Jun 052010

Cuisine: American, Burgers
Restaurant Features: Bar, Happy Hour, Kids Menu, On-Site Parking, Patio
Location: St Paul, MN
Address: 1811 Selby Ave     St. Paul, MN 55104    (651) 493-1865
Hours: 11am-Midnight
Links: Blue Door Pub Website * Blue Door Pub Facebook PageGoogle Map

Blue Door Pub

Atmosphere: Located on Selby Ave at Fairview, Blue Door Pub is a small neighborhood bar/restaurant known for their Juicy “Blucy” hamburgers.  The inside space is divided into two sides; the Pub on one with the bar and a few tables and then there is the dining area with a few tables and three large booths.  The room is literally so small that I could not capture it with my fixed 50mm lens, but I was able to get a shot of the famous Blue Door which leads into the kitchen.

Menu: Blue Door Pub has a brand new menu as of today and I have not yet seen it.  I will revise this menu (pre 6/5/10) as soon as I get a copy of the new menu.  Appetizers include Spam Bites (Breaded, deep fried Spam, cream cheese and pickle), Beer-Battered Green Beans, Hand-Cut Fries, Tator Tots, Chicken Wings, Cheese Curds, and Deep Fried Pickles.

Salads at Blue Door Pub include House Salad, Cobb, Blue Cheese, and Thai Chicken Lettuce Wraps.

Specialty offerings are the Jiffy Burger (peanut butter, mayo, pepper jack, bacon and pickle), The Pub Sandwich (bacon, egg, pepper jack, lettuce and tomato on bread), Chicken Strip Basket and Black Bean Burger.

The Blue Door Pub is well-known for the many varieties they have of  “Juicy Blucys”, which are what they call their version of the locally known cheese-stuffed burgers.   Options include the Blucy (bleu cheese and garlic), The Luau (stuffed with mozzarella and pineapple, Canadian Bacon on top), The Classic (cheddar cheese), Breakfast Blucy (cheddar, bacon topped with fried egg), Bangkok Blucy (mozzarella soaked in coconut milk and topped with pickled carrots, cucumbers, red onions and ginger), Cajun Blucy (pepperjack and jalapeños), Mushroom Swiss, Bacon Blucy (cheddar and bacon), The Frenchy (swiss and caramelized onions witha  side of au jus), and The Merriam Park (bacon, bleu cheese, garlic and topped with red currant jelly).  Fries and tator tots are $2 extra.

You can also Build-Your-Own Burger (or chicken!) with a long list of cheese, toppings and sauces.

Kids Menu includes Grilled Cheese, Chicken Strips, Mac & Cheese, 2 Mini Cheeseburgers, PB & J.

Blue Door offers Pie Bites for dessert (homemade cheesecake bites)

Price guide: Appetizers $3.50-8.50  Salads $4-9  Burgers $6.50-8.50  Kids Menu $4-5
What we ordered: This was my first time to the Blue Door Pub and the long list of different stuffed burgers was very intriguing; several of them sounded like something I would try but I ended up going with the Merriam Park Burger.  This 1/2 lb of Angus beef was stuffed with bleu cheese, chopped garlic, and bacon.  It also comes with red currant jelly which I asked for on the side.  It seemed a strange combination but our server made me promise I would try it with the jelly because it was her favorite.  I was skeptical at first but with just one bite of the jelly on the burger, I became a believer! I actually ended up eating my entire burger with the jelly! The combination of the sweet with the stronger flavor of the blue cheese was a winner.  If you like the salad dressing combo of French/Bleu cheese, you would like this.  Even without the jelly it would’ve been an excellent burger.  Loved it.

My companion ordered the Bacon Blucy, an Angus burger stuffed with bacon and cheddar.  We were surprised to see that the Blue Door Pub did not make any of their stuffed burgers with American cheese, which is what a traditional Juicy-Lucy is made with.  That is fine with me since American cheese is the one food in the world that I have an aversion to and just simply cannot stomach, but my companion was disappointed.  This Bacon Blucy was still very delicious, with gooey sharp cheddar melted inside with thick cut bacon bites.

