Jan 172010

Cuisine: Pizza
Restaurant Features: Bar, Flatscreen TVs, On-Site Parking,
Location: St Paul, MN

Address: 421 East 7th Street  St Paul, MN 55101 651-227-1437
Hours: Mon-Sat 11a-11p  Sun 11a-10:30p
Links: Google Map

*Red’s Savoy Pizza in Coon Rapids, Hugo, St Paul, and Uptown are all Delivery/Take-out Only


Atmosphere: Red’s Savoy Inn is the original Savoy location, found just on the edge of downtown St Paul at the corner of 7th St. and Lafayette.  There are two entrances into Savoy’s on the west side of the building, one near the parking lot in back and one one the side near the front.   The restaurant is divided into two sides, with the Bar Area being what you see when you first enter.  The bar stretches the length of the room, which has tables and booths as well.


The main dining room is adjacent to the bar area with an open walkway in between.  Also between the two rooms is a giant aquarium with live tropical fish.  It is quite dim inside Savoy, there are no windows and the only lighting comes from the soft yellow glass orbs overhead.

Savoy-dining ea

Menu: Appetizers at Savoy Inn include Buffalo Wings, Deep Fried Cheese Ravioli, Mozzarella Sticks, Jalapeño Poppers, French Fries, Onions Wings, Garlic Cheese Bread.

Sandwich options are the Meatball Dip and Hot dago with Cheese.

Pizzas come in two sizes, 10″ or 14″, Hand Tossed Thin Crust. Topping options include Sausage, Pepperoni, Hamburger, Mushrooms, Onion, Green Pepper, Green Olive, Black Olive, Sauerkraut, Pickles, Canadian Bacon, Banana Peppers, Jalapeños, Pineapple, Bacon, Shrimp and Anchovies.

Price guide: Appetizers $5-7  10″ Cheese Pizza $8.45  Toppings $1-2/ea 14″ Cheese $11.40  Toppings $1.50/2 ea (premium toppings more)
What We ordered: My companions and I started with an order of mozzarella sticks.  They were just as mozzi-sticks should be, crispy golden brown on the outside and hot melted mozzarella inside.  It came with a side of sauce.


Our group ordered a variety of pizzas.   The pizza has a very thin crust at the base of each creation, then covered with spicy pizza sauce, toppings and mozzarella cheese.  This was a 10″ Pepperoni, Mushroom and Shrimp.  I have really come to enjoy shrimp on pizza over the past couple of years and this was the first time I had tried it at Savoy.  The shrimps were very little and there were plenty of them covering the pizza.   The not-too-thick-not-too-thin pepperoni had great flavor while not being too greasy.  We ordered our pizzas “well-done” so the cheese on all the edge pieces was browned and crispy.


Another pizza was a 10″ Pepperoni, Banana Pepper and Onion.  Great combo of toppings! The banana peppers spiced it up a notch and the onion added a touch of sweetness, perfectly complimented by the zesty pepperoni.  The crust is very thin and crispy, but not at all chewy.  Overall the Savoy pizzas were a success and a few of my companions even declared Savoy pizza to be their favorite or “the best”.


We also had a 14″ Special Pizza with Sausage, Pepperoni, Mushroom, Onion, Green Pepper and Green Olive.  This pizza was loaded with ingredients and cheese.


One of my companions also ordered a side of Rigatoni with sauce.  I thought the portion size was just right for a side order.


Service: It wasn’t very busy on the late Wednesday evening of my visit, so we had no problem getting a parking place in the small lot in the back of Savoy’s and easily found a table inside the restaurant.  Our server was nice but took her time checking on us even though there were very few other customers.  Food was prepared in a reasonable amount of time.
Overall Impression: Savoy pizza is one of the better thin-crust pizzerias around St Paul, especially if you like a spicier sauce and pizza loaded with toppings and cheese.  The prices are comparable to many other local pizzerias but you get a hefty amount of toppings for the money.
Red's Savoy Pizza on Urbanspoon

Sep 052008

Cuisine: American, Steak, Ribs, Chops
Restaurant Features: Bar, On-Site Parking, Patio Dining

Location: Hugo, MN
Address: 14725 Victor Hugo Boulevard  Hugo, MN 55038  (651) 756-1894
Links: Blue Heron Website * Blue Heron Facebook PageGoogle Map


Atmosphere: The Blue Heron is a very large restaurant, with a handful of dining areas surrounding a centrally-located bar area.  There are several large-screen TV’s on the walls throughout the restaurant.  The decor of the restaurant was one that had no apparent theme, but was painted with warm masculine colors to go along with the wooden tables and chairs.


