Dec 112009

Cuisine: American, Burgers, Wings, Pasta
Restaurant Features: Bar, Games, Happy Hour, Pull-Tabs, Sports Leagues ( Volleyball, Broomball, Boot Hockey and Dodge Ball)
Location: Vadnais Heights, MN
Address: 1460 Co. Rd. E. East Vadnais Heights, MN 55110  651.484.6119

Bar Hours: Sun-Thurs 11a-1p  Fri-Sat 11a-2p

Kitchen Hours: Sun-Thurs 11a-10p  Fri-Sat 11a-11p

Links: Sak’s Sports Bar Website * Sak’s on Facebook Google Map


Atmosphere: Located on County Road E just a block from Hwy 61, Sak’s Sports Bar is in the location formerly known as Bentley’s restaurant.  The space is pretty big, with a couple of different seating areas.  Pictured below is the gaming side of the restaurant, with dart boards, pull-tabs, several large  flat-panel TVs and bistro tables.  The other side of the restaurant has a large bar separating two additional seating areas, one of which is the main dining room and the other is a row of booths running parallel to the bar.

Sak’s is also known for its Outdoor Sports.  Leagues are available to play Volleyball, Broomball, Boot Hockey and Dodgeball.  Sporting areas not pictured.


Menu: Appetizers include Buffalo Wings, Ranch Wing’s, Crispy Chicken Wings, BBQ Ribs, Spicy Pork Sliders, Boursin Sliders (green chile ketchup, boursin cheese and fried onion strings), Hot Dago Sliders, Classic Sliders, Slider Platter, Pulled Pork Quesadillas, Fried Chicken Quesadilla, Nacho Bar (chips with melted cheese and all other ingredients on the side to make-your-own), Garlic Cheese Bread, Bucket of Fresh-Cut Fries, Walleye Fingers, Onion Rings and Tator Tots Bucket, Warm Chips with Charred Corn and Black-Bean Salsa.  They also have Chicken with Wild Rice soup and a Soup du Jour

Salads offerings at Sak’s include Asian Chicken, Chopped Cobb, Cranberry Almond, Chicken Club, Red, White and Blue (red onion, bleu cheese), Beef and Garden Salad, Bird of Paradise, and Side Salad.  Any salad can be halved during lunch M-F.

Sandwiches include Hand Craved Butcher Sandwiches (beef brisket, ham or turkey breast), Italian Chicken Hoagie, B.A.L.T., Crispy Chicken, Grilled Chicken, Battered Walleye, Twisted Tuna (on English muffin with guacamole, bacon and melted Swiss), Honey Mustard Chicken Salad, Cucumber Chicken Classic, Grilled Vegetable Melt, Chicago Hot Dog, The Cuban, Buffalo Chicken Wrap, California Turkey Wrap, Chicken Gyro Wrap, The Monster Club and Millionaires Steak Sandwich.  All sandwiches and burgers come with kettle chips but you can upgrade to fresh-cut fries, onion rings or tator tots for $1.59

Burger options are the Classic Ground Chuck, Cowboy (bbq, bacon and cheddar), Bleu Cheese Lover’s, Ranch Burger, Cheeseburger, Shrooms and Swiss, Juicy Lucy, The Big Sak (two patties), and The BMFB (18 oz patty with all the classic fixin’s!)

Pasta Specialties include BBC Pasta (broccoli, bacon and chicken with penne and chipotle cream sauce), Chicken Al Fresco and Pasta, Big People Mac and Cheese (caramelized shallots and four cheese sauce), Blackened Chicken Pasta, Chicken Meatballs and Spaghetti.  Half-sized pastas available for lunch M-F.

Entrees at Sak’s are the BBQ Ribs, Grilled Top Sirloin, Grilled Marinated Chicken Breast, Beef & Beach (sirloin and walleye), and Beer Battered Walleye Fillet.