Fries can be added on to any burger for an additional charge, or you can get a basket of fries for half-price during Happy hour ($2!).  Was very happy when the server pointed that out to us.  They were fresh, home cut fries fried to a golden brown with a generous amount of salt.

Service: My visit was on a Saturday in the middle of the afternoon and I was able to get a spot in the parking lot.  This was my first visit to the BDP and I wasn’t sure if they had a hostess or not but we were ignored when we walked in, so after standing there for a minute or two, I went and sat myself at the one of the few tables to choose from. It was starting to get busy by the time our burgers came out.  The drinks were a little slow to be refilled but the food came out within 15 minutes of ordering.  Our server was busy and only stopped to check on us at the end of our meal.  We were given our check and when I paid, the original receipt was missing so I asked for another copy.  The server came back five minutes later and said she had forgotten to add one of our drinks to the original bill ( a $2 soda) so she presented us with a 2nd bill to pay for that drink.  I was a little annoyed since I had already paid for our original bill and didn’t want to have to run my card again for a measly $2.  Thought it would’ve been nice to leave that one on the house and just reprint me my original receipt.
Overall Impression: I thought the burger was excellent and I don’t hesitate to say it was best “Juicy Lucy” that I have had around town (however remember I will only eat those that don’t include American cheese so I am biased).  The service wasn’t too great but the burgers made up for it.
Blue Door Pub on Urbanspoon

Mar 282010

This is an updated review from the original I wrote in May 2007.  I have eaten at Norman Quack’s countless times since then and felt a new, updated review was long overdue!

Cuisine: American, Fish, Steaks, Chops & Ribs
Restaurant Features: Bar, Happy Hour, On-Site Parking, Flat Screen TVs
Location: Forest Lake, MN
Address: 843 West Broadway Avenue   Forest Lake, MN 55025    651-982-6777
Hours: Mon-Sat 11am-10p   Sun 11am-9pm
Links: *Norman Quack’s Website *Norman Quack’s Facebook Page *Google Map

Outside of Norman Quacks
Atmosphere: Norman Quacks is conveniently located at the end of a small strip mall facing Broadway Ave, between Hwy 61 and I-35.  The space is big and open, with a bar area to the left when you walk in and the dining room on the right.  There are a number of booths and tables throughout the restaurant, with space to accommodate larger parties in the back.  Everywhere you look there are interesting objects hanging on the walls, and a library’s-worth of books stacked on the half-wall between the booths, giving the restaurant character while making the booths more private.

The Bar Area also has tables as well as seating at the bar.  There are also a couple of flat-screen TVs that typically view local sporting events.

Menu: Appetizers at Norman Quacks include Colossal Onion Rings, Quesadillas, Potato Skins, Cheese Curds, Chicken Tenders, 7 Layer Dip and Chips, Buffalo Tender Bites, Peppered Tips & Blackened Toms, Chicken Wings, BBQ Pork Ribs, Creamy Pepperjack Queso & Chips, Coconut Shrimp Kabob and Garlic Alfredo Toast.

Salad offerings are the Chicken Tender Salad, Spinach Tips and Tomatoes, Fajita Salad, House, Salmon Black & Blue, Chicken Caesar, Oriental Shrimp, and Caesar Salad.  Soups include Creamy Baked Potato, Prime Rib Stew, and Soup of the Day.

Sandwiches include BBQ Pork and Cheddar, Buffalo Chicken, Prime Fajita Melt, Walleye, Catfish Po’ Boy, Monte Cristo, Skinny Ribeye, Roasted Bahama Chop (pork with jerk sauce, mozzarella and pico de gallo), Dante’s Revenge, Triple Play Sandwich (layers of ham, turkey, roast beef and bacon with cheddar, mozzarella and jack), French Dip, Philly French Dip, B.L.T, and Blackened Salmon Melt.

