I‚Äôll start off by quickly mentioning that we in the service industry love you. Yes we do! Without the dining public, there would be no us. There would be no variety, no celebrity chefs, no James Beard awards, nothin‚Äô. We do sincerely appreciate you every time you decide to spend your hard earned dollar eating and chatting with us. I mean it ‚Äì thank you.
That said, I can now acknowledge to you there are a few days all of us in ‚Äòthe industry‚Äô dread. New Year’s is crazy ‚Äî everyone is drinking too much and frankly, your server wants to be out celebrating too. Valentine’s Day is a nightmare of couples fighting, couples so involved with each other that the server is less an asset and more of an annoyance, and then there’s the fight to turn tables in time to accommodate all of the reservations. (This means if you are seated at 7 p.m. there is most likely another reservation for your table at 9 p.m. Hence, the table must turn.) These days are special occasions for every guest in the room, making it a high pressure situation for the entire restaurant staff. The evening must be perfect for every guest ‚Äî daunting for even the most experienced and polished server. And inevitably, these are the days when your average Joe who doesn‚Äôt go out very often, goes out. (We refer lovingly to these guests as ‚Äòamateurs‚Äô.) However both of these are good money shifts, so all of us put our heads down and plow through; after all, it’s just one shift out of dozens, right?
It has been a while since we’ve seen any major changes to First Avenue, and with the Twins season opener just around the corner, what better time to open their new restaurant? According to Switchblade Comb, The Depot Tavern, set to open in May, will serve up your classic bar-food fare, only supposedly much better: burgers, grilled cheese sandwiches, hot dogs, french fries, cheese curds ‚Äî even ‚ÄúThe Diamond Dog‚Äù, a ¬º pound all-beef hot dog, wrapped with pepper bacon and deep-fried on a pretzel bun.
And as if that weren’t enough, they’re changing their VIP Room into the Record Room, which, frankly, makes a lot more sense considering its used mainly for spinning. Local Artist¬†Greg Gossel will help transform the space with a massive mural. And it looks like April 4th (10pm) is the unveiling day with a Passion Pit after party featuring DJ sets from Passion Pit, The Moon Goons, Famuel, Ricky Biggs and Upgrayde.
When you see a tweet like this you just have to click the link, right?
‚ÄúFuck you,‚Äù says the guy behind the counter. ‚ÄúI‚Äôm not talking to you. Fuckin‚Äô middle of lunch.‚Äù Behind him a grill covered wall-to-wall with charred hot dogs and buttered buns sizzles and spews a cloud of smoke so thick it‚Äôs audibly choking the overhead exhaust fan. The guy takes a swig from a bottle of Bud, sets it back down next to a pack of Marlboro Reds, and squints at us like we‚Äôre wearing panties on our heads. ‚ÄúTalk to my wife.‚Äù
The guy is the owner of The Gopher Bar, where ‚Äî according to the sign taped to the back wall of the bar over half-empty bottles of J&B and Black Label ‚Äî you‚Äôll find ‚ÄúThe best fuckin‚Äô Coney Islands in town.‚Äù This is why we‚Äôre here.
It‚Äôs hard to know what makes the Coneys at The Gopher Bar so damn good. Is it the soft, lightly grilled, buttery bun? The snap of the hot dog? The spicy meat sauce? The sharp bite of the cheddar? The crunch of onions? Or is it a result of the orchestration of all these things? So many textures and flavors come together that you almost forget you‚Äôre sitting under a Confederate flag.
The Gopher Bar isn‚Äôt a bar, it‚Äôs a moral dilemma. One that goes right to the heart of the economic climate we live in. At a time when every dollar is harder to make, and even harder to make last, are you willing to support a business that has no problem asking, ‚ÄúHow about an ice cold bottle of SHUT THE FUCK UP!?‚Äù
Uhh… favorite breakfast spots?
Jason DeRusha says:¬† Hell’s Kitchen, Fat Nat’s Eggs, Grand Cafe, Day by Day Cafe, Good Day Cafe, Maggie’s Restaurant, Junior’s Cafe and Grill, Three Squares Restaurant, Bon Vie, and Hot Plate.
East-Lake Tumblr says: Hot Plate, La Chaya Bistro, Longfellow Grill, Stabby‚Äôs, Bad Waitress, and a bonus A Baker‚Äôs Wife‚Äôs Pastry Shop.
And Alexis (on the Sexes) just doesn’t understand going out for breakfast. Boo…
Anyone been to Subo yet? We had a Secrets of the City happy hour there a few weeks back, and that was quite lovely. We tried several of the apps, and while they could have used a drop more salt to bring out the flavors, they were actually quite good. But Girl Friday is not impressed. “I’ve given Subo two tries now,” she writes, “and I’m not sure I can be coerced to ‘experience’ it again. I’m not gonna lie; not having cranberry juice behind the bar was strike one.”
The adobo greens beans were full of onion, chili and soy sauce flavor but I couldn’t detect any of the promised madras curry or sesame oil. Also, onions nearly outnumbered beans in the bowl. The menu neglected to mention the steamed edamame would be dripping with butter, but that’s how it came out. I still can’t decide whether I loved it or hated it. On the one hand, the pods were so soft they nearly disintegrated in your mouth; but that also means they were soggy, void of that gratifying, nearly crisp texture. The steamed mushroom rolls were a big swing and a miss, starting with their puzzlingly heavy sweetness. Using a duxelles is an excellent concept here, but the filling’s texture is ruined by the tough tofu sheet wrapper; difficult to bite through and impossible to cut with a fork, not to mention messy.
Maybe they’re just better at meat. Anyone?
Sarah McKenzie reviews Donnie Dirk’s Zombie Den, the reincarnation of the old Stand Up Frank‚Äôs space ‚Äî only she doesn’t really say what she thinks of it. I’ll step in ‚Äî two thumbs up. If the atmosphere and drinks aren’t good enough for you (which they are, plus they have Strongbow), they have some of the greatest staff in town.
[Owner Leslie] Bock said the idea for the bar started with her desire to have a place focused on ‚Äúsmart drinking and conversation.‚Äù
And I have to confess, that’s exactly what I’ve had there ‚Äî full-on boozy debates with the bartender. Booya!
‚ÄúAs for the theme, it‚Äôs more of a riddle than reality. Just as there is no Psycho Suzi and that our pizza parlor is hardly a motor lodge,‚Äù Bock said. ‚ÄúThe naming of Donny Dirk‚Äôs Zombie Den was meant to be a bit grandiose, obtuse, confusing and delightfully flawed. Like a former Miss Teen America still telling the story of her crowning moment 45 years later with menthol cigarettes and whiskey made in Idaho on her breath.‚Äù
And you have to catch the closing show.