Price guide: Appetizers $ 5-9  Salads $7-10  Sandwiches/Burgers $7-9  Pasta $9   Entrees $13-20
Weekly Specials:
Tuesday- Sliders 3 for the price of 2

Wednesday- $.25/wings

Happy Hour M-F 3-6pm  7 days 9-11pm ~ 2 for 1 on all drinks  Select half-price appetizers

What We ordered: My companion and I visited Sak’s during Happy Hour and opted to go with a couple of the half-priced appetizers from the Happy Hour menu.  We started with 2-for-1 Blue Moon draft beers and the pork quesadillas which turned out to be an awesome choice!  The shredded pork was tender and flavorful, nestled up with melted cheddar cheese and sauteed peppers and onions.  In addition to the filling being great, the crisp and flaky, buttery flour tortilla was browned to a beautiful, dark golden brown.  It was drizzled with sour cream and cilantro and served with a unique black bean and charred corn salsa.  Delicious!


We ordered another half-priced appetizer (why not at that price?), the Alley Cat’s Ranch Wings.  The ten wings were fried then tossed with melted butter and ranch seasonings, and served with ranch dressing on the side.  These wings were pretty good if you like ranch flavor, which I thought was a unique but very smart way to season the chicken.


There were a number of sandwiches on the menu that sounded good to me, but I decided to order my standard Reuben from the Daily Specials menu.  I thought the Reuben was very good.  The deli-style corned beef was sliced thin and piled high with tangy sauerkraut and melted Swiss cheese on a lightly toasted rye bread.  It came with a generous serving of crunchy, seasoned kettle chips.


My companion ordered the Juicy Lucy with fresh-cut fries.  Juicy indeed! The beef was cooked perfectly and inside was a hot cheesey mixture of American cheese, cream cheese and green onion.  The generous helping of fresh cut fries were also very good, not too greasy but just salty enough.


Service: We were able to get a table for mid-afternoon lunch without a problem and were seated at a booth in the bar area.  Our overall service was decent.  The hostess who sat us was friendly and the male server we had was nice but he didn’t seem very personable or outstanding in any way.  Drinks were filled as needed and food came reasonably fast.
Overall Impression: Another great sports bar to try in the Vadnais Heights/White Bear Lake area .  Wide selection of appetizers, sandwiches and burgers on the menu all at very reasonable prices.  Great Happy Hour specials!
Sak's Sportsbar on Urbanspoon

Mar 142009

Cuisine: Delicatessan, Ice Cream, Italian
Restaurant Features: Counter-Service, On-Site Parking
Location: Vadnais Heights, MN
Address: 3435 Centerville Rd. Vadnais Heights, MN 55127
( 651)484-6656

Hours: Tues-Fri 11am-6pm    Sat 11am-5pm        Sun & Mon Closed
Links: Google Map

Thatsamore-outside1000Atmosphere: Located near the intersection of Centerville Rd. & Edgerton, That’s Amore is snuggled into an antique strip mall that also holds a hardware store and possibly a service station.  It is a very small restaurant but they make you feel right at home.  The kitchen area and ice cream counter take up a good portion of the space, but there are three portable tables set up in little private nooks for customers to sit at.  Two of those nooks are located in the front window areas, each of which have cute little curtains hung over the windows.

Menu: Appetizers include Mini Pizzas, Luigi Fries, Homemade Chili, or Soup of the Day.

Salads offered at That’s Amore’ are the Caesar, Garden, House, Italian, and Spinach Italiano.

The sandwiches include Hot Dago, Meatball, Chicken Italiano, Hot Italian Beef, Hot or Cold Subs (choice of ham, turkey, salami, and roast beef), Turkey Sandwich, Luigi’s Favorite (ham & turkey with pepperjack grilled), Grilled Ham & Cheese, Tuna Melt, Grilled Cheese, Spiedini (Italian Sausage), and Coney Island or Chicago-Dtyle Hot Dogs.  Wraps include Chicken Caesar, Chicken Ranch, and Club.  Broiled Cod Sandwich is offered on Fridays only.  Hamburger or Italian Burger also available.  All Sandwiches and Wraps are served with potato chips or substitute potato salad for $.50 extra.

