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“Beer here”
Review of Happy Gnome

Happy Gnome
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Ranked #16 of 935 Restaurants in Saint Paul
Price range: $29 - $31
Cuisines: American, Contemporary
More restaurant details
Restaurant details
Dining options: Breakfast, Late Night, Reservations
Dining style: Casual Dining
Cross street: Selby and MacKubin
Transit: The 21 drops off right in front.
Reviewed January 24, 2013

Tons of good beers on tap. They even had a seasonal brew from Idaho that I haven't seen sold locally in Idaho. Nice atmosphere too - good place to cozy up in the winter

    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
Thank ben21horse
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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284 - 288 of 389 reviews

Reviewed January 14, 2013

Did you clap your hands or stomp your feet twice? With some 76 different craft style beers and some of the most unique foods to enjoy, I would have to agree that the Happy Gnome is definitely "one of a 100 places you must have a beer at before you die", a rather amazing and worthy list to be added to.

My wife and I (who by the way come up with the title of this blog) have been to the Happy Gnome a few times to enjoy their craft beer options because trying something new and unique is so much better than always drinking water beer, a.k.a Mich. Golden Light, Coors Light, etc. the Happy Gnome is also the place that introduced me to my favorite beer of all-time, Curious Traveler Shandy by The Traveler Brewing Co. (formally, The House of Shandy Brewing Co.). So we've enjoyed the wide selection of craft beers, which by the way is ever changing and evolving, but never had the food and we've heard a lot of great things about the food.

Unique, different, mysterious and unusual are all adjectives that can describe food and it's exactly what my wife and I love the most about the culinary world. For this reason, you'll be hard pressed to find us dining at a national chain store and instead finding a local, family owned restaurant serving up some of the best, freshest and locally made food you can find, but the key is..... something different! At the Happy Gnome, that's exactly what you're getting and man was it good. This trip was with the in-laws before a Gopher's hockey game and I'm sure glad they chose this place.

We started the evening with of course some adult beverages and we also ordered a Canadian favorite, Poutine. What is Poutine, well my friends, it's something delicious and different! Start with the Gnomes hand cut on a daily basis fries and add some cheese curds and sausage gravy... Some damn good food! Those hand cut fries by the way... Some of the best in the Twin Cities hands down! On to the meals and it was burgers for the entire table.

My wife and her sister went with a traditional Angus Cheeseburger which was pretty good with Braised Short Ribs and Garlic Aioli to top it off. Our brother in-law went with one of the burgers I was trying to decided and I'm excited to go back to try it - the Game Burger. Doesn't the name just make it sound delicious? The Game Burger was a blend of bison, elk, blue cheese-onions and lingonberry aioli... And that my food loving friends sounds mouth water and why I'm excited to head back to try it!

My burger is where my adjectives listed early come into play and why I love food so much. At the Happy Gnome you will find the Duck Burger! A blend of duck, goat cheese, bacon, wild rice and cherry aioli. Absolutely insane flavors and one of the best if not the best burgers I've ever had. Who makes a burger out of duck anyways???? The Happy Gnome sure wasn't scared to try it and I'm glad they had the guts to try it! Again, remember those hand cut fries, that are cut fresh daily? Are you catching on to my madness yet? What I'm saying is more places need to do this because it's the best way to enjoy french fries!

So if you're HAPPY and you GNOME it and your face will surely show it (not sure how it won't after this deliciousness I just described), than head down to the Happy Gnome in the historic Cathedral Hill area of St. Paul and try some unique and awesome food as well as some of the nations and Minnesota's very own top craft beers.

    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Thank NicholasSG
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 10, 2013

I attended a work happy hour function at the Gnome last summer. We choose outside on a beautiful day and it was very comfortable and our service was excellent. You have to deal with that whole "craft"beer thing, and the Gnome does a nice job describing the craft beers on the menu. Our waiter was very knowledgeable also. The food was fine but it was certainly about the atmosphere and service.

Thank mageestillh2o
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 9, 2013

Dining alone on business does not lend itself to a full review of a restaurant. Much of what you read on TA does not include a one and done admission. Unlikely I will be back to this restaurant for business travel reasons. I dined alone so I did not try the whole menu!!!
I dined on a Wednesday evening and the bar area was packed, loud and unruly. Not worth eating or drinking there. I usually eat at a bar when I dine alone but it was overwhelming when I walked in. A review of the menu on-line suggested an upper scale dining experience but when you walk in you would think you were at a shot and a beer pub. I chose a table. The layout of the restaurant is scattered and awkward. I was seated at a table right against a chilly emergency exit door. Poor seating arrangement. The dining area was loud like the bar, even though it was not full.
Back to the menu, it is an enticing come on in menu with a nice balance of unique, interesting, variety. I was impressed by the wine list, specifically by the glass. So that was encouraging. St. Paul, MN is not a place you find fine wine, especially by the glass. And the Happy Gnome is all about beer. Especially their sampler platters. A table near me completed sheets of paper like ordering sushi and suddenly the table of 5 had 5 platters of 5 sippy cups of beer that they passed around like a college frat party. Ergo, impressed with their wine by the glass. I had the house mixed salad. nicely executed. Well done and the radish and haricot vert impressed. Which vexed me because the ambiance was like a beer and a shot sports joint. A+ for the house mixed salad. I had the vegetable pizza. Be sure to ask for it well done to get it crisp. It was palatable for St. Paul, MN pizza. I am biased with having had pizza all over Italy and also being from Chicago (and not New York, which is not pizza). Don’t expect a true sharing size pizza. It is basically a single serving. Size and value was not balanced. Worked for me, but would not for a couple. The taste was not bad. Went well with the wine I chose.
I would go back. Maybe off hours to avoid the obnoxious noise. The cheese options intrigued me. And the risotto.
The service was, well, hard to grade. She was polite, courteous, patient with my pace. Nice person and server. But she stank of cigarette smoke. Every time she came to my table the smell of smoke arrived before her and lingered after. Hard to restrict smoking for staff anywhere. It vexes me why a chef would smoke as it kills taste. As for servers, it kills their presence.

    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Thank allenr589
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed December 30, 2012

This is a great spot for parents with adult "children." The beer list is incredible with many local brews. Our waiter was super knowledgable and provided suggestions for several distinct types of beer lovers. We didn't have reservations, but were very comfortable eating in the bar. The food was terrific and very reasonably priced for the quality. (Don't skip dessert. The crime brûlée was fabulous.)

Thank Stephanee J
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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