The following sandwiches can be made with either chicken breast, ground beef burger or bison burger: Plain Jane, Sloppy Rio (with cheese sauce, beans and sauteed peppers), Mushroom, 4 Cheese, Smoke Head (sauteed mushrooms, onion, bacon, bbq sauce and cheese), Peppered with Bacon and Blue Cheese, Patty Melt, Clubhouse and Bacon Blue.
Price guide:
Appetizers $7-9  Salads $7-9  Burgers/Sandwiches $7-10  Entrees $11-17

Happy Hour: 4-6pm EVERYDAY.  1/2 Priced Appetizers (all except the Samplers)

Weekly Specials:

Sunday- $10.95 12 oz Prime Rib with Onion Rings
What we ordered: We started with the basket of freshly baked Ciabatta Bread.  The bread is served with a flavored whipped butter, the flavor of which changes daily.  We had garden-herb butter on this visit.

Bread Basket at Norman Quacks

We also got an order of Cheese Curds.  I love the cheese curds at Quack’s! The gooey white cheddar curds are battered with  the same unique batter that is used on the giant onion rings, and are slightly salty.  They are fried perfectly until crispy golden brown on outside, and not too greasy.  Great dipped in the ranch that comes with it.

For my meal I ordered the Buffalo Chicken Sandwich, which is what I order 90% of the time I visit Quacks. This is my favorite sandwich on the menu and is the best Buffalo Chicken sandwich I have had anywhere. They start with the biggest chicken breast they can find, then bread it, deep fry it, and coat it in delicious and mildly spicy Buffalo sauce. It has a couple of sliced of thick-cut bacon and melted cheddar cheese, tomato and lettuce served on the side. Very big and very messy, I usually end up using silverware to eat it.

One of my companions ordered a “double” of the the Sunday Prime Rib Special (usually 12 oz cut served with onion rings for $10.95). This GIANT cut of prime rib weighed in at around 25 oz, most of which was meat with just a small amount of fat.  Served with au jus and creamy horseradish.  Excellent cut of meat for a great price, making Quack’s a popular place on Sundays!

Another companion ordered the Two-Pork Chop Dinner (can order one or two chops), served with fries (choice of potato) and soup or salad.  These were two big, tender and juicy pork chops, with Cajun seasonings.  Big enough to share between two!

One of my companions also ordered a Bloody Mary, which came dressed with beef stick, olives, celery and pepperoncini pepper.  Thick and spicy!

We did not have dessert on this visit but here is a photo of the Giant Chocolate Cake that I took just a few months ago on a different visit.  Heavenly and gigantic with at least four layers of dark chocolate cake nestled between more layers of thick, chocolate butter cream frosting.  I recommend that you share this big boy!

Service: Our service on this occasion was great!  We were greeted and seated immediately and our order was taken promptly.  Within minutes of being seated we were given a nice big basket of bread fresh out of the oven right.  Drinks were refilled promptly  and food came out at a reasonable pace.
Overall Impression: I’ve already mentioned that Norman Quack’s is one of my favorite restaurants.  They have a fine selection of quality steaks and fish, the specialty sandwiches and burgers are all really good, and the half-priced appetizers during Happy Hour are a great deal.  The Buffalo Chicken Sandwich and Prime Rib are what we crave, in fact there is a good chance you’ll find me (and at least one companion) here on any given Sunday. See you there!
Norman Quacks on Urbanspoon

Mar 232010

Cuisine: American, Bar & Grill, Chicago-Style
Restaurant Features: Bar, Happy Hour, Patio, Nightclub, On-Site Parking
Location: St Paul, MN
Address: 788 Grand Avenue  St Paul MN 55105 651-291-2525
Hours: Daily 11am-2am
Links: Wild Onion Website * Wild Onion on FacebookGoogle Map

Atmosphere: Located on Grand Avenue in St Paul, Wild Onion is a full-service restaurant that also moonlights as a nightclub.  During the day, Wild Onion is a casual, relaxed restaurant that has become a popular place for lunch by local residents, shoppers, and also people who work around St Paul.  The restaurant is fairly large and has many tables and booths around the edges of the space.  The brick walls have a variety of beautiful original canvas paintings hanging about.

At night the Wild Onion turns into a really fun place to hang out with a large, centrally located Bar and dance floor.  Most nights there is a DJ playing after 8pm so it can be quite loud, as expected.  Very popular with the 21+ crowd, especially local co-eds, birthday celebrations, and bachelor/bachelorette parties.