The two pastas offered at That’s Amore’ are Baked Mostaccioli and Fettuccine Alfredo.

Sixteen Flavors of Old-Fashioned Ice Cream for dessert!

Price guide: Appetizers $4-6    Salad $5-8    Sandwiches $6-7    Pasta $7-8
What I ordered: I tried the meatball sub, which came with a small bag of Lays potato chips, pepperoncini peppers and cherry tomatoes.  I thought the sandwich was pretty good. The meatballs were cut in half to make it a little easier to eat, as this was a good sized sandwich!  The very fresh bread (baked that same day at a local bakery) was thick and soft on the inside, toasted just slightly on the outside.  Snuggled between the meatballs and the bread were thick slices of cold pepperjack cheese, which I would have preferred melted.  It was good nonetheless and I really liked that it came with a side of sauce for dipping, etc.

Thatsamore-meatballsub1000 My companion ordered the Italian Beef Sandwich, which had tender, juicy and flavorful spiced roast beef piled onto thick, fresh bread that had been toasted just enough to make it golden brown.  This sandwich also came with cold pepperjack and a side of warm au jus.  Also served were potato chips, pickle spear and veggies.

Thatamore-italianbeef1000 I was also given this complimentary donut which I assume to have been baked at the same bakery where they get their fresh bread every day.  The cake donut was airy and fluffy, very moist inside with just the right amount of sugar coating it on the outside.  A sweet little extra after eating the meatball sub :)

Thatsamore-donut1000Service: The people who run That’s Amore’ are very courteous, friendly and seemed appreciative of our business.  We ordered our food at a counter, but they brought it out to us and seemed to go out of their way to make sure we were taken care of.  I loved the gesture of offering my companion and I free fresh donuts for dessert.  Stopping at That’s Amore’ can also be quite convenient if you need to buy lottery tickets, milk, eggs or fresh bread, as these things are all available.
Overall Impression: Great little deli that has both hot and cold sandwiches at reasonable prices.  Great service.  Disappointed that it isn’t open later than 6pm (or on Sundays or Mondays)
That's Amore Deli on Urbanspoon

Nov 232008

Cuisine : American, Steak, Chops, Ribs, Fish & Seafood
Restaurant Features: Sports Bar, Patio, On-Site Parking, Happy Hour

Locations: Brooklyn Park & Vadnais Heights, MN
Addresses & Maps:

Brooklyn Park– 8078 Brooklyn Blvd. Brooklyn Park, MN 55445 ( 763) 424.9919

Vadnais Heights– 953 County Road E Vadnais Heights, MN 55127 (651) 287.3900

Link: Mad Jack’s Website


Atmosphere: The Vadnais Heights location is just off 35E and Co. Rd E in a large building outside a long strip mall, Festival Foods and Target complex.  The restaurant is divided into two main area, the dining room and the bar area.  There is a nice double-sided fireplace and lounge area between the two dining areas.  The kitchen is also open so you can watch the cooks work their magic.


Here is a peak at the mini lounge area between the main dining room and the bar area.  The bar area is very large and has several tall tables in addition to ample seating at the bar.


One thing that is easy to notice about Mad Jack’s is that there are a LOT of TVs throughout the restaurant.  Each high-backed booth in the dining room also has its own personal TV.


