May 272012

Cuisine: American
Restaurant Features: Bar, Live Music, Nightclub, Patio, Waterfront
Location: Stillwater, MN
Address: 305 S Water Street Stillwater, MN 55082 (651) 439-5718
Hours: (Restaurant) Sun-Thurs 11am-9pm    Fri-Sat 11am-10pm (Nightclub)  Fri -Sat 9pm-2am

Links: Freight House Website * Freight House on FacebookGoogle Map
Atmosphere: The Freight House restaurant is located near the St Croix River in downtown Stillwater, in a building that was originally built in 1883 as Stillwater’s freight depot.  The inside of the restaurant has been converted into a lovely two-story dining room, with a selection of booths and tables.

The decks at the Freight House are vast and spacious, running the entire length of the Restaurant and Adjacent Night Club. There are enough tables to seat several hundred people and also a couple of outdoor bars. Great view of the St Croix! Freighthouse-outsidedeck

Menu: Appetizers include Onion Rings, Artichoke Dip, Jumbo Buffalo Wings, Beer Pretzels, Seasoned Fries, Ginger Mustard Green Beans, Cheese Curds, Chips and Guac, and Deep Fried Pickles.

Salads that the Freight House offers are the Chicken Caesar, Bistro Salad, St Croix Cobb, Buffalo Chicken, and Chicken Taco Salad.  They also have Chicken Wild Rice Soup.

Burgers are served with chips or you can upgrade to french fries or sweet potato fries for $2.50.   Options include the Freight House Burger, Mushroom Swiss, Black N Blue, Wisconsin Cheddar, North Dakota Bison Burger, California Turkey Burger, and Black Bean Veggie Burger.

Sandwiches also come with chips. Options include Willy the Kid (chicken salad), BBQ Pulled Pork, Freight House Chicken, Walleye, Grilled Reuben, Atlantic Salmon BLT, Smoked Brisket, Cajun Chicken, Baja Tacos, Southwest Chicken Wrap, and the Chicken Caesar Wrap.

Freight House also has several Neapolitan style pizzas like the Margherita, The Works, Classic Pepperoni, Sausage, Wild Mushroom Brie and Chicken Pesto.

Entrees include Fish & Chips, Bacon Mac N Cheese, Chicken Cheese Tortellini, Salmon Filet and Top Sirloin.

Desserts include Homemade Apple Crisp, Layered Chocolate Cake, and New York Style Cheescake.

Kids Menu ~ All kid’s meals include a beverage, pickle spear, fries and oreo cookies…. $6.00
Kid’s Boneless Chicken Fingers, Grilled Cheese Sandwich, Kid’s Burger add cheese for .50 cents Mac & Cheese, Kid’s Pizza, Mini Corn Dogs

Price guide: Appetizers $7-11 Burgers/Sandwiches $10-15 Entrees $12-18
Weekly Specials:

  • Wednesday Fish Fry ~ Freight House Pilsner Beer Battered Fish Filet, Skinny-Cut Fries, Garden House Salad, Cornbread Mini Muffins.  Treat your family to a Complimentary basket of our Signature Freight House Onion Strings. $12.99 Adults    $6.99 Children (12 and under)

What we ordered: My companion and I started with an order of Cheese Curds ($8). The order came with a basket full of bite-sized golden brown cheese curds that were hot and filled with melted cheddar.  The batter had cornmeal that gave it a crispy, unique texture.  They were served with peppercorn ranch.

We also tried the Jumbo Buffalo Wings ($11).  The order came with four whole chicken wings, fried and covered with Buffalo sauce.  These tasted pretty good but the sauce was rather ordinary.  Overpriced.

For my entree I ordered the Chicken Tortellini ($13).  This dish was served in a bowl with three color cheese tortellini covered in a white wine sauce and served with sauteed chicken, red peppers, onions, and broccoli.  I opted to add the freshly grated parmigian that my server offered.  The sauce was creamy and simple, I enjoyed it with the veggies and tortellini.

My companion ordered the Mushroom and Brie Pizza ($12).  This was really good if you like mushrooms and brie! The crust was chewy and covered with a light layer of pesto, then piled with roasted wild mushrooms and pieces of brie and then mozzarella.  We liked this a lot and thought it was the best value of everything we ordered that night.

Service: It was a Friday night at dinner time and every restaurant in Stillwater was packed to the gills….. all it seems, except the Freight House.  We found parking in the attached lot and had no problem getting a table inside the restaurant.  A friendly hostess brought us to our table and we were greeted by our server within five minutes to take our drink orders.  We ordered two courses which were appropriately times.  Our server was attentive, no complaints.
Overall Impression: This was a follow-up visit to my review of Freight House in August 2009.  While the service was good and the the food was decent, it seemed rather overpriced.  The biggest draw to the Freight House is its premium waterfront location downtown Stillwater.

