On Friday night The Wife, The Rooster and The Koala picked me up from work and we began heading for Taquiera La Hacienda #3. On the way I remembered that The Rack Bar and Grill recently opened in the old Timberlodge location in Burnsville near 35W and Burnsville Parkway. Knowing their menu was basically glorified bar food and their website touts their ‘Rack Girls’ as a highlight, I figured they would be slightly inappropriately dressed but figured it would be family friendly enough none-the-less.
We arrived before 5 and found the bar quite crowded. According to a reader, the owner was previously the manager at the long-closed Burnsville Hooters’ and many of the Hooter’s employees came to work with him at this location. There is a nice bar fully stocked with nothing but the finest domestic beers available and nothing at all interesting for 2012. Many of the tables and booths on the bar side were filled and we were directed to the dining room off to the right and sat at a table in the middle. The “Rack Girls” were standing in the back, clad in their garb for “Flannel Friday”, getting a peptalk from the manager.
Our server, friendly and knowledgeable, gave us menus while leaning over the table showing off her breasts in their push-up bra. We placed orders for 18 wings ($13.99; 6 “Hot” and 12 “Habanero”) which were explained to be meatier than her regular old haunt, Buffalo Wild Wings, a Mushroom Swiss Burger with onion rings ($7.49), Fried Pickles ($2.99; 50% for happy hour), Chicken Strips for The Rooster ($3.99) which included drink and side (several available including veggies).
Now, before I get into the food, I want to concentrate on the inappropriateness of The Rack Girls. While some were wearing clothing which covered more of their body than others, it appeared the majority were showing a lot more skin than I really care to see on chicks who are probably Deja Vu rejects. One, showing the area between her breasts and waistline which was littered with piercings including one that ran through the middle of her lower back (a new kind of “stamp” I guess) was specifically requested by a dirty old man in his late 50s who excitedly put his hand on her while he said he missed seeing her. This caused some whispers by the other servers as they stared across the dining room at him. It was a bit gross to be perfectly honest. There was one who was pregnant (and covering her belly thankfully) who The Wife remarked she was pleased they didn’t just outright fire for not fitting the mold. There were several others with tattoos in the typical stripper fashion; no, not stars along their hips but other large tattoos instead!
It was during this time that The Wife overheard some of the servers telling other customers (a couple in their mid to late 70s) about the theme nights The Rack Girls have each week. Fridays are “Flannel Fridays” which means they dress up like some sort of video porn box rendition of Daisy Duke, “Naughty Nurses”, “Cops and Robbers” and my personal favorite for its total lack of political correctness, “Cowboys and Indians”. Seriously? In a state with a rich Native history we’re going to have “Cowboys and Indians” night? Morons.
Now, The Wife and I have no real problems with women dressing like this in restaurants (or the existence of porn shops or strip clubs for that matter) however, considering the public backlash over the much tamer Hooter’s which used to be next door, I’m surprised Burnsville’s mayor wasn’t personally picketing the restaurant herself let alone all those who were so very upset the last time.
The food arrived and and I was surprised at how large the wings were. Not only were they large, they were also quite tasty. The wings are grilled and come with a big cup of chunky bleu cheese dressing. While the “Hot” wings were just slightly hotter than you’re standard Buffalo, they weren’t anything crazy. However, the Habanero wings carried great flavor and heat. I’m used to ordering 18 wings at BW3 and being able to easily finish them but I was only able to eat 11 of The Rack’s.
The Wife’s hamburger was large, flavorful and came with a few onion rings for the comparatively low price of $7.49. I took a single bite and was surprised with how good it was. The Wife had no complaints and said she was impressed with what she got for the price.
The Rooster’s chicken fingers were good and the fries we ordered were plentiful. While he wasn’t all that interested in them, for less than $4 it was quite a deal and aside from the inappropriately dressed waitresses, this could be a decent place for families who care about that sort of thing if the waitresses waited until after 8 PM to dress like strippers.
Our only complaint came from the fried pickles. They were plentiful, especially at the $3 happy hour price and came with a nice seasoned ranch but they were extremely salty and left a large pool of grease at the bottom. We didn’t finish them but I’m guessing if you were sitting at the bar drinking some of their ridiculously lame beer selection, these would be an acceptable bar snack.
Overall, while the food was fine, especially at the price point, I’m going to guess the restaurant is going to fail due to the public’s lack of appreciation of the wait staff’s attire and the rumored trademark suit brought against them by Burnsville’s other inappropriate restaurant, Rack Shack BBQ.
Have you ever eaten at The Rack Bar and Grill in Burnsville? If so what did you have and what did you think? With the controversy surrounding Hooter’s before it closed, do you think The Rack Bar and Grill will survive the negative attention it’s likely to receive and the rumored lawsuit brought by Rack Shack? Do you plan on going to check it out? Whatever you have to say about this one, go ahead and comment on as I’d love to hear your thoughts.
The Rack Bar & Grill
13050 Aldrich Ave S
Burnsville, MN 55337
See all the pictures from The Rack Bar & Grill on Flickr here.