May 062012

Cuisine: Asian Variety, Chinese, Thai
Restaurant Features: Bar, Gluten-Free Menu
Locations: Edina, Minnetonka and Roseville
Addresses and Maps:
Roseville (Rosedale Center) – 1705 Highway 36 West  Roseville, MN 55113 (651) 636-7173
Edina – 3669 Galleria Edina, MN 55435 (952) 928-7888
Minnetonka (Ridgedale Center)-  12649 Wayzata Blvd Minnetonka, MN 55305 (952) 797-9888
Hours:Mon-Thurs 11am-9:30pm * Fri-Sat 11am-10pm * Sun 11:30am-9pm
Links: Big Bowl Website * Big Bowl Facebook PageGoogle Map

Atmosphere: There are several Big Bowl locations in the areas of Minneapolis and Chicago.  The Roseville location is found inside Rosedale Center on the same side of the mall as AMC Theaters, Granite City and Flame. The dining room is big and decorated with a contemporary Asian flair.  There are tables in various shapes and sizes, as well as booths along the outer walls.  There is also a bar area to the left of the entrance.

Menu: Appetizers include Chicken Potstickers, Veggie Potstickers, Chicken Dumplings, Veggie Dumplings, Spicy Sichuan Green Beans, Crispy Garlic Tofu, Grilled Chicken Satay, Chicken and Shrimp Eggroll,  Barbeque Spareribs, Chinese Chicken Lettuce Wraps, Thai Beef Lettuce Wraps, Thai Herb Calamari, Spicy Sichuan Eggplant, and Summer Rolls (Chicken, shrimp or Veggie).

Soups and Salads include Dumpling Noodle Soup, Vietnamese Noodle Soup (Pho), Chinese Hot & Sour Soup, Tom Yum Shrimp Soup, Spicy Sesame Peanut Noodles, House Mixed Salad Greens, Asian Chicken Salad, Mandarin Chicken Salad, and Lucky 8 Vegetables & Tofu.

Chinese Chicken dishes include Kung Pao, Ginger Chicken, Spicy Cashew, Orange, and Sesame Chicken.  Beef Dishes include Kung Pao, Spicy Sichuan Beef, Beef & Broccoli, Mongolian Beef, and Seven Flavor Crispy Beef.  Seafood Dishes include Sweet Ginger Sea Scallops & Shrimp, Shanghai Shrimp & Scallops, Teriyaki Glazed Salmon, and Black Pepper Scallops.

Fried Rice options include Teriyaki Chicken, Teriyaki Shrimp, and Barbeque Pork.  There is also an Unfried Jasmine Rice dish.  Chinese Noodle Dishes include Kung Pao Tofu and Spinach, Kung Pao Chicken and Noodles, Steak & Noodles, and Sichuan Pork Belly with Noodles.

Thai Specialties include Red Hot Pepper Chicken Noodles, Thai Hot Pepper Chicken (or Shrimp) with Basil & Peanuts, Bangkok Shrimp & Scallops and Thai Shrimp Fried Rice.  Pad Thai is Big Bowl’s signature dish, try it with Vegetables/Tofu, Chicken, Shrimp or Salmon.  Big Bowl also has a make-it-yourself Stir-Fry bar option.  You choose your vegetables, meat, sauce, and noodles and they will cook it for you.

There are also a number of Curries including  Spicy Thai Green Vegetable Curry, Yellow Curry Vegetables, Yellow Curry Chicken with Sweet Green Beans, and Claypot Shrimp Panang, and Claypot Panang Curry Chicken.

Big Bowl also offers a Gluten-Free Menu, which includes many of the above items.

Desserts include Coconut Tapioca Pudding, Mango Cheesecake, Honey Apple Crisp, Homemade Double Chocolate Brownie, Lucky Chocolate Peanut Butter Pie, and Mochi of the Moment (ice cream and sweet rice).
Price guide: Appetizers $5-7 Entrees $12-18

What we ordered: We started with a round of drinks, I had a Mai Tai, with a traditional mix of light and dark rum, pineapple and lime juices.  Delicious, albeit on the short side.