Scooter’s ~ Chisago City, MN

 American, Bar, Burgers, Chisago City  Comments Off on Scooter’s ~ Chisago City, MN
Sep 242011

Cuisine: American
Restaurant Features: Bar
Location: Chisago City, MN
Address: 29350 Old Towne Rd Chisago City, MN 55013 (651) 257-2955
Hours: Daily 11am
Links: Google Map

Atmosphere: Scooters is located in the Heart of Chisago City, on Old Towne Road just a block off Hwy 8.  The inside is a boxy little space, with a bar along one side and the kitchen in the back.  There are a handful of tables spread around the room as well as a few seats at the bar.  There are windows along two sides of the building, providing ample natural light during the day.  Scooters could be categorized as a bar that serves food rather than a restaurant that serves booze.

Menu: Appetizers include Skin-on Fries, Sweet Potato Fries, Buffalo Fries, Tator Tots, Deep Fried Mushrooms, Onion Rings, Cheese Curds, Chicken Strips, Egg Rolls, Chicken Wings, Deep Fried Pickles, Jalapeno Poppers, Mini Corn Dogs, and Mini Tacos.

Sandwiches at Scooters include B.L.T., Ham and Cheese Melt, The Melt (ham, bacon, tomato, fried onion and choice of cheese, Grilled Cheese, Shredded Chicken Hoagie,  Shredded Steak Hoagie, and Pulled Pork Sandwich.

Burgers are 1/3 lb fresh Angus beef made to order.  Choices include Hamburger, Cheeseburger, Bacon Cheeseburger, California Burger, Double Cheeseburger, Bacon Double Cheeseburger, and Barn Burner (jalapenos, buffalo sauce and pepper jack).

Price guide: Appetizers $5.25  Burgers/Sandwiches $4-7
Weekly Specials:

  • Monday- 1/2 priced Appetizers from 12-5pm
  • Tuesday- $1.50 Mystery Beers
  • Wednesday- $0.25 Chicken Wings  11am-5pm
  • Thursday- Ladies Night $1 Rails and Domestic Taps 9pm-12am
  • Friday- Karaoke 9pm-1am
  • Saturday- $0.50 Burgers (1/4 lb) $1 Cheeseburgers  12-4pm

What we ordered: My companions and I had heard about the awesome Saturday Special of 50-Cent Burgers, so we ordered a round of burgers for everyone (some with cheese, some without).  The burgers were 1/4lb, made from fresh ground beef and served on a fresh bun.  I don’t know where else you can get a burger like this for 50 Cents!! You can’t even make it at home for that price.

We shared a basket of Onion Rings; a generous pile of crispy deep fried battered onion rings. Tasty and standard.

We also shared a basket of fries, shoestrings lightly fried and salted.  Also pretty standard.

Service: There was one server working at Scooters during the Saturday lunch-time rush and it got fairly busy.  Despite this fact, our server was good about getting us drinks as we needed them.  The food was brought to us about 15 minutes after we ordered, fresh and hot.

Overall Impression: There is nothing fancy about Scooters, but if you happen to be in Chisago City on a Saturday, the 50 Cent burgers can’t be beat!

Scooters on Urbanspoon

Matt’s Bar ~ Minneapolis, MN

 Burgers, Cash Only, Minneapolis  Comments Off on Matt’s Bar ~ Minneapolis, MN
Sep 182011

Cuisine: Burgers
Restaurant Features: Cash Only
Location: Minneapolis, MN
Address: 3500 Cedar Avenue South Minneapolis, MN 55407 (612) 722-7072

Hours: Daily 11am
Links: Matt’s Bar Website * Matt’s Bar on Facebook * Google Map

Atmosphere: Matt’s Bar is located in South Minneapolis on Cedar Ave at 35th St, in the same stand-alone building that has been its home since 1954.  The space is  open and boxy with booths along one side and the bar on the other, with tables in between.  The dark paneled walls and lack of windows definitely made it feel more like a bar than a restaurant.  There also is no kitchen, just a flat-top grill behind the bar.   Neon lights and beer signs brightened up the place a bit.

Menu: Appetizers include French Fries.

Burgers and Sandwiches include Jucy Lucy, Hamburger, Cheeseburger, Grilled Cheese, Dbl Cheeseburger, Ham & Cheese, Chicken Sandwich.
Price guide: $3-6

What we ordered: This was my first visit to Matt’s Bar and the burger was an obvious choice for me (sans American Cheese).  Served in wrapped paper, these burgers aren’t very big but they sure are good! Matt’s offers fried onions with the burgers so I gave it a go. Good stuff, albeit a little greasy.

