Archive for the ‘Closed’

Panini Grill: Rosemount, MN

This location is now closed.

Last week, reader linkstorinks let us know that a new restaurant was opening in Rosemount which would serve panini and Chicago-style hot dogs. Knowing The Wife loves Chicago-style and misses having a place close by now that Johnny’s is long gone, we headed over to Panini Grill (they have no web presence and their business card, which notes is currently registered out to 2019 by some other established business) on Friday night to see what they had to offer.

We arrived right around 6 PM and sat down in the tiny restaurant which used to house the counter take-out reincarnation of Giuseppe’s before they moved a few doors down to open another full-service restaurant (which we have tried and found to be good). The decor is simple and the Italian color scheme still reflects the Giuseppe’s restaurant. Three simple tables with seating for 12, a counter, two mirrors, a clock and some Vienna hot dog posters are all that adorn the walls aside from the paint. The owner was on site and gave us some time to look over the menu and make our selections while she took counter take-out orders and a phone order as well.

The menu is simple. Five Chicago-style dogs/sausages/beef baskets and five panini options with their signature British-style Fish and Chips. The most expensive item on the menu tops out at $8.00 and everything comes with two cups of their homemade sauces (seasoned ranch and honey mustard) and not-frozen steak fries. We placed an order for the Chicago Fire Dog ($6.50), Chicago Red Hot ($6.50), St. Patrick Panini ($7.00), and British-style Fish and Chips ($8.00).

While the food was being made, the owner took some time to chat with us. She is a first-time restaurant owner who wanted to become her own boss. A long-time resident of Rosemount, she wanted to bring something which Rosemount doesn’t have, dogs and sandwiches, to town. She is friendly and excited about the prospects for her business and takes pride in her work. She notes she has always enjoyed Chicago-style foods even though she’s from Minnesota but had to add the St. Patrick Panini to fit in with Rosemount’s Irish theme. We talked a little bit about her knowledge of local restaurants and food and she noted she was aware of the reasons why Johnny’s closed. She said a divorce and the Cedar construction were the reasons; however, neither were. The place served hot dogs and related items for too little money to few too people to afford the rent, plain and simple.

Anyway, the food was out quickly. The Chicago Fire Dog was described on the menu as “Vienna Beef spicy Polish served with brown mustard, hot giardiniera, and a coupla (sic) spicy sport peppers (Dare to try it!)” I asked for it to come out “extra hot” and they loaded it up for me. Everything was present and I really enjoyed the sausage although most of it was just like anything you can get from any place serving Vienna Beef items. The steak fries were good, quite good in fact. The owner said she makes them fresh (although I didn’t see any direct evidence of this in the kitchen) along with the dipping sauces both of which were quite good (particularly the honey mustard which wasn’t sickly sweet like it is all too often–perfect). For $6.50 I had a meal which was filling and hit the spot.

The Chicago Red Hot is described as “Our Chicago-style hot dog starts with Vienna Beef hot dog, yellow mustard, neon green relish, freshly chopped onions, crispy garlic dill pickle spear, 2 spicy Italian, (sic) sport peppers, 2 fresh tomato slices, sprinkled with celery salt, and served on a steamed poppy seed bun”. The Wife was thrilled with this one. Nothing fancy and nothing at all different than what you’d expect but it came loaded and looked pretty and was tasty for a low price. What more could you ask for?

The British-style Fish and Chips were also good. Light and crispy but a good size, I am guessing these weren’t made fresh but again, couldn’t be sure as I wasn’t looking in the kitchen when it was put into the fryer. They had good flavor but I asked for them to add a bottle of malt vinegar as that’s what I prefer to eat my fish and chips with, not ranch or honey mustard as I was offered. I’d order it again but I’ll probably stick to the hot dogs in the future.