Menu: Appetizers include Sirloin Tips, Coconut Shrimp, Crab Cakes, Jacked Up Nachos, Hash Browns, Filet Tips, ** Spinach Artichoke Dip, **Bruschetta, **Calamari, **Jackadilla, **Szechuan Green Beans, **Wings, **Cornbread, **Chicken Tenders, **Garlic Cheese Bread, **Potato Skins, **Onion Rings, **Cheese Curds, **Chili Cheese Fries, **Sweet Potato Fries, **Homemade Potato Chips, and **Chips and Salsa, and **Flatbread (choice of Margherita, Caprese, Rotisserie Chicken, Sun Dried Pesto, and BBQ Chicken). Appetizers with ** are 1/2 price daily from 3:30-6:30pm and Sun-Thurs 10pm-12am.

Soups include Chicken Wild Rice and Chili.  Salads offered are Jack’s House Salad, Chopped, Buffalo Chicken, Taco, Caesar, Strawberry Feta, Greek, and Thai Chicken Peanut.

Sandwiches offered at Mad Jacks include Philly Beef, Old Fashioned Club, Meatball Sub, BBQ Chicken, Pork Loin, Cuban, Artichoke Chicken, Fish, Veggie, Hawaiian Chicken, Reuben/Rachel, Turkey Melt, and Grilled Ham and Cheese.  Wraps include Asian, Chicken Caesar, Club, or Southwestern.  There are also several specialty burgers.

Handmade Pizzas can be made-to-order, or choose from Garbage Pizza, BBQ Chicken, White Delight, or Mad Meat.

Pastas include Spaghetti & Meatballs, Baked Ziti, Fettuccine Alfredo, Sausage Tortellini, and Tilapia Farfalli.

Entrees offered are Lumberjack Salmon, Chicken Marsala, Shrimp Scampi, Walleye Fillet, Grilled Pork Loin, Fish & Chips, Filet Mignon, New York Strip, Jack Kebabs, Open Faced Chicken, Rack of Lamb, Rotisserie Chicken, Rack of Ribs, and Beef and Broccoli Stir Fry.

Desserts include Creme Brulee, Cheesecake, Apple Crsip A’La Mode, Vanilla Ice Cream, Milkyway Mousse Cake, and Bread Pudding.

There are also a couple of weekly specials: 1/2 price Spaghetti & Meatballs with garlic bread on Wednesdays! ($4.50 for a huge helping!)

Price guide: Appetizers $7-12 Salads $4-10 Burgers & Sandwiches $8-11 Pasta $9-15  Pizza $9+ Entrees $12-22  Desserts $3-8
What we ordered: Since it was Happy Hour, we started with a couple of half-prized appetizers, Calamari and Hot Wings.  The Calamari was a combination of rings and tiny squids, both cooked perfectly so that the breading was crispy with calamari cooked perfectly tender.  Served on the side was a chunky sweet marinara sauce and also spicy mayo, both very good.

The Hot Wings were huge and seemed to be just a little more spicy than other buffalo wings (I like that!), with a fair amount of sauce.  Bleu cheese and celery on the side for dipping.


I had the meatball sub for my entree, which came with homemade potato chips.  The meatball had tender but firm texture, seasoned with pepper, fennel, rosemary, onion.  Very good! The meatballs had a light amount of marinara and then provolone baked over the top, served on a somewhat soft French roll.  It was too huge and messy to eat with my hands, so I cut it into smaller bites and dipped it in a side of marinara.  The potato chips were crispy but I wasn’t very interested in them.

Madjacks-meatballsub1000 One of my companions ordered the Flatbread Caprese Pizza, which consisted of a very thin, flat crust with melted gorgonzola cheese, fresh basil, roma tomato slices, and balsalmic vinegar.  The crust was nice and crispy and the flavor of the ingredients blended together rather well.


Another companion ordered a Mushroom Swiss Burger with French Fries.  The burger patty was quite big, and the bun it came on was thick and substantial.  Fresh mushrooms were sauteed and then swiss melted on top.  The giant portion of homemade fries were fresh-cut of varying sizes and fried to a crispy golden brown.