My companion ordered a couple of Jucy Lucys, each of which is about 1/3 lb.  The inside was molten American cheese that could burn your face in .2 seconds if you aren’t careful! The patty was served atop pickle rounds.

We also shared a Basket of Fries, crispy shoestrings.

Service: Our visit was at mid-afternoon on a weekday and it was completely full with a few waiting.  We bellied up to the bar for about five minutes before a booth became available.  We placed our order within ten minutes of sitting and the food arrived less than ten minutes after that.  We were presented with a bill at the end of the meal, which we paid at the bar on the way out. Cash only!
Overall Impression: We thought the burgers at Matt’s were really good, the Jucy Lucy even ranks in the top 4 for TCRB Editor Picks: Best Jucy Lucys (coming soon!)
Matt's Bar on Urbanspoon

Sep 042011

Cuisine: American, Burgers
Restaurant Features: Bar, On-Site Parking, Pull Tabs
Location: St Paul, MN (North End)
Address: 1220 Rice Street St Paul, MN 55117    (651) 487-7967
Hours:  Daily 11am
Links: Google Map

Atmosphere: Tin Cup’s is located at the northeast corner of Rice Street and Maryland Ave, in St Paul’s North End neighborhood.  I have worked just blocks from this restaurant for five years and never gave it a second glance until one of my readers recommended it after it was recently remodeled.

The first time I stepped foot in Tin Cup’s was two weeks ago.   I  have no idea what it looked like previously, but I hear it was a very dark and dingy place.  The restaurant closed down for about two years, and reopened earlier this year with a newly remodeled interior.  It is bright, clean and modern.  The bar runs along one side of the room but the rest of the space is occupied with tables and booths along the wall of windows.  There are a few flat screen TVs lined up over the bar and in the back near the kitchen.

Inside Tin Cup's ~ St paul, MNh

Notice the sign below? Man Vs Food Nation recently visited Tin Cup’s to take the Tin Cup’s Lucifer Challenge:  two 1Lb Lucifer burgers plus two lbs of fries in 45 minutes or less for $25 (unless you actually eat it all in which case it is free!!)  The show airs Oct 5th, 2011

Menu: Appetizers at Tin Cup’s include Onion Rings, Memphis Nachos, Walleye Fingers, Chicken Quesadilla, Chicken Wings, Buffalo Wings, Chicken Tenders, and Wisconsin Cheese Curds.

Salads include the Tin Cup House Salad and the Chef Salad.  There is also a Soup du Jour.

Burgers include fries and coleslaw.  Options are the Classic Burger, Smokey Bacon Cheeseburger, Pstty Melt, Mushroom & Swiss, and the Tin Cup Burger (with cheddar, pepper jack, bacon, onion rings and steak sauce).

The Tin Cup is also well known for their Juicy Lucy’s, including the Cedar Ave (stuffed with American), Lucifer ( stuffed with pepperjack and jalapenos with diablo sauce), Dirty Lucy (stuffed with olives, jalapenos, onions and bleu cheese), The Inside-Out California (stuffed with American, pickles and tomato), The Eggcellent Lucy (stuffed with Swiss and bacon, topped with an egg and American cheese), and the French Dipper (stuffed with swiss and caramelized onions, served with au jus).

Sandwiches also come with fries and coleslaw. Choose from Classic Grilled Chicken, Smokey Bacon Chicken, Pulled Pork, The Northender (chicken topped with pepperjack and bacon), Perfect BLT, Reuben, The Governor (steak with swiss, mushrooms and onions), and the Pot Roast Melt.

Wraps include the Minnesota (walleye, lettuce, tomato wrapped in potato lefse), Maryland Avenue (turkey, bacon and cheddar wrapped in potato lefse, and the Chicken Finger Wrap.

Tin Cup’s is also well known for their Fried Chicken.

Desserts include the West 7th (salted nut roll wrapped in cookie and the fried, drizzled with caramel) and Decadent Bites (deep fried brownie bites coated with powdered sugar and caramel sauce).

Price guide: Appetizers $5-8  Burgers $7-9  Sandwiches $6-9

What we ordered: I actually visited Tin Cup’s on two occasions within a few weeks of each other and will be writing about the food on both visits.

Visit #1

We started with an order of Wisconsin Cheese Curds, nuggets of white cheddar cheese curds breaded with a cornmeal mixture and served with ranch dressing.  Very tasty! They were hot and gooey, with an excellent crunchy crust.