Later I tried a Margarita, a mix of Sauza white tequila, cointreau, and Yuzu sour.

One of my companions ordered the Ginger Jameson, made with fresh Ginger.

One of us had the Red Sangria

Another companion had the Passion Fruit White Sangria.

For the inconvenience of seating out party of twelve at two different tables, they sent out some complimentary appetizers, including these Steamed Veggie Dumplings ($5.95) served in the house soy-ginger sauce.  The order came with five plump dumplings.

We also tried the Pork Potstickers ($5.95), which also came with five in the order.  These were pan fried to give them a crispy, golden brown crust.  They were served with the soy-ginger sauce, hot mustard and sweet plum sauce for dipping.

For my entree I asked for a recommendation of something spicy and the server suggested the Claypot Chicken Panang Curry ($12.95), so that is what I ended up ordering.  The base of this dish was the delicious, thick peanut-coconut curry, stuffed with pieces of all natural white meat chicken, red bell pepper and snow pea pods.  It had a lot of flavor but only a slight kick to it as far as spice goes.

One of my companions ordered the Pad Thai with Pork ($12.95).  This was a big pile of rice noodles, stir fried with big pieces of barbeque pork, basil, eggs, bean sprouts, peanuts and fresh lemon and herbs.  It looked and smelled great!

One of my companions had the Mongolian Beef ($14.95), a traditional Chinese dish with big tender chunks of beef, shitake and button mushrooms, shredded carrot and green onions in a sauce made with hoisin and soy.

Another companion had the Veggie Stir Fry with tofu, broccoli, green beans, carrots, peppers and onions with Chinese rice noodles.

For dessert we shared a Double Chocolate Lava Brownie

Service: Our visit to Big Bowl was on a busy Saturday night, with a reservation for 12 people made a month in advance.  We had to wait 30 minutes past the reservation time before they could arrange space for us.  When we were seated, they put four of us in a booth and the other eight were seated at two nearby tables that had been put together.  It was very awkward and completely separated our party into two.  For this “inconvenience” they brought us complimentary appetizers.  While we were sitting, the hostess had sat a table fo two at the booth next to ours and three minutes later another employee came rushing over to their table where we overheard her telling that could sitting there that they had to be moved, that that particular table was reserved for someone else and they didn’t seem very apologetic about it. My companions and I were appalled by it. As for the rest of our service, drinks took some time coming from the bar but once we put in our dinner orders, they didn’t seem to take any longer for our party of twelve than it would’ve for a much smaller group.
Overall Impression: This was my second time ever visiting Big Bowl, the first was about five years ago.  Big Bowl is a chain restaurant that prides themselves on using fresh ingredients sourced locally and naturally raised meats.  I liked the fresh ingredients and overall our food was pretty good but the service was less than stellar.  I personally won’t be rushing back anytime soon.
Big Bowl on Urbanspoon

Apr 152012

Cuisine: American, Pizza, Pasta
Restaurant Features: Bar, Flat Panel TVs, On-Site Parking, Patio Dining
Locations: Apple Valley, Blaine, Eagan, Minnetonka, Plymouth, Roseville, Uptown, St Cloud, Duluth
Addresses and Maps:
Apple Valley ~ 14998 Glazier Ave Apple Valley, MN 55124 (952) 891-4600
Blaine~ 198 Northtown Dr Blaine, MN 55434 (763) 783-3414
Duluth ~ 327 Lake Avenue South  Duluth, MN 55802 (218) 720-2966
Eagan ~ 1312 Town Centre Dr Eagan, MN 55123 (651) 688-0882
Eden Prairie ~ 12300 Singletree Lane Suite 100 Eden Prairie, MN 55344 (952) 946-1400
Minnetonka ~ 17790 Highway 7 Minnetonka, MN 55345 (952) 401-0030
Plymouth ~ 3505 Vicksburg Lane  Plymouth, MN 55447 (763) 744-1221
Roseville ~ 2100 N Snelling Ave Roseville, MN 55113 (651) 639-0303
St Cloud ~ 4040 2nd Street South St Cloud, MN 56301 (320) 259-1103
Uptown ~ 2841 Hennepin Avenue Minneapolis, MN 55408 (612) 870-1918

