Jan 192013

Cuisine: American, Steak, Seafood, Pasta
Restaurant Features: Bar, Hotel
Location: Bloomington, MN (Inside Embassy Suites)
Address: 7901 34th Avenue South, Bloomington, MN 55425 952-854-1010
Hours: Lunch Mon-Fri 11am-2pm *Dinner Daily 4:30pm-10pm *Sunday Brunch 10am-2pm
Links: Woolley’s Steakhouse Website * Woolley’s on Facebook * Google Map

Woolley’s is located inside the beautiful, lush courtyard at the Embassy Suites Airport in Bloomington.  Unfortunately I did not take any photos of the interior, but if you have been to any Embassy Suites before, you can instantly visualize the courtyard setting, with intimate seating areas nestled in among a variety of plants.  The lighting was dim and romantic and there was a jazz band playing music somewhere nearby.

Menu:  Appetizers include Calamari, Walleye Fingers, Martini Steak Bites, Crab Cakes, Shrimp Cocktail, and Diablo Bites (blacked beef tips).

Small Plates include Short Ribs, Marcona Almond Purses, Sea Scallops, Duck Sausage, Foie Gras and Pork Tenderloin.

Woolley’s has a Salad Bar for $14.95 or you can add it on to any entree for $4.95. Side salads are also available to add-on to any entree for $3.95. Dinner salads include Grilled Salmon, Apple Proscuitto Brie, Woolley’s Steak salad, The Classic Wedge, Winter Greens, and Caesar. Soups available are a French Onion and a Soup du Jour.

Woolley’s is known for their Beef, with options such as Beef Tenderloin, Bone-In New York Strip, Top Sirloin, Martini Steak, Beef Oscar, Prime Rib (12oz or 16oz), and 16 oz Red-Eye Ribeye. Any beef or steak can be served Classic Style (with bleu cheese, bacon, onions and mushrooms), Gratinee Style (with croutons, caramelized onions and gruyere cheese), or Oscar Style (with bearnaise and crab). All steaks come with choice of baked potato, scalloped potatoes, mashed potatoes, wild rice pilaf or broccoli, with the option to upgrade to any of the following sides including Glazed Carrots, Roasted Fingerling Potatoes, Hashbrowns, Loaded Baked Potato, Sweet Potato Hash, Brussel Sprouts, and Grilled Asparagus.

Other Entrees include Chicken Marsala, Pork Tenderlon, Short Ribs, Duck Breast, Woolley’s Burger Deluxe, and Swedish Meatballs. Pasta options include Pasta Vodka, Fettuccine Alfredo, and Kielbasa Mac & Cheese.

Woolley’s also serves Fresh Fish and Seafood such as Grilled Walleye, Panko Walleye, Grilled Salmon, and Shrimp & Scallops.

Desserts include Creme Brulee, Bread Pudding, Chocolate Lava Cake, Cheesecake and more.

Price guide:

Salads $5-20 Entrees $14-28 Steak $21-45

Happy Hour:
Happy Hour is served in the bar Monday – Friday from 4pm until 6pm.

  • $2.25 Domestic Tap & Bottle Beers
  • $2.75 Craft Tap & Bottle Beers
  • $3.25 House Wine
  • $3 – $3.5 Call Cocktails
  • $3.75 – $4.5 Martinis and Specialty Drinks
  • 50% OFF all Appetizers

Weekly Specials:

  • Sunday-Wednesday: Half priced bottle of wine

What we ordered:  We started with a couple of drinks (Cranberry and 7Up for me!) and the complimentary basket of bread.  This was a standard French loaf, served warm and crusty.

We knew we were going to be ordering more food than necessary, but I really wanted to try the Calamari.  This was delicious! It was fried crispy with a panko breading, while the calamari  itself was still quite tender.  It was sprinkled with parmesan and parsley and then served with spicy marinara and lemon aioli for dipping.

I opted not to get a starter salad and went straight for the Red-Eye Ribeye ($36), which comes served over a bed of  swiss chard and melted gorgonzola.  This steak was amazing!!! I ordered it medium rare, and it was cooked just perfectly.  When I say that this steak was tender, it could melt in your mouth.  The melted gorgonzola was a wonderful accompaniment and added even more flavor.  It was served with a warm cheddar ale biscuit and choice of potato. I will order this steak again every time I visit Woolley’s from now on.  I might even dream about it ;)

I got the loaded baked potato which came with the standard cheddar, pieces of bacon, and green onion with sour cream and butter on the side.  When all was said and done, I was too full to eat more than a bite of this!

I was happy when our server mentioned that one of the New Year’s Eve specials included an add-on 6oz Lobster Tail for just $11.95.  It was a holiday, so why not?  It was nicely seasoned and cooked just right.  Served with drawn butter and lemon.

My companion ordered the 16oz Prime Rib with fingerling potatoes as the choice of potato. This was a fairly thick cut of beef, tender and mildly juicy.  It was good but couldn’t compare to the ribeye.  It was served with a side of au jus with a couple of mushrooms.

My companion also ordered the Jumbo Sea Scallops ($10), which came as an order of three.  The scallops were seared to give it a caramelized crust while still being very tender within.

Being that it was New Year’s Eve, I decided to treat myself to the Dessert Sampler, which is basically three desserts of the price of three. The spotlight was the Bread Pudding, drizzled with a caramel whiskey sauce and topped with whipped cream.  It was surrounded by colorful berries, whipped cream and orchids for garnish.

One of the desserts was the Chocolate Lava Cake, served warm with blackberries on top.  I loved the combo of textures and flavors of the chocolate with the berries.  Very good!

Last but not least was the Creme Brulee which was smooth and creamy, with hints of vanilla.

Service: We had made reservations several days ahead of time to ensure we could get in on New Year’s Eve, and a table was waiting for us when we got there.  Our server was very friendly and had some excellent suggestions, but we found that the food took longer than expected between courses.  We were not in a particular hurry however our dinner with the appetizers, entrees and desserts took about two and a half hours.  The longest wait was for our main entrees, which took at least 45 minutes to arrive after ordering.  I attribute this to the fact that the restaurant was completely booked.