We also tried an order of Walleye Fingers.  I personally didn’t care for these at all but my companion liked them.  I thought they were kind of fishy and had obviously been frozen until the moment they hit the deep-fryer just minutes earlier.

I ordered the Dirty Lucy which comes stuffed with bleu cheese, jalapenos, onions and olives.  Each patty is hand stuffed per order, so I was able to order mine without olives (one food I just do not care for).  This burger was awesome!! It exceeded my expectations, in fact.  The burger itself was so tasty and big and it had a ton of peppers and onions inside.  All burgers are cooked over charcoal and then finished on the flat-top so you get the heavenly flavor of the grill.  It also came on a big toasted bun with coleslaw and french fries.

My companion ordered the Cedar Avenue Lucy, which is the Classic Juicy Lucy stuffed with American Cheese.  Normally it comes with caramelized onions but it was requested to leave them off.  I didn’t try this burger but my companion thought it was awesome, ranking just behind The Nook for best Juicy Lucy in town.

Visit #2

My second visit was for lunch with a few of my colleagues.  I loved the Dirty Lucy that I had on my first visit to Tin Cup’s  but wanted to try one of the Juicy Lucy’s that I hadn’t tried yet so I got The French Dipper.  Yum!! This giant burger was cooked medium well and was stuffed with swiss cheese and caramelized onions and served with a side of au jus.  This was so good!  If you like French Dips you would love this Burger.

One of my companions ordered the Dirty Lucy, the same burger I ordered on my first visit.  Check out the size of this burger and how stuffed full  it is with jalapenos, onions, and olives.  The bleu cheese kind of melts into everything and the flavor lingers.

Another companion ordered the Eggcellent Lucy, stuffed with swiss and bacon, topped with American cheese, caramelized onions and a fried egg topped with hot sauce.

A peek inside the Eggcellent Lucy

Another companion ordered the Pot Roast Melt.  It looked wonderful and my companion loved every bite.  There was a hefty amount of pot roast  along with swiss cheese piled between two slices of grilled sourdough bread.  Served with thick gravy for dipping.

Service: We had pretty good service on both visits to Tin Cup’s.  I had a different server on each occasion but both were friendly and quick to respond to any requests.  The food service was a little slow, understandably as the food takes awhile to prepare, especially the Juicy Lucy’s which are all lovingly made-to-order.

Overall Impression: Most under-rated Juicy Lucy restaurant in the Twin Cities!  They have a great variety of huge burgers, and I would love to try the Fried Chicken very soon.  If you are in the mood for a Man Vs Food type challenge, try the Tin Cup’s Challenge of two 1Lb Lucifer burgers plus two lbs of fries in 45 minutes or less
Tin Cup's on Urbanspoon
Tin Cup's Place Reviews in St Paul

Jul 172011

This is a follow up to the original review I wrote of The Nook in April 2009

Cuisine: American, Burgers
Restaurant Features: Bar, Bowling Alley
Location: St Paul, MN
Address: 492 Hamline Ave S, St Paul, MN 55116 651) 698-4347
Links: The Nook Website * The Nook on Facebook * Google Map

Atmosphere: The Nook has recently reopened after being closed for several months due to a damaging fire in Dec 2010.  The renovations look great! The kitchen was moved to the very back of the long and narrow restaurant and the unisex bathroom is right in the middle.  A single line of tables run along the wall to the back of the kitchen and is more comfortable than it was before. The Nook must have been able to save a lot of the memorabilia that had been hanging on the walls before the fire, because it all seemed to be the same.

There is a nice, shiny wooden bar when you first walk in that seats six.  There is also a bowling alley downstairs.


Appetizers at the Nook include Jalapeno Poppers, French Fries, Runyon Rings, Cheese Curds, Mozzarella Sticks, Mini Tacos, Mini Corn Dogs, Leprechaun Legs (fried green beans!), Nokie Wings with your choice of eight original sauces, Boneless Wings, Chicken Drummies, Chicken Tenders.

Pizza offerings include Deluxe, Sausage, Pepperoni, and Double Cheese.

The salad choices at the Nook are Dinner Salad, Garden Salad with Chicken, Caesar, and Buffalo Chicken.

Sandwich offerings include the Reuben, Bourbon Bacon Chicken, Charbroiled Chicken Breast, Charbroiled Chicken Club, BBQ Chicken, Buffalo-style Charbroiled Chicken, Chicken Tender Melt, Pork Tenderloin Sandwich, Half Pound BLT, Battered Cod, Salmon Burger, and Grilled Shamrock’s Cheese.  All sandwiches come with fresh cut fries and pickle.