Hours: Daily 11am-2am (food until 1am)
Links: Old Chicago Website * Old Chicago on Facebook

Atmosphere: The Roseville location of Old Chicago is located at Har Mar Mall,  facing Snelling Avenue.  The restaurant space has both tables and booths that are arranged to break up the space into smaller areas.  There are flat screen TVs tuned on to sports, as well as neon beer signs all over the restaurant and bar area.  There aren’t a whole lot of windows.

The Bar Area is adjacent to the dining area, just to the left of the main entrance.  Old Chicago is known for all the beers they carry; at least 30 on tap!  The Roseville location also has a large patio area facing Snelling Avenue.

Menu: Appetizers include Spicy Spinach Dip, Sampler Platter, Italian Nachos, Artichoke Dip, Nachos Grande, Chicken Tenders, Garlic Cheese Bread, Sicilian Pepperoni Rolls, Wings, and Mozzarella Sticks.

Small Plates include Mini Italian Meatballs, Mediterranean salad, Fried Spicy Pickles, Fried Mac N’ Cheese, and Tomato & Mozzarella Caprese.

Old Chicago also has Salads such as the Roasted Chicken Salad, Asian Chicken Salad, Harvest Salad with Balsamic Chicken, Classic Chicken Caesar, Mediterranean Salad, Crispy Chicken Salad, and House Salad.  Soups include Beef Chili and Potato Chowder.

Sandwiches and Burgers come with fries or coleslaw.  Options include Chicago Stromboli, Italian Sausage Stromboli, Classic Italian Melt, Spicy Chicago Beef, Prosciutto with Lettuce and Tomato, California Chicken Sandwich, Classic Club, and Chicken Wrap.  Burgers include Old Chicago Cheeseburgers, Guacamole Burger, and Bacon Cheeseburger.

Pasta options at Old C are Lasagna, Meatballs and Spaghetti, Chicken Alfredo, Chicken Mac N Cheese, and Classic Spaghetti.

You can also order Entrees such as Shrimp Basket, Fish & Chips, Crispy Chicken Tenders, Fisherman’s Catch, 8 oz Sirloin, and Grilled Sirloin with Shrimp.

Old Chicago is famous for their Pizzas which come with either Classic New York Style Crust, Deep Dish Chicago-Style, and Artisan Style.  Artisan options are Three Cheese with Tomato and Pepperoni, Proscuitto and Mushroom, and Roasted Chicken Pesto.  Specialty pizzas include “Chicago Seven”, Double Deckeroni, Meat Me, The Classic, Hawaiian, Thai Pie, Vegetarian Seven, and Malibu Veggie.

Old Chicago serves a variety of Calzones in addition to their famous Pizzas, including Italian Grinder, Monterey Chicken, Famous “Chicago Seven”, Meat Me, Spinach Artichoke, and Build Your Own.

Desserts offered include Famous Big Cookie, Little Big Cookie, Homemade Cheesecake, and Turtle Chocolate Brownie with Vanilla Ice Cream.
Price guide: Appetizers $3-10  Sandwiches $9-10  Entrees $8-16
Late Night Happy Hour: 9pm-Midnight

  • $1 off all pints, mini one-topping pizzas
  • $2 Miller Lite Pints and Grainbelt Nordeast pints
  • $3 Surly pints, wells, and house wines
  • $4 Sicilian Pepperoni Rolls
  • $5 Artichoke Dip, Italian Nachos and Nachos Grande
  • $.50 Wings (only on Wednesdays, min 4 per order)
    (all late night food specials require a minimum beverage purchase per person)

What we ordered: A couple of us ordered The Classic to share. I have had the pizza at Old Chicago many years earlier and I didn’t remember it standing out, so I had the preconceived notion that I wasn’t going to like it.  I was pleasantly surprised at how good it was, as was my companion.  We got the deep-dish crust that was about an inch thick with a crispy, dense crust.  Unlike most Chicago-style pizzas, the sauce on this pizza was under the cheese, rather than on top, yet it was still crispy.  It was topped with pepperoni, sausage, mushrooms and garlic.  Very good, I would definitely order this again.

