Generally speaking, there's not a bubble to be found in bubble tea. Instead, the "bubbles" that the cold Taiwanese drink takes its name from are chewy tapioca pearls or jellies resting at the bottom of the glass, waiting for a straw to suck them up. The tea is there, however—but it's not alone. Mixed with it is the flavor of mango, matcha, or peppermint. In fact, at Steepery Tea Bar—owned by the same aficionados as the Tea Garden—more than 30 flavors combine with 10 bubble varieties to exercise creative muscles and comfort anyone who's afraid of repeating themselves.
Bubble tea is just one of the drinks at Steepery Tea Bar. And it's not even the only drink that can contain bubbles. Shakes and coolers can also hold the chewy treasures in their depths, as well as the cafe's signature drinks such as the royal tea latte. Of course, being a tea bar, Steepery brews up hot drinks too. More than 50 kinds of green, black, white, and herbal loose-leaf tea—most of which are fair-trade, organic, and inclined to give only positive fortunes to tellers—fill cups and pots.
The Dog House's endlessly edible bill of eats accumulates a satisfying variety of burgers, dogs, sammies, fish, and fried chicken. Settle disagreeable hunger grievances with the justice of comfort foods such as the pulled-pork sammie ($7), then follow its order to pick up a hefty portion of fried pickles ($6) and deep-fried onion straws ($6). The St. Bernard chicken rescues hungry taste buddies with a fine cut of grilled chicken blanketed in cheese, bacon, and mushrooms ($9), and the half rack of St. Louis–fashioned Rottweiler Ribs ($11) fills diners with a satisfaction paralleled only by watching a Meg Ryan romantic comedy. Guests can also quell burger cravings with one of six options, including The Great Dane, a mammoth patty piled with blue cheese, bacon, and mushrooms ($8), or choose to ebb the rising tide of seafood desires with the hand-battered Fish and Collie Chips ($10).
Riley's Pub & Grill is known for its barbecue ribs, which the chefs cook slowly until the meat falls off the bone alongside piles of cole slaw and seasoned potato wedges. They also pile burgers and pizzas with unusual toppings, such as pulled pork and pickles. The relaxed bar amps up during special events, including live music performances and bingo nights.
Jersey's Bar & Grill serves up plates of hearty pot roast, thick burgers, and crispy chicken tenders as live country and rock bands serenade crowds. Like Garrison Keillor's alternate glam-rock stage persona "Gary Sonorous," the selection of Juicy Lucys combines a treasured Minnesota touchstone with a touch of decadence. Beef patties are stuffed with provolone, applewood bacon, or American cheese before getting topped with caramelized onions, Cajun mayo, or grilled peppers. Burger aficionados pore over the customizable burger menu, building their own creations from multiple topping, bun, and meat choices. For breakfast (9 a.m. to noon Saturday and Sunday), chow down on omelets, hash browns, steaks, and pancakes.
Chorizo, chihuahua cheese, lemongrass, and bamboo shoots are equally at home in Señor Wong’s kitchen, where the executive chef fills the menu with Asian Mexican fusion plates. Tacos topped with barbacoa or smoky black beans join entrees such as szechwan steak stir-fry served with jasmine rice. Señor Wong also pairs more traditional bar bites, such as what the Star Tribune thinks “might be the best sweet potato fries in town,” with 18 draft craft beers from breweries such as Surly Brewing Co. and Summit Brewing Company. Vegan and vegetarian options are also available. Weekly special events such as trivia and karaoke further foster the laid-back pub vibe, as patrons can sample sakes or sing lullabies to the Paloma En Fuego cocktail, which mixes Hornitos Reposado tequila, serrano pepper, grapefruit soda, hopped grapefruit bitters, limeade, and smoked salt rim. Friday and Saturday nights also feature live music from various local musicians.