Overall Impression: We thought the food at Woolley’s was wonderful.  In fact, the ribeye is one of the best steaks I’ve ever had, rivaling the ribeye at Capital Grille for top contender on my Editor’s Picks for Best Ribeye.  The atmosphere at Woolley’s is wonderful if you like a somewhat tropical feel, so make sure you sit at one of the seating areas in the courtyard.  While we were treated wonderfully by our server, our only complaint was that the food service was slower than expected.
Woolley's on Urbanspoon

Jul 262012

Cuisine: Caribbean, Fish & Seafood
Restaurant Features: Bar, Flatscreen TVs
Location: Bloomington, MN (Mall of America)
Address: 60 East Broadway, Bloomington, MN 55425
Hours:  Mon-Sat 11am-10pm  Sun 11am-8pm
Links: Kokomo’s Island Cafe Website * Kokomo’s on Facebook * Google Map

Atmosphere: Located on the 3rd floor of the Mall of America (East Broadway), Kokomo’s Island Cafe is brightly decorated with an over-the-top tropical theme.  The thatched-roof and large wooden Tiki Gods are meant to transport you to a carefree, sunny place.  If nothing else, Kokomo’s is a cheerful place to take respite from a long day of shopping.

The thatched-roof decor carries into the Tiki Bar area, where there are also giant decorative flowers and colorful stringed lights hanging about.  There are about a dozen colorful chairs along the bar and a handful of bistro tables in the area.

Menu: Small Plates and Starters include French Fries, Sweet Potato Fries, Beachcomber Nachos, Cayman Salmon Sliders, Thai Chicken Flatbread, Caribbean Wings, Sweet Chili Wings, Buffalo Wings, Jamaican Jerk Wings, Pacific Pupu Platter, Polynesian Flatbread, Jerk Chicken Flatbread, Kahuna Egg Rolls, Koko Crab Cakes, Island Quesadillas, and Tiki Koko Shrimp.

Salads at Kokomo’s include Jerked Chicken Salad, Dinner Salad, Big Island Salad, and Kokonut Chicken Salad.  Soups offered Bob Marley Soup of the Day, and Caribbean Gumbo.

Kokomo’s also offers sandwiches such as the Jerked Chicken Salad Sandwich, Tropical Pork Tenderloin Sandwich, Jamaican Bleu Burger, Jamaican Pork Tenderloin Sandwich, The Cuban, Captain Jack’s Chicken Sandwich, Hawaiian Chicken, Buffalo Chicken, Bahama Burger, Cali Burger, Cancun Carnitas (served with tortillas), Key West Fish N Chips, and Chicken Fingers.

Side dishes offered include Fries, Sweet Potato Fries, Yellow Rice, Island Slaw, Corn Succotash, Garlic Mashed Potatoes, Black Beans, Seasoned Green Beans and Yams.

Entrees at Kokomo’s include 8oz Filet Mignon, Ribs, Beach Kabobs, Caribbean Pork Chop, Big Luau Feast, Key West Lime Chicken,  and Calypso Chicken Stir Fry.

Seafood Entrees include Shrimp Enchiladas, Grilled Salmon, Tilapia, Baha Fish Tacos, Seafood Paella, and Tiki Koko Shrimp.

Kokomo’s also has a handful of Pasta dishes such as Cajun Chicken Fettuccine, Palm Island Noodles (in coconut curry), Jerk Chicken Pasta and Fettuccine Alfredo.

Desserts offered are the Pina Colada Cake, Bananas Foster Cheesecake, Sweet Island Shooters, Key Lime Pie, and Molten Chocolate Cake.
What we ordered: We started with a round of drinks.  While my usual drink of choice is a margarita, on this occasion I opted to try the peach instead of the traditional lime.  I can’t say much for the mix that was used; it was way too sweet and artificial tasting for my liking.  The drink was nice and strong, though!

One of my companions ordered the Dos Equis, which was served in a pint-sized bottle.  To see how big it was, here it is next to my margarita.

I ordered the Fish Tacos with Sweet Potato Fries for my entree. The order came with two warm flour tortillas, each filled with crispy fried tilapia, napa cabbage, pico de gallo and pickled pineapple relish.  On top it was drizzled with creamy garlic lemon dressing and chopped cilantro.  These fish tacos were pretty good; the pineapple relish gave it a sweetness that was a nice compliment to the fish and there were several layers of texture that I enjoyed.  The sweet potato fries that came with were really good! They were crispy on the outside and served with  seasoned mayo.

One of my companions ordered the Key West Lime Chicken, which came with two citrus marinated chicken breasts  grilled with special seasonings, & topped with a citrus-onion sauce.  The citrus-onion sauce is what really made this dish so special and gave it so much flavor.  The chicken was served with a large portion of sauteed green beans and red peppers.

Another companion ordered the Captain Jack’s Chicken Sandwich, a grilled chicken breast served on a fresh, toasted brioche bun.  The chicken was brushed with a raspberry inferno sauce and then topped with grilled pineapple & pepper jack cheese. It was served with french fries and a side of avocado ranch.

Service: We were able to get a table without a problem; The Mall didn’t seem to be terribly busy on this particular Friday night and neither was Kokomo’s.  Our server promptly greeted us and was friendly and patient as we took our time with ordering, etc.  Very helpful too, as was the bartender.  We wanted to special-order a sugar-free cocktail and the bartender was more than willing to try to accommodate our needs.
Overall Impression: While Kokomo’s might not be my number one choice for restaurants at the Mall of America, the food was decent and the service was great.  Fun place if you like the gimmick ;)
Kokomo's Island Cafe on Urbanspoon

Jul 072012

Cuisine: American, Bar & Grill
Restaurant Features: Bar, Happy Hour, Late-Night Dining, Live Music, Night Club
Locations: Bloomington, Plymouth, St Cloud,  and Downtown Minneapolis, MN
Addresses & Maps:
Bloomington ~ 2801 Southtown Drive Bloomington, MN 55431 (952) 955-8137
Downtown Minneapolis ~ 126 N 5th Street Minneapolis, MN 55403 (612)224-9950
Plymouth ~ 4120 Berkshire Ln N Plymouth, MN 55446 (763) 559-0257
St Cloud ~ 506 W Saint Germain St St Cloud, MN 56301 (320) 281-5205
Hours: Daily 10am-2am
Links: Cowboy Jack’s Website * Cowboy Jack’s on Facebook

Atmosphere: The Cowboy Jack’s in St Cloud is located in the downtown area across from the Rivers Edge Convention Center, at 5th Ave and W Saint Germain.  It is a large, open space that has an old west saloon feel to it.  There are a handful of wooden bistro tables places throughout the room as well as seating along the giant bar at the front of the room.