One of my companions ordered the Spicy Chicago Beef sandwich which was an excellent choice.  This sandwich was served hot with a pile of tender, sliced roast beef, melted provolone cheese, spicy homemade pepper giardiniera and sweet red pepper mayo.  Served with french fries. It was so good that when I tried a bite, I ended up eating the entire half ;)

Another companion ordered the Fish and Chips.  The order came with four strips of fried cod, salt and vinegar fries, coleslaw and  a tangy tartar sauce.  The fish was very crispy but the fish within was hot and tasty.

Service: We arrived for a late dinner and the restaurant was still fairly busy.  Our server was attentive and our food was prepared in the appropriate amount of time for what we ordered (deep dish pizzas take a little longer).
Overall Impression: Old Chicago is a laid-back place to get a good pizza, sandwich or burger and a large selection of beers.  Yes, it is a big chain restaurant but the food is consistently good.
Old Chicago 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

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

Aug 282008

Cuisine: American,
Restaurant Features: Banquet Room, Bar, Sports Bar, On-Site Parking

Locations: Burnsville,  Eden Prairie, Maple Grove, *Maplewood, Minneapolis, Minnetonka, New Brighton, Richfield, St. Paul, Woodbury
Addresses & Maps:
Burnsville- 1200 W. County Rd. 42 Burnsville, MN 55337 952-898-5050
Eden Prairie8010 Glen Lane Eden Prairie, MN 55344 952-942-3331
Maple Grove– 13521 80th Circle North Maple Grove, MN 55369 763-494-4515
Maplewood-1734 Adolphus St  651-487-5050
Minneapolis– 100 N. 6th St. Minneapolis, MN 55403 612-335-5050
Minnetonka– 641Plymouth Rd. Minnetonka, MN 55305 952-546-3333
New Brighton– 2397 Palmer Dr. New Brighton, MN 55112 651-639-0339
Richfield- 790 W. 66th Street Richfield, MN 55423 612-861-3333
St Paul– 2401 W. 7th St. St Paul, MN 55116 651-698-5050
Woodbury– 8418 Tamarack Village Woodbury, MN 55125 651-735-5050

Links: Champps in Maplewood Champps Corporate Website


Atmosphere: Known primarily as a Sports Bar/Restaurant, Champps in Maplewood has Neon Signs and Memorabilia adorning the Logos of our Minnesota Sports Teams throughout the building.  The main dining area has a mix of round wooden tables and booths.  The building is very large, with a banquet room on the lower level and two large parking lots on either side of the building .


The bar area has a number of tall tables in addition to seating around the bar.  There is also an enclosed patio area with multiple windows that wraps around one side of the building.


Menu: Although Champps is a national chain, each restaurant is individually franchised and has control over their own menu.  Here is a link to the Champps Corporate Menu.  The menu that I am going to review is that of Champps in Maplewood, the site of my review.

Appetizers include Garlic Cheese Bread, Chicken Fingers, Spinach & Artichoke Dip, Santa Fe Eggrolls, Buffalo Wings, Asian Pot Stickers, Merlot-Grilled Sirloin, Quesadillas, Nachos, Potato Skins, Mozzarella Sticks, Onion Rings, Cheese Curds, and Waffle Fries.

Champps also has a large selections of salads including Southwestern Chicken Caesar, Caesar, Greek Chicken, Cobb, Buffalo Chicken, Oriental Chicken, Crispy Chicken Tender, Bleu Steak, Chopped, Taco Salad and Pasta Salad.  Soups offered are French Onion Au Gratin, Chicken Noodle and Soup du Jour.

