Ward 6 in St. Paul - You have to try this place!

A few weeks ago Dave and I visited Ward 6 for a Sunday lunch.  They were serving their brunch menu at the time.  We really were more in the mood for lunch but we decided to stay anyway.  There was a wait.  The place was full and there was a line, but we were still seated pretty quickly.



As luck would have it, there were burgers on the brunch menu.  I had the spicy black bean burger, Dave had a "regular" burger.  I say regular because this burger was a locally sourced, grass fed beef burger, not some pre-made, who knows where it came from burger.  Both burgers were amazing.  The veggie burger was the best I've had.  It had a good bit of spice and was filled with beans and vegetables, not just rice like some are.  It was as good or better than those delicious black bean burgers I used to get at Mill City Cafe in Minneapolis before they closed forever.  Dave's burger was equally delicious, hand-pattied and perfectly cooked.  And the fries!  Did I mention the fries?  Hand cut, perfectly fried fries accompanied these burgers.

Dave, of course, had a beer.  I had a Spanish Tempranillo that paired perfectly with my spicy burger.

The place was hopping with a constant line at the door but the service was still excellent so we decided we had to go back for dinner one evening.  That evening was last night.

I had visited family in Wisconsin and returned home last night.  I was too pooped to cook after the long drive so I called Dave from Hudson and said "how about Ward 6 for dinner tonight".  His response "oh that sounds good."  It was decided.

When we got there the place was packed.  I mean packed.  Every table seated, many people waiting, folks at the bar were two deep.  The wait was about 45 minutes.  We knew it was worth it.  So did others that came in after us.

Even families with small children didn't even blink at the wait.  Apparently the word is out!  For those of you with small children, not only is there a kids menu, but there is a big box of Goldfish crackers behind the bar and the little ones get a little cup of them while they wait for their table.  Everyone is taken care of here.

Ward 6 is not a large place.  It's a cozy venue that I believe was once the tap room for the Hamm's brewery.  The building dates back to 1885 and the bar is hand-carved and was added by the Hamm’s Brewery in 1903.  We've yet to get a good look at it because both times we've been to Ward 6 it's been crazy busy.

The wait staff had to bob and weave between tables and waiting guests, excuse me, pardon me, can I just get behind you here.  They helped each other clear tables and passed dirty dishes back like a fire line through the crowded restaurant.  All of the staff was in a great mood and took all of this in stride.  

We overheard Bob say "that darn paper" while we were waiting for our table.  I'm sure he was referencing the numerous fabulous reviews the restaurant (I mean bar with good food) was getting and I'm also quite sure he was joking.  Sorry, Bob, I have to tell people about you too!

We waited about 30 minutes for a table which we didn't think was that bad for 6:00 on a Saturday night.  Even though there was a constant stream through the door, I don't think anyone really waited the full 45 minutes to get seated.  Our waitress, Michelle was outstanding.  The table next to ours was seated at the same time we were.  It was wobbly.  The guests at the table were perfectly OK with the wobbly table but Michelle insisted on fixing it and she did so with great humor.

We love that the menu has "Food for Drinking."

 
We had a very difficult time deciding what to order.  So many things on the menu sounded so good!  We knew the burgers were good, maybe we'll just get those again?  But wait, look at the description of the Fish and Chips!



We'd seen the chicken dinner come to several tables while we were waiting.  It looked amazing and people were raving about it.

Then there was the pot roast sandwich with blue cheese sauce on ciabatta bread.  That sounded very good to me.

But wait, there's a grilled camembert sandwich.  It is a grilled cheese sandwich with pears, walnut butter and arugula on sourdough.  Maybe I want that?!


And what's this Cicero stew?  I asked Michelle why it was called Cicero stew and she didn't know the origin of the Cicero part.  Later in the evening I stopped Bob and asked him.  His partner in the restaurant, Eric Foster, used to teach Latin.  Apparently Cicero is Latin for chickpea!  All these years as a Cicero and I didn't know that.  Dinner and an education!
 
 

So we asked Michelle for some help with our decisions.  She admitted they were all delicious but she really liked the fish and her description of the pot roast sandwich sealed my decision!  Dave ordered the chicken dinner, then changed his mind to the post roast sandwich, then changed his mind to the fish!

While we were waiting for our dinners to arrive, burgers arrived at the table next to us.  The bacon smelled so good!  Maybe we should have gotten burgers.... 

We watched the hustle and bustle of the restaurant.  The staff was buzzing around like bees helping each other out and we never felt that we were left for too long without being checked on.


It took less than 15 minutes for our meals to arrive.  I'm amazed at the efficiency coming out of such a tiny (you can see it from the restaurant) kitchen!  Both meals were piping hot and perfectly plated.

Dave's fish came with what was called "malt vinegar mayo" on the menu but it was decidedly garlic flavored, roasted garlic more than fresh.  It was delicious and yes, I "borrowed" some for a few bites of my sandwich.  


The beef on my sandwich was tender, juicy and had great beef flavor and the blue cheese sauce was amazing.  It was smooth and creamy and had great blue cheese flavor without being overpowering.


Both sandwiches came with a portion of hand-cut fries, perfectly fried to golden brown, soft in the middle, with just enough salt.  


While we were waiting to be seated we saw several orders of beignets come out.  I've never had a beignet so we decided to try them.  I have to disagree with Mr. Buffet.  I don't think they are too much sugar and dough.  I like them!  They may have been helped out by the delicious dark chocolate sauce and creamy soft serve vanilla ice cream with which they were served.
 


As we were leaving we had the chance to have just a little chat (the place was still hopping) with Bob.  He said they had wanted to open a bar with really good food and they ended up with a restaurant.  We asked when their slow night was and he just smiled and shook his head.  He said things slow down early on Sunday nights.

Those of you who know Dave and I know we like to sit at the bar.  That's where you'll find us at our favorite haunts like Joan's in the Park, San Pedro Cafe, Barker's, and of course the Officer's Club.  We really want to sit at the bar and chat with the staff and Dave really wants to get a good look at all those taps!

We will definitely be back.  I need to try that grilled cheese sandwich!

I can't say enough good things about Ward 6.  The venue is great, the staff is well-trained, friendly and knowledgeable, oh yea, and funny even when there isn't a second for them to breathe!  The food is amazing and they have a great beer and wine list.  There is a small parking lot behind the building and plenty of street parking available.

And for us, we love that there is such a great place so close to home.  I think we may become "regulars" at Ward 6.



2 comments:

  1. Thanks Andrea! You guys were (and are) so nice... I'm glad that you liked the Veggie burger-- I had also talked to someone last night who didn't like it because it was "too spicy," so it was good to read your thoughts. Also-- Mandy is reopening the Mill City soon in a different location! She'll be so pleased to see what you wrote!

    Sorry about the wobble--- one of my pet peeves!

    I look forward to seeing you two again.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. DO NOT CHANGE THAT veggie burger! The spice is what makes it so outstanding.

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