Bar Area


Menu: Appetizers include Calamari, Sante Fe Quesadilla, Muchos Nachos, Onion Rings, Wings, Chicken Satay, Walleye Fingers, Prime Rib Asparagus Wrap, Grilled BBQ Salmon, Steak Bites, Bruschetta and Spinach & Artichoke Dip.

Salads include Fresh Tomato Mozzarella, Chef, Taco, Caesar, Wedge, and Pear & Bleu Cheese.  Soups include French Onion and a Soup du Jour.

Entrees include Grilled Fajitas, Shrimp Scampi, Broasted Chicken, Walleye, Filet Mignon, Ribs, Ribeye, Pork Chops and Chicken Florentine Lasagna Rolls.

Pasta dishes offered at Blue Heron are the New Orleans (Jambalaya), Seafood Linguine, Bolognese, Pasta Primavera, Spaghetti & Meatballs, Chicken Alfredo, and Caprese.

There is also a large selection of sandwiches including the Prime Rib French Dip, Old Fashioned Club, Prime Rib Philly Cheese Steak, Grilled Chicken, Buffalo Chicken, BBQ Pork, Walleye, Cuban, Italian Sub and Glazed Hickory Chicken.  Wraps include Southwestern Chicken, Smoked Turkey & Avocado, and Buffalo Chicken.  There are also a number of Specialty Burgers including the Blue Heron Burger (cheese, sauteed mushrooms, fried onion, smoked bacon, jalapenos, pineapple, lettuce and tomato).

Price guide: Appetizers $8-12  Salads $9-10 Entrees $13-24 Pasta $10-14 Sandwiches $8-11
What we ordered: We started with the Nachos, which was a huge pile of chips loaded with sauteed peppers, jalapenos, green onions, black beans, tomatoes and seasoned ground beef, with guacamole and sour cream on the side.  The portion was huge, with all of the ingredients stacked on top of the chips.  The nachos were good, but it was hard to get both chips and ingredients together in the same bite. There seemed to be cheese baked only on top.


We also ordered the Chicken Satay, which I was disappointed to discover was not what I consider chicken satay at all!  Not Thai Satay, anyway.  The chicken skewers were very good, nice and tender, but the flavor was distinctly teriyaki.  Apparently the kitchen was all out of the Thai Cucumber salad that traditionally accompanies Satay, so they substituted it with coleslaw.  Both were very good, just not what I was expecting.


For my dinner, I had the Mushroom and Swiss Burger.  The burger was quite large and pretty good.  It had a decent amount of fresh sauteed mushrooms and Swiss cheese, served on a toasted bun.  The burger was ordered medium-well and it was quite pink in the middle.  The few thick-cut fries they gave me were hot, but sparse.


One of my companions ordered the Bacon Swiss Burger


One of my companions had the Walleye Sandwich.  This is actually what I had ordered for my meal, but I missed the description that said it had American Cheese, so I was unable to eat it.  It was unfortunate for me that such a nice fillet of walleye was covered with a food I have a strong aversion to.  My companion was nice enough to swap the burger for the walleye and enjoyed it.  The fillet was large and perfectly browned with a light breading.


Another companion had the pork chops, which were very thick and tender, and perfectly seasoned with maple glazed brown sugar.  The green beans were also sauteed in a sweet glaze and ad a nice texture to them.  The baked potato was not nearly as good as the rest of the meal.  It was old, hard, dry and had obviously been sitting in the tinfoil since the dinner rush many hours earlier.