Sandwiches at Champps are served with choice of chips, potato salad, cole slaw or cottage cheese.  Selections include the Mediterranean Tuna Melt, Mile High Turkey, Chicken Cyn, Gyro, Adobe Turkey, Muffaletta Hoagie, Buffalo Chicken, BBQ Pulled Prk, Spinach and Artichoke Chicken, Chicken Cordon Bleu, Champps Clubhouse, Hawaiian Chicken, 3-Cheese Chicken, Reuben/Rachel, Grilled Cheese, Cajun Chicken, French Dip, Walleye, Turkey Bacon Ranch, Buffalo Chicken Wrap, Ranch Chicken Wrap, Club Wrap, Southwestern Chicken Wrap, Philly Cheesesteak Wrap, and the Texas Fajita Wrap.  There are also a large selection of Specialty Burgers.

Specialty Pizzas that are offered are Margherita, Spinach Artichoke and Pepperoni, and Meat Lovers.  You can also build-your-own pizza.

Pasta Specialties are the Fettuccine Alfredo, Cajun Chicken Fettuccinne, Baked Mostacioli, Roasted Artichoke and Grilled Chicken Penne, Spaghetti and Meatballs, and Jambalaya.

Entrees include the BBQ Rib Platter, Lemon Pepper Walleye, Grilled Fajitas, Kung Pao Chicken, Fish & Chips, and Sirloin Steak.

Desserts include Cookie Espresso Sundae, Brownie Sundae, New York Cheesecake with Berries, Hot Fudge Sundae and Chocolate Cake.

Price guide: Appetizers $6-10  Salads $9-12  Sandwiches $7-9  Pastas $11-15 Entrees $12-19
What I ordered: I ordered the Taco Salad, which came in a fresh, crispy tortilla bowl.  The bowl itself was on the small side, and was packed full of lettuce, seasoned ground beef, cheddar cheese, tomatoes, onions and fresh jalapeños, with sour cream and salsa on the side.  It was so packed full of ingredients that there wasn’t enough room for me to mix the salad, but I thought it was really good.


One of my companions ordered the sandwich/soup combo, a Grilled Cheese with potato salad and side Caesar salad that they happily substituted for the soup. The bread was thick and buttery, grilled to a nice golden brown.  The salad was a generous portion for a side salad.


Another companion ordered sandwich/salad combo with Grilled Turkey, Potato Chips, and Garden Salad.  The chips they serve are of the kettle variety; crunchy and salty.


Another companion ordered a BLT with Waffle Fries and Seasoned Sour Cream.  The BLT isn’t actually on the menu, but the restaurant was more than willing to accommodate the request since they had the necessary ingredients.


Service: My party arrived at the beginning of the lunch hour, immediately after the restaurant opened and we were seated promptly at our choice of table.  The staff was friendly and more than willing to accommodate a couple of minor changes to the menu, such as substituting a side salad for soup in the sandwich/soup combo, and making a BLT which was not on the menu at all.
Overall Impression: Decent food with huge portions for the price.  Service is prompt and friendly, great place to watch any of our local sports games.
Champps on Urbanspoon

Aug 062007

*****A NEWER Review of Big Bowl Chinese & Thai dated 5/6/12 can be found here*****

Cuisine: Chinese and Thai

Restaurant Features: Bar

Locations: Roseville (site of this review), Edina, Wayzata


Roseville (Rosedale Center)  1705 Highway 36 West  Roseville, MN 55113 (651) 636-7173

Edina 3669 Galleria Edina, MN 55435 (952) 928-7888

Minnetonka (Ridgedale Center)  12649 Wayzata Blvd Minnetonka, MN 55305 (952) 797-9888

Links: Big Bowl Website * Big Bowl Facebook PageGoogle Map


Atmosphere: Located inside Rosedale Mall, Big Bowl is a large restaurant with a trendy Asian flair.  There are several booths around the edges of the dining area and in the bar area, with many smaller tables within the middle.  At the back of the restaurant near the kitchen is an area for make-your-own stir-fry.


