As I often mention, it is my mission to make my rounds to the underrated bars and restaurants in the Minneapolis-St. Paul area. From the slanted pictures to mismatched dinnerware, you cannot go wrong with a hole-in-the-wall American Pub to provide essentials like a ‘morning after bloody and breakfast’ or a place for ‘weeknight out with an old friend.’ I have driven past Maxwell’s time and time again but for some reason the thought of stopping there keeps slipping my mind. After the typical debate of where to go on a date night, I opened up my bookmarks in Yelp and Maxwell’s was the first to catch my eye. Fate? Maybe so.
Upon arrival, the parking was decent. Road-side and parking meters. Typical Minneapolis situation. Once inside, the interior was pretty much how I figured it would be: comfy with a vintage feel to it. It was nice to see the homage to local pictures of what used to be and what stills stands in Minneapolis.
It was a Tuesday evening and the crowd was pretty diverse — a couple with two small children were eating in the corner, while a few younger patrons were alone at the bar chatting sporadically with the bartender. Beer was the obvious selling point on the menu, but there were plenty of good food options. It’s always great to find a place that pleases anyone that enters the establishment. Whether it be the vegetarian or the picky eater than only prefers ‘Plain Jane’ burgers. What surprised me with Maxwell’s is that martinis seemed to be a staple there just as much as the beer selection. I don’t particularly go to a pub for a ‘fancy-schmancy’ drink, but hey, now I know for next time.
After several moments, we were greeted by a young waitress. She was to the point, gave us the low-down of the seasonal beer selection and then assumed we were ready to order. My date and I decided on ordering the boneless buffalo wings for an appetizer and I must say, we were both impressed. The buffalo sauce was named “award winning,” but oftentimes that’s just cheap marketing. In this case, the wings definitely deserved the title.
When it was time to order the main course, my date selected the Crispy Chicken BLT Wrap with tater tots and I decided to be daring and got the Cajun Walleye Tacos. I was disappointed in the tacos because of a lack of spice when the spice is what should have been the main event. The walleye was almost too fishy and was bland. Also, the fixings included blacks olives which in most cases I welcome, but this time they didn’t work with this dish. On the other hand, the BLT wrap was very good. The flavor and crispiness of the chicken was great. Also, you can never go wrong with tater tots. Another highlight was the impressive seasonal and draft beer selection they had in stock. It’s nice to go to a bar/restaurant with a small selection of ever-changing drinks to switch up the flavor depending on the temperature outside.
Overall, the experience was good. I am always willing to give a bar/restaurant another chance if other aspects stand out to me and Maxwell’s is one of them. Like mentioned before, the menu selection varies in the sense that I could go back multiple times to try different types of dishes. Their slogan is “The Best Kept Secret Downtown,” and I couldn’t agree more. The location is great, and the ambience seems to be for everyone (on a weeknight anyways).
Photos via: Kendra Ackerman