Erin made plans with Kate to meet for brunch this past Sunday so we headed over to north Minneapolis to try out Victory 44 at Kate’s suggestion.
I had heard of Victory 44 but didn’t know much about it. Erin described it as having two rooms, one a coffee shop and the other side more of a dining room. We arrived and found Kate and Kyle already seated on the empty dining room side as the tables there were better suited for four adults and a toddler. Oddly, at 10 am on a Sunday they had the Black Keys CRANKED up in the dining room, but they thankfully lowered the volume at our request.
Having not had coffee yet we quickly ordered some while we checked out the menu. The prices at Victory 44 are surprisingly reasonable. Eggs Benedict, which I have a hard time finding under $10 elsewhere, was $8.95 and after confirming that it was indeed two eggs and on Kyle’s recommendation I ordered it. Our server came out a little later and apologetically let us know that since they were out of ham, we’d have to have real bacon on ours instead. This marks the first time I’ve ever heard anyone apologize for having to serve bacon.
Checking the place out while we waited for our food, they seem to have a nice selection of beer and wine on hand and a good looking dinner menu. The dining room started to fill up while we were there and there was a healthy din to the place.
Our food came out and the first thing I noticed was that the portions were not the typical restaurant size, they were actually the size that human being SHOULD eat. Two smallish pieces of crusty bread were used for the eggs Benedict, with a poached egg and bacon. Rather than hash browns it came with a side of cheddar tots, which were hot and delicious. The hollandaise sauce was awesome, with a hint of mustard flavor that was perfect with the runny eggs.
I enjoyed Victory 44 and would love to try it for dinner sometime. If the quality of food matches what we had for brunch I won’t be disappointed.
Service: Service was good, I had a weird vibe at first, but our server was friendly.
Food: Excellent food and normal sized portions.
Drinks: Good looking beer list and good coffee.
Ambiance: Loud music at first, but they turned it down for us. Seemed friendly enough while we were there.
Convenience: For us, not very. It was a 20 minute drive from Saint Paul, but well worth it.
Kate knows of my intense love for eggs benedict, and being also pregnant, knows that it's one of the saddest things to abstain from (for me at least) - she had been to Victory 44 several times, and thought the brunch was delicious, and had several amazing non-benedict options so invited us to join her there. I was very annoyed to find that my camera battery was just about dead when we got there, but I squeezed out enough photos and supplemented with iPhone pics for this review.
Kate's biscuits & gravy - the dish that caused her to recommend the place to me.
I was a bit confused about where the brunch was - if it was in the main dining room that opens at 11am (which seemed much fancier on the website than it was in reality) or in the cafe - it turned out it was served from the cafe, but since that area was full when we went, they seated us in the dining room, where Black Keys was blasting. Kate said they had just turned it up, and sadly for them, we asked them to turn it down. We're turning into "those people" (who am I kidding, we've always been "those people").
When perusing the menu for that day, I got a bit flustered dealing with Annie and just quickly chose the "malted waffle" - when I asked, she said it was a sweet waffle with a bit of malt powder in the batter, basically just a regular waffle - good to know :) I ordered Annie the yogurt parfait as there weren't any sort of muffins or anything available, which would have been a bit cheaper of an option for her since there was no sort of kids menu or pricing. I also ordered a vanilla latte, after seeing Kate's twit a few weeks prior that showed the beautiful design on the top of hers.
Regular coffee came out really quickly, but Kate and I had ordered lattes which were taking a lot longer. It was after 10am and I hadn't had any caffeine yet so I was pretty close to tweaking out about that. Luckily, it was worth the wait - they pour the milk tableside and somehow create the design on the top. Probably because of this, the lattes weren't super hot, but I think I've been a bit spoiled by ordering them "extra hot" everywhere else I go.
You can see the design even better in my iPhone pic
I was starving, so basically inhaled my waffle but from what I can remember it was light, crispy and fluffy - perfect. I was still hungry after eating that, so also had some of Annie's parfait, since there was no way she'd finish that. The side of cheesy tot things from the benedicts were enticing, so Kate and I ordered another side of those to split. They came out quickly as well and were piping hot. Definitely a good choice - after those I was pleasantly full. Annie really enjoyed them as well, as she does with most things involving cheese.
If I lived closer, Victory 44 would be an excellent option for a fairly affordable brunch (unless you order a bunch of extras like I did - like a more expensive drink, a side order, etc). I've also heard excellent things about their dinner as well. As mentioned, I'll be making the trek at least once more to try the benedicts!
2203 44th Avenue North
To learn a lot more about this neighborhood, check out the post on Minneapolis 81.