Menu: Appetizers at Wild Onion include Singapore Chicken Lettuce Wraps, Nachos, Walleye Fingers, Grilled Chicken Quesadilla, Cheese Curds, Onion Rings, Sesame Seared Ahi Tuna, Pot Stickers, Italian Fries, and Chicken Wings (Double Diamond, Buffalo, Wild Fire, Baked Cajun Wings, and Asian Battered Wings).

Soup and Salad options include Mixed Green, Caesar, Black and Blue Shrimp, Wild Onion Signature Chopped Salad, and Buffalo Chicken Salad.  Soups include French Onion, Chili and a Soup du Jour.

Chicago-Style Specialties include Chicago Hot Beef Sandwich, Chicago Dogs, Hot Italian Sausage Sandwich, Michigan Ave B.L.T., Windy City Fettuccine, and Spaghetti and Meatballs.

Sandwich options are BBQ Pork, French Dip, Walleye Fillet, Reuben, Widow-Maker Club (chicken, bacon, avocado and spicy Scorned Woman sauce), Prime Rib, Bad-to-the-Bone (shaved ham with sauteed peppers, jalapenos and onions), Turkey Melt, Superheater Sandwich (grilled chicken with pepper jack, habanero peppers and diamond sauce), and Turkey Burger.  Tortilla Wraps include Thai Chicken, Fresh Veggie, Walleye, Tijuana Chicken and Blackened Ahi Tuna with Avocado.

Wild Onion also has a variety of burgers (served with kettle chips) and sliders including Original Beef Sliders, Walleye Sliders, Blackened Chicken Sliders, Grand Avenue Burger, Chipotle Pepper Jack Melt, Juicy Lucy (stuffed with Swiss cheese), Onion Mac, and the Steakhouse Burger.

Handmade Pizza options include Four Cheese, Wild Onion Combo and Buffalo Chicken.

Entrees at Wild Onion are the Bricked Chicken, Dijon Marinated Sirloin, Steak Frites )fries topped with Bistro steak and Bordelaise sauce), Canadian Walleye, Steak and Eggs, and Szechuan Chicken Rice Bowl.

Price guide: Appetizers $7-9  Salads $5-12 Sandwiches/Burgers $7-9 Pizza $8-12  Entrees $10-16

Happy Hour: Monday-Friday 3:30-6:30pm

  • $1 Off Domestic Bottled Beer, Cocktails, House Wines
  • $1 Off all 20 oz. Mugs
  • $2 Small Plate Menu available in Bar Area
  • $2 Off all Martinis, Manhattans and Gimlets

Weekly Specials:

Monday- Hot Chicago Beef Sandwich $6.99, $2 Off All Steaks and Wings, $1 Off All 20 oz. Mugs, Shake Dice for Drinks @ the bar, Super 34 oz. Mugs – $5.50 Domestics, $6.50 Imports

Tuesday- Birthday Specials

Wednesday- $9.97 Steak or Chop Plate.  Choice: A 10 oz NY Strip or 12 oz Bone-in Pork Chop  served with house salad and signature cheesy scalloped potatoes.

Thursday- (Italian Night) Porketta $9.49, Fettuccine Alfredo $7.49, Chicken Parmesan $7.49, Macaroni and Cheese $7.49, Spaghetti & Meatballs $7.49,  $2 off glasses of wine

Sunday- $3.50 Build-you-own Bloody Mary Bar (11am-3pm), $6.99 Signature Burgers (5-11pm),

What I ordered: I did not want to order a full meal for lunch so I opted to get the chicken quesadilla appetizer.  Very flavorful choice! The two large flour tortillas were stuffed with bites of grilled white meat chicken, roasted sweet corn, sauteed peppers and onion, cheddar and jack cheeses, and then grilled until everything was hot and melted.  The tortillas were a crispy golden brown and slightly buttery, then topped with chipotle ranch, sour cream and crumbled Mexican cheese.  It was served with sliced fresh peppers, salsa, and chopped greens on the side.

