better malt up if you know what’s good for you. Fries are crinkle and decent. Belgium dip anyone? They’ll ask you if you want a tray for the window or a bag for the car . . . Always go window tray . . Always go window tray! It’s the difference maker. You’ll leave smiling and feeling young again.

Scorecard:   Flavor: 8.5   Presentation: 5   Originality: 6

Wagner’s Drive In, 7000 W Broadway Ave, Brooklyn Park; wagnersdrivein.com

Quick Hits: Add A Little Spice Into Your Fall

We often miss that a whole month of the fall arts season because we’re too hyped up on creepy stuff like Hausu, so don’t forget to pencil in stuff like . . . 

F1rst Wrestling: Live!—Dec 7th 

Just announced! One of the best events you can go to in MPLS + STPL, the wrasslers of F1rst Wrestling return with a great card, but this time to the Uptown VFW, which will be an awesome spot to see the mayhem. Tickets on sale today at noon! (PS. Fans can also check out the Rick Flair doc that’s coming Friday to the Twin Cities Film Festival.)

Rachel Leigh Cook at the TCFF Closing

We’re sticking by our Lea Thompson mural proposal, especially since she returned to this year’s Twin Cities Film Festival opening as a debut director, but we’re also getting excited to go hang out with South High grad and Josie of Josie & The Pussy Cats, Rachel Leigh Cook at the Film Fest closing screening and party.

Weird All Returns April 3rd

We absolutely love the fact that we live in a “market” where Weird Al shows sell out right away. We fully expect his just announced April 3rd gig at the Pantages with Emo Phillips to do the same. 

Brooklyn Park’s Vietnamese Food Scene

Awesome read in today’s Heavy Table about the suburb’s still-growing Vietnamese population and the boom in restaurants that have a lot of food that’s geared towards the Vietnamese palate instead of just having dishes that are Minnesota Spicy.


Checking In: A Prairie Home Companion

How is the new season of the Chris Thile-lead Prairie Home Companion? Field correspondent Isabelle Wattenberg went out to Lake Wobegon and reports back.

A span of Minnesota’s generations cozied up in the red plush interior of the Fitzgerald Theater for Saturday’s A Prairie Home Companion, which delivered a decidedly fall-forward show. Variety bits covered gourd puns, apple orchards designed for the Instagrammer, and falling leaf metaphors (Spoiler: They’re all sad). This observer appreciated Margo Price’s song Pay Gap and Madison Cunningham’s graceful ballads, while Randy Newman’s presence sent a shy giddiness over the stage—finally broken when Chris Thile discovered they share an appreciation for baseball icon Greg Maddux. Also props to Minnesota-born comedian Alice Wetterland for one-upping Minnesota nice with the concept of Minnesota sad. Those who listened in missed long concession lines—the show paired well with both Grain Belt and red wine—Chris Thile’s ode to his nemesis the countdown clock (‘One day you will count up,’ he mused), and his full-to-bursting expressions of joy and astonishment, elicited from his own band and guest artists alike.

Quick Q+A: 10,000 Laughs Festival + Ryan

ryan kahl

Back and bigger than ever, the 10,000 Laughs festival again gives the burgeoning MPLS + STPL comedy scene the weekend-long fest that local funny people and their fans deserve. Each night has killer showcases chock full of comics, both local and national, with a bunch of different themes from a Vaudeville reinvention to a boozy Sober/Not Sober event to Seriously, We’re Joking and much, much more. Grab tickets to the whole thing or just the lineups/times/locations you’re interested in, and do it fast—some of the venues aren’t all that big and will be as full of comics as people looking for laughs.

Before the massive multi-venue festival gets underway, we checked in with a producer—and also performer!—for the event, Ryan Kahl, for a Quick Q+A.   

Secrets of the City: What’s the process for selecting the comedians for the 10,000 Laughs Festival? There’s so many who will perform, but there’s also a lot of talent here, plus you’ve got national comedians in the lineup. Do you have to be a little cut throat? How many of the 10,000 Laughs minimum does each comic need to cover?

