Round number two (or three, if you count Fuddrucker’s) in the quest for “our place.” This time, Sandy’s Tavern at 6612 Penn Ave S. in Richfield, Minnesota. Sandy’s has the distinct advantage of being a rather short drive away from where we live, and has a reasonably sized parking lot so that there are next to no obstacles to getting in the door in the first place. Although, the Sandy’s is a bit small, so going there on a weekend night might pose some issues in getting a table.
The interior of Sandy’s is what I’d describe as a clean dive bar, which is next to perfect for what we are looking for. The walls are lined with booths made of wood, and the place has a nice blue-collar, but not too loungy type feel to it, complete with neon signs and local sports team paraphernalia. It’s just comfortable and quite welcoming. This place is anything but pretentious. Although, thank god for the smoking ban, as the place probably would have been saturated with smoke. So, as far as the search for “our place” goes, it definitely had the style and location down pretty well.
The food offering was a bit sparse. The menu basically consisted of bar food off of an a la carte menu. Not bad, but I was hoping for just a tad more than that since I’m looking for a more distinctive type place. But the main reason we went to Sandy’s, of course, was for the burgers. Sandy’s is listed as number eight in Citysearch’s Top Ten Burgers in the Twin Cities for 2008.
As I’ve said before, the best burger is not a pre-formed patty with “special” toppings. The best burger is juicy with just a decent kick of bite from the grill. And so, with all Sandy’s had going for it, the burger itself was a let down. It was quite clearly a pre-formed patty. Now, this doesn’t doom it outright, but the likelihood of juiciness is slim with such patties. While it wasn’t dry, the burger just wasn’t very juicy. It was also a bit thin. Now, I made the mistake of not ordering any sort of onion on my burger, but I’m pretty sure that even with the onion the burger would have remained a bit bland. Unfortunately, the burger only had a slight tinge of bite from the grill.
However, I would say that the burger was still above average, and it was mainly due to one thing, and this one thing is something you probably wouldn’t expect. The burger was still fairly tasty, but it was the bun that made it better than average. The bun was perfectly toasted, adding its own bit of bite and flavor. Without the bun, the burger would have been unremarkable. With it, it kicked the quality up a notch.
Anyway, as I’ve said, the search for “our place” does not hinge on the burger alone. It hinges a lot on whether or not we’d just like to hang out there and have a few beers, as well as having a distinct menu item. As such, it succeeds on the hang out requirement, but as of yet, does not quite succeed as far as having the food item. The menu is filled with items such as cheese curds and chicken strips, so there is a chance we might just find a different food item that solves this issue.
As of yet we have not found our place, but we seem to be coming closer. Although, as we were eating lunch on Saturday afternoon, a group of four seniors (two men, two women) over 70 came in, sat down and ordered a pitcher of Summit. Maybe this is my place after all.