Our least favorite item was the St. Patrick Panini. Described as, “Corned beef, genoa, salami, smoked turkey breast,” this was delivered as promised–straight from prepackaged deli cold cuts. I can appreciate a deli meat sandwich grilled up and topped with provolone cheese and giardiniera as much as the next guy but I can make this exact same sandwich at home for far less money and far better flavor using a frying pan and a tinfoil covered brick or otherwise heavy object. Not to detract from the work done here, it was a decent sandwich, it just didn’t impress me enough to suggest anyone run out and try it themselves. I would love to see them make their own corned beef like Stockmen’s and roast their own turkey and slice it to order. I’ll let them slide on the salami for now. Seriously, if you’re going to make it as a sandwich shop, you need to set yourself apart from the Subways and Subway wannabes of the world which are serving exactly what you are, for less.

Overall we thought the dogs were decent and we’ll definitely be back to have them again because The Wife loves Chicago-style. I was pleased they had hot giardiniera which was actually hot and they have a friendly owner working at her own business instead of staffing it with Rosemount High School kids who could not care less that her floor is swept spotless and kids should walk out the door smiling after eating a chocolate chip ice cream sandwich. But you can only make it so far on hot dogs when you’re not pumping out inventive combos alongside incredible breakfasts like The Wienery in Minneapolis.

Have you been to Panini Grill in Rosemount? What did you order and what did you think? Do you think they’re going to survive selling dogs and panini made with packaged deli meats or will they fall prey to the same fate as Johnny’s which had a much more visible location right on Cedar? Whatever you have to say about this one go ahead and comment on as I’d love to hear what you have to say.

Panini Grill
15092 Claret Ave
Rosemount, MN 55068


Sunday – Saturday: 11 AM – 9 PM

Panini Grill on Urbanspoon

Apple Valley Pizza Places Opening and Closing

Photo credit: Sean L.

According to a reader, after many years of serving pretty average pizza for too much money and being the only local pizza joint in town which required phone numbers for pickup orders, Broadway Pizza in Apple Valley has closed its doors. Known for its pizza buffets which it advertised through tiny little signs at the four-way stop before heading to Target, the reason for its closure is a mystery even after a call to the Apple Valley Chamber to see if they had any information.

While there are any number of reasons this could have happened including their crappy customer service policies, pretty crappy pizza, and the construction on Cedar/42, one has to wonder why there aren’t any decent pizza places South of the River. With the nearest edible pizza places being RedRossa in Bloomington or Fat Lorenzo’s in Minneapolis, you would think that Dakota County would be able to land something better than Pizza Ranch which is opening in the completely desolate shopping center by the second Apple Valley Target and $5 million city-owned liquor store that no one goes to.

After recently driving through Pizza Ranch’s prior preferred towns, towns with very small populations in the middle of nowhere, and seeing how they have dominated towns where no competition exists, it made me wonder if they thought they could accomplish domination in Dakota County (Lakeville already has a location and now Apple Valley) because there simply isn’t any decent pizza for miles and no one would know any better that they shouldn’t eat at Pizza Ranch either.

What do you think? Are you sad to see Broadway Pizza close (not for the business owners, I mean for the food they served)? Were you a regular customer there, why or why not? Are you concerned that the Cedar construction will kill other favorite businesses of yours? Have you ever eaten at Pizza Ranch? Did you actually enjoy the food they serve? Do you think that their prior business model of sticking to rural towns where they may have been the ONLY restaurant around will work when moving to the metro area? What is it about the South Metro in general that seems to push decent pizza places out forcing residents to drive to the city to get something decent? Whatever you have to say about this one go ahead and comment on as I’d love to hear your thoughts.

2011 Lazy Lightning Year End Stats

Just as I did in 2008, 2009, and and 2010, I am offering some website stats from the past year. These are all as of 12/30/2011 at 9:00 AM CST.