Burgers are what the Nook is known for! With many to choose from such as The Mickey’s Original, Cheeseburger, Bacon Cheeseburger, Patty Melt, California, Pepperjack Burger, Swiss Mushroom Burger, Bourbon Bacon Burger, Alumni Burger (Worcestershire sauce enhanced), Casburger, Nookie Supreme (Double Decker cheeseburgers with special sauce), Juicy Nookie (stuffed cheeseburger), Paul Molitor Burger (stuffed with pepperjack), Matt Birk Burger (two patties with pepperjack), Lodge Burger, Bleu Cheeseburger, Burger of the Month, and Garden Burger.  All burgers come with fresh cut fries or sub for onion rings just $1.50 extra.

Dinner Entrees come with coleslaw, garlic toast and French fries and include 7 oz Filet Mignon, a Surf and Turf Combo, Steak Sandwich, 8 oz. Ribeye, Fish & Chips, Fried Shrimp, Fried Chicken Wings, and Pork Chops.

Price guide: Appetizers $ 6-8 Sandwiches & Burgers $6-8 Salad $4-7
Weekly Specials: Sunday- Kids eat free from Kids’ Menu  One child per adult.

Monday- Dollar Burgers from 8:30-10:00 (smaller burgers)

Tuesday-Bourbon Bacon Burger with fries $5.50

Wednesday- Ribeye and the Works $9.95

Thursday- Breaded Pork Tenderloin $5.95

Friday- Fried Shrimp or Fish Fry $9.95

Saturday- 4pm to close 10oz. BBQ Pork Chop Dinner

What we ordered: My companion and I split a Strawberry MaltIt was good, but not the best malt I have had at The Nook.  It was made with plenty of malt powder the way I like, but this malt in particular tasted like it was made with strawberry syrup.  It wasn’t very thick and the strawberry was finely blendedMost malts I have gotten there are thicker and have bigger chunks of strawberryIt was still very tasty.

I have tried several different burgers at The Nook, but this Bleu Cheese burger is my favorite. This stacked burger has a layer of bleu cheese crumbles on the bottom bun topped by the juicy beef patty then sauteed mushrooms and fried onions (optional).  I love the combo of flavors and textures.  This is one of my favorite burgers anywhere, the beef has amazing flavor even if it is a little greasy.  I also love the fresh cut fries that come standard with the burger at no up-charge, making it one of the best valued burger baskets around these days.  All this for $7.95.  I don’t know who can beat that!

One of my companions ordered the Juicy Nookie Burger.  Twin Cities classic, two patties formed around a center of molten cheese.  My companion loves this burger and thinks The Nook has the best one he has personally tried thus far.

Another companion ordered the Nookie Supreme. This enormous layered cheeseburger has an extra bottom bun and cheeseburger patty.  The buns are extremely soft and fresh even after being toasted.

Service: Our visit was at 3pm on a weekday which is the perfect time to go if you don’t want to wait.  We got a table right away and our server was on top of it.  Drinks were refilled quickly and the food was ready within 15 minutes.
Overall Impression: The Nook really does have some of the best burgers around town, if you haven’t been yet, I urge you to go! Prices are great and so is the food and service.

Casper & Runyon's Nook on Urbanspoon
The Nook Reviews in St Paul

Forest Laker Grill & Bar ~ Forest Lake, MN

 American, Bar, Burgers, Games, Happy Hour, Live Music  Comments Off on Forest Laker Grill & Bar ~ Forest Lake, MN
Feb 262011

Cuisine: American, Burgers, Steaks
Restaurant Features: Bar, Games, Happy Hour, Live Music
Location: Forest Lake, MN
Address: 131 N Lake Street, Forest Lake, Minnesota 55025 651.464.4647
Hours: Daily
Links: Forest Laker Website * Forest Laker on Facebook * Google Map

Atmosphere: The inside of the Forest Laker is on the shabby side; one step in the place and it is obvious that the bar is the central focus, restaurant is an after-thought.  In the lower level, anyway.  There are only six booths in the small space, with about six additional bistro tables and some seating around the bar.  There is a small stage area that can acommodate live perfomances.

The upstairs of the Forest Laker is much bigger and more comfortable than the main level, with many additional tables.  I would have preferred to sit in this area but it didn’t appear as though any server was available upstairs, it was a ghost town while downstairs was slammed.

Menu: Appetizers include Chicken Wings, Garlic Toast, Chips & Salsa, Mini Tacos, Mozzarella Sticks, Spinach Artichoke Dip, Shrimp Cocktail, Potato Skins, and Deep Fried Battered Mushrooms.  Deep Fried Baskets include French Fries, Fresh Cut Fries, Popcorn Shrimp, Chicken Strips, Hand Battered Fish N Chips, and Potato Skins.