Service: I had heard such bad things about the service at the Blue Heron that my expectations were not very high.  I am sorry to say that the service on my visit was even worse than I could have expected! In fact, I am going to go as far as to say I had the worst service of any restaurant I have ever done a review on at this point in time (about 75 restaurants!).  My companions and I arrived at the restaurant shortly after 9pm, long after the dinner crowd had gone.  There were only a few other diners in the restaurant, but several people having cocktails in the bar area.  The hostess greeted us in a friendly manner, and brought our party of four to a table in the bar area.  We asked for a table that was close to one of the large-screen TV’s so that we would be able to watch a Pre-Season Vikings game that was in progress.  After we were seated, it took at least ten minutes for our server to come to our table to take our drink orders.  Drinks took at least ten minutes and she had forgotten one of them, so that drink didn’t arrive until 25 minutes after it we ordered.  Our server was friendly, but did not go out of her way to give us helpful suggestions of what to order.  Appetizers arrived approximately 20 minutes after we ordered, however the restaurant made a substitution for an item that they were apparently out-of, without consulting us first.  Half-way through appetizers, the TV that was showing the Vikings came was changed to something else.  Our party asked three different people at three different times if they would kindly put our game back on.  All three requests were ignored, despite reassurance that they would change the channel back.  We waited, waited, and waited some more for our entrees, our server was nowhere in sight.  We were left without refills for quite some time.  Dinner was finally served about 50 minutes after we ordered.  Our server was polite when we did see her, but that seemed rare.
Overall Impression: I am a resident of Hugo and had been waiting many years for a nice restaurant to move into town, so I was incredibly disappointed with my first visit to the Blue Heron because the service was so bad.  The food was good enough, but certainly didn’t outweigh the amount of time it took between ordering and eating.
Blue Heron Grill on Urbanspoon

Aug 242008

Cuisine: American, Fish & Seafood, Steaks, Chops & Ribs
Restaurant Features: Bar, Games, On-Site Parking

Location: Withrow, MN  (Washington Co. between Hugo and Stillwater)
Address: 12010 Keystone Ave Stillwater, MN 55082 (651) 439-6625
Links: Sal’s Website * Sal’s on FacebookGoogle Map


Atmosphere: The structure of the restaurant is made of logs, so as you would expect, the interior has the feel of a giant lodge.  The vaulted ceilings make the large dining room appear even bigger than it is.  There are several wooden tables to accommodate various sized groups and a selection of booths as well. Attached to the dining room is a nice bar area.


Menu: Appetizers include Angus Bites, Chicken Bites, BBQ Chicken Nachos, Onion Stacks, Walleye Fingers, Sal’s Spuds, Coconut Shrimp, Pasta Nachos, Pork Wontons, Beer Battered Mushrooms, and Bruschetta.  Sal’s also has Chicken Noodle Soup, Chicken Wild Rice, and a Soup of the Day.

Salads offered are the Angus Bite, Chopped Chef, Caesar, BLT, and Sal’s Salad.

Sal’s also has a handful of specialty sandwiches such as the Hot Dago, Buffalo Chicken, Angus Bit and Italian Chicken.  You can also build your own burger or chicken breast sandwich.

Pastas include Homemade Lasagna, Chicken Penne, Spaghetti and Meatballs, Fettucine Alfredo, and Baked Chicken Parmesan.

Entrees are served with green beans and choice of potato, featuring Angus Sirloin, New York Strip, Ribeye, Sunfish, Walleye, Salmon, Jumbo Shrimp, BBQ Pork Ribs, Pork Tenderloin, Broasted Chicken, and Stuffed Chicken Breast.

Price guide: Appetizers $ 8-10 Sandwiches $8-10 Pasta $12-16  Entrees $17-22
What I ordered: We were given complimentary rolls with a sweet, sugary butter. I love it when restaurants have bread and flavored butter!


We started with Buffalo wings, which happened to be very large and crispy.  The buffalo sauce was tangy and I could detect a hint of garlic in the bleu cheese, a nice addition to the standard buffalo/bleu cheese combo.


