Posts Tagged ‘Groveland Tap’

Thankfully the only wars raging in Minnesota include Japanese beetles vs. everyone’s garden and who serves the best Juicy Lucy. I suppose I could name a few other feuds (best twin city, best new food at the fair, best food on the Green Line, etc.), but I’m here to talk about the best cheeseburger in town. I’m not a fan of Juicy Lucy’s, so I’m referring to a classic grilled beef patty with cheese on top.

The economics side of me definitely prefers Monday night burgers at the Groveland Tap for $3 each. IMG_3560Even with the recent 50¢ price increase, I can order 6 burgers and a basket of fries for less than $40. No, I don’t eat them all myself.

But there might be a new champion burger in my life.

The other day, I wandered down West 7th and popped into Burger Moe’s with some friends. The Bleu Sky Burger with grilled mushrooms, caramelized balsamic onions and dripping with blue cheese still haunts me. Its unami yumminess — that 5th taste found in parmesan cheese, Japanese dashi (kelp) stock and caramelized veggies — is so satisfying. Unfortunately, it’s huge, so I’ve yet to finish one and remembered to bring my leftovers home. Now if only they served Fresh French Fries, I’d be in culinary heaven.

The burger’s so good, I forgot to take a photo.



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The view from St. Paul–specifically St. Catherine University looks a lot like this today. Although I wish the sidewalks around the neighborhood were as clean as the ones in Teresa Boardman‘s photo below–I trudged through a lot of deep snow to get to campus.5293171188_af3aaa55fc

Minnesotans seem to be natural innovators who can spend an hour talking about the weather while coming up with new ways to enjoy it. Social media give us that power, too. If you’re reading this blog, you already know that social media gives voice to small businesses in a crowded media landscape. The secret is not being everywhere, but being different–making yourself stand out where your customers are.

Two years ago we had a glorious December blizzard in St. Paul that dumped about a foot of snow and effectively shut down the city for the day. I wrote about the Groveland Tap’s half price offer and praised their marketing. They were open and their target market mostly lived within a 2-mile radius. How could they make people want to brave the weather and savor a Summit and a Juicy Lucy? I wish I had a picture of all the skis and snowshoes lined up against the building that day. This kind of nimbleness requires leadership AND a sense of humor. Just think about the great Oreo (slam) dunk on Twitter during the Superbowl.

UPDATE  9:15 pm:  And while you’re thinking about the snow in your neighborhood, you could take Scusi up on their offer posted on Facebook around 8 pm!

Facebook offer from Scusi Wine Bar

Facebook offer from Scusi Wine Bar

Are you enjoying today’s snow?

What’s happening in your neighborhood?

What are your favorite businesses doing to make you want to stop by?

What could they do?

How could they use social media?

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For this post, I queried the guys in my life to find out where they shop.

The biggest surprise? My husband. Mr.-Never-Buys-Anything slipped out of the house this morning for the 7 am Black Friday opening of Joe’s Sporting Goods to buy himself some insulated snow pants. He bought his first set of skis there back in the 70s which tells you something about loyalty. 33 East County Road B, Saint Paul

On the other hand, I like to shop for him at JW Hulme Company. Stop by the Landmark Center for a quick skate, lunch at Meritage, and buy some leather for your guys at 678 7th Street West, Saint Paul, MN

Here’s a great review from Metromag:

J.W. Hulme’s St. Paul workshop finds the 106-year-old bag-maker alive and stitching. Textile wizards—whose magic wands are sewing and embossing machines—assemble briefcases, luggage and other vintage-style pieces that the business titans of yesteryear would have drooled over. In an adjoining room, leather workers cut perfect lines in hides sourced from Midwest tanneries. The entire place smells like a well-oiled baseball glove.

Stroll around the corner from Meritage to find Heimies Haberdashery at 400 Saint Peter Street on the pedestrian mall. Gorgeous mens’ clothing and accessories, complete with an online style guide. Be sure to follow them on Twitter (@Heimies) for pithy style advice, too.