Top 10 Crony Comments Posted in 2011:

lefty 1029
MSPD 521
Mikeh 415
Chad 395
sandy 313
Chapter&Verse 304
Joey 226
Tim 213
bb stacker 190
dm 167

Top 10 Posts Visited By Minnesotans:
Christmas Lights Map
Porter Creek Hardwood Grill: Burnsville, MN
Andiamo: Eagan, MN
Burger Time: Apple Valley, MN
New Restaurants in the South Metro
Minnesota State Fair Bingo Cards
Valley Tap House: Apple Valley, MN
Zest Bar and Grill: Eagan, MN
Rack Shack BBQ: Burnsville, MN

Top Ten Most Commented Posts:

349 Andiamo Italian Ristorante: Eagan, MN
243 One Wisconsin Bar’s Fight Against the Smoking Ban
223 Burger Time: Apple Valley, MN
188 Valley Tap House: Apple Valley, MN
185 Zest Bar and Grill: Eagan, MN
138 Burger Jones: Burnsville, MN
106 Letter to Sen. Gerlach on the Marriage Amendment
105 Book Club: Booked to Die by John Dunning
96 LL Giveaway: Two Tickets to Cirque du Soleil OVO!
85 BPAC Nearly Empty for Remainder of 2011?!

Top Ten Most Well “Liked” Posts:

31 Teresa’s Mexican Restaurant: Lakeville, MN
26 Burger Jones: Burnsville, MN
25 Letter to Sen. Gerlach on the Marriage Amendment
23 Burnsville Press Release for Kautz’s Senate Run?!
18 ISD192 Timothy Burke Investigation (Full Report)
16 Another South Metro Walmart in Lakeville?
15 Southview Animal Hospital Saved My Dog’s Life
15 Lakeville’s LaBeau Hates Freedom of Speech?
14 One Wisconsin Bar’s Fight Against the Smoking Ban
14 Burger Time: Apple Valley, MN

Other Fun Comment Stats:

1. MSPD had the most comment likes with 641.
2. Lefty had the most comment dislikes with 285.
3. There were 105 fewer posts this year than 2010 and 141 fewer than 2009.
4. 150+ more comments in 2011 than 2010 (8233+ comments penned this year).
5. On 1/12/2011 the site saw its first day with more than 100 comments (105).
6. The site averaged ~23 comments/day up 2 comments/day from 2010.
7. The site averaged ~26 comments/post up ~5 from 2010 and ~10 from 2009.
8. Mrs Marcos, Mikeh and Lefty posted their 1000th comments joining MSPD and Chad.
9. A commenter leader board was created showing the top 50 commenters.

I want to personally thank each and every reader, commenter, friend, family member, public servant (good or bad), restaurant owner (good or bad), journalist, and especially the silly astroturfers for all they do to make this site what it is. If it weren’t for the people out there there wouldn’t be much to talk about and certainly wouldn’t be any discussion. I wish you all a happy New Year and hope you continue to spread the word about Lazy Lightning and all the fun the cronies have here.

What were your favorite posts in 2011? What did you like best about the site (comments, changes, topics, etc)? What would you like to see come in the future? We have voting on best comment of the year coming up on Sunday, do you have a favorite already? Whatever you have to say go ahead and comment on as I’d love to hear what you have to say.

Ramadan Restaurant and Grill: Burnsville, MN

This location (including the grocery store) are now closed.

On Wednesday afternoon I met up with the almighty MSPD in Burnsville near MN-13 and CR-11 for lunch. There are two hidden combo restaurant and grocery gems located in the maze of commercial parks and strip malls which line this notorious intersection: Florida Oriental Market and Ramadan Restaurant & Grill. While we started at Florida Oriental Market, apropos on a day which hit a high of 50+ in late November, and the menu looked decent, we decided to save that one for another day and try Ramadan next door instead.