I ordered the Hot Dago because I was really in the mood for Italian and although a Steak House/ Bar & Grill is not the place one would typically think would have good Italian food, I was really happy with my sandwich! Served on a large slice of toasted Italian bread, the meat was a tasty combination of both beef and Italian pork sausage grilled into a patty.  It had a light amount of sauce on top (with extra sauce served on the side), then topped with grated mozzarella and parmesan.  The flavor of the sandwich was really good and the bread stayed crispy rather than getting soggy from too much sauce.  The Dago came with a ton of fries that were hot and salty.



After debating whether to get Prime Rib or Ribeye, one of my companions ordered the 14 oz. Ribeye with loaded baked potato.  The steak was really tender and the baked potato was loaded with cheddar, bacon, green onion, and sour cream on the side.  The green beans were perfectly cooked and had a slightly sweet flavor.


Another companion started with the Italian Wedding Soup and then had the California Burger.  I didn’t try either of these, but the soup looked good.  The burger was supposedly “good”, but the perfect roundness of it makes me think that it may have been a frozen patty rather than from fresh ground beef?



Service: Our visit was late on a Saturday night, so we pretty much had the place to ourselves.  Our server was really good and had suggestions that helped make our decisions.
Overall Impression: Really good for a rural restaurant.  The prices seemed reasonable for what you got and the service was good.
Sal's Angus Grill on Urbanspoon

May 032007

Cuisine: American, Burgers, Steak, Ribs, Chops

Restaurant Features: Bar, On-Site Parking

Location: Hugo, MN

Address: 17205 Forest Blvd N  Hugo, MN  55038  (651) 429-4116

Hours: Lunch served M-F 11-2pm  Dinner 4-9pm

Links: Blacksmith WebsiteGoogle Map


Atmosphere: The size of the large green barn-like building is deceiving, as it is much smaller on the inside than one might think.  The long and narrow dining area lacks windows, has a low ceiling.  Only the lack of cigerette smoke makes it less claustrophobic.  One thing that was very apparent on my visit is that is is definitely a small-town hang-out, as many customers knew and greeted each other all around the restaurant/bar.  It is also common knowledge that the Blacksmith is biker and snowmobile-friendly, with adequate parking space for a huge crowd.

Menu: Appetizers include Mini Corn Dogs, Cheese Curds, French Fries, Onion Rings, Chicken Wings, Chicken Strips, Fried Shrimp, Mushrooms and Mini Tacos.

Blacksmith has  sandwich choices such as the Grilled Ham & Cheese,  Fish Fillet, Pork Tenderloin, Chicken Breast, BLT, Steak Sandwich and Grilled Cheese. There are also a number of burgers including the Horseshoe Burger.

Entrees include Broasted Chicken, Grilled Chicken Breast, Fish & Chips, Sirloin or Porterhouse Steak, and Ribs (Fri-Mon only).  The Blacksmith Lounge offers daily dinner specials as well.

Price guide: Appetizers $5-8   Entrees $7-14 then jumps to $22 for the porterhouse

What I ordered: The Wednesday dinner special….two 8oz broasted pork shops with choice of potato (baby reds) and toast.  I had no idea what “broasting” was exactly, but according to Wikipedia, Broasting is a method of cooking chicken by using a pressure fryer and condiments marketed by the Broaster Company of Beloit, Wisconsin. The equipment and ingredients are marketed only to food service and institutional customers. They are not available to the general public. The method essentially combines pressure cooking with deep frying. The result is said to be chicken that is crispy on the outside and moist on the inside, i.e., like traditional fried chicken but less greasy.” I thought the pork chops were wonderful, one was certainly enough! The broasted breading was very flavorful and had a great texture.


My companion ordered the Porterhouse Steak and thought it was a nice big steak and that it was tender, but didn’t have a ton of flavor or seasonings.


Service: Decent.  FYI- seat-yourself

Overall Impression: Not loving the over-all atmosphere of Blacksmith’s, but the broasted cooking is darn good and the food is reasonably priced.  Excellent daily specials.

Blacksmith Lounge & Broaster on Urbanspoon