Visited on Thursday, January 29th with Nate and Molly
We finally made it to the Blue Door Pub (BDP) last Thursday with our neighbors, Nate and Molly. The previous two times we had tried to go, the place was packed and the wait time was substantial. This time, we were determined to wait it out, regardless of how long it took. It was still packed on a Thursday night, and we waited around twenty five minutes to get a table. Since the BDP is so small there's no room to have a waiting area, you just have to kind of stand around other tables of people eating their delicious burgers and drinking beer while you wait for your turn. We did get some beers while we waited, so not all was lost.
BDP opened up last fall and has gotten only rave reviews since for their burgers and beer selection. I'm disappointed in myself that we hadn't been here sooner, as it's about one mile from our house, even closer than Trotter's, and we both love a good burger. Even better, they recently got Hopslam on tap, although I liked last year's Hopslam better.
After getting our table we were starving. I had noticed some sort of deep fried appetizer being served to another table that looked good, and the server told me they were cream cheese spam bites - cream cheese, with a piece of spam, breaded and fried. We got an order of those and Nate and Molly got some buffalo wings, both of which were fantastic, I thought. For my burger I went with the Cajun burger and the tater tots. The tater tots at BDP are fried instead of baked, which clearly makes them better. My burger lived up to expectations that I had read about, it was fantastic. Filled with pepper jack cheese and jalapenos made it nice and spicy and the tots were a perfect side dish.
My only source of disappointment came when I ordered a Surly Furious that I saw on the beer list, but I was brought a Surly Mild. It turns out they had just switched from the Furious to the Mild a day or two before and the beer list had not been updated. I still drank the Mild, but, lets be honest, it's no Furious.
Our server was a nice guy, he talked to us like we were friends rather than customers. We also saw one of the owners walking around talking with people, which I thought was cool. One suggestion I would make to him would be to find some way to get more space. My dad went there for lunch the following Thursday, around 1pm and he said it was packed even then. Clearly BDP can sustain more people :)
- Service: Excellent service, we were taken care of and the server was a really nice guy.
- Food: The burgers are fantastic, as advertised. The tots are great (and I don't even like tots that much to begin with).
- Drinks: They have a great beer list, with a good mix of local brews (Lift Bridge, Surly, Summit).
- Ambiance: To say BDP is cozy is an understatement. As you eat your meal you will mingle with people standing around you waiting for a table :)
- Price: The price was right on par with other burger/beer joints. $7-$9 burgers, $4-$5 beers.
- Convenience: They do have a parking lot that wraps around the back, otherwise you'll need to find a spot on Selby, which isn't too bad.
If this place was just a little less crowed, or a little bigger, it would give Maxwell's a run for it's money as our favorite bar. As of now, Maxwell's still has a leg up due to always having an open table. The third time was finally a charm for us visiting Blue Door Pub. I would not recommend going there with a group larger than 4 to avoid having to wait longer than 30 minutes for a table. The first time we tried we had 6, and there was already a ton of people ahead of us so we didn't want to have to deal with standing around - especially since one person in our party was approximately 8 months pregnant at the time :) The second time we were just too hungry to wait. This time, Ben and I were both mentally and physically prepared to wait as long as it took to get a table. I'm glad we did - it was definitely worth the wait!
We debated even giving this place another glowing review - clearly they have no issues filling the place at all times so we kind of wanted to write that it sucked to deter a few people from going :) Despite being crowded, everyone is super friendly at BDP - no one seems pissed if you bumped into them, and the servers are very friendly and don't even seem annoyed that everyone is blocking their ability to easily get at their tables.
I knew that I wanted to try Blue Door Pub's signature Juicy Lucy - the Blucy. I also had read that the spam bites were surprisingly good so wanted to give them a try too. They came out quickly and were pretty good - but then again, how could anything with that much cream cheese that is deep fried NOT be good?? I think the ratio of spam to cream cheese could be increased - it seemed like there was way more cream cheese than would be necessary for a tasty bite. They also could be a little smaller - more "bite" sized and less golf ball sized. Still something that is fun to try once.
I got my Blucy sans side dish, since I was certain that Ben's side of tots would be plenty for both of us, especially after the spam bites. I was correct. I liked the Blucy, but not as much as the traditional Juicy Lucy with American Cheese. What can I say - I have been conditioned to love processed cheese product. The Blucy was well executed, but next time I will try the traditional to see how it measures up against my favorite at The Nook.
Another note about how nice they are here - Nate and Molly ordered their Mushroom Swiss Blucy to share and the kitchen nicely sent it out in 2 separate baskets perfectly split in half. It was definitely a nice touch.
I think it's pretty clear based on this review that Ben and I will be back to Blue Door Pub, many many times.
1811 Selby Ave