When Travis Dickey opened the first Dickey’s Barbecue Pit in 1941, the menu offered beef brisket, pit hams, barbecue beans, potato chips, drinks, and that’s all. By focusing on perfecting the flavors of a few dishes, Travis was able to increase quality, and, ultimately, customers. Patrons were so enamored of the food that the restaurant eventually expanded into a nationwide franchise, allowing Americans all over to wear badges made of barbecue sauce. Over the past 70 years, Dickey’s has been passed on to Travis’s sons, but not much else has changed—the quality meats are still seasoned and smoked on site, and except for the addition of spicy cheddar sausage in 2011, the menu remains the same. Regional meats ensure that the most succulent Texas-style chopped beef brisket, old-recipe polish sausage, and fall-off-the-bone pork ribs make it to tabletops. Sides such as mac 'n' cheese and green beans with bacon continue to enhance feasts with an extra punch of homestyle tastiness. Each meal comes complete with complimentary ice cream, soft rolls, and dill pickles.
There isn't anything fancy about the sandwiches at Maverick's Real Roast Beef Restaurant—and that's the way they're supposed to be. Mpls. St.Paul Magazine praised the deceptive simplicity of the eatery's signature sandwich, saying that it "will ruin you for any other roast beef sandwich." In addition to creating open-faced sandwiches loaded with mashed potatoes and gravy, the kitchen also assembles more traditional options with pulled pork, turkey, or tuna salad. Milkshakes come in 14 flavors and various side dishes—including potato salad and cole slaw—round out the menu's selection of classic, down-home comfort foods that are great for eating on a plate and not catching with your mouth.
In its cozy retro space, Town Talk Diner uses fresh, local ingredients to create modern versions of classic lunch-counter food. Tickle your tongue freckles with Town Talk's tasty frickles: fried pickles with dill mustard sauce ($7). The popular kitchen sink burger comes loaded with cheddar, bacon, and Chef Tommy Begnaud's kitchen sink sauce ($12). Meanwhile, the baked mac 'n' cheese unites fontina, asiago, gruyere, and cheddar with elbow macaroni and a choice of smoked chicken or bacon ($14). Lusty gents who normally pour a shot of bourbon with breakfast can skip a step by ordering the bacon Manhattan, a cocktail of bacon-infused bourbon, homemade cherry liquor, and homemade cherry vanilla bitters ($8). Alcoholic floats include the monkey business, which fuses chocolate, bananas, peanut butter, and bourbon ($12.00) into a lazy malted river. Town Talk's bartenders are the discussion of the village, having recently claimed City Pages' Iron Bartender award for the second year in a row.
The year 1927 saw Babe Ruth’s Yankees dominate pro baseball and the precursor to Big Louie's Bar and Grill—Main Street Tavern—open in Minneapolis. In addition to depicting athletes from that bygone era, the Big Louie’s menu catalogs an array of traditional American bar and grill fare. From boneless wings to fish ‘n’ chips, the cuisine roster has even more depth than the famed Yankees lineup of ’27. The restaurant further establishes its entertainment value by hosting karaoke and bingo and by not allowing recitations of real-estate-law books.
Lone Spur’s menu offers a massive selection of tasty eats known to spark spontaneous “Yeehaws” and unprintable Deadwood quotes from dining city slickers. Master cooks harness a slow-cooking heat to ensure that each brisket emerges from the pit 14 hours later in a delicious smoky cloud that won't try to kill you like the monster from your favorite island program. After a lunch of sandwiches and ol’ Mexico bites such as the buffalo burger ($9.50), brisket melt ($7.95), and lunch taco burrito ($7.75), you can ride back through town for some dinner barbecue (any two meats, $12.95; any three meats, $15.95), which includes Texas toast; a choice of cole slaw, potato salad, or soup; and a choice of seasoned steak fries, ranch house beans, cornbread, or baked potato with your beef, pork, or poultry order. If you still miss the danger of high noon shoot-outs, Lone Spur offers a chili so hot it requires a signed release before consumption. And if you can't take the heat, try the smoked sautéed pork barbecue ($11.45, Texas size $13.95) or three pounds of turkey leg ($12.95) instead. For dessert, dive into a hot fudge brownie stampede ($4.99) or Texas saucy banana ($4.99), just like real cowboys did before they settled in for a night of pillow fights and painting each other's nails.
Most of the items on Lakes Tavern & Grill’s menu sum up the eatery’s concept with just their description. Take for instance, the Lakes Lobster Grilled Cheese on naan bread, or the or the Cranberry Chipotle Turkey Burger. And though it’s a mouthful to say, their self-penned description—“American contemporary casual upscale dining”—sums up the eatery in every respect, even beyond the food.
A cobalt blue dining room sets the scene for the casual munching to commence. Spotlights embedded in the ceiling cast a comfortable light across cherry-wood tables and booths fit for parties of four. In the bar area, patrons can enjoy the luminous glow of eight big-screen TVs, each broadcasting seasonal college and professional games. On occasion, a live band will grace the stage and belt out songs. If the rabblerousing is too much for larger parties, groups of 10–12 can slip into the Lakes Lounge, where they'll find two leather couches and a 65-inch television perfect for watching footage from some other family’s vacation.