Menu: Appetizers include steamed Chinese dumplings, veggie or chicken pot stickers, hot buns filled with pork, chicken satay, egg rolls, Thai-beef lettuce wraps, shrimp summer roll, teriyaki spare ribs, calamari, and a few soups and salads.  Thai curry dishes include yellow curry with chicken or veggies, panang curry chicken, scallop and shrimp citrus curry, thai green vegetable curry.  Chicken dishes include kung pao, orange peel, lemon chicken, chicken with vegetables, and Thai hot pepper chicken.  Beef dishes include Mongolian, Kung pao, and beef with broccoli.  Seafood dishes include crunchy sichuan cashew shrimp, Thai hot pepper shrimp with basil and peanutscrunchy sichuan scallops, sweet ginger sea scallops and shrimp, and teriyaki glazed fresh salmon.  Pad Thai is Big Bowl’s signature dish, try it with vegetables/tofu, chicken, shrimp or salmon.  Big Bowl also has a make-it-yourself stirfry bar option.  You choose your vegetables, meat, sauce, and noodles and they will cook it for you.

Price guide: Appetizers $6-9  Entrees $8-15

What I ordered: My companion and I started with an order of the veggie pot stickers (Classic pan fried northern Chinese dumplings stuffed with cilantro, green onions, crushed peanuts)  It was also served with three dipping sauces, sweet and sour, plum and sesame mustard.  Excellent choice! These pot stickers had a ton of flavor and excellent texture.


I wanted to try a curry dish and decided to go with the Panang Curry Chicken
(chicken, light peanut-coconut curry, peas, snow peas served over jasmine rice).  This dish was packed with flavor! The sauce was indeed “light” if they mean “thin”.  It was delicious, but I think would prefer it with a little more peanut flavor and if it were a tad bit thicker.  The vegetables were very good, but the texture of the chicken was kind of slimy.  I enjoyed the first ten bites or so and then got kind of bored with it.


My companion ordered pad Thai with vegetables.  This seemed to be a hit! I tried a little bit of it and thought the noodles had good flavor.  As you can see, there were a lot of veggies in the dish.


Service: The host staff was very friendly, as was our server.  I think the server may have been new though, as he was not as knowledgeable about the menu as he could’ve been.

Overall Impression: Great ambiance and decent food.

Big Bowl Asian Kitchen on Urbanspoon

Jul 062007

Cuisine: Italian, Pizza

Restaurant Features: Bar, On-Site Parking (for all but Rosedale Mall location)

Location: Burnsville, Edina, Minnetonka, and Roseville, MN

Addresses & Maps:

Burnsville1025 Country Road 42 Burnsville, MN 55337 (952) 898-4366

Edina7651 France Ave S Edina, MN 55435 (952) 844-0084

Minnetonka11390 Wayzata Blvd Minnetonka, MN 55305 (952) 417-9880

Roseville– Rosedale Mall  1705 Highway 36 W Roseville, MN 55113-3011 651-633-2148

Links: Macaroni Grill website * Macaroni Grill on Facebook











































Atmosphere: Dimly lit and somewhat romantic, you might not even realize that you are situated within the Rosedale Mall.  There is a mix of tables and booths underneath a wooden faux-gazebo structure.























Menu: Appetizers include bruschetta, fried mozzarella, shrimp & artichoke dip, calamari, crab-stuffed mushrooms and parmesan crusted artichokes.

Pasta dishes include the Pasta Romano, penne rustica, shrimp portofino, vodka rustica, seafood linguine or create-your-own pasta from a choice of pastas and sauces.  Stuffed pastas include lobster ravioli, chicken cannelloni, and chicken marsala ravioli.

Classic dishes include chicken or veal marsala, chicken, eggplant or veal Parmesan, fettuccine Alfredo, spaghetti with meatballs, chicken and shrimp scaloppine and twice baked lasagna.

Meat entrees include chicken portabello, steak, grilled halibut or salmon, grilled porkchops, and honey balsalmic chicken  There are also a selection of brick-oven pizzas, salads and soups.