Salad options at the Forest Laker include Chophouse Wedge, Lakeside Chef, Mixed Baby Greens, Caesar, and The Lakeside.

Sandwich options include BLT, Turkey Club, Grilled Cheese, Hot Turkey or Beef, Reuben or Rachel, Prime Rib Dip, Fried Walleye, Charbroiled Chicken Breast, and Philly Prime Rib Dip.  Burger options are the Mushroom and Swiss, Patty Melt, Cheeseburger, Bacon Cheeseburger, and California Burger.  All burgers and sandwiches come with chips and pickle or you can upgrade to either French Fries or Fresh Cut Fries for an additional charge.

The Forest Laker also has a selection of Southwest items featuring the Famous Giant Taco, Super Nachos, Taco Salad, Fajitas and Quesadillas.

After 5pm you can also order Steaks, including Sirloin, Bone-In Tenderloin and Prime Rib.  All served with salad and choice of potato.

Other dinner entrees include BBQ Ribs, Lobster Tails, Sirloin, Chicken Breast, Fresh Walleye, Fresh Shrimp, Cracker Crusted Walleye Filet, Steak and Shrimp, Fettuccine Alfredo, Jumbo Shrimp, Linguine in Red Sauce,  Linguine with Wild Mushroom, and Penne with Artichoke.

Price guide: Appetizers $3-9   Salads $4-9 Burgers $6-8  Sandwiches $8-10  Steaks $16-28

Happy Hour:

  • 2-6pm Daily
  • 2 for $6.95 includes Fat Tire, 1554, Ranger India Pale Ale,
  • 2 for 1 all drinks and appetizers

Weekly Specials:

  • South of the Border Saturday- Pick 2 for $7 including Giant Taco, Margarita, Cuervo Shot, Corono, Modelo, XX Tap,
  • Monday- Buck a Burger

What we ordered: I ordered the Philly Prime Rib Melt with fresh cut fries.  To my surprise there was a whole steak on the french roll that was not sliced like I had assumed it would be.  This made it impossible for me to eat without cutting it bite by bite, which I had to do anyway because it was a rather grisly steak.  The peppers and onions were sauteed and really dressed it up, as did the toasted bun.  I thought this sandwich was okay but I would not order it again.  The fresh cut fries were very good.

My companion ordered the Mushroom and Swiss Burger with regular french fries.  This burger was pretty good, it had real mushrooms and swiss on a 1/2lb seasoned juicy patty.  It came with a buttered toasted bun (although it tasted more like margarine than real butter).  The french fries were pretty standard.

Service: The Forest Laker was very busy on the Saturday afternoon that I visited, and despite the odd 4’0 clock hour, the place was packed and there was only one table available- a bistro table.  Our server was the only server in the entire bar and was completely overworked.  She mentioned that the other two servers had called in sick that day and was on her own (which is probably why the upstairs wasn’t open?).  She did great, very patient with ordering even though she was slammed with other tables.  She refilled our drinks and took care of our minor requests.
Overall Impression: I really wasn’t too impressed with the Forest Laker, the seating area is kind of shabby and it is very small.  The burger was pretty good but the steak sandwich wasn’t my cup of tea.  Maybe the food would be more impressive in a better environment?

Forest Laker on Urbanspoon

Dec 212010

Cuisine: American, Burgers
Restaurant Features: Banquet, Bar, Flat Screen TVs, Games, Happy Hour, Kids Menu, Live Music, On Site Parking, Wi-Fi
Location: St Paul, MN
Address: 995 West 7th St.  St. Paul,MN 55102  651-228-9925
Hours: Daily 11am
Links: Shamrock’s Website *  Shamrock’s Facebook Page *  Google Map

Atmosphere: Located on West 7th at Randolph Ave, Shamrock’s Irish Nook is the second restaurant owned by Casper & Runyon, their other restaurant being The Nook.  The space is decently sized, with the restaurant on one side and the bar area on the other.  The main dining area has booths and tables and is colorfully decorated with flags and seasonal decorations.

The Bar Area at Shamrock’s easily takes up half the space, with the bar running along the entire wall.  There are several bistro tables and seating along the bar.  Shamrock’s also has a couple of banquet rooms in the back of the space that can be reserved for large parties.

