Groveland Tap: St. Paul
Finally, a Friday night with just the wife and I to enjoy dinner without the kids. We headed over to Northern Brewer after work and stopped at Groveland Tap for some dinner. When we walked in the place, it was busy, but we were told we could sit anywhere we would like. There was one table for two left in the front and maybe one or two high top tables in the back game room. As we walked past the bar, their were two seats available so we grabbed those. We got a few funny looks from the locals but our very friendly bartender was there to greet us and take our drink order.
I was like a little kid in a candy store looking at the unique taps they had to choose from. The list was up on the wall, all broken out by category. Some I had heard of or tried, but most of them were new to me. I could not make a decision to save my life, so I asked Bonnie (our bartender) to help in that selection. I went with whatever she recommended (I still have no idea what it was)and it was a very hoppy, light IPA. I normally stay away from IPA's but this one was absolutely delicious. She proceeded to give us menus and I was that much closer to crossing one more Juicy Lucy off my list.
We started with the cheese curds and proceeded to order our burgers. The wife ordered some kind of Blue Cheese burger and I of course ordered the Juicy Lucy with O'Rings. The Curds arrived and it was just two very large lumps of curd in a basket. After carefully breaking them apart, they were actually some of the best curds I had ever had. The batter was ultra light and crisp that and not over salty or greasy. We both quickly came the same thought, "This was going to be a good burger"!
So the burgers arrived and the wife dug in. At first she thought is was just another burger. I started with the O'Rings and quickly shared some with the wife as she just ordered the burger. They sucked! Probably the worst o'rings I have ever experienced. The batter was just OK, but the onion itself was slimy and just plain nasty. They reminded me of those toys that you throw against the wall and it sticks as you slowly watch it creep down. The slaw that I also received with my basket was just some chopped up cabbage with mayo on it. Nothing exciting. But I wasn't here to write about the o'rings and slaw, I was here for the Juicy Lucy.
At first it looked like a smaller version of the Juicy Lucy I was used to getting, but it looked decent. I took a few bites and found the cheese. It was nothing special, but tasted OK. That was until I got to the other side of the bun. It was like they knew the buns they were serving were stale and old, but tried to bring it back to life by putting some butter or grease on it and throwing it on the grill for a few seconds. After about 10 minutes of sitting in my basket, this little trick had made my bun turn into a complete brick. I asked the wife to take a look at it as I pinched the end of the bun between my fingers and the entire 1/4 top and bottom parts of the bun completely turned into tiny little crumbs with a very loud crunching sound. The wife's eyes opened up wide and she just commented on how disappointed she was with her burger as the blue cheese was completely missing and she noticed that her bun was from the one-week old shelf as well. Needless to say, at this point I just put my burger down and enjoyed another pint for dinner. Move over Shamrocks, we have a new worst Juicy as well as the first Juicy on record that I did not finish.
Besides the weird looks we received by sitting at the bar at this neighborhood dive bar and the terrible food, the beer selection was good. The service was also great and the bartender received a nice 30% tip for her efforts (she didn't cook the food). I just wish I could say more for the food. I do not ever see myself returning back to Groveland Tap unless I am meeting a buddy for some beers. Maybe I just received a bad one this time, but come on. Friday night of any night of the week, you should have your "A" game on.