Spoiler alert: BurgerDogBoy H-A-T-E-S sports bars. There would have to be something REALLY spectacular inside to get me in one, like the woman of my dreams, or at least the burger of my dreams.
Such was not the case at Sneakers Sports Bar & Grill, inside the “Holiday Mall” downtown Duluth, MN. The “Holiday Mall” is basically a couple floors sitting underneath a Holiday Inn, which used to be the Normandy Inn, an offshoot of the Minneapolis hotel of the same name, which has been around since back in the day, and was always known for serving fresh, hot, popovers with every meal. (Whew, that was a long sentence).
I don’t think the Holiday Inn continued this practice. The Holiday Mall was also home to a large McDonalds, who apparently scooted due to either 1) economic reasons, or 2) getting bored with being the hangout of choice for the local street denizens.
Anyway….sports bars. Ho hum. Usually loud, usually obnoxious patrons, usually the same menu coast to coast…. your burgers..your wings…. your…blah blah. Why can’t a sports bar have at least a couple of screens on CNN? Or one of those lumberjack reality shows? Then I’d give them a passing glance.
But I didn’t have to go into Sneakers, tho I did once, and as previously hinted at, for one of my two only reasons….no, not the burger, but in hot pursuit of the woman of my dreams (ok, she was for that month).
Minnesota Burger Reporter Kawikamedia and the Minnesota Burger Posse were in sneakers the day of the press conference announcing whether or not that senior citizen footballer Brett Favre was going to return to the Vikings for another season. Most of the Posse thought the food was passable, but the discerning palate of Kawikamedia could tell the patty neath the slice of pepperjack was previously frozen, as were the fries. He and I both share the notion that frozen patties have a certain “taste”, which isn’t present in fresh ground meat. Neither of us could tell you what precisely that taste is, but it lingers and doesn’t make for all that pleasant of a hamburger experience.
Add that to blaring TVs, loud and occasionally obnoxious patrons, street people wandering the “mall”, and you have reason enough to sneak right past “Sneakers.”
(P.S. If you google “Duluth Holiday Inn”, the description says “on the waterfront”. It’s not. If you want an actual “waterfront” hotel, google “canal park hotels Duluth” and you will be offered a variety of choices).
(Food photography by Kawikiamedia).