The Dining area is tucked back along the far side of the space, a mix of high-backed pine wooden booths and square tables.

Menu: Appetizers at Cowboy Jack’s include Blackened Fish Tacos, Walleye Fingers, Cowboy Jack’s Wings, Queso Deadwood Dip, Country Nachos, Calamari, po-Tater Skins, Sirloin Tips, Southwest Quesadilla, Jalapeno Cheese Curds, and Cornbread Skillet.  Mini Menu items include Meatloaf Sliders, Sloppy Jack Sliders, Mini Tator Tot Hot Dish, Mini Pulled Pork, Braised BBQ Chicken Sliders, Mini Braised Beef, and Mini Open Faced Chicken.

Soups include Country Cowboy Beef Stew and Soup of the Day.  Salads offered are House, House Caesar, Steak Salad, Cowboy’s Chop Salad,  Wedge, Santa Fe Chicken Salad, and Caesar.

Sandwiches at Cowboy Jack’s come with kettle chips or you can upgrade to fries or tator tots for $1.  Braised BBQ Chicken, Sloppy Cowboy Jack, Pulled Pork Sandwich, BBQ Braised Beef Sandwich, Open-Faced Chicken, Kobe Beef Philly, Country Reuben, Build Your Own Cowboy Burger/Bison Burger/Chicken Sandwich, Chicken Caesar Wrap, Buffalo Chicken Wrap, and Taco Wrap.

Saloon Specialties include Beef Ribs, Walleye, Flat Iron Steak, Braised Beef, Braised Chicken, Tator Tot Hit Dish, Ribeye, Slim’s Pot Pie, Pan-Fried Sunnies, Slow-Cooked Smoked Pork Skillet, and Country Meatloaf.

Sidekick Items include Waffle Fries, Onion Strings, Basket of Fries, Sweet Potato Fries, Baked Potato, Vegetable, Wild Rice Pilaf, and Mashed Potato.

Cowboy Jack’s Pizzas include Four Meat, BBQ Chicken, Garbage, Buffalo Chicken, Veggie, and Make Your Own.

Desserts include Turtle Cake, Red Velvet Cake, Jack’s Sundae, Mini Donuts, and Seasonal Cobbler.
Price guide: Appetizers $7-12 Sandwiches $5-12 Pizza $9+ Entrees $13-22

Happy Hour:

  • Daily 3-6pm 10pm-12am
  • $2 Select Drinks, Select Beers
  • Half Priced Select Appetizers

Weekly Specials:

  • Sunday ~ 10am-1pm Bottomless Bloody Marys and Screwdrivers $10; Brunch Buffet
  • Monday ~ All Day $2 Sloppy Joes
  • Tuesday ~ Wing Night 5-10pm Bucket of 24 Wings for $5
  • Wednesday ~ 5-10pm $2 Burgers

What we ordered: My party and I were making a Happy Hour stop at Cowboy Jack’s between a wedding and a reception on a very hot day.  I started with a $2 Nordeast tap.

My companions and I tried a handful of appetizers, half-priced during Happy Hour, including the Calamari.  The order came with a bowl full of deep-fried calamari rings, an impressive amount of food for $4.50.  It was served with a chipotle mayo.

We tried the Southwest Quesadilla with Chicken.  The order was served with four large wedges of flour tortilla stuffed full of meaty pieces of chicken breast, tomatoes, cheddar and Monterey Jack cheese.  It was served with mild salsa and sour cream. Only $5 during Happy Hour

We also tried the Jalapeno Cheese Curds, breaded with a cornmeal mixture and a subtle kick of jalapeno. Not very spicy but it comes with ranch in case you want to cool it down a tad.  Another great Happy Hour buy at just $4.

A few of my companions ordered the Potato Skins, five wedges of potato stuffed with jalapenos and bacon and then topped with cheddar and green onion.  Served with salsa and sour cream.  I didn’t try tis but it looked good!

Some of my companions also ordered the Queso Deadwood Dip, a homemade cheese dip served with multi-colored corn tortilla chips.

Service: Our visit was mid-afternoon on a hot Saturday in June.  We had a large party of 10-12, but the staff at Cowboy Jack’s was able to accommodate us within minutes of our arrival.  We ordered drinks and they were delivered about five minutes later.  Our server was friendly and explained that it was Happy Hour and that several appetizers were half-priced, and that is what we ended up ordering.  The appetizers also took the expected amount of time to come out.
Overall Impression:  Cowboy Jack’s has a very fun atmosphere and is a good place to catch a meal, have a cold drink or see a live music performance.  I am bummed this place wasn’t around 15+ years ago when I was living in St Cloud to attend SCSU, my friends and I would have been regulars ;)  I plan to try more of the menu on a visit to one of the Twin Cities locations in the near future.
Cowboy Jacks on Urbanspoon

Nov 032011

Cuisine: American, Bakery, Breakfast,
Restaurant Features: Bakery, Counter Service
Locations: Bloomington, Little Canada and North Oaks
Addresses & Maps:
Bloomington- 401 West 98th Street  Bloomington, MN 55420 (952) 358-7490
Little Canada- 2900 Rice Street  Little Canada, MN 55113 (651) 482-8876
North Oaks- 845 Village Center Drive  North Oaks, MN 55127 (651) 482-8285
Hours: Mon-Sat 7am-8pm (LC until 7pm)  * Sun 7am-4pm
Links: Taste of Scandinavia Website * Taste of Scandinavia on Facebook

Atmosphere: Located at the end of a strip mall, the Little Canada location of Taste of Scandinavia offers counter service, so you will immediately see the bakery case and front counter upon entering.

The Little Canada location has a dining area tucked back in a windowless space with several wooden tables.

Menu: Cookies and Bars include Raspberry Lemonade, Scoop Cookies, Butter Pecan Sandwich, Ginger Heart Cookies, Lemon Zest Cookie, Norwegian Almond Kringler, Raspberry Sandwich Cookie, and Rugelach.

Pastries include Danish, Finnish Munkki, Pulla Roll, Cinnamon Pulla Roll, Ring Coffee Cake, and Blueberry Muffin.

Cheesecakes include Fresh Fruit, Lingonberry, Raspberry and Turtle.

Pies and Tarts include Caramel Apple Tart,  Apple Pie, Cherry Pie, and Pumpkin Pie.

