This location is now closed.
Last night, just before 5 PM, we hooked up with reader Joey and his family at Blondie’s Tavern in Farmington to take advantage of their 25% off “early bird” specials and get a taste of the South Metro’s latest restaurant opening.
Blondie’s Tavern is located in a newer strip mall along MN-3 which has been, for the most part, devoid of any interesting businesses. They are located in a corner space, with an empty patio, which at one point in time more than a year ago seemed like it was going to open into some sort of restaurant which never materialized passed the signage. Every time I have passed by Blondie’s since its first days in operation, the parking lot has been crowded so I figured it couldn’t be all that bad.
While Blondie’s is billed as a “tavern”, the inside of the restaurant reminds me of a Perkins. Being that one of the co-owners worked in a Perkins for 19 years, I guess he just felt comfortable with that kind of decor. The inside was nicely decorated and clean, I’m just not sure I get why they chose to put “tavern” in the name and then decided to relegate the bar area to such a small portion of the restaurant.
We sat down in the empty restaurant (to be fair it was only 4:45 PM) and were greeted by our very friendly and prompt waitress. I asked her what her one favorite burger was and she replied, cautiously, “the cheeseburger,” but then went on to suggest that a lot of people have been ordering “The Monster Burger”. She also noted that she personally enjoyed the Blondie’s BBQ Royale which came with the option of a variety of sauces including her favorite, the molasses and ginger BBQ.
Already in the mood for a burger and not really finding anything else on the menu which really stood out to me, I decided to stick with my original plan. My wife decided to take the plunge and picked “The Monster Burger” described on the menu as “a beef patty with pepper bacon, fried egg, lettuce, onion, tomato, mayo on a toasted Kaiser bun with your choice of cheese” for $9.50. While the online menu states choice of cheese, my wife was not provided an option nor does she remember reading about it on the menu in the restaurant and as such YMMV. I ordered the “Buffalo Bacon Swiss Burger” which was described as “Buffalo spiced beef patty with thick pepper bacon and bleu cheese on a toasted Kaiser bun,” for $9.00. I was extremely impressed that the waitress asked how I would like it cooked and she accepted “medium-rare” as an option. Joey ordered the “Philly Burger” which was noted as including, “beef patty topped with a giardiniera blend and Swiss cheese on a toasted Kaiser bun,” for $9.50. I have never seen red and green peppers and onions referred to as a “giardiniera blend,” but hey there’s a first for everything. Joey’s wife went with the “Walleye Platter” listed as, “tender six ounce Canadian walleye breaded and fried placed on a bed of wild rice. Served with two sides,” for $11.50. Joey also put in for an order of “Cheddar Nuggets” (which are really just cheese curds with an obnoxious name) for $7.00.
The “Cheddar Nuggets” came out first and looked fairly boring but there were plenty of them to go around. Joey’s wife noted that they were all similarly sized and clearly straight off the Sysco truck–something which was unfortunately repeated throughout last night’s meal. Joey mentioned that he orders them often from any menu which lists cheese curds and found these to be acceptable. I had one and it tasted fine but I have never been much for cheese curds myself.
My salad (instead of fries) was out next and consisted of iceberg lettuce, a few vegetable slices, and a cup of bleu cheese dressing with a great big hunk of cheese without much flavor. Joey’s wife asked me what I thought of my salad as she was eating her own and I commented that I was pleased I didn’t have to pay extra for it because if I had I would have been extremely disappointed. But, being that it was free I was happy to eat it instead of a lump of fries–something which my wife would have eaten more of than me.
Eventually our meals arrived and the burgers were all big and beautiful. The bacon was definitely thick and peppery and they were of a large size. I’m guessing 1/2lbers. My burger came with a pile of bleu cheese which was thankfully different than what was included in the salad dressing and some pickles. I tasted everything individually, liking what I saw, and piled on the bun and veggies before cutting it in half to see how it was cooked. After being impressed that they even asked how I wanted it cooked, I was shocked to see it actually cooked medium rare and showing plenty of pink in the middle. I later told the waitress to please thank those grilling the burgers for cooking it right. I hope they keep this trend up.
While all of the burgers looked great, especially the colorful and fresh peppers on Joey’s burger, I had to say that I’m glad I wasn’t the one eating Joey’s wife’s walleye platter as it looked like a fried foot and not a piece of fish. The rice looked gross and the obvious scoop of mashed potatoes looked boring. Joey’s wife noted that the mashed potatoes tasted watery and wondered if they were frozen. We all hypothesized that the majority of these ingredients, like the cheese curds, fell out of the back of the Sysco truck. My wife later mentioned that the walleye platter looked like it was being served in a cafeteria, not a new restaurant in Farmington looking to get a foothold in a crowded market. Joey’s wife mentioned the fish wasn’t bad but it certainly wasn’t distinctive in any way.
After dinner the waitress suggested dessert and my wife did not pass that up. A vanilla sundae was delivered with strawberries, chocolate syrup, and a banana. She said it was a nice sized portion but there was nothing special about it. When our bills came the waitress noted that the sundae was free and they’d be getting in cakes, etc soon so we should check back again in the future for more dessert options.
Overall the burgers were great and ones I’d return to eat again–even at $9+ but the rest of the food was boring and definitely nothing to go out of your way to get. Our server was absolutely outstanding and with “early bird specials” knocking nearly $4 off our bill we’ll definitely be back when my wife is in the mood for a burger but we have no plans on trying anything else on the menu unless they start making the other stuff themselves, from scratch. I mean seriously, make you own cheese curds and mashed potatoes–I’ve done it many times and it just isn’t that difficult or time consuming to do. Your guests will thank you.
Have you eaten at Blondie’s Tavern in Farmington yet? If so what did you think? What did you order and what do you think you’ll order again in the future? How about their obvious use of prepared foods, like the cheese curds? Do you think that in Farmington, with so many restaurants in the area serving very similar menu items, that this was a wise choice for a new contender? Whatever you have to say about Blondie’s go ahead and comment on as I’d love to hear your thoughts.
20700 Chippendale Ave
Farmington, MN, 55024
Sunday to Thursday: 6:00 AM – 10:00 PM
Friday to Saturday: 6:00 AM – 12:00 AM
See all the pictures from Blondies Tavern on Flickr here.