One of my companions ordered the Ahi Tuna and Avocado Wrap.  This wrap had Sushi-grade yellow fin tuna seared rare and wrapped inside a tortilla with shredded carrots, avocado, tomato, wasabi and a white-balsamic vinaigrette. Served with a side of avocado ranch and fresh fruit.  (Comes standard with kettle chips or you can upgrade to fresh fruit or french fries for $1.50 extra)

Another companion ordered the Veggie Wrap with fries (upgrade from standard kettle chips).  This wrap included Lettuce, tomato, cucumber, avocado, green and red onions with Swiss cheese. Tossed in a white balsamic vinaigrette and served with a side of avocado ranch.

Another companion ordered the Juicy Lucy, which was stuffed with Swiss cheese and served on a toasted bun.  I didn’t try it but it looked great and my companion enjoyed it very much.

Service: Our visit was on a Friday for a late lunch but we were luckily able to find a parking spot in the attached lot.  As soon as we arrived we were greeted by a friendly hostess and then seated.  Our server was patient as we took our time looking over the menu, and offered a few suggestions to make ordering easier.  It took at least 20 minutes for our meals to be served, but drinks were filled in a timely manner.
Overall Impression: The Wild Onion is a happenin’ place to eat or drink on Grand Avenue, with good food and great birthday specials.  Check out Wild Onion at night with a group of friends if you’re looking for a fun place to dance and have cocktails.
Wild Onion on Urbanspoon

Apr 122009

Cuisine: American, Burgers
Restaurant Features: Bar, Games
Location: St Paul, MN
Address: 492 Hamline Ave. So  St Paul, MN  55116 (651)698-4647
Links: Nook Website   Google Map
Atmosphere: The Nook is tucked into its' Highland Park neighborhood within a little building just across the street from Ball Field of Cretin-Durham Hall.  The dining room of the restaurant is long and narrow, accommodating approximately twelve tables.  There is a variety of local memorabilia framed and hung on the walls, in addition to a handful of nice flat-screened TVs that are also hung up throughout the restaurant.  I am pretty sure I also saw a couple of video game machines at the very back of the dining room.  There is also a bar when you first walk in that seats about eight.

Menu: 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, 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, 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 started with the Cheese Curds.  This was a pretty generous helping of cheese curds, which were all bite-sized with a semi-hard outer breading and hot melted Wisconsin Cheese in the center.  Delicious! They came with a side of ranch for dipping.  I would recommend a minimum of three people share these rich treats.  I love them but can't eat too many at one time and I ate way more than I should have before the main course.


Our server told us that the favorite burger of everyone that works at the Nook is the Lodge Burger, so I ordered that to see what it was all about.  The seasoned beef patty was obviously fresh, very flavorful and juicy.  It had two layers of cheddar cheese, one on each side of the beef, plus bacon, tomato, lettuce and a special chipotle mayo.  I crave flavor and this burger did it for me! I was on cheese-overload from all the cheese curds I ate earlier and could have done without the second layer of cheese on my burger, but otherwise it ranks up there as one of the best burgers I have had.  I opted to sub Onion Rings instead of Fries and received a big portion of the golden rings.  The rings were thick-cut and also thickly breaded.  Good stuff!               


My companion had the Juicy Nookie with fresh sauteed mushrooms.  The medium-cooked burger was stuffed with a mound of melted American cheese that oozed out. My companion loved it and agrees that the Burger at the Nook is one of the best ever consumed.  The big pile of fries were fresh-cut and dense in the middle with just a slightly crispy outside and lightly seasoned with cracked pepper and garlic salt.


Service: Great! I had heard that the Nook is one of the few restaurants in town that consistently has a wait for a table, so my companion and I were pleasantly surprised that there were plenty of tables for us to choose from on a Monday afternoon around 4pm.  Our server did an excellent job of making us feel welcome and took his time to suggest different burgers and stayed on top of the drink refills.  Food was ready in a reasonable amount of time.  It started to get more busy as the hour progressed and by 5 pm every table was filled.
Overall Impression: Some of the best burgers in the Twin Cities, at great prices.