Cakes and Tortes include Black Forest Torte, Carrot Cake, Celebrate Cake, Chocolate Heart Cake, Chocolate Raspberry Torte, Chocolate Symphony Torte, Creme de Menthe Torte, English Lemon Torte, Finlandia Torte, Italian Chocolate Almond, Kransekake, Mocha Toffee Torte, Princess Torte, Pumpkin Torte, Romanian Mocha Torte, Scandinavian Chocolate Torte, Soile’s Sinful Chocolate Cake, Tiramisu, Tri-Chocolate Torte, Turtle Torte, Austrian Walnut Torte, and Bailey’s Irish Cream Torte.

Rolls include Croissant, Norwegian Milk Dinner Rolls, and Spinach Parmesan Dinner Rolls.

Specialty breads include Apple Walnut, Asiago, Baguette, Cottage, Cranberry Nut Sour Dough, Finnish Sour Dough Rye, German Rye, Health Wheat, Honey Wheat, Multi-Grain, Onion Dill, Pumpernickel Rye, Sour Dough, Spinach Parmesan, Sun Dried Tomato Basil, Swedish Limpa, Swedish Rye, Vienna.

Breakfast items include a Norwegian Lefse with Ham & Eggs, Classic Breakfast, Breakfast Croissant, Finnish Breakfast Pasty, Three Egg Omelette, Swedish Farmer’s Omelette, Pulla French Toast, Sweet Scandinavian Lefse, Swedish Pancakes, Fresh Fruit Crepe, Swedish Pyttipanna, and Yogurt Parfait.

Salads offered include House Salad, Garden, Caesar, Chef and Greek Salad.

Sandwich options include Grilled Cheese and Deluxe Deli Sandwich (Choice of ham, turkey, roast beef or veggie).

Hot Meals include Finnish Pasties, Italian Pie, Taco Pie, Pot Roast, Grandma’s Meatloaf, Smothered Pot Roast or Meatloaf, Shepherd’s Pie, Reuben, Danish Salmon Sandwich, Hot Beef BBQ Sandwich, Open Face Swedish Roasted Pepper Chicken Sandwich, Lasagna, Crab Cakes, Swedish Meatballs, Spinach Pie, and Gyros.
Price guide: Breakfast $4-8  Salads $7-9  Sandwiches $5-7   Hot Entrees $7-9

What we ordered: I ordered the Open Face Swedish Roast Pepper Chicken Sandwich.  That is a mouthful to say and certainly more than a mouthful to eat.  As the name implies, this was a sandwich that was served open-faced atop two slices of tomato basil bread.  Diced grilled chicken, red onions,  spinach, lightly sauteed mushrooms, and shredded asiago cheese.  I thought this sandwich was pretty good; all of the flavors blended nicely but the asiago cheese with the roasted peppers are what really stand out.  The stronger flavor of the cheese makes up for the milder tastes of the chicken, spinach and mushrooms.  The peppers were very good, but the onions could have been more caramelized.

One of my companions ordered the Shepherd’s Pie, which is similar to a pot pie but has a mound of mashed potatoes on top instead of a crust and is then covered with gravy.  The pie crust was light and flaky and the beef, pea and carrot filling in savory beef gravy was very tasty.  I wasn’t as big of a fan of the mashed potato; it had a strange consistency that was sort of potato dumpling-like.   Quite possibly because it had been pre-made several hours before we ordered it? Either way, I enjoyed more than a couple bites.

Another companion ordered the Chef Salad, which was a large bed of mixed greens topped with hard boiled egg, red onion, tomato, cucumber, and rolled up slices of deli turkey and ham, ordered sans cheese.

I also bought a couple of cookies to take home. The chocolate chunk cookie was delicious; it was quite large yet it was still somewhat soft and had a generous amount of chocolate chunks.

I also tried the Hawaiian Cookie, with coconut and macademia nuts as well as a few white chocolate chips.  I loved it! The coconut was very finely shredded and there was a lot of it, giving the cookie a chewy texture, which I loved.  The macademia nuts were chopped into fine pieces but still gave it a nice crunch.

Service:  We perused the giant menu hanging on the wall behind the counter while we waited in line.  We efficiently placed our order and found a table.  The food was delivered about ten minutes after we ordered it.
Overall Impression:  Taste of Scandinavia has a wonderful selection of baked items but is also a good place to have lunch or an early dinner.

This is an original review of Taste of Scandinavia on Twin Cities Restaurant Blog
Taste of Scandinavia Bakery and Cafe on Urbanspoon

Feb 062011

Cuisine: American, Barbeque, Dessert, Ribs
Restaurant Features: Catering, Counter-Service (at many locations), On-Site Parking
Locations: Apple Valley, Bloomington, Burnsville, Coon Rapids, Duluth, Forest Lake, MOA, Mankato, Maple Grove, Minneapolis, Minnetonka, Plymouth, Rochester, Roseville, St Paul, St Cloud, Stillwater, Woodbury
Apple Valley – 7593 147th Street Apple Valley, MN 55124    952-891-6400
Bloomington- 5101 West 98th Street Bloomington, MN 55437  952-832-0500
Burnsville-  2721 County Road 5 Burnsville, MN 55337 952-882-9933
Coon Rapids- 3211 Northdale Boulevard  Coon Rapids, MN 55448  763-421-9467
Duluth- 355 Lake Avenue South Duluth, MN 55802    218-740-3180
Forest Lake- 43 19th Street SW Forest Lake, MN 55025  651-464-4400
Mall of America- 320 South Avenue, Mall of America Bloomington, MN 55425 952-854-0225
Mankato-  291 St. Andrew Drive Mankato, MN 56001  507-385-1223
Maple Grove- 7825 Vinewood Lane Maple Grove, MN 55369  763-416-4600
Minneapolis- (Calhoun BBQ & Blues Club) 3001 Hennepin Avenue Minneapolis, MN 55408 612-822-9900
Minneapolis-  4264 Upton Avenue South Minneapolis, MN 55410  612-929-1200
Minnetonka-  14601 Highway 7  Minnetonka, MN 55345 952-933-9600
Plymouth- 11308 Highway 55 Plymouth, MN 55441  763-525-0500
Rochester- 431 NW 16th Avenue Rochester, MN 55901  507-282-4200
Roseville- 2131 Snelling Avenue Roseville, MN 55113 651-633-4800
St Paul- 1930 West 7th Street St. Paul, MN 55116 651-699-8800
Stillwater-  14200 60th Street North Stillwater, MN 55082 651-439-5200
St Cloud- 310 3rd Street NE Waite Park, MN 56387  320-217-5900
Woodbury- 1940 Donegal Drive Woodbury, MN 55125 651-501-1900

Hours: Daily 11am
Links: Famous Daves Website * Famous Dave’s Facebook Page * Map to Famous Dave’s Locations

Atmosphere: Most of the Famous Dave’s locations around the Twin Cities look very similar in decor, where the entrance leads you right to the counter where you order your food.   Wooden structures are built to resemble old shacks around the kitchen area.  Tables are spread throughout the space (pictured below is the Forest Lake location), all covered with red and white checkered tablecloths. Antique memorabilia adorns the walls.

