Since I apparently don’t update this weblog at all anymore, especially with anything more than a link or two, I feel it necessary to at least do a quick summary of the two events I’ve been meaning to write about, but for which I will apparently not get to long posts. I’m not one for the descriptive writing, so bear with me. The first event I speak of is the shame of the closing of Grandma’s Saloon and Grill in Minneapolis.
In my law school days I would routine the restaurant far more often than I’d ever want to admit. Their burgers were the best in Minnesota, hands down. They had a great amount of greasy/juiciness, with just the right amount of bite from the grill. Complete with tomato, pickles, mayo, and caramelized onions, they were unbeatable (and I’ve tried a number of the “best burger” places in the Twin Cities, and there is no comparison. Matt’s Bar or The Nook? Please, those are second-rate rather tasteless hunks of meat with cheese in the middle).
In addition to the best burgers, Grandma’s also had wonderful mozzarella sticks. You haven’t had mozzarella sticks until you’ve had Grandma’s. The stick is far larger than your average stick, and is always full of melted, stringy mozzarella, with no cavities like most sticks.
See, I like food, and while I’m generally not into the more gourmet-fare, I am an aficionado of the medium-brow food. So much so that I am completely convinced that the best medium-brow food can beat the best high-brow food any day. Give me a slice of Ginelli’s pizza, and I’ll show you the gateway to heaven. Give me a filet mignon, and I’ll, well, eat it and enjoy it, but I won’t absolutely love it.
Because of this, I am very unhappy that the Grandma’s in the Twin Cities closed on May 22nd. My wife and I made sure to make three trips within a two week period to get as much as possible before it closed, and even though it was a bit too much grease in too short a period, I now find myself desiring one of their burgers.
As I said, we’ve tried other burger places, and are now on a quest to find a replacement. I was quite surprised to find that the burgers at Fuddruckers were pretty good. It reaches nowhere near the level of Grandma’s, but still better than your average restaurant, where what passes for a good burger is a non-spiced pre-made patty topped with “special” items. No people, a good burger is not solely about what it’s topped with, it’s about the juiciness and flavor of the burger itself. Most places don’t understand this, including many of the “best burger” places in the Twin Cities.
As for Fuddruckers, like I said, the burger was good, not great, but the main problem is that it’s just not what could ever become “my place”. It’s too generic, and too family oriented. In addition to the great food, Grandma’s was a fun bar and grill atmosphere. It was near a few professional schools at the University of Minnesota as well as fairly near the Metrodome, giving it a decent clientele. Almost all fixtures and booths were made of wood, there was plenty of silly kitsch on the walls, and the windows were accented with stained-glass.
The three-story building itself is quite a fixture of Minneapolis, and I’m afraid that it will probably be torn down to build a smaller version of what’s across the street; a monstrosity of yuppie-ville apartment living. It’s obnoxious modern apartment architecture that will inevitably look as bad as 70s design looks to us now.
This would lead me into my second topic, but I’ve written far longer on Grandma’s than I ever expected. As such, medium-brow food tour of Iowa City, complete with more rants about yuppie-ville architecture encroachment, will have to wait until later.
For now, I just want to say goodbye to Grandma’s. There are still a couple near Duluth, and that will probably finally give me the final motivation to actually make a trip there, but I’ll very much miss having Grandma’s as our go-to restaurant here. Oh, the burgers. I want one now.
July 24, 2008 Update:
It appears that Grandma’s is now an Applebee’s. This could hardly be more of a kick in the teeth.
August 4, 2008 Update:
Correction, Grandma’s is not now an Applebee’s. It’s currently empty. I don’t know what my friend was thinking.