Price guide: Appetizers- $5-10   Pastas- %9-16  Meat Entrees- $12-21


What we ordered: Macaroni Grill always provides free loaves of their fresh, hot bread.  Break off a piece and dip it in the olive oil provided.  Delish! The texture is light, similar to ciabatta.























For my entree I ordered the Mama’s Trio, a sampler of the chicken parmesan, chicken canneloni, and twice baked lasagna.  The chicken parmesan was very good, as was the lasagna (however the lasagna was warm at best, not hot).  The cannelloni had nice flavor, but the outer shell was pretty dry and crunchy.



















My companion ordered the chicken parmesan entree, served on a  bed of angel hair pasta.  The size of this chicken was magnificent!  The combination of textures with the chicken and angel hair pasta was a big hit.





















Service: The hosts and serving staff were very friendly and pleasant.  Drinks and food served in a timely fashion.

Overall Impression: Decent Italian food if you like chain-style restaurants. Prices are comparable to other Italian restaurants of the same caliber, good service.

Romano's Macaroni Grill on Urbanspoon

Mar 252007

Cuisine: Burgers, American, Ice Cream

Restaurant Features: On-Site Parking

Locations: Edina, Highland Park, Minnetonka, Roseville

Addresses & Maps:



Edina– 4502 Valley View Rd Edina, MN 55424 (952) 920-0949

Highland Park244 Cleveland Ave S, St Paul, MN‎ – (651) 690-1846

Minnetonka17519 Minnetonka Blvd, Minnetonka, MN‎ – (952) 475-1850

Roseville– 1125 Larpenteur Ave W  St Paul, Minnesota 55113 (651) 488-0241

Links: Snuffy’s Website * Snuffy’s on Facebook



Atmosphere: Located within a large strip mall, Snuffy’s Malt Shop is reminiscent of an old-fashioned burger joint: The red and white striped wallpaper, the red vinyl booths, and the ice-cream counter.  There are three small sections within the restaurant, all of which contain 4-person booths. There were a few small table sin one section, but accommodating a large group would be quite a challenge.

Snuffys_0131000 Snuffys_0141000


Menu: Snuffy’s is most famous for their hamburgers and malts!  Burger choices include the basic hamburger, cheeseburger, California bugrer, or the Snuffy’s Burger (lettuce, bacon, tomato, cheese).   If you’re not in the mood for a burger, try one of Snuffy’s grilled sandwiches (ham, chicken, cheese, etc).

Choose from over 20 Malt flavors or try an old fashioned soda, phosphate, or float.



Price Guide:

Burgers: $3.75-5.25 extra patty $1.50  (add $2 for fries or $2.50 for onion rings)

Grilled Sandwiches: $3.35-5.35 (add $2 for fries or $2.50 for onion rings)

Kids Menu $3.25

Malts: $3-4


What I ordered: Bacon & swiss burger with a side of onion rings.  The burger was made of fresh hamburger, and was tender and juicy (a bit on the greasy side).  Although the menu didn’t specify the size of the patty, I would say it was about a 1/3 lb.  It came served on a grilled bun, but I wish the buns had been more thick and sturdy.  I could almost detect a hint of sweetness to the bun as well.  The onion rings were a big hit; nice and crispy.  Of course I also ordered a malt… I went with the Snuffy Colada (strawberry, banana, and pineapple). Thick and delicious; heavy on the malt, just the way I like it.  Could predominately taste strawberries (I wish it would’ve had more pineapple), but it was very flavorful.

Snuffys_0091000 Snuffys_0061000



Service: Very friendly.  Despite how busy it was, Snuffy’s did a great job of finding us a table as soon as possible.  Our server was prompt and courteous throughout the meal.  At one point a malt glass at our table was accidently broken and management inquired immediately to make sure noone was hurt.  Manager was very kind and patient while cleaning a very big mess from our table.  Our experience also required a take-out order; everything was neatly packed and bagged.


Overall Impression: Fun, inexpensive place to come with a small group.  Good burgers, even better malts!

Snuffy's Malt Shop on Urbanspoon