The Famous Dave’s BBQ & Blues at Calhoun Square has a stage for live performances.  Cool place to see a small, intimate show!

Menu: Appetizers at Famous Dave’s include Smoked Salmon Spread, Chicken Fingers, Catfish Fingers, Ribs Tips, BBQ or Buffalo Chicken Wings, and Onion Strings.

Side dishes at Famous Dave’s include Wilbur Beans, Coleslaw, Potato salad, Dunkin Apples, Fries, Garlic Mashed Red Potatoes,

Famous Dave’s has salads! Options include Smoked Salmon Caesar, Grilled Chicken Caesar, Crispy Chicken, and Dave’s Sassy BBQ Salad.  Soups include Chili or Wild Rice.

Sandwiches come with one side and include Beef Brisket, Chopped Pork, Barbeque Chicken, Texas Manhandler, Hickory Chicken, Cajun Chicken and Char-Grilled Chicken.  Burger options are the Char-Grilled Burger, Cheeseburger, Ultimate BBQ, Devil Spit, and Bacon & Jack Favorite Burger.

Barbeque Classics at Famous Dave’s are the Texas Beef Brisket, Georgia Chopped Pork, Barbeque Chicken, Rib Tips, Chicken Tenders, Country Roasted Chicken and Sweetwater Cajun Catfish.

Award-Winning Ribs are smoked in the pit then finished on the grill.  Size options  are 1/3 slab, 1/2 slab or full rack (12 bones).

Kids Meals include Roasted or BBQ Chicken, Chicken Tenders, Chopped Pork, Hamburger or Cheeseburger,  Ribs, and Mac & Cheese.

Dessert selections include Famous Bread Pudding, Pecan Pie, Hot Fudge Kahlua Brownie, and Ice Cream, Sundae with Hot Fudge or Pecan Praline Sauce.

Famous Dave’s has a variety of different sauces that are sure to please just about anyone!

Price guide: Appetizers $6-9  Sandwiches $9-10  BBQ Meats $12-13  Ribs $13-22 Desserts $6

What we ordered: I had the two-meat combo with Catfish Fingers and Texas Beef Brisket.  The four medium-sized catfish fingers were hot and crispy, fresh out of the fryer and seasoned with semi-spicy Cajun seasonings.  It  comes with to sauces to dip in, a sweet & sour type of sauce and a seasoned mayo tartar.  I thought these were especially yummy with the seasoned tartar.  The Texas Beef Brisket was also pretty good.  This combo came with corn, a corn bread muffin and two sides.  I love the corn bread at Famous Dave’s! It is more moist than typical corn bread and slightly sweet.  I am not a fan of the overcooked boring corn, which is a far cry from the sweetcorn we harvest in Minnesota.  The two sides I got were the garlic smashed potatoes and coleslaw, both very good.

My companion ordered the XXL Rib Platter, a 12-bone rack of St Louis Style ribs.  The ribs were meaty and quite tender, full of smokey flavor from the Pit.  The two sides were fries and cinnamon apples.

Service: The Forest Lake location of Famous Dave’s offers counter-service, and we were able to order within minutes of arriving.  We got ourselves drinks at the self-service station and waited approximately ten minutes before our food arrived.  Staff walk the dining room and check with guests from time to time to determine if they need anything, and bus tables when necessary.

Overall Impression: I really like the variety of menu choices at Famous Daves, although I think their prices are slightly high for the amount of food you get.  They have several great choices of sauces and despite being a large chain-restaurant, I think they do have pretty decent barbeque (you can’t go wrong with the ribs!).  If you register to be a part of the P.I.G. Club you can get special offers, so go sign up here
Famous Daves on Urbanspoon

Dec 112010

Cuisine: American, Burgers, Dessert, Steak, Ribs, Kids Menu

Restaurant Features: Bar, Catering, Flat Screen TVs, Happy Hour, Pull-Tabs, On-Site Parking, Sports Bar

Locations: Bloomington, Eagan, Plymouth and Roseville

Addresses & Maps:

Bloomington4217 American Blvd. West Bloomington, MN 55437 (952) 835-1191

Roseville– 2350 Cleveland Ave Roseville, MN 55113 (651) 631-1781

Hours: Open at 11am

Links:Joe Senser’s Website * Joe Senser’s Facebook Page

Joe Senser's Sports Lounge ~ Roseville, MN

Atmosphere: The inside of Joe Senser’s is the ultimate haven for Sports Enthusiasts, (besides being at the stadium, of course) with every wall lined with giant 5’x9′ HDTVs displaying just about every televised sports event.  The area along the walls is slightly raised, housing both tables and booths, as does the dining space throughout the middle of the restaurant.

There is also a decent sized bar area near the entrance, flowing into the center of the restaurant.

Menu: Appetizers at Joe Senser’s include Seasoned Waffle Fries, Pizza Spirals, Onion Rings, Chicken Wings, Boneless Wings, Bacon-Wrapped Tenderloin Bites, Quesadillas, Crab & Artichoke Dip, Chicken Fingers, Nachos, Southwest Eggrolls, Coconut Shrimp and Asian Lettuce Wraps.

Salad options are Buffalo Fiesta, Bangkok Peanut Chicken, Chipotle Ranch Taco Salad, Cobb, Island Salad (chicken, bacon, pineapple), and Caesar.