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 032008

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

Location: Forest Lake, MN
Address: 9726 Scandia Trail N. Forest Lake, MN 55025 (On Hwy 97 four miles east of Hwy 61) (651)433-5646

Hours: Mon 4-9pm Tues-Sat 11am-10pm Sun 11am-9pm
Links: Old Log Cabin WebsiteGoogle Map


Atmosphere: There are two dining areas in the Old Log Cabin, the main dining room with a variety of booths and tables (not pictured) and then the bar area which has a handful of high tables with additional seating at the bar.  Like it’s name suggests, the Old Log Cabin has a rustic feel and the building itself is made from several large logs.  Nearly every square inch of the bar area is covered with business cards of every variety!


Menu: Appetizers include Fungus Humongous, Mozzarella Sticks, Buffalo Wings, Onion Rings, Artichoke Dip, Chicken Strips, Potato Skins, Cheese Curds, and Nachos Grande.

Salads include Chicken Chef, Taco, Crispy Chicken, and Chicken Caesar.

There is a large selection of 1/2 lb burgers with names such as Musher, Alaskan, Prospector, Kodiak and Yukon.  Sandwiches include the Trapper (prime rib), Ptarmigan, Cottage Chicken, Log Jammer (Prime rib with onions and peppers), Fish, Hot Prime, Grilled Chicken, Grizzly Chicken (BBq & Bacon), Steak and the French Dip.

Dinner entrees include Ribeye Steak, Cabin Steak (10oz sirloin), Black Angus Sirloin, Chopped Sirloin, Sirloin Tips, Ork Chops, Broasted Chicken, Marinated Chicken Breast, Broiled Walleye or Shrimp, Fried Cod, Seafood Platter, Fish & Chips, and Fried Shrimp.

Desserts offered are Carrot Cake, Strawberry Shortcake, Bread Pudding, and Root Beer Float.

Daily dinner specials begin at 4pm and include:

  • MON& Tues- Mexican Food
  • Wed- All you can eat Fish Fry
  • Thurs- Steak Night
  • Fri- BBQ Ribs $11.99
  • Sat& Sun- Prime Rib $15.99

Price guide: Appetizers $ 5-8 Salads $7-9 Burgers & Sandwiches $7-9 Dinner Entrees $10-18  Desserts $3-4
What we ordered: We started with the Fungus Humongous and like the name suggests, these fried mushrooms were HUGE!  The extra-large fresh mushrooms were halved, lightly battered and then fried to a crispy brown and served with a honey-mustard dipping sauce.  Delish!


For my meal I ordered the Ptarmigan Chicken Sandwich (the server affirmed that this was a great choice!).  This was a grilled chicken breast topped with creamy spinach artichoke dip and melted cheese on a toasted bun.  The chicken was tender and juicy and the artichoke dip was flavorful and had a decent amount of artichoke.  The french fries were mediocre, with a slightly crispy textured outside and very little seasonings (reminded me of Burger King fries).


One of my companions ordered the Hot Prime Sandwich which consisted of thick slices of prime rib served between slices of fresh white bread, a large scoop of mashed potatoes and then smothered with gravy.  This is obviously the type of sandwich that is meant to be eaten with silverware! I tried a few bites and thought the prime rib was good, but the gravy wasn’t my favorite.  My companion enjoyed this meal.


Another companion ordered the steak sandwich, which was literally a steak thrown between a couple of slices of toast and then served with a side of au jus.


Another companion ordered the Sirloin Tips, which came with a cup of soup, dinner roll, and baked potato.  The sirloin tips were tender and juicy, smothered with sauteed onions and mushrooms.


Service: Our visit was on a Saturday afternoon between lunch and dinner, so there were only a few other customers dining at the time.  Our server doubled as bartender, but was prompt and friendly for the most part.  My only complaint is that the fried mushroom appetizer was served with the meal instead of coming out first but it wasn’t that big of a deal.
Overall Impression: The Old Log Cabin was more laid back than I had expected and the food was priced very reasonably for the amount that came with each order.  The service was good too!
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