December 23, 2009

Traveling Foodie, Twin Cities Edition: Bryant Lake Bowl


This Christmas, I'm visiting my father in Minneapolis (he moved here for his Valentine about six months ago...a terrific choice). I thought I'd share our food adventures while I'm here, so I'll begin with my first meal in the land of 10,000 lakes.

We met a friend of my father's for lunch yesterday at Bryant Lake Bowl, a very cool and very cozy restaurant/bowling alley at the intersection of...wait for it...Bryant Avenue and Lake Street.

Side note about Minneapolis: in the typical laconic Midwestern fashion, businesses tend to be named for the streets or intersections where they can be found. Creative? No. Practical? Yes.

BLB, as it's known in Minneapolis, is also home to an 85-seat theatre that regularly features cabaret acts. The owner also owns Barbette, a French restaurant on Lake Street that has earned a good reputation among locals (by locals, I clearly mean my father).

Anyway. I had the soup of the day (first we were told it was Lentil Something, then we heard the same waiter say it was Chickpea Leek...I think it was the latter), and a smoked turkey, avocado, and bacon sandwich (I prefer STAB, for short). While it was definitely hearty, the soup had a lovely lemony flavor that gave it great balance. The sandwich passed my test, in that it had ample helpings of turkey and bacon, and the avocados were real, actual pieces of avocado, instead of one sad little slice that's been spread across the bread.

I suspect that my father has had better burgers than at Bryant Lake (his looked to be about the thickness of a Wendy's burger), but the blue cheese and mushroom sauce that came on top looked good enough to compensate for the pathetic patty.

As for the bowling, all I can say is don't go if your upper body is weak. The lanes are what you might call "antique," and the lightest balls suggested for use are 10-pounders, because the 8-pound balls tend to get stuck in the machinery. As a woman with fairly low upper body strength (despite my best efforts), I'll admit that I had a hard time adjusting to the new weight. I also tried to convince my father that the lane sloped left, until he pointed out that my follow-through veered off to the left, just as each ball was doing. I bowled an 87.

All in all, I'd make lunch (or dinner and drinks) and bowling at Bryant Lake Bowl a regular excursion if I lived in Minneapolis. Its got a great atmosphere, the sounds of bowling balls hitting old pins is surprisingly soothing, and the food is tasty. So far, we're off to a good start!


  1. Enjoying the blizzard? I got home yesterday, just in start shovelling.

  2. It's beautiful! I just took the dog for a walk and frolicked a little in the snow. But yes, it certainly does mean a lot of shoveling. Happy holidays!