Soups include Chicken Noodle, White Chicken Chili and then a Soup du Jour. Mon- Creamy Potato bacon Tues- Black Bean with Andouille Sausage  Wed- Tomato Basil with Tortellini  Thurs- Creamy Chicken Wild Rice  Fri-New England Clam Chowder  Sat/Sun- Chef’s Choice

Burgers at Senser’s are Half-Pound fresh ground sirloin, served with chips or upgrade to fries for $1.59.  Options include Cheeseburger, Applewood Smoked Bacon Cheeseburger, Bleu Cheese, Jalapeno Pepper Jack, Deli Burger, Sourdough Patty Melt, California Burger, Mushroom Swiss, BBQ Bacon & Jack, Rookie Burger (1/3 lb), and Southwest Turkey Burger.

Sandwiches also come with chips or upgrade to fries or fruit.  Options are the French Dip, Buffalo Chicken, Turkey Bacon Parmesan, BBQ Jack Chicken, Tuna Melt, Reuben, Beer Battered Walleye, Chicken Teriyaki, Clubhouse, and Shaved Prime Rib Melt. Wraps include Baja Chicken and Buffalo.

Joe’s Specialties include Wood Roasted Chicken, Beef Brisket, Hickory Ribs, Smoked Pulled Pork, Chopped Sirloin, Parmesan Ranch Walleye.  Prime Rib available on Saturday and Sunday.

The Entrees at Joe Senser’s include Center But Sirloin, Filet Medallions, Steak and Shrimp, Citrus Chicken and Shrimp, Chicken Bruschetta Pasta and Coconut Shrimp.

Dessert options are the Turtle Brownie Sundae, Midnight Chocolate Ecstasy, and New York Strawberry Cheesecake.

Kids Menu items include Mini Corn Dogs, Chicken Strips, Cheeseburger, Kraft Macaroni and Cheese, and Grilled Cheese Sandwich.

Price guide: Appetizers $5-9  Salads $8-10  Sandwiches/Sandwiches $9-10  Specialties $9-18  Entrees $11-19  Desserts $4-5  Kids Menu $5

Happy Hours:

Mon-Fri  3:00-6:30

  • $5 Appetizers-  Sicilian Pizza Nachos, Loaded Senser Fries, Buffalo Chicken Dip, Buffalo Chicken Minis, Cheeseburger Minis, and Pepperoni Cheese Loaf
  • $2.50 Short Domestic Taps, Rail/Calls, Domestic Bottles, Short Signature Teas, House Wine
  • $1 off all other drinks
Sun-Mon 9pm-Close  Tues 10p-Midnight
  • 2 for 1 Drinks: Captain Morgan, Bacardi, Short Domestic Taps
What we ordered: There were many appetizers that looked good but the Crab & Artichoke really stood out as a winner.  The piping-hot baked dip was served in a ramekin with a pile of hot pita wedges, topped with fresh pico de gallo.  I thought this dip was delicious and flavorful.  You could distinctly taste both the well-blended crab and the artichokes, and a slightly smokey flavor somewhere in the blend of cheeses.  There was enough dip to pile it on every piece of pita.  A very different flavor than artichoke-spinach dip, but excellent all the same.

Crab & Artichoke Dip at Joe Senser's~ Roseville, MN

Several of the sandwiches sounded really good to me so I asked the server for a recommendation, who declared the Prime Rib Melt the most popular with the employees. It sounded really good so that is what I ordered.  I loved the flavor of the thinly sliced prime rib mixed with the onions, but the bread got soggy very quickly from the juicy beef and creamy horseradish sauce.  I didn’t even try the au jus because I was afraid my sandwich would fall apart in seconds flat if I did.  It would’ve been better on a hoagie roll or a more substantial bun.  I am also a huge fan of fresh horseradish, so I would’ve loved a little more kick than this creamy mild version served at Joe Senser’s, but that is just a personal preference.  It was still very tasty.  I upgraded to the shoe-string fries which were good but only slightly crispy.

Prime Rib Melt at Joe Senser's ~ Roseville, MN

My companion ordered the Mushroom Swiss Burger, which was a thick, juicy 1/2 lb patty made of  freshly ground sirloin.  The flavor of this burger was hearty and beefy, even better topped with thick mushrooms and melted Swiss.  The bun wasn’t much of a match for this big burger; it was very light, fresh and lightly toasted.

Mushroom Swiss Burger at Joe Senser's ~ Roseville, MN

Service: It was a very busy weekend evening during my visit, so we were lucky to get a table right away.  We were asked if there was a particular game we wanted to watch so they could seat us accordingly.  Our server was very busy and service was slightly slow, but nothing out of the ordinary for how busy it was.

Overall Impression: Excellent Happy Hour specials and a big selection on the menu.  The vast number of Large Screen TVs, delicious big burgers and many beers to choose from make Joe Senser’s the perfect place to watch any televised sporting event or hang with your buddies after work.

Joe Senser's Sports Grill on Urbanspoon

Sep 182010

Cuisine: American, Burgers, Dessert, Pizza, Pasta
Restaurant Features: Bar, Delivery, Flat Screen TVs, Kids Menu

Albert Lea, MN
Bemidji, MN
Blaine, MN
Bloomington, MN
Coon Rapids, MN
Duluth, MN
Eagan, MN
Eau Claire, WI
Eden Prairie, MN
Fairmont, MN
Fargo, ND
Grand Forks, ND
Hastings, MN
Minneapolis-Uptown, MN
Hudson, WI
Lakeville, MN
Overland Park, KS
Plymouth, MN
Rochester, MN
Roseville, MN
Shoreview, MN
St. Cloud, MN
St. Paul, MN
Wausau, WI
Wichita, KS
Willmar, MN
Winona, MN
Woodbury, MN

Address: 57 So. Hamline St. Paul, MN 55105 651-698-0353
Hours: Mon-Sat 11am-1am Sun 11am-12am
Links: Green Mill Website * Green Mill on FacebookGoogle Map

Outside Green Mill

Outside Green Mill

Atmosphere: The  St Paul Green Mill on Grand Ave is the original restaurant location, where it was once the Green Mill Inn for almost four decades.  The Green Mill as we know it today has been around since 1975 and has been very popular since it became a franchise in 1990.

The inside of the Green Mill has the standard wood-paneled walls that you see in many of its locations, along with padded wooden booths and wood tables.  The bar area is located on one side of the space, the dining area on the other.  There are multiple TVs hanging from the ceiling.

Menu: The Green Mill recently updated its menu in the summer of 2010.

