Visited on Saturday, November 19th with Lori and Jeff
Ben's ReviewOn the same day that we went out for lunch at Cheeky Monkey Deli, we had also made plans to continue our child-free day and have dinner with our friends Jeff and Lori at Republic in the old Sgt. Preston’s location.
The snow had continued all afternoon and made for a gross five mile drive to 7 corners, but it wasn’t as bad as I had feared with the first snowfall of the season and we made it over there in fifteen minutes or so. It was strange to notice how different this area of town was in the years since we went to school here, Grandmas and Sgt. Preston’s are gone, as is................whatever was there before Corner Bar, and we noticed that Bullwinkle’s was now closed too.
They had just gone on a wait at Republic when we got in, but the host was just clearing off a table and told us we could have it, so we settled in while waiting for Jeff and Lori to arrive. Erin was starving and so ordered the spinach artichoke dip to nosh on while I pondered what I would have for my three beer flight. The flight is $10 for three eight ounce samples of beer. This can save you a buck or two if you choose the pricier beers on the menu. I went with Surly Wet (my only time this year having it), Stone Brewing Arrogant Bastard, and Odell Mercenary Double IPA as my options. The tap beer list is fantastic at Republic and getting to try three beers is awesome. When Jeff and Lori arrived he saw what I had and followed up with the exact same order.
I made an effort to not look at the food menu before we came so that I wouldn’t have my meal decided before I even stepped in the door. While Republic doesn’t have the largest menu, they do seem to have a reasonably diverse food offering, especially some of the appetizers like Serrano ham and ricotta fritters. Since I had a Cuban sandwich at lunch I wasn’t feeling like having a sandwich or a burger and decided on the beer battered fish and chips.
The spinach artichoke dip had been very good and only served to get me even hungrier. We were eating later than we normally do when Annie is around, and that coupled with my beers was making my stomach growl. Luckily our food came out not too long after we ordered and I was not disappointed.
My fish and chips came with homemade ketchup, tartar sauce, and some other white looking sauce that I couldn’t distinguish, but can only assume was mayonnaise. It was only after I was nearly done that I realized I hadn’t even tried the homemade ketchup as I had used the tartar sauce for my fish and fries. The fish was what you’d expect from battered and fried fish, and was very good, no big bites of just breading and no mushy fish anywhere. The fries were also good, hot, and well seasoned.
Predictably, Erin and Lori wanted to order dessert and since the prices were low we ordered three desserts to share between the four of us. We got the Caramel Pot de Creme, the Black & Tan pudding, and the Caramel Apple Cake. The reason for the low-ish prices was apparent when the desserts came out, as they are rather small, but I prefer it that way anyways. We all tried all three desserts and they were delicious and the perfect size to finish off an already large meal.
We really enjoyed Republic and the atmosphere there, as it’s a far cry from the drunk frat boy crowd that used to exist on weekends. Between that and the excellent beer list I can see us coming back here in the future.
Service: Service was good, they took care of us without bothering us.
Food: Good spinach artichoke dip and fish and chips, nothing crazy, just a good, clean fill.
Drinks: Awesome list of beers, the wine list doesn’t look as extensive, but I wouldn’t know.
Ambiance: It was busy at Republic without being so loud that you can’t hear anyone, I also like the remodeling they’ve done inside, much nicer than Sgt. Preston’s.
Convenience: We parked in the Holiday Inn ramp without bothering to look for street parking as it’s a pain in the ass as far as I’m concerned. Certainly buses are available as it’s right near campus.
I'd heard about Republic a lot from my coworker Janelle, who is a big fan of craft brews in addition to dining out. (Definitely check out her website if you are a Minneapolis lover - a great way to find out about hidden gems in a number of the neighborhoods she's toured!). When reviewing our list lately, often Ben and I have a hard time getting really excited about going to a place. There are a few really nice places left on there that I definitely want to try, but for a normal Saturday out, our reasonably priced options are running thin. That makes us even more excited when a place like Republic opens up, because it's so obviously one that we would enjoy AND it's not too expensive at all. It's a good thing I don't really care about beer, so I didn't make Ben wait until March to go so I could drink too.
I was still battling a cold, but managed to spruce myself up that night a bit for our double date. We got there at 6:30, and it was definitely pleasantly full. It's a fairly dark restaurant - made taking photos a bit more difficult, but the ambiance was nice. I was surprised at just how much remodeling had taken place since Sgt. Preston's - the only thing that remained the same was the one stall bathroom, but thankfully it didn't retain the same odor from it's previous owner.
As Ben mentioned, I was starving when we got there, so I quickly ordered the first appetizer I saw that looked appealing - spinach and artichoke dip. It's been awhile since I had that at a restaurant, since it's frequently made at gatherings at my own house and others, but this definitely hit the spot. Once Jeff and Lori arrived, we all got to chatting, and waited awhile before ordering.
While Republic has a pretty good menu, nothing interesting was standing out to me, so I just went with an old standby of a bacon cheeseburger. The burger didn't come with fries, but since Ben had gotten some, I knew I'd be able to at least have a few. Our food seemed to come out relatively quickly, and everyone's dishes were well presented. I enjoyed my burger, but didn't feel it was anything particularly special. However, I could barely taste anything due to my cold anyway, so my judgement is probably off.
I hadn't noticed the dessert menu on our table tent, so when the waitress responded to my inquiry about dessert with a "yes", I was ecstatic. Lori and I couldn't narrow it down, so we got 3 - which turned out to be a great choice because they were quite small. My 2 favorites were the black and tan (chocolate and butterscotch pudding and whipped cream) and the caramel pots de creme. Yum!! They were the perfect size for one person, but since we were sharing, 3 was great.
Republic is definitely a welcome addition to the 7 corners area. I wonder if it is still a hangout for the traditional age college students anymore, because Town Hall and Republic definitely seem to cater to a slightly older crowd. Perfect for this almost 30 year old! I'm sure we'll be back, especially in summer to try out their excellent patio. If we actually went out more often than once a month, I could see this overtaking Maxwell's as our go-to spot (that we haven't been to for nearly a year)... I'll always have a special place in my heart for The Max, but Republic does have better food and beer and a good vibe.
221 Cedar Ave S