Friday, April 8, 2011

Poor Richard’s Commonhouse – Bloomington, MN

My friend D.Sales and I decided to meet up for lunch, so we picked a place near both of us. I’ve never been to Poor Richard’s, but I’ve driven by it a bunch of times and wondered what it was like. I read that it was a former Major’s restaurant location, so I had an idea of what it used to be, but not what it was now. The website wasn’t entirely functional, so I didn’t get any help there.

The inside is actually enormous. I was surprised how spacious it was inside. Huge bar in the middle of a large room and then smaller dining rooms off to the sides. It is decorated in a sort of modern colonial theme. Picture a Majors or Champps but then, theme it with Benjamin Franklin and Betsy Ross – literally. And it isn’t in a bad way, it just is like nothing I’ve ever really witnessed. And I guess to keep it jolly old England style, they had soccer on the flat screens, which was a bonus (Columbus Crew vs FC Dallas).

The menu has some unique things on it, mainly involving Bison. I’m guessing a lot of Native American people don’t eat at Poor Richard’s – that’s kind of shoving it in their face, don’t you think? Bison chili, Bison sliders, Bison pasta, etc. I had my food decision all picked out and then I thought to ask the server about the specials. She said they had a fire and ice burger – burger with cream cheese and sliced jalapenos on it. Dang it, now I wanted THAT. I also got stuck with lemonade since they have Coke products. Sigh.

We didn’t wait long for our food, which I was kind of surprised about. That worked out well though. The burger looked plenty large and filling and the fries were especially crispy looking. I think I heard people talk about double frying French fries to make them super crispy while watching a cooking show on food network. I think that’s the secret to doing this. And if I’m full of crap and don’t know what I’m talking about, sue me. I’ll eat those fries no matter how their cooked.

The burger was a perfect medium .Just the right amount of pink on the inside. The toppings weren’t overdone and seemed to be a great mix of flavors for the amount of meat there was. The jalapenos weren’t particularly spicy, but then again, when is jalapeno season? I don’t know either. The meal came with coleslaw (a very small ramekin of coleslaw to be exact), which I ate. I’ll assure you that is noteworthy, since I’m NOT a fan of coleslaw. But I always try it just to make sure I don’t like it. This one was much better – less mayo or something. This was a really good burger that I would either order here again, or make a bunch of at home…

D.Sales had ordered soup and it arrived without a spoon, then the server disappeared for a bit, so he had to wait for a spoon. But he ended up eating his soup while it was still hot. His melty ham and cheese sandwich looked delicious and he said positive things about it. I didn’t ask him for a bite though – we’re not at THAT level in our relationship…

At the end of the meal, she brought us our bill and we handed over credit cards to split the meal. She returned with one credit card and then asked if we had paid with one card. She remembered picking up two cards. I’m glad she remembered that because apparently she now realized she had lost my credit card. Wonderful. After lots of searching and some considerable waiting on our part, she found my credit card and after she returned it, came back to refund the money put on D.Sales’ credit card so he didn’t get stuck with the whole bill.

It wasn’t a cheap lunch, but I’ve paid way more for burgers before. It was a great restaurant-priced burger. It isn’t fast food after all. I think I’ll head back to this place for lunch in the future. I got in and out of there pretty quickly, it’s close, and the menu had lots of things I’d like to try on it. Despite some pretty harsh reviews online, I think this place is pretty good.

Top 5 things about Poor Richard’s Commonhouse
1. Fire and Ice Burger
2. Super crispy fries
3. Really large menu
4. Friendly waitress and quick service
5. Coleslaw was pretty good

Bottom 5 things
1. Lost my credit card temporarily
2. Small coleslaw portion
3. Forgot the soup spoon and you can’t eat soup with a fork
4. It’s a little on the pricey side for a lunch (expect about $15)
5. It’s a little hard to navigate to from 494, despite the fact you can see it from the road

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