If you’re seeking a different style, visit Phenom for sneakers and custom screen printing. 2829 Hennepin Avenue South, Minneapolis

St. Paul is Hockey City, so we can’t skip Tom Reid’s Hockey City Pub‎ at 258 7th Street West and Boehm’s Cycling Fitness & Hockey‎, 1592 Selby Avenue Saint Paul

Another wildly popular winter sport played year round is curling. Join the league and buy supplies at the St Paul Curling Club at 470 Selby Avenue in Saint Paul. While you’re there, don’t forget to try one 70+ beers at the Happy Gnome after you’ve shopped or bop in on Wednesday nights to hear Nick and the Feelin’ Band. 498 Selby Avenue

For the comic book aficionado in your life, Uncle Sven’s Comic Shoppe at 1838 Saint Clair Avenue in Saint Paul is a must stop. Plus they are next door to the perennially popular Groveland Tap.

For a different type of snack, head north on Fairview and venture into the dreaded light rail construction zone and support the Russian Tea House. They serve the best piroshkis in town. Open only Fridays during construction. 1758 University Avenue,
 Saint Paul

For the opinionated beer geek in your life, visit Vine Park Brewing Co. to brew your own. They provide everything you need to brew on premise. 1254 7th Street West, Saint Paul

In the land of Hüsker Dü, the Replacements, Love Cars (tonight at the Amsterdam Bar and Hall), and Mason Jennings (Saturday at First Ave), no list would be complete without a couple of music stores.

Willy’s American Guitars specializes in cool, used guitars. If they don’t have it, put your name on their wish list. 254 Cleveland Avenue South, Saint Paul

Willie’s American Guitars specializes in vintage, used and new electric and acoustic guitars as well as tube amplifiers. We also carry many fine basses, ukuleles, mandolins and effects pedals. Satisfaction guaranteed.

If you can’t find what you’re looking for in our inventory, put your name and request on our wish list and we’ll email you when it comes in.

Groth Music  Here’s a quote from another brother-in-law who plays more guitars than I can count: “Lots of non-traditional western instruments, as well as classics.  Mostly for pure music geeks and HS Band types, not just Rock’n’Rollers…but they are OK if you want to browse for an hour.  I have done it.”  8056 Nicollet Avenue South, Bloomington

On more recommendation from my rockin’ brother-in-law for General Nanosystems:  “For the UBER-geek. They have EVERYTHING, and I mean EVERYTHING a computer person could want. They sell computer screws, one by one.” I can’t argue with that review. 3014 University Avenue Southeast, Minneapolis

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One of the best things about moving back to Minnesota after four years down south is my (almost) weekly lunch date with my father. Sometimes it’s just us. Sometimes my kids, my spouse, or one of my siblings joins us. Writing about Cafe Ena last night reminded me a lunch date there. Thus, today’s Daily Dozen for Shop Small Saturday is dedicated to some of my favorite lunch spots with my dad.

Grand Café gives you a wonderful feeling when you walk inside. The window plants add a nice touch, as well. And the food is delicious. 3804 Grand Avenue South, Minneapolis

Across the street is a candy store. Just candy. Candy arranged like shoes in the Oval Room. Sugar Sugar Candy makes candy beautiful, as well as tasty. Peak at their amazing website to see the rock candy chandelier.

When I first moved to St. Paul, Muffuletta’s was the one of the only places my dad knew how to find. A huge fan of New Orleans, we went for their signature sandwich and couldn’t finish it! Milton Square, 2260 Como Avenue, St. Paul

Turtle Bread Company creates unbelievable soups and knock-your-socks-off bread. My favorite? The chocolate loaf. 4205 East 34th Street, Minneapolis

When I miss grits and greens, we visit Dixie’s on Grand. As southern as you can get in Minnesota; each month they feature a different locale. Don’t forget to watch the train that circles the bar. 695 Grand Avenue, Saint Paul

W.A. Frost & Co. is for celebrating. It’s also for summer nights on the most extraordinary patio in the world and for mussels and Muscadet. In the summer it’s cool and elegant and in the winter, warm and inviting. I don’t ever need a reason to go here. My favorite thing? Expert dessert and spirit pairings. 374 Selby Avenue, Saint Paul

I invite my dad to Meritage when I want to say, “Thank you.” The food is amazing and we both love France. Enough said. 410 Saint Peter Street, Saint Paul

When I want to explain the charm of St. Paul, we go to the Groveland Tap. It’s home to of one of the best happy hours and excuses to visit in town. This fact is lost on my dad who doesn’t veer much beyond St. Pauli Girl and Stella Artois, but I love the beer selection and spicy fries. 1834 St. Clair Avenue, Saint Paul