Appetizers include Red Pepper Hummus and Pita Chips, Mozzarella Sticks, Walleye Bites, Sweet Potato Fries, Asian Pot Stickers, Coconut Chicken Fingers, Chicken and Bacon Quesadilla, Crispy Chicken Chipotle Wontons, Chipotle Chicken Nachos, Fried Green Beans, Buffalo Bites, Thai Eggrolls, Spicy Chicken Quesadilla, Spinach Dip and Onion Ring Cyclone.  The Green Mill is also famous for their Chicken Wings, which can be served with bone or boneless, drenched in any of the following sauces: Jim Beam, Diablo, Sesame Teriyaki, Garlic Parmesan, Peking Zing, Dixie or Extreme Jamaican.

Salads at the Green Mill incude Warm Smoked Salmon, Coconut Chicken, Bangkok Chicken, Chipotle Chicken Chopped Salad, Blackberry and Grilled Chicken, Chicken Stir Fry, Thai Chicken Salad, Cilantro Lime Shrimp Salad, Cobb Salad with Chicken, Caesar salad, or House Salad.

Sandwich offerings are the Asian Chicken Wrap, French Dip, Cashew Chicken Salad, Parmesan Walleye, Millhouse Club, Greek Gyro, Crispy Chicken, Chicken Caesar Wrap, Buffalo Chicken Wrap, Turkey Bacon and Avocado Wrap, and Italian Ciabatta.  Burger s are 1/2 lb and served with fries, fruit, or chips.  Options include Build-Your-Own, Black Angus 1/4 lb, Summit Bacon, Blaze Burger (jalapenos and pepper jack), 4-Cheese Bacon Burger, Western Mill Burger, Cheeseburger and Veggie Burger..

Pizza options are extensive, with four crusts including Thin N’ Crispy, Pescara, Classic, and Chicago-Style Deep Dish.  You can Build-Your-Own from a variety of ingredients or order a pizza from the menu like the Margherita, Chipotle Chicken, MVP (Pepperoni and Canadian Bacon), Romano, Low-Cal Chicken, Extreme Supreme, Triple Meat and Cheese, and Il Primo (sausage, pepperoni, mushroom and 4 cheeses). Thin N Crispy Pizzas include Positano, Jalapeno Bacon and Garlic Chicken, Pepperoni, 4-Cheese Spicy Italian, and Sausage and Pepperoni.  You can also Build-Your-Own Calzone.

Pasta Options include Seafood Cannelloni, Five Cheese Lasagna, Mostaccioli, Butternut Squash Ravioli with Asparagus, Spinach Tortellini, Desert Fire Pasta, Wild Mushroom and Chicken Penne, Spaghetti, Lobster and Shrimp Linguine, and Fettuccine Alfredo.

Entrees include Bourbon Flat iron Steak, Summit Battered Fish and Chips, Chicken Parmesan,Chicken Marsala, Chicken with Crab Stuffing,  and Pan-Fried Walleye.

Desserts at Green Mill include Chocolate Pyramid, Chocolate Molten Martini, and Skyscraper Cheesecake.

Kids Menu items include Hamburger, Mac N Cheese, Quesadilla, Spaghetti, Personal Pizza, Corn Dog, and Chicken Strips.
Price guide: Appetizers $5-10  Wings $7/10 Salads $5-10  Burgers/Sandwiches $8-11  Pizza $9-18+   Pastas $10-14  Entrees $10-16  Desserts $6-7

Happy Hour: 3-6pm and 9pm-12am

  • $5 appetizers include Red Pepper Hummus and Pita Chips, Mozzarella Sticks,  Sweet Potato Fries,  Coconut Chicken Fingers, Chicken and Bacon Quesadilla, Crispy Chicken Chipotle Wontons, Buffalo Bites, Thai Eggrolls, Spicy Chicken Quesadilla, Spinach Dip and Onion Ring Cyclone.

Weekly Specials:

  • M-F 11a-2pm  Bottomless Soup and Salad or Salad and Pizza $8.99

What we ordered: We started with an order of Boneless Wings with Sesame Teriyaki Sauce.  These were delicious! The pieces of white-meat chicken were very lightly breaded and fried to a golden brown.  They were lightly tossed in the sweet yet tangy sesame teriyaki sauce and topped with sesame seeds, served with both ranch and bleu cheese dressings for dipping.  Excellent choice!

I had no doubt in my mind I was going to order the Deep-Dish Pizza, so that is exactly what I did.  The crust of this pizza was indeed thick, chewy and crispy on the bottom.  The cheese was baked directly on top of the crust and then topped with a generous amount of pizza sauce.  I love the sauce at Green Mill, it is sweet and zesty and has small chunks of stewed tomato mixed in. The 8″ small was more than enough for me, I even had half a pizza leftover to take home! So yummy!

Deep Dish Pizza @ Green MillDeep Dish Pizza @ Green Mill

One of my companions ordered the Chicken Cashew Salad Sandwich.  This sandwich looked great; so fresh and light!  The salad itself  had chunks of white-meat chicken mixed with cashews, diced green onion, red grapes and mayonnaise.  It was served on toasted cranberry bread with shredded romaine lettuce.

Chicken Salad Sandwich @ Green MillChicken Salad Sandwich @ Green Mill

Another companion ordered the Chipotle Chicken Nachos and an order of Sweet Potato Fries.  The Nachos were served on a long plate, with crunchy chips topped with shredded chipotle chicken, pepper jack, mozzarella and cheddar cheeses and topped with fresh pico de gallo, salsa, guacamole, shredded lettuce and sour cream.  These were also very yummy but slightly overcooked.

Nachos at Green MillNachos at Green Mill

The Sweet Potato Fries were served in a large cone, very good!

