The Cardinal Tavern: Minneapolis, MN
Cardinal Tavern...What a location! I haven't been up Hiawatha in 10 years, but this place has the potential to get crazy-busy with the new Target Field opening in less than one week. How you might ask? It is nowhere near downtown or Target Field, but it is less than a 50 yard walk to the front door from the 38th street station of the Light Rail. This past weekend I took the family downtown to check out Target Field for the afternoon. Let me just share a few tips if taking the light rail to and from a Twins game: Getting there is not too bad. Leaving the game, however, is much more difficult. Make sure to get back on the Train at Target Field...and get there early. They pack you in like sardines and the folks waiting at any other station in downtown are SOL until everyone has left the Target Station. There is barely enough oxygen on each train to get you to Fort Snelling, which is where most people seem to park.
Anyway...on our way home, the 38th street station seemed like a good place to get off the train as I was getting irritated with getting felt up and down by complete strangers. We walked into the Cardinal around 5:30 and found our spot in what I guess you would call the dining room. I will get this out of the way now, absolutely the best service. Do you ever get sick and tired of needing something and having three or four other servers stare at you and just walk right on by? Not at this place. Every time anyone working for this establishment walked past, they made sure we were doing good. Now you might think that might get old after awhile. Not at all! My beer was always full and we never had a dirty dish (basket) on our table for more than a few minutes.
So on to the reason why I was really here. The Juicy Lucy. Yeah, that's what I ordered and all I can say is it was absolutely delicious. The bun was incredible and to this very day, that is all I still think about. The bun tasted like something I used to get at a small town diner up north when I was a kid. It tasted fresh and had somewhat of a doughy texture to it. It was smaller than other Lucy's out there, but nothing like what you would get over at Shamrocks. Overall, this is the #2 Juicy out there and it will take a miracle for anyone else to take over the #2 position at this point. So just one negative, more cheese please!
The Cardinal Tavern was recently featured (not featured) on Food Network's Food Wars. After visiting this place, I have just one question: Why was Food Wars hosted at The Cardinal? It should have been hosted over at Matt's and should have been the 5-8 Club vs. Cardinal! Now that would have been a true battle of the best Juicy Lucy in Mpls.
We had two burgers, 3 beers, two sodas, one kids meal, a basket of onion rings and a basket of fries for a grand total of $28.00. The $1.75 it cost me to take the train clearly is offset by the prices over at The Cardinal.
If I can give The Cardinal any advice it would be to spend a little money and advertise down at Target Field (Twins Program etc.) and/or around the light rail. I will be stopping in everytime I take the light rail (might even take it everytime I visit the MOA) to and from Target Field.