On an errand for supplies from the Kitchen Window for Gloria to make macaroons (inspired from our cooking class in Paris), we were walking along Lake Street to another restaurant and decided to give the Uptown Cafeteria a try.
Somewhere hidden in the fog of my memory and RSS feeds, I read that Uptown Cafeteria had a decent tap list and good food. UC is an interesting place. My first impression is that it's a cross between a fifties diner and Alary's in St. Paul with an uptown vibe. Several veggie options on the menu, including mac-n-cheese with mushrooms, broccoli and other stuff, but we settled on the southwest veggie burger with tater tots. Both were good, but not mind blowing. I use the Bulldog as my standard of tater tot greatness, and these didn't match up. We also noticed on the menu that they have late night all you can eat pancakes. This seems genius and something that I would try if in Uptown late.
On draft, I tried Badger Hill's Minnesota Special Bitter. As far as the bar's end, it was well served--my first concern going into a new place that, even though they have twenty taps, isn't a beer-centric place. Bartenders were friendly and solicitous.
This is our first American restaurant since returning from France and Belgium, so being offered water without asking was a bit of a shock. Gloria and I talked about how Europeans must feel when confronted with American service and whether or not their guidebooks warn of ultra-fast, overly-attentive service. From our visit, UC has outstanding service, which was refreshing after a month of often having to hunt down bartenders to get a drink.
What makes Minnesota Special Bitter, well, Minnesotan, is the attitude, evidently; according to the website: "The key to understanding Minnesotans: We're a mashup of extremes." I didn't take notes on the MSB, but the description fits. It's very English in style, at its base, but more strongly hopped. I can see how some might think the flavor is muddled, but it finished very well as it warmed and has promise. I'm not a fanboy after one draft, but definitely want to give it and Badger Hill another try. It's my first sample of Badger Hill, though I wrote earlier about their alternating proprietorship with Lucid Brewing.
Overall, perfectly happy with our experience at the Uptown Cafeteria. Not sure how far I'd drive to go to it, but it's a great place if you happen to be in the neighborhood.