Ramadan Restaurant and Grill is set back from MN-13 in a drab and unassuming location not directly accessible from the main road. If you aren’t looking for it I can almost provide a 100% money-back guarantee you will miss it as you whiz by trying to avoid the gunshots and assaults which seem to prevail in that particular area of Burnsville. The restaurant is adjacent to a Halal market of the same origin which is surprisingly sparse until you head to the meat counter in the back where you can buy just about anything from chicken parts to whole goats and cows for very competitive prices ($7.99/lb ribeyes and I’m sure they’ll cut them in front of you as they were today).

We walked into the restaurant and were the only people in the surprisingly cavernous and barren space. The tables looked like someone purchased them at an auction for recently closed girl scout camps from the 1960s. Think sealed knotty pine and cheap booths in one of the largest and most underutilized spaces I’ve ever seen since the now defunct Applewood Rustic Grille just down the street. Aside from a handful of paintings, the tables, a cash register, and the buffet line there just wasn’t much in this place.

After being assured by the two guys carrying tables that they were indeed open and we could go up to the buffet to get our meals. With a line of only a couple of items I have to admit, at first glance, I was seriously thinking about running back to Florida Oriental Market to order some cheap Pad Thai and eat at their single wooden table with two plastic patio chairs instead.

They had tandoori chicken, basmati (vegetarian), basmati (with some meat), some salad, and various other dishes which included meat aside from some mixed vegetable dish all the way at the end. I was honestly surprised at the lack of vegetarian options but I suppose they know their lunch rush business better than anyone. I took a little bit of everything, aside from a beef dish as I didn’t have any more room on my plate, and brought it back to the table.

While the plate looked almost like a plate at any other of the numerous Indian places around the metro, after the first bite my doubts were instantly erased. Ramadan’s tandoori chicken, usually miserably dry and tasteless at just about every other buffet in the world, was tender and juicy while being full of flavor. Laying on a bed of onions and peppers they really nailed this one–something I never thought I’d say about tandoori chicken at a buffet line.

The basmati rice, another item which I usually have to slather with whatever leftover sauce exists after I wipe my plate clean with naan, was full of herbs and bursting with flavor. Perfectly cooked, light and fluffy, this was almost an absolute joy to eat; something which should never be said about rice, ever. The rest of the items, especially the beef dish, were surprisingly flavorful. Ramadan was not afraid to work with a heavy hand when they were loading in the spices and I found my nose running and my mouth burning long after we left even though we were eating from the buffet and didn’t ask for any additional spice.

However, I’m saving the best for last…the price. I ate three huge plates of food and stuffed my face silly (yes, the day before Thanksgiving) with chicken, beef, vegetables, rice and naan and I paid a whopping $7.75 for the pleasure. In all honesty the only time I have been that full for that low of a price was when I stuffed my face with a Nookie Supreme and I still had to pay $2 more to do it.

I am not kidding you when I tell you that if you’re looking for some of the best Indian food South of the River then you’re going to want to head to a Burnsville commercial strip mall across from an Aldi and next to what used to be a wonderful center for saving animals before the mayor let it leave town and die a horrible death along with all the kittens they used to adopt out, and eat at Ramadan Restaurant and Grill. I cannot wait to get back there to try their lengthy regular menu items and I plan to do that soon. Very soon.

Have you ever eaten at Ramadan Restaurant & Grill in Burnsville? If so what did you think? Have you ordered off their menu or eaten their buffet? From what I understand the buffet items change regularly yet are always just as tasty. Do you agree? If you haven’t eaten from the buffet what did you order off the menu? What do you recommend? Aside from Ramadan, Sambol and India Palace, what other Indian places do you recommend around town? Whatever you have to say about Ramadan go ahead and comment on as I’d love to hear your thoughts.

Ramadan Restaurant and Grill
1501 Highway 13 East
Unit 1515
Burnsville, MN 55337


Monday to Friday 11 AM – 10 PM
Closed Tuesday
Saturday to Sunday 11 AM – 10 PM

Ramadan Restaurant & Grill on Urbanspoon

See all the pictures from Ramadan Restaurant & Grill on Flickr here.