2/13/2010

Adrian's Tavern: South Minneapolis


Today's Juicy mission brought me back to my old neighborhood. Well, somewhat close that is. Only finding out about this place a few months ago as a Juicy Lucy hang out, Adrian's quickly moved to the top of my list of places to check out.

After finding parking on one of the side streets, we walked into a "hole-in-the-wall" bar. My first perception was, "not someplace I would want to bring my kids," but that quickly changed as we made ourselves comfortable in a booth in the far back next to the game room area. As we walked to the back of the restaurant, I noticed what I believed to be the owners, Jim and Karen Pratt, sitting at the first booth on the left. My wife recognized one of the two young ladies behind the bar/kitchen as someone she went to school with at nearby Washburn High. The kids and I looked over the menu as The Wife went back up to the bar to say hello. She soon returned to the booth we made home for the next hour or so and was very happy to have run into an old friend.

The beer selection at Adrian's was very impressive. They have PBR on tap as well as Guinness along with some other local favorites. After hearing the options, I stopped our waitress at Shell's Dark and ordered a pint. She soon returned with the kids' orange juice and The Wife's Diet Coke in a can with a nicely frosted glass full of ice. My beer was placed before me a few minutes later and then we ordered our food. Apparently The Wife, while talking to her old classmate, mentioned my Juicy Lucy journey and so all she asked me is if I wanted onions on my Lucy or not. We also ordered a basket each of Cheese Curds and Onion Rings.

The baskets came first along with a second Shell's Dark. As quickly as they arrived, they were also completely gone. While we were scarfing our faces with these two baskets of grease, we were talking about how great the rings and curds tasted and yet not too greasy. Upon finishing everything, they were really just OK. The onions in the rings were a bit slimy and the curds were not cooked long enough or the oil just wasn't hot enough. Everything needed to be a little more crispy. But again, we had no complaints while we were filling our faces.

My oldest had to go to the restroom at some point during our visit and The Wife took her down a full flight of stairs to the restroom. Once they got back, my daughter was laughing hysterically. Apparently the floors downstairs look as if they are going to get sucked into the center of the Earth at any moment. Again, its an old Dive Bar, what do you expect? I look at it as adding character.

Soon my Juicy arrived and I drank them out of beer! No, just Shell's Dark, so the waitress offered me a Bell's Brown Ale instead. The Wife got her Cali Burger and the kids got their Hot Dog and fries to share. Anyone with kids knows that more money is wasted paying $5 for a kids meal that never gets eaten, so we have started to order one meal for the two of them to share. Adrian's set a new level of service that I appreciated. Not only did they cut the hot dog in half and split the fries up and place them into individual baskets for the kids, we also received two deserts (Oreo's) rather than them having to share. Nicely done.

I've been attached! My first bite into my "Juicy Ball" got the best of me and I still have the stains on my pants to prove it. Lucy 1, Tim 0. I don't know if it was grease, cheese or all of the above, but it went flying. I have only been attached once before from a Lucy at Turtle's in Shakopee, but it was nothing like this. The Wife got a good laugh at least. The hamburger itself had a surprisingly unique taste and flavor to it. Not too salty like most places that put seasoning on the meat prior to frying. I can't tell exactly what it was, but it tasted delicious. The waitress soon came over after she noticed I had let it sit long enough and start into it and wanted to know if it was the best Lucy yet on my tour? I told her it was #2 on the list (#2 out of 2) and that I really liked the cheese they use. It melted up very nice and had great consistency and didn't get stringy right away. I also told her my only complaint, the "Juicy Ball". The burger was as tall as it was wide. I was then quickly told that it all depends on the cook that day as no two cooks make them the same. It didn't take away from the great taste, but still one of my biggest complaints about a Lucy served at a restaurant.

We finished up our meals and the kids played a few games while The Wife and her old friend caught up on the past 15 years of their lives. Overall, I cannot believe that I never knew about this place when I lived just a short 16 or so blocks away in my past life. The place grows on you and just like they claim on their website (see below): community is the most important thing about Adrian's Tavern while families enjoy a friendly meal and a smile. Upon walking out the door, a man whom I think was the Owner, was sitting down at a booth playing a friendly game of cribbage with another patron. He stopped my daughter and asked if she had received a sucker yet. Another very nice gesture that made us feel welcome. We will be back and I will have another Juicy Lucy very soon at Adrian's Tavern.

From the website:
"The Center of a Community: Sit down in Adrian's Tavern just south of 48th and Chicago in Minneapolis and the first sense you get is that this is the center of a community."

"A Neighborhood Establishment: Neighbors stop in for the best hamburgers in Minneapolis, a glass of wine and friendly conversations. This is a true neighborhood grill and bar establishment with great tasting food."

"Families: Families treasure Adrian's as a family-friendly refuge. Every Thursday or Friday night you will find a father and mother with their children enjoying the evening together. Several video games and pin ball machines provide entertainment while Mom and Dad relax in a booth nearby."
Adrian's Tavern on Urbanspoon

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