Along with the end of Prohibition, 1933 brought sweeping changes across the country. It definitely changed the building at 1928 University Avenue NE in Minneapolis, which had been functioning as a hardware and furniture store for nearly a quarter-century. Proprietor Stanley Kozlak immediately went out and obtained a liquor license, transforming his retail shop into a bar and restaurant.
It would prove to be a smart decision?more than 80 years and two generations of Kozlaks later, Jax Cafe stands as a Minneapolis institution whose reputation has spread throughout the Midwest. This is thanks in part to singular touches such as reserved tables set with personalized matchbooks for expected guests and a stream on the lush covered patio from which diners can net their own rainbow trout for dinner. It?s no wonder Travel Channel foodie Andrew Zimmern has gushed that this restaurant is ?dripping with character.?
Part of that character comes from a certain adherence to traditions. Jax is furnished with patterned carpet, white linens, a grand piano, and a phone booth?yes, a phone booth?and the menu has the classic supper-club meals to match. Fresh Maine lobsters are kept in a saltwater tank said to be the first of its kind in the state, and the selection of award-winning Angus beef includes an 8-ounce filet the restaurant calls ?the steak that made Jax famous.? That?s not to say Jax is stuffy or old-fashioned?the menu also includes beer-can chicken, kids' meals, and craft beers served fresh from the tap, bottle, or keg-sized water balloon.
While creating their refined dining experience, the chefs at Kincaid's prove that the U.S. is wide and its dishes are deeply complex. Starting in the plain states, the menu tempts forks with grilled sirloin steaks smoked over Applewood and served alongside beefsteak tomatoes. The kitchen then heads east for New England?style clam chowder, then turns south until it hits on a Cajun-style ?touff?e with prawns, mussels, clams, scallops, andouille sausage, and cheese grits. And the chefs aren't afraid to tweak recipes, either?in order to elevate their down-home-style meatloaf they wrap it in bacon and serve it with a tangy brandy-mustard sauce. International and fusion flavors also crop up on the menu, with dishes such as the smoked beef carpaccio and an Asian-inspired slaw.
Amid scenic views of the Mississippi River, the two-tiered patio and all-glass-enclosed dining room treat diners to breathtaking vistas of North America's largest river system and its mermaid inhabitants basking on the shore. Not just about the scenery, at Mississippi Pub, the cooks maintain a strong passion for the food they dish out. Plating traditional pub grub and fresh seafood entrees like fish tacos and shrimp po' boys, they take a fresh approach with their menu. A full bar, boasting bottled and draft beers, shots, and cocktails, complements hearty American fare, including burgers, sandwiches, salads, and weekend breakfast options.
Restaurant establishment is a Kozlak family tradition. Back in 1943, Joseph and Gertrude Kozlak purchased what would eventually become the well-known Jax Café. In 1977, their son Jax Kozlak and family embarked on a massive restoration project to beautify and expand a new large space that would become Kozlak's Royal Oak Restaurant, which has since been voted Best Ambiance, Best Service, and Neighborhood Gem by OpenTable diners.
Well known for its steaks, Kozlak's serves top-shelf cuts such as bone-in tenderloin, roasted prime rib, and tenderloin filet crowned with add-ons of rich blue cheese, Cajun spices, or fresh sauteed mushrooms. Single tails of steamed African lobster recline on plates with drawn butter, and Australian sea bass receives a stuffing of spinach and crab before being topped with a butter-tarragon sauce. Kozlak's Royal Oak Restaurant boasts a screened-in patio with a canopy.
Although horses are the star athletes of Running Aces Harness Park, summer sulky races and simulcast wagering are only two parts of the park's business. The park's warm Vegas-style card room evokes the high-rolling excitement of the Strip with live rounds of blackjack, pai gow, and Texas Hold 'Em held 24/7. The card room also hosts daily poker tournaments with numerous buy-in levels, letting players show off their best card know-how without requiring a big investment.
After trying their luck, many players eat celebratory meals at The Winner's Circle, taking advantage of daily specials including Friday's all-you-can-eat fish fry, Saturday's all-you-can-eat prime rib, and Sunday's brunch. In addition to gaming, Running Aces hosts family-friendly entertainment with monthly comedy shows, hypnotist demonstrations, and seasonal events.