This is why I love the Chatterbox Pub

chatterboxmplsstorefrontsm.jpgThe Chatterbox is no secret (though I tried to pass it off as one over at MSN’s City Guides), but it can’t be said enough how lip-smacking awesome this place is.

I used to live within staggering distance of the Chatterbox. I frequented it on those occasions when suckling Strongbow with a three foot, fixed, lip-to-can straw while massacring goons in “GoldenEye” on my Nintendo 64 wasn’t fulfilling enough. But this was in the dreaded days of the Indoor Smoker’s Pox and the Chatterbox had the air circulation of a bank vault. The smoke stench was unbearable, requiring me to burn my clothes and shave my head each time I returned home.

Those days are long gone. Those infernal smokers have been banished to the curbside like the weak-willed dogs that they are (no offense) and I can sip my 20 ounce stein of cider while enjoying more pleasing fragrances, namely me.

The fusion of the classic neighborhood bar and vintage, rescued basement furniture décor has been modestly upgraded, otherwise it’s still the good ol’ Chatterbox. The ‘menu’ of Atari 2600, Sega Genesis and Nintendo NES vintage games and low-tech favorites like Yahtzee, Battleship and Connect 4 that set it apart in the early days are still around augmented by a regular rotation of nighttime entertainment like music bingo (with prizes), karaoke and acoustic open mic sessions.

The fact that they have Strongbow on tap would be enough to keep my regular custom, but they also have a savory menu of gourmet sandwiches, burgers and pizzas, with unbar-like desserts like Mocha Rum Cake and Chocolate Fondue.

On the subject of burgers, I’ve developed a somewhat troubling addiction to the mushroom Swiss burger, mushrooms sautéed in garlic, with a side of spicy fries (no pickle!). I nearly lost the will to live last year when I discovered that they had removed this item from the menu, but thank Buddha, they still make it for me when I ask nicely. The staff are unfailingly good-natured on this and every other account, though perhaps they acquiesce to the onset of my Burger delirium tremens, which conveniently manifest themselves for dramatic effect on my command.

The downside, I’m not in there often enough to just order this burger. I have to tell the story every time about how it used to be on the menu and I loved it so much and could they please make it again before I get weepy? Though I relish in this fleeting opportunity to flirt with the waitresses, in the interest of making everyone’s lives easier I’d like to start a movement to get this item back on the menu. Or failing that, make it one of those unspoken items that only regulars know about. While we’re at it, let’s give it a name with a little more zip, like the “Leif Burger”.

And before you ask, yes I’ve visited the next generation Chatterbox location in St Paul, to assess the brunch specials and indulge in free darts. It’s all right, but the original Chatterbox spirit is missing and so is the staff’s capacity to conjure up Leif Burgers, so I will remain a fixture at the Classic Chatterbox, where everyone knows my name (or at least that I hate pickles).

The Chatterbox Pub
2229 E 35th Street
Minneapolis, 55407
Hours: 11am -1am Sunday -Thursday
11am -2am Friday & Saturday

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Eating | 26.10.2007 4:35 | 2 Comments

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