Sweet Potato Fries @ Green MillSweet Potato Fries @ Green Mill

Service: My party of 3 adults and one small child arrived shortly after opening on a Sunday and we were the first customers of the day.  Needless to say there was no problem getting a parking spot or a table!  We had great service, our server was very accommodating to our needs.  Food and drinks were brought promptly; service with a smile.
Overall Impression: Green Mill is a great restaurant with a varied menu that appeals to just about anyone. Their Deep Dish Pizza is awesome.  Many locations to choose from!
Green Mill Brewing Company on Urbanspoon

Jan 182010

Cuisine: Pizza, Delicatessen (hoagies)

Restaurant Features: Catering, Counter-Service, Delivery, Kids Menu, On-Site Parking (at many locations)

Locations: Arden Hills, Bloomington, Brooklyn Center, Burnsville, Coon Rapids, Eagan, Eden Prairie, Edina, Golden Valley, Minneapolis, Minnetonka, Plymouth, Richfield, Rogers, Roseville, Savage, St Paul, Woodbury
Addresses: (Click here for Maps of Davanni’s Locations)

Arden Hills: 3673 Lexington Ave N Arden Hills, MN 55126 651-481-7100

8605 Lyndale Ave S Bloomington, MN 55420 952-888-6232

Brooklyn Center:
5937 Summit Dr Brooklyn Center, MN 55430 763-566-8220

Burnsville: 14639 CR 11 Burnsville, MN 55337 952-431-1500

Coon Rapids: 3430 129th Ave NW Coon Rapids, MN 55448 763-712-1000

1960 Cliff Lake Rd Eagan, MN 55123 651-688-6111

Prairie: 8061 Flying Cloud Dr Eden Prairie, MN 55344 952-941-4444

Edina: 5124 Gus Young Ln Edina, MN 55436 952-920-9090

Golden Valley:
663 Winnetka Ave N Golden Valley, Mn 55427 763-398-0303

Minneapolis: 1242 Hennepin Ave Minneapolis, MN 55403 612-338-0000

Minnetonka: 15200 Highway 7 Minnetonka, MN 55345 952-938-4243

3015 Harbor Ln N Plymouth, MN 55447 763-550-0003

2312 W 66th St Richfield, MN 55423 612-866-3324

14165 James Road Rogers, Mn 55374 763-428-2990

Roseville, 1905 W Perimeter Dr Roseville, MN 55113 651-636-3411

Savage: 14125 Highway 13 Savage, MN 55378 952-440-1200

St Paul:
310 White Bear AveSt. Paul, MN 55106 651-738-6992

St Paul:
41 Cleveland Ave S St. Paul, MN 55105 651-690-4848

Uptown Mpls: 1414 W Lake St Minneapolis, MN 55408 612-822-3111

Woodbury: 1905 Donegal Dr Woodbury, MN 55125 651-739-1010

Links: Davanni’s Website


Atmosphere: The East St Paul Davanni’s location is just off I-94 and White Bear Ave.  Like all other Davanni’s location, customers order at a counter and then wait for their name to be called when order is ready.


There are several different seating areas, each with booths that can accommodate up to four people.  There are also a  couple of tables in the very back section of the dining room.  There are many windows throughout the restaurant, leaving it very well lit during the day.


Menu: Appetizers include Potato Chips, Breadsticks and Garlic Cheese Bread.

Salads at Davanni’s are the Garden Salad, Side Garden, Chicken Cobb, Italian Chef, Oriental Chicken, Southwestern Chicken, Spinach Chicken, Chicken Caesar, and Side Caesar.

Hoagie sandwiches are served on either white, whole grain, or ciabatta roll with lettuce, tomato, onion and mayo.   Options include Southwestern Chicken, Chicken Bacon Honey Mustard, Chicken Breast, Turkey/Bacon/Cheddar, Turkey, BLT w/ Cheddar, Club, Roast Beef, Pastrami, Ham, Salami, Tuna Melt, Veggie, and Three Cheese. Hot subs made with meat, marinara and cheese only include Chicken Parmigiano, Meatball, Sausage, and Pizza.

Davanni’s Pizza can be ordered with a choice of three different crusts (thin, traditional and deep dish) and two sauces (red and white).  Sizes pizzas come in are Solo, Medium and Laqrge.  Toppings choices are Pepperoni, Italian Sausage, Sliced Chicken Breast, Canadian Bacon, Hamburger, Red Onion, Green Pepper, Garlic, Mushrooms, Hot Peppers, Green Olive, Black Olive, Pineapple, Bacon, Gorgonzola Cheese, Anchovies, Roma Tomatoes, Cheddar Cheese, and Jalapeños.

Davanni’s also has Penne Pasta (with chicken, meatballs or sausage), Lasagna and Stuffed Calzones.

Kids menu items include Hlaf Pasta, Solo Cheese Pizza, or Half Ham Hoagy.

Desserts include Brownies, Rice Crispy Treats, and Chocolate Chunk Cookies.

Price guide: Hoagies $3.25-7  Salads $4-7   Pizzas $5-20  Calzones $5.50+

What We ordered: My companions and I ordered a variety of pizzas, including this large Chicago-style deep dish pizza with pepperoni and sausage.  Davanni’s deep dish is a treat for those who like real Chicago-style pizza and has been my one of family’s favorites for many years.  The buttery brown crust is at least 1″ deep yet it is light.  The lightness of the crust is deceiving because the pizza is actually very filling.   The cheese and meats were baked directly on top of the crust with pizza sauce spread out on the very top to prevent the crust from getting soggy.  The large pizza had 10-12 wedges.


Our party also ordered a Large Thin Crust Pepperoni Pizza.  The crust on the thin crust pizza was also pretty good, crispy but slightly chewy.  It was loaded with melted mozzarella and a fair amount of pepperoni (although I personally like more).

Davannis-thincrust c and olive oil)

This is a solo deep dish pizza with pepperoni, mushrooms and “pink” sauce.  Pink sauce simply means that it has both white sauce (garlic and olive oil) and red sauce.  If you like garlic, you would love either the white or the pink sauce.  This pizza was also very good, the mushrooms were fresh and there was a lot of pepperoni.  The light and buttery deep dish crust practically melts in your mouth.


One of my companions ordered a half pizza hoagy on whole grain with a special request for the sauce to be served on side.  This is a good sandwich but it doesn’t have much substance, just a thin layer of pepperoni and a thin layer of melted cheese on one half of the bread.  You better order the whole sandwich if you’re hungry!


Another companion ordered a pepperoni and veggie calzone to-go.  Safe to say that this thing was loaded with melted cheese, meat and veggies.


Service: You can call ahead for pick up or delicery, otherwise Davanni’s offers standard counter-service.  There are typically 2-3 cashiers taking orders during the lunch and dinner rush but you can still expect to wait a few minutes before placing your order. It was fairly busy during my visit and it took about 30-40 minutes for our pizzas, which seems a reasonable amount of time for the deep dish pizzas to bake.
Overall Impression: Davanni’s has excellent deep dish pizza and is conveniently located in several places around the Twin Cities.  Service is reasonably fast and menu prices aren’t going to break the bank.
Dari-ette Drive in on Urbanspoon