Guest Blog: Everything for Breakfast at the Maple Tavern
Minneapolis Northwest's partnership with the Minesota Skinny continues. On this adventure, Frank reviews Maple Tavern's bloody mary bar, and also tries to fit as many toppings as humanly possible in and around his glass.
"We're here to gross people out," I declared at the bar.
The bartender handed me the menus and I assembled the kit: the plain cheeseburger, the turkey-bacon-avocado (TBA) sandwich, eggs benedict, a side of bacon, and the unlimited Bloody Mary. Each component had a specific purpose imagined, and it wasn't to simply be eaten. To simply eat all of this would be gross.
Instead, I took a steak knife to my building blocks and put my inner Angry Birds level-builder to work.
Anyone got a slingshot handy?
The Basics: Yes, this is the same Maple Tavern whose owner and manager got da book for illegally tapping Spotted Cow. The Tavern's still kicking and the beer is still flowing -- legitimately now. Find them off County Road 81, and visit them on their website.
Two specials you need to be aware of: one kids meal comes free with an adult meal purchase all day, every day; and unlimited Bloody Marys on Sundays for $15. Now you know.
Admittedly, I might have never known Maple Tavern existed if not for that Spotted Cow kerfuffle. North of the Shoppes at Arbor Lakes, it's off the edge of the world to most Twin Citians; and its nondescript color scheme and signage make the building virtually hide in plain sight.
The bar room is dark and the tap roster is low-key and fail-safe: Furious, the macros, Stella, Sweet Child, and a line for their neighbors at Omni Brewing were the ones that stuck out. It wasn't a beer day, though.
Maple's Bloody Mary program is one for the ages, even for the non-demented, but timing is key. You can put the usual meat sticks and cheese squares, throw a celery stick in there, if you're into that; but, if you're into jalapeno poppers, chicken wings, mozzarella sticks, and steak bits, they've got that too.
Get 'em while they're warm, though. Ordering the next round after you see fresh plates come out, also key.
Now let's look at the monster we created:
I put two sticks of bar goods in before the cheeseburger, a mistake I wish I could take back. That made the entire structure uneven. If I could turrrn back ti-hime, if I could fiiind a way, I'd put the cheeseburger on first and built up from that. As it was, I sliced the TBA into quarters and slotted them on. The first benedict went on top of all that. I then built two more sticks of bar toppings, and balanced the second benedict on those. It was a good idea at the time, but I don't think I'd do that again.
In sum: I'd erected a pillar of errors. How'd it all taste, though?
TBA: The sandwich was the decisive winner. Something as simple as toasted bread, crispy bacon, sliced turkey, and a cool avocado blob can win the day when done right. I know, because it won this one.
Diner Cheeseburger: Sometimes the soul just yearns for a simple doo-wop, brought by a server on roller-skates, eaten with a malt type of burger. The basic $8.50 model does it here. No modern amenities, no modern problems. Just chow.
The Bloody Mary itself: They infuse vodkas in-house, one with peppers, one with cucumber, but the mixes are out of a jar. I did Famous Dave's Rich and Sassy mix, and a 5-Pepper mix. Dave's was thick and chunky, with a little zip; the 5-Pepper was entirely unremarkable.
Eggs Benedict: It was an egg, the bottom bun of an English muffin, and a little holandaise. Boom. It could've used more sauce, but it serviced.
The side of bacon: The slices were brittle and thin. This bacon snob can't recommend it.
The Maple Tavern Bloody Mary program, as an entire body of work, impressed. You'll need thorough Googling to find a more comprehensive spread of toppings, and the hoity-toity brunch crowd was nowhere to be seen. If your weekend plans include more than one Bloody Mary, the Maple Tavern unlimited is a can't miss.