Wall to Walleye
Tavern On Grand (651) 228-9030
656 Grand Ave, St Paul, MN 55105
Tavern On Grand is the place you should bring your out-of-state friends to give them a true “taste” for Minnesota. The warm North woods feel of log and brick, the Cheers-type atmosphere of relaxed regulars and friendly staff, and of course, the phenomenal walleye, combine to create a wonderfully “Minnesotan” dining experience.
These three key ingredients make Tavern On Grand the kind of place you can’t wait to get to, love to linger at, and hate to leave. One of the owners, Dave Wildmo, describes the menu as “comfort” food. There are no real surprises on the menu. Any Minnesotan would feel right at home with the Turkey with Wild Rice soup, the Bemidji club, or the Walleye fillet. However, the quality and flavor of the food will make you cry “uff da!”
If you can’t convince your friends to sample the incredible walleye, the menu also carries Black Angus top sirloin, baked chicken, barbecued pork ribs, spaghetti, burgers, sandwiches, soup, salad and a full page of appetizers. Entrée prices range from $5.95 for the spaghetti to $17.95 for the two-fillet walleye dinner.
The people who work at Tavern On Grand are another pleasant surprise. Many of them have been with the restaurant since it’s inception eleven years ago. Brad Rebers, fresh out of bartending school, joined them the first week they opened. Mike Burgos, their Head Chef, was there for the restaurant’s opening and has contributed almost everything on the menu including the homemade soups and the scratch-made salad dressings and barbecue sauce. Many of the wait-staff have been there for years. As Dave puts it, “you could leave for three years, come back, and recognize almost everyone in the pub.” While Dave is the colorful promoter, his business partner Barb Allen is the quiet behind-the-scenes key to the restaurant’s success. Her willingness to put in long hours and “do whatever needs to be done” keeps the place running smoothly.
Tavern On Grand is open seven days a week from 11am until 1am. The kitchen closes at 11pm. They are located at 656 Grand Avenue in St. Paul or as Dave puts it, “just look for the big neon walleye in the window.”
Submitted by Robert W. McClain