Menu: Appetizers at Shamrock’s include Buffalo Zingers, Wings (Hot, BBQ Wings, Bourbon Teriyaki, Chipotle Garlic, Wasabi, Thai Peanut, Szechuan Apricot and 59 Sauce Wings), Chicken Tenders, Nugget Meatballs, Jalapeno Poppers, Runyon Rings, Cheese Curds, Mozzarella Sticks, Mini Tacos, Riblets in Smoky Sauce, Nacho Grande, Walleye Fingers, Mini Corn Dogs, Cheese Bread, Nook Bites, Shamrock Bites, Deep Fried Green Beans, Buffalo Shrimp, Chicken Cordon Bleu, Baked Artichoke Dip, Sweet Potato Fries and Fresh Cut French Fries.
Shamrock’s salads include Caesar, Buffalo Chicken, Thai Asian Peanut Chicken, Asian Sesame Chicken, Black and Bleu Steak, and Raspberry Chicken.
All Burgers at Shamrock’s are the same burgers you would get at their sister restaurant, Casper & Runyon’s Nook. Options inclue  The Mickey’s Original, Cheeseburger, Bacon Cheeseburger, Patty Melt, California, Pepperjack Burger, Shwishmushroom Burger, Bourbon Bacon Burger, Alumni Burger (Worcestershire sauce enhanced), Casburger, Nookie Supreme (Double Decker cheeseburgers with special sauce), Juicy Nookie (stuffed cheeseburger), Paul Molitor Burger (stuffed with pepperjack), Matt Birk Burger (two patties with pepperjack), Lodge Burger, Reuben Burger, Notre Dame Burger, Bleu Cheeseburger, Burger of the Month, and Garden Burger.  The newest burger options are the Firehouse (onion, bacon and pepperjack), Saucy Patty, Stuffed Philly Cheeseburger, Olive Cream Cheese Burger and Bison Burger.  All burgers come with fresh cut fries or sub for onion rings just $1.50 extra.
Sandwich offerings include the Reuben, Bourbon Bacon Chicken, Charbroiled Chicken Breast, Charbroiled Chicken Club, BBQ Chicken, Buffalo-style Charbroiled Chicken, Chicken Tender Melt, Pork Tenderloin Sandwich, Spicy Tuna Melt, Seafood Sliders, Half Pound BLT, Battered Cod, Salmon Burger, and Grilled Shamrock’s Cheese.  All sandwiches come with fresh cut fries and pickle.
Shamrock’s entrees are the Emerald Isle Steak Sandwich, 10oz Ribeye, Riblet Dinner, Charbroiled Chicken, Chicken Wing Dinner, Fish & Shrimp, Fried Shrimp, Walleye Fingers and Grilled Salmon.
Items from the Kids Menu are the Wee Burger, Wee Taco, Chicken Nuggets, Mini Corn Dogs, Mac N Cheese, and Grilled Cheese.
Desserts at Shamrock’s include Homemade Chocolate Chip Cookie, Homemade Brownies, Cookie Sundae, Cookie Sundae, and Ice Cream Sundae.
Price guide: Appetizers $6-10 Salads $6-8 Burgers/Sandwiches $7-8 Entrees $9-15 Desserts $2-5

Happy Hour:

  • Mon-Fri 3-6pm
  • 2-for-1 Domestic Taps, $2.25 Bottles, $1.75 Rails
  • Thursday Ladies Night $5 All you can drink domestic beer and rails
  • Free Taco Bar on Fridays

Weekly Specials:

  • Saturday & Sunday- Corned Beef and Cabbage $9.95
  • Monday- 8:30-10:00pm Mini Burgers $1.25
  • Tuesday- 3 Fried Flour Tacos $6.95
  • Wednesday- Ribeye $9.95
  • Thursday-  Pork Tenderloin $6.95
  • Friday- Fried Shrimp or Fish Fry with Cole Slaw and Fries $9.95

What we ordered: I ordered what I order at just about every Irish Pub I visit; Corned Beef, specifically the Reuben Sandwich.  The sandwich was made with real corned beef which was flavorful but somewhat dry.  The ends of a few slices of corned beef were so hard that they were inedible and had to be taken off the sandwich which was disappointing, but fortunately the rest was pretty good.  The thousand island dressing and sauerkraut were both plentiful and tasty, and the grilled, swirled rye bread completed the sandwich.  The fries that come with all sandwiches and burgers at Shamrock’s are fresh-cut and oh so good!

One of my companions ordered the Mushroom Swiss Burger, a juicy thick 1/2lb patty of ground angus beef.  It was topped with a generous amount of sauteed mushrooms and melted swiss cheese and served on a toasted bun.  A delicious burger you can really sink your teeth into!

Another companion ordered the Bacon Cheeseburger, another giant burger perfectly cooked and loaded with cheese and crispy thick-cut bacon.

Another companion ordered the Grilled Chicken Caesar.  The salad was tossed with just the right amount of caesar dressing and then topped with sliced grilled chicken breast.