Mocha Monkey is the defacto town hall in Waconia (see I do leave the city!). Funky atmosphere, great food, and live music. 115 South Olive Street, Waconia

While you’re there, you ought to visit Waconia Farm Supply which has the best toys in town. It’s like a mini Fleet Farm where everyone knows your name. You name it; they carry it. 801 Hwy 284, Waconia

Jake O’Connor’s Public House energized the Excelsior scene. Not that the Dock Cinema and many antique stores aren’t quaint, but they lack spunk. Of course, I am a fan of Irish bars, so maybe that accounts for something. I have no idea if it’s “authentic,” but I love the semi-private dining booths. I also can’t resist their fish and chips and perfectly poured pints. 200 Water Street, Excelsior

Enjoy stunning lake views from Haskell’s Port of Excelsior. It’s bar food, but you can buy a bottle of amazing wine next door for the tiny $3 corkage fee to quaff with your grilled cheese-tomato sandwich. One Water Street, Excelsior

Here’s to lunch with your dad or mom!

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I think I need to start making a list of items, services, pastimes, etc. that use social media to their benefit.

So far in this blog I have talked about:

  • Restaurants (www.grovelandtap.com)
  • Dry Cleaners (www.andersoncleaners.net/)
  • Music (www.jayhawksofficial.com/)
  • Plants (www.friendsschoolplantsale.com)

Art with Citrasolve by Kelli Perkins

Now, let’s add Making Art to the list.

One of my favorite art blogs is written by Kelli Nina Perkins, it’s called Common Life into Art. Kelli makes the most amazing art out of…anything. Today’s post referenced the most amazing photo manipulation using the cleaner, Citrasolve. I’m tempted now to run out and buy some. It’s going to be warm enough today that I could dissolve ink to my heart’s content on my back porch.

How is this effective social media?

Kelli’s written a fabulous book, Stitch Alchemy : Combining Fabric and Paper for Mixed Media Art, that I never would have known about it except that somehow I stumbled across her blog.

When she writes another book, will I buy it? Of course, I’ll be first in line.

How’s that for advertising a niche publication?

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People Just Need a Reason to Go Out, to Buy, to Visit, to Shop:  That’s my theory of local retail and dining.

Here’s where it’s worked for me (and Minneapolis/St. Paul businesses) in 2010.

Groveland Tap’s “Save the Nook Saturday” – Backstory:  the venerable Nook burger shop on Hamline  Avenue was gutted by fire on December 14th, closing the restaurant for the next few months. Commiserating with the quickly-out-of-work Nook staff, Groveland Tap hosted a fundraiser on Saturday, December 18th. For every pint of Summit beer purchased, the ‘Tap donated $1.50 to a Nook Employee fund. Why it worked? I waited 45 minutes with my husband and 2 kids for a table in mid afternoon. One of the servers told me it was busier than their Fish Fridays during Lent, St. Patrick’s Day, or  their Facebook Voting Day Special. Twenty kegs of Summit later, they raised $6,700. We had no plans to go out for dinner that night, but let’s just say we did our best to help the Nook employees.

The Grand Avenue Business Association (GABA) shopping spree along Grand Avenue in St. Paul:  The Grand Meander. Did we need to make glittery popsicle stars at Creative Kidstuff? No, but it sure helped me spy on what my kids wanted from Santa.

Shopping parties with Chocolate at Elinor Artful Adornments in St. Paul. Between Thanksgiving and Christmas, what business doesn’t have longer hours? Exactly, so how do you get people to come to your place? Make it a party! Make it fun! Bring a friend and save some money! That made Elinor stand out this holiday season.


First Avenue’s Benefit for Brad Kern in October. I had no clue who Brad Kern was, I was just excited to see Semisonic–a band I once flew to Amsterdam just to see–live again. People attend benefits or buy at silent auctions to help the stated cause, but also because they receive something valuable in return. Imagine my surprise in hearing Toolmaster of Brainerd while reading First Ave’s Twitter feed. So what did I receive? A rare chance to hear a mostly reunited Trip Shakespeare and discover a new fave:  Jeremy Messersmith.

The Current’s top 89 of 2010, which is why I’m writing this blog on New Year’s Day listening to the rebroadcast at www.thecurrent.org, marking songs, and bands that I liked, but whose names I never caught over the year.

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