I chose to go back to Mad Jack’s later the same week as my first visit and ordered The Reuben Sandwich.  The first two bites were awful! The corned beef was very tough and I couldn’t even bite through it.  The server offered another sandwich, but the rest of it was actually pretty good.  I think those first couple of bites of corned beef should have been removed by the cook before it was served, but the rest of it was  tender and flavorful.  The sauerkraut was mixed with the 1000 Island dressing and on the mild side.


Service: The service at Mad Jacks was exceptional.  The servers were very attentive and when our food was ready, it was the cook himself who served it to the table, wanting to know if there was anything else he could do.  The responsibility of serving staff seemed to be somewhat shared, as we seemed well taken care of.
Overall Impression: Thought it was great! The Happy Hour specials are a great deal, the food was quite good, and the service was exceptional.  I’ll be back soon
Mad Jack's Sports Cafe on Urbanspoon

Nov 102007

Cuisine: Chinese

Restaurant Features: Counter Service, On-Site Parking

Location: Vadnais Heights

Address: **After a 2 1/2 year hiatus, Tai Pan is back in a new location!**

Vadnais Heights Shopping Center

925 East County Road E, Suite 140 Vadnais Heights, MN 55127  651-426-7737

Hours Mon-Fri 11am-9pm, Sat-Sun Noon to 9pm

Links: Google map











































Atmosphere: Located in the corner of a large strip-mall, the new location of Tai Pan is more geared to the take-out crowd, but does offer a couple of tables in the brightly-painted restaurant.












































Menu: Appetizers include egg rolls, fried pork or cream cheese wontons, fried or steamed dumplings, BBQ pork, chicken wings, butterfly shrimp and shrimp toast.  Soups include hot and sour, egg drop, wonton soup, Chinese vegetable soup and beef noodle.  Chow mein selections include plain, subgum, mushroom, chicken, chicken subgum, chicken or beef with mushrooms, beef, beef subgum, shrimp, shrimp subgum, and chicken, beef or shrimp chop suey.

Main dishes include pork, chicken, vegetable or shrimp egg foo yung,  Sweet & Sour (pork, chicken, shrimp or combo).  Fried Rice (pork, chicken, vegetable, shrimp).  Lo mein (chicekn, beef, pork, vegetable, shrimp, Pad Thai, beef or chicken Chow fun, Singapore Chow fun with curry flavor.  cantonese pan-fried noodles (shrimp, chicken, beef or pork).

Beef dishes include Mongolian, sesame, Szechuan, beef in garlic sauce, mandarin beef, Hunan beef, beef in oyster sauce, kung pao, beef with broccolo, beef with black bean sauce.  Poultry dishes include orange chicken, Mongolian, Hon Sue, Lemon, Moo Goo Gai Pan, Chicken almond ding, chicken with snow pea pods, chicken cashew, eight treasure mandarin chicken, spicy sesame chicken, chicken in garlic sauce, Kung pao, Moo Shu chicken, chicken with pineapple, chicken with broccoli, Szechuan chicken, hunan chicken, Thai yellow curry chicken mandarin cashew, chicken bean curd Malaysian style.

Pork dishes include Moo shu pork, pork in garlic sauce, Mandarin cashew, Hunan Pork, Ma Po bean curd with pork, pork with string beans.  Seafood dishes include shrimp with lobster sauce, shrimp in garlic sauce, mandarin cashew shrimp, shrimp with cashew, Kung pao shrimp, scallops sauteed in garlic sauce, pan fried scallops, kung po delight, Szechuan shrimp.

There are a number of healthy choice specials, chef specials, and daily combination specials as well.