This was the Grilled Salmon Caesar that another companion ordered.  The salmon fillet was pre-grilled and served cold atop the salad greens and a generous amount of crispy seasoned croutons.  It was good but my companion said she prefers warm salmon on her salad.

A few of us tried this Brownie Sundae for dessert, which was very good.  The brownies are handmade by a professional baker and are rich, chocolately and delicious.  I recommend it with the ice cream, as the vanilla perfectly compliments the chocolate and cuts the richness somewhat.

Service: My visit was part of a party taking place in one of the new banquet rooms, where we had two servers.  We had been given a  banquet menu to order from that had only six selections on it, but my server was nice enough to let me order from the regular menu, which made me happy.  Drinks were brought in a reasonable amount of time.  Overall the service was very good.

Overall Impression: If you love Casper & Runyon’s Nook you will enjoy many of the same tastes in the bigger space of Shamrock’s.  Great burgers and a plethora of beers and other cocktails to choose from.  Perfect place to have a gathering or party.

Casper & Runyon's Shamrock on Urbanspoon

Dec 182010

**** This restaurant is closed as of March 2011****

Cuisine: Burgers
Restaurant Features: Counter-Service, On-Site Parking
Location: White Bear Lake, MN
Address: 4735 HWY 61 White Bear Lake, MN 55110 651.426.2521
Hours: 11am
Links: Burger Time Website * Burger Time Facebook Page * Google Map

Atmosphere: Burger Time has made its way from Fargo to the Twin Cities with its first local restaurant in White Bear Lake.  Located downtown White Bear in a little shopping area at the Southwest corner of Hwy 61 and 4th Street, Burger Time has taken over the former home of Einstein’s Bagels.

I had driven by this place every day since it opened a few months ago and was curious what it was all about, since I love a good burger.  The set up of the restaurant leaves no doubt upon first impression that it is a fast food joint.  You order at this counter and then pick your own seat.

The Dining Room is set up with tables as well as bar-style seating along the windows.  The decor is very modern and vibrant.  The lighting is very bright, with large pendants hanging overhead, illuminating guests who sit near the windows just feet away from the cars parked in the lot.  Nothing like feeling like you’re onstage while you’re eating!

Menu: Side items include French Fries, Onion Rings and Apple Pie.

All Burgers at Burger Time are flame-broiled 1/3lb patties.  You can get a 2/3lb (two patties) or a 1 lb burger (three patties).  Burger options include Cheeseburger, Bacon Cheeseburger, BBQ Bacon Cheeseburger, Hawaiian BBQ, and Mushroom Swiss.  There is also a Chicken Sandwich.  Make any a combo for $1.80 extra

Items on the Kids Menu include Chicken Chunks and Jr. Burger

Burger Time also has shakes: Strawberry, Chocolate and Vanilla.

Price guide: 1/3lb Burger or Chicken $3-4  2/3lb Burger $4-6  1 lb Burger $9  Shakes $3

What we ordered: I had a 2/3 lb Bacon & Swiss Burger with Onion Rings.  Typical of fast food, each item was individually wrapped in paper.  The burger was quite large with  two large, 1/3lb patties stacked on a grilled bun.  The meat had good flavor and was pretty juicy, if not slightly greasy.  The quality was somewhere between fast food burger and restaurant burger.  Much better than McDonald’s!  The bun wasn’t quite sturdy enough for all the meat, barely containing the patties. I was not a big fan of the cheese or bacon on this burger, which was definitely fast-food quality.  I hate American cheese with a passion so I ordered the Swiss instead, but this was basically processed Swiss cheese, not the real-deal.  I guess I should’ve expected that when I saw the prices, but now I know that next time I will just order a California Burger sans cheese and bacon.  The Onion Rings were pretty awesome, thick cut onions battered and fried until hot and crispy.  The order was huge! I could only eat about half my meal before I was very full.

My companion ordered the Mushroom Swiss Burger with French Fries. This burger was nearly identical to the one I ordered, just swap the bacon for mushrooms.  I actually liked the mushrooms much better than the cheap bacon.  The fries are very similar to McDonald’s.

Service: Nobody was at the counter when we first walked in for a late weekday dinner and the dining room was also a ghost-town.  After just a very short wait a very friendly employee came from the back to take our order.  I suspect that there may be only 1-2 people working each shift because the employee disappeared back into the kitchen once again and then we didn’t see her again until about 10 minutes later when she brought our food out to us.  She was very nice and later came back put to the dining room and asked us what we thought of the food.  They have a soda fountain for self-serve beverages, very typical fast-food service.
Overall Impression: Decent fast-food burgers at very reasonable prices, all orders are custom made so it takes a little longer than typical fast food.  No drive-thru.