Thursday, March 13, 2014

B-52 Burgers and Brew – Inver Grove Heights, MN

I had a free night, so I headed to a place I had meant to go to for some time – B-52. I really wasn’t sure what to expect, aside from a serious burger menu. The restaurant is located right next to a movie theater that I’ve attended frequently, so it isn’t usually far from my mind.

The inside was different than I expected. From the outside, it looks like an medium-scale place, like a more affordable Granite City or Pittsburgh Blue. But once inside, it is much more low-brow than that. It’s really dark inside with some dark wood, and almost… I hesitate to say… divey (but a comfortable divey). It’s 1000% a sports bar, however. In fact, you know how in Vegas, all the booths in a place face the band’s stage? B-52 is like that, but all the booths face a wall full of television screens. MANY screen. You can’t look anywhere in the place and not accidentally view some sort of sports. While I was there, I was fortunate enough to see the Lady Gophers, the state hockey tournament, Minnesota Wild, some baseball game from last season, and a half dozen other sports. If you aren’t into sports, then this is NOT your place – be forewarned. To their credit, it isn’t particularly loud or dirty or anything, just really dark and set up like no restaurant I’ve ever been to.

The menu has a lot of things happening. Lots of wraps, fried appetizers, flatbreads, bigger entrees, and of course burgers. Lots of burgers. Also, they have a mac and cheese of the week – which I was tempted to get, but felt I owed it to the place to give them a burger review. They also have a Friday night all you can eat fish fry that I REALLY wanted, but still went with the burger. Next time, I’m going fish fry. Additionally, I was a little bummed at their beer selection. It’s got “brew” in the title of the place, but they had a pretty white bread selection of the standards. Not much local and not much weird.

I needed about 90% of the burgers on the list, but finally decided on the B-52. It’s got roasted jalapenos, banana peppers, pepper jack cheese, chipotle mayo, and B-52 sauce. I saw they had “the Mother of All Burgers” on the menu, which is a pile of stuff with 2 pounds of burger between a giant bun, but I wasn’t in the mood to die this particular evening. I also decided on sweet potato fries, since I’m always a big fan.

There was some interesting entertainment aside from that on the TVs in the place, so I enjoyed myself listening to a relationship end, a bunch of d-bags talk smack about their girlfriends who were sitting next to them, and a particular couple trying to do karaoke to the sound of the music on the sound system in the restaurant. Sound like every night is an enjoyable time at B-52.

The food came out and despite the dark, it looked pretty good. The bun is branded with the signature B-52 logo – a classy touch that I enjoy. There were also a handful of pickle slices which were REALLY thick cut and tasty. I was also amazed at the amount of sweet potato fries that were included here. Almost the amount you give someone to prove they can’t finish them – almost. There were a ton.

The burger itself was pretty good. Not in the Top 5 in the world, but pretty darn good. The combination of ingredients was fantastic and the meat was flavorful without being greasy. The ratio of toppings to burger and bun was spot-on, as well. There was a good amount of spice, but not enough to make me sweat (again, I’m not originally from Minnesota, so I actually do have a developed spice tolerance). Great work on the burger.

The sweet potato fries were great. They had good seasoning to them and were not floppy, nor crispy. Perfectly cooked. The seasoned mayo/sour cream that came with to dip made everything that much better, also. It was difficult to not blow through the small-ish container they gave me, but next time, I will ask for two. There are a lot of fries, and I hate holding back on my fry coverage.

Overall, I had a pretty darn good meal here. The server made sure I was well taken care of and didn’t even mock me for coming in solo. Looking around, I wasn’t the only one. I’m looking forward to heading back to this place before or after a movie sometime. Maybe on a Friday night when they have the fish fry or when they have some awesome mac and cheese special. It’s worth the trip from the Downtown area, if that’s where you’re at. Lots of things to choose from. But again, be forewarned, this place is a sport bar on crack.

Top 5 things about B-52 Burgers and Brew
1. Sweet potato fries and dip (amount and flavor)
2. B-52 burger
3. Really good menu with a lot of options
4. Really friendly staff
5. If you like sports, I’ll give you the fifth slot on the Top 5

Bottom 5 things
1. If you don’t like sports, I’ll give you the number 1 spot on the Bottom 5
2. It’s realllly dark in there
3. visually distracting with all the televisions showing every sport in the known universe
4. The B-52 war-time imagery that the place is named for is very much lost on the walls due to the televisions
5. Lackluster beer menu, considering “brew” is in its name

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