Ryan Kahl: Well, it certainly was a process! We have 5 producers for this years festival, and every producer watched and graded about 60 tapes. Once we had narrowed it down to the top 50 comics we all got together and rewatched those 50 tapes and started picking who would make the final cut. It was really tough. We had a ton of super talented people apply this year—and that’s definitely a good problem to have. It means that we are growing as a festival and that’s exciting! But it’s also a bummer because a lot of great comics didn’t make the cut this year.

We are hoping that every performer on the festival will cover around 207 and a half laughs so that we aren’t liable to be sued for false advertising.

Aside from the comedy, we’re most excited about the range of venues for this year’s fest, there’s everything from the regular Comedy Corner Underground and Sisyphus tap room to the brand new Strike Theater to the Uptown VFW and Eagles Club and more. Why so many venues? Are you running a party bus to the shows from the hotels for out-of-towners?

Personally, I think it’s really cool that we get the opportunity to run shows at so many different venues. I love Comedy Corner Underground and Sisyphus because they are small intimate rooms that were made for doing comedy. But it’s also very cool to be able to perform in rooms that aren’t necessarily comedy spaces like Eagles Club or the Uptown VFW. It’s a completely different vibe onstage. Those rooms are bigger, and you kind of get to feel like a rockstar. I had the opportunity to go with one of our other producers and check out all of the venues last week and they’re all really cool and unique places. I think that performers and attendees will be impressed with every single one of our venues this year.

And although a party bus was not in our budget this year, we were able to secure a party van (we got a van and spray painted PARTY on the side of it).

How is the Sober/Not Sober showcase, where comics are under the influence of drugs and alcohol, any different than every single of night of comedy?

Sober/Not Sober is a really interesting premise for a show. At most comedy shows, you can bet that the performers won’t be completely sober and you might just be right. But with Sober/Not Sober you get to see comics do one set completely sober, and then they come back onstage with more drugs/alcohol in their system than a young (or old) Keith Richards.

How dirty is the dirty show? Like profanity dirty or roman candles shooting out of butt holes dirty?

You might want to bring a change of clothes if you plan on attending this one. I’m only half kidding. It’s gonna be dirty. Real dirty. I’m talking dirt under your fingernails dirty. Bring some hand sanitizer. We’re breaking the sinks in the bathrooms to insure the dirtiest show possible for this one.

At what point did the Festival rope in Beth Stelling and her friends for Oct 20th? (It’s also sort of crazy that the Entertaining Julia variety show with Puterbaugh Sisters and Stelling still has advance tickets!)

We really lucked out in getting Beth this year. I think that her contract was signed early this summer. She’s incredibly funny. If you haven’t seen her set on Netflix’s The Standups yet, I can’t recommend it enough. And it is truly INSANE that Entertaining Julia isn’t sold out yet. The Puterbaugh Sisters are also incredibly talented and I can’t wait to see what they bring to the festival. That’s definitely one of our can’t miss shows.

Where’s the cool after party that all the comedians will be hanging out at after the fest or will everyone just be too tired and have to go back to work?

What good comedy festival doesn’t have cool after parties? We’ve got a spot to hang out at after the shows every night of the festival! On Thursday you can find us at Moto-i or the Uptown VFW, on Friday and Saturday you can catch us at Comedy Corner Underground. One request though: don’t be weird. Unless it’s a good weird.

The 10,000 Laughs Comedy Festival runs October 19th-21st throughout MPLS + STPL. Tickets to each show available on their website.

Win Tix: Pert Near Sandstone

pert near

It was roughly a decade ago that Pert Near Sandstone first gathered around a microphone in a Minneapolis basement to record their debut album, Up And Down The River. So much has happened since then: highs and lows, personal struggles and artistic triumphs, new faces and new sounds. Through it all, Pert Near’s musical fearlessness is part of what makes the group so difficult to pin down and also such perfect stewards for string band music in the 21st century. The sweetest honey awaits those brave enough to risk being stung, and the band reaps the rewards of their musical courage here in spades. Discovery Of Honey is Pert Near Sandstone’s finest work to date, and that’s buzz you can believe in. They play a giant show at First Avenue’s Mainroom on Saturday with the Last Revel, Henhouse Prowlers, and Old Salt Union. Saturday, 7 PM. $15 advance, $18 door.

We want to send you to this show!