Price guide: Appetizers $3.25-6.25  Soup $2.95-4.75  Chowmein  Pint $3.50-8.50  Quart $6.25-8.50 Egg Foo Young $5.75-6.50, Fried Rice $3.50-3.75/pint  $6.50-6.75/quart.  Beef dishes $8.75  Poultry dishes $8.75  Pork dishes $8.25-8.75  Seafood dishes $9.25

What We ordered: Sesame Chicken.  Spicy, but absolutely delicious! Best sesame chicken I’ve had anywhere!! Large chunks of white meat chicken, plenty of sauce and garnished with peppers and carrots.









































Pork fried rice.  Amazing! Loaded with chunks of meat, fried egg, and other veggies. Excellent flavor and texture.











































Cream Cheese wontons.  Crispy, hot.  Excellent flavor!
























Service: Fast and friendly.  Order and pay at the counter.  Tai Pan now accepts major credit cards.

Overall Impression: Best sesame chicken and hot and sour soup that you will find! I very much missed my favorite chinese restaurant and thankful they have reopened after sucha  long time.  The food was just as excellent as it always was!

Tai Pan on Urbanspoon

May 042007

Cuisine: American, Burgers, Pasta, Pizza

Restaurant Features: Banquet Rooms, Bar, Flat Screen TVs, Games, Happy Hour, On-Site Parking, Sports bar

Location: Vadnais Heights, MN

Address: 1132 County Road E E, St Paul, MN (651) 482-1100

Hours: Drink:  10AM – 1AM (Everyday)  Food:  10AM – 12 Midnight (Everyday)

Links: *Jimmy’s Website * Jimmy’s Facebook PageGoogle Map











































Atmosphere: There are actually three main parts to Jimmy’s: The Restaurant, the Bar, and the Banquet Center.  The restaurant itself is  smoke-free area with several booths and wooden tables, with several large flat-paneled TVs on the walls tuned in to various sports programming.  The large bar area is a very popular happy-hour hangout, with pool tables, dart boards, pull-tabs and other video games.  The banquet area accommodates up to 500 people and is available for wedding reception, conferences, etc.












































Menu: Jimmy’s has a large selection of Appetizers including 13 flavors of chicken wings, Southwest Spring Rolls, Italian Dunkers, Spinach & Artichoke Dip, Walleye Fingers (beer-battered or Cajun), Coconut Chicken Fingers, and Quesadillas.  Check out the happy hour specials.

Sandwich selections include BBQ Pork sandwich, Chicken Caesar Wrap, Beefeater, French Dip, Monte Cristo, California Chicken, and Walleye.  There are also nearly 15 varieties of burgers.

Dinner entrees include Walleye prepared 5 different ways, Batter Fried Chicken, Champagne Chicken, Lasagna, Alfredo,  Seafood Linguine, Lasagna, Spaghetti, Battered Shrimp, Grilled Pork Chops, New York Steak and Baby Back Ribs.  Jimmy’s also has a selection of thin crust pizzas.

Price guide: Appetizers $6-9  Sandwiches $7-10 (fries $1.50 extra) Burgers $6-8  Entrees $12-19




















What I ordered: My companion and I took advantage of Jimmy’s Happy House appetizer specials.  One thing we tried were the Cajun walleye fingers.  I’ve had the regular walleye fingers several times, but this was the first time I tried them Cajun-style.  I enjoyed the additional spiciness combined with the crispy batter and fresh tartar sauce.









































We also wanted wings but I was debating whether I wanted the delicious teriyaki wings that I’ve had before or if I would try the spicy sesame.  The waiter recommended the sesame, so we tried those.  They were not at all what I expected, which was something more “Asian” inspired.  The “spice” in these wings tasted very much like their buffalo sauce, which I don’t particularly care for, topped with sesame seeds.  Won’t be ordering this flavor again, I will stick to the sweet, rich teriyaki.





















Our other companion ordered the grilled chicken breast sandwich, served with honey mustard dressing and thought it was pretty good.
























Service: Friendly, prompt.  There are usually free games going on for discounts on food or drink.


Overall Impression: Good happy hour specials, good place to meet with friends for happy hour or to shoot a game of pool.

Jimmy's Food & Drink on Urbanspoon