The Bulldog (Uptown)

18 Jul

Visited July 5th, 2010

The Monday after the Fourth of July, we killed the day by hanging out at The Bulldog’s Uptown location at 26th & Lyndale with friends Chris and Sarah. This was far from the first time any of us had been there. It has long been one of our favorite places to grab a drink as they serve a wide range of European beers, including my all-time favorite, Kwak, which comes in an oddly shaped glass held in place by a wooden stand. We also have enjoyed their selection of burgers, hot dogs, and tator tots. Just a little twist on typical bar food.

It wasn’t particularly busy when we arrived at 12:40pm the day after the 4th of July. It appeared as though there were two people on staff—a man working the bar and a woman waiting tables. The woman was completely disheveled. She was running to and fro at top speeds. It took us over 20 minutes for our drink orders to be taken. While we were slightly irritated with the slow service, we were also entertained by the waitress’s manic “drive-by” style of taking our food order and replenishing our drinks throughout our four-hour stay. She didn’t really stop walking, just passed by us and talked as she did other things. I truly have never seen waitressing quite like it, and am not sure I totally hated it.

For lunch, I ordered their special Burger of the Week, which sounded very peculiar—all-beef patty topped with pig cheek, and seasoned with Cajun spices and sauces. I opted for regular tator-tots on the side. Surprisingly enough, being from a farm, I didn’t know if pig cheek literally meant the cheek, or if it was just the name for a particular cut. Some quick research later showed it is a cut of pork located between the head and shoulders, so it’s not actually the lining of the pig’s mouth, thankfully.

I ordered the Burger of the Week special.

I ordered the Burger of the Week special.

The food took quite a while to arrive. We had been at the Bulldog for almost 90 minutes by the time our food arrived, but we weren’t too upset considering we planned to spend the whole afternoon there drinking beer. I had three pints of Rush River Unforgiven (an amber ale) at $5 each, followed by three pints of PBR at $3 each. Yes, six pints in succession is the definition of binge drinking, but it was a holiday!

My burger was well worth the wait though. I can’t pinpoint the exact flavors used for the sauces and the spiced mayo, but I do recall they were Cajun flavored. The burger, which I ordered medium-done, was juicy and flavorful, and was really brought to life by the thick cuts of pig cheek, which was a cross between bacon and ham. I thoroughly enjoyed the burger and side of tator tots. I noticed I got way more tots than Lauren—so much so that I couldn’t even finish them all.

Later, we shared a plate of chips, salsa, and guacamole. This was just average. The salsa left a lot to be desired in the heat department, and the $1 cup of guac wasn’t nearly enough for all the chips we were given. Lauren found it funny to load up a chip with a ton of salsa and fly it like a plane into my mouth, whether I was willing to cooperate and open my mouth or not.

The chips and salsa, in Ryan's opinion, were average at best.

The chips and salsa, in Ryan's opinion, were average at best.

If you check my Rankings page, you’ll see I gave The Bulldog the following points. This is good for 13th of 17 restaurants on the list. The strong point of The Bulldog was the portions; the weak point was the waiting staff, but far from the worst I’ve seen.

Food: 6
Portions: 8
Value: 6
Atmosphere: 5
Staff: 3
Experience: 5


The Hawaiian Volcano Burger

After spending the Fourth of July holiday visiting Ryan’s family in South Dakota, we were looking forward to a relaxing Monday off of work. Our friend Chris called, in the neighborhood and looking for a bite to eat and a cold beer. That sounded like a fine plan to us, so we walked the achingly-long three blocks from our apartment to the original Bulldog location. (side note: I ate at this same restaurant location when it was the vegetarian restaurant Mud Pie, ten! years! ago! Where does the time go?)

As Ryan noted, although the restaurant was mostly empty, the lone server was running back and forth, calling out orders and instructions to the kitchen staff and bartender. It made me feel as if I was a great disturbance, sitting at a table waiting for her precious attention. But it mattered little as we were planning on staying a while to enjoy a few cold beers.

Once we finally ordered and were delivered our beers, our waitress came back at length to take our food order. I made the whole waiting situation much worse by asking what the “Burger of the Week” was, sending our waitress off in search of a slip of paper that had the specials written down on them. She also delivered a few food orders before coming back to us — this was after Chris had given her his order. I passed on the specials, going for the “Hawaiian Volcano” burger, with jalapenos, grilled pineapple, bacon and gouda. The gouda sounded a little incongruous on a tropical burger, but tasted good. I have become a little bit obsessed, lately, with grilled pineapple, so that with the spicy jalapenos was very welcome. I also ordered the tater tots, though in the end I could have skipped those, as the burger more than filled me up. That paired with a couple of Ommegang Hennepin pints, and our waitress finally chilling out, made for a relaxing observed Independence Day.

All in all, the Bulldog is a reliable neighborhood joint. Good beer selection, good food and usually a pretty relaxed environment. It’s probably my favorite of the spots in our immediate vicinity.


One Response to “The Bulldog (Uptown)”

  1. jamie August 13, 2010 at 2:00 pm #

    Hey, this week on MPLS.TV’s MPLS Eats, The Bulldog was one of the restaurants we visited as we had the search for the best tater tots in all of Minneapolis!
    You should check it out at or at


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