Monday, August 03, 2009

Dive Night ~ Grampa Tony's

Dive Night is a once monthly adventure undertaken by me and Husby, along with our friends Ruthie and Ray. Each couple alternates choosing a restaurant, one which must come under the category of "dive." Our definition of dive: a neighborhood gathering spot hiding under the radar. Casual atmosphere and good food. We're out to find the best food in the Minneapolis/St Paul area without having to pay a fortune or dress up. A sip of beer or wine doesn't hurt either.  See a list and links to the previous dive night posts here.

So here’s the thing – I’ve got a weird hang-up about the fact that I live in the same town in which I grew up. It’s not that I don’t love living where I live, and growing up here was the best. I just want people to know I haven’t been here the whole time. I did actually move away for a while. Not far away, but far enough to be wildly independent and a little less suburban. I spent fourteen years in the Highland Park area, on the corner of Snelling and Randolph, across the street from Plums, in an apartment above Bridgeman’s Ice Cream Parlor. Sadly, Bridgeman’s is no longer there. But I digress. The point I’m trying to get to is that I went back to the old neighborhood for a monthly Dive Night with Ruthie, Ray, and Husby. It was divine.

Grampa Tony’s was the restaurant of choice. I remember many nights where I would just pick up the phone, call Grampa Tony’s, and have them deliver the most mouth-watering sausage and mushroom pizza imaginable. Sometimes I would take dates there and we would eat in (it was a short and pleasant stroll from my apartment), which is what we did on our Dive Night.

The interior of the restaurant is quite compact and is one of those places that has pictures of famous people everywhere; makes for interesting conversation and reminiscing about those has-been celebrities. Our waitress was sweet as could be, although I think she was a little scared of our somewhat boisterous behavior. I don’t know why we were so squirrely that night.

Now, on to the food. All I can say is…yum. So, so yum. We started out with appetizers, as usual. The picture is a little blurry as I was so weak from hunger I couldn’t hold the camera steady, but I can tell you the chicken wings and pesto cheese bread were scrumptious. With a mostly Italian menu there was lots of pasta and pizza. As I mentioned before, I nearly lived on the pizza back in the old days, and my co-divers opted to try them out. Ray and Ruthie shared a hand-tossed number, and Husby took all to himself a thin-crust.

As much as I wanted to savor and relive that pizza, I decided to get something new, and something different from the rest of the group. The gigantic, enormous, monsterous Italian submarine. Of course it was enough for two. I didn’t share – I deserved the whole thing even if I had to take two days to eat it. Husby didn’t eat his entire pizza either, so we got to eat Grampa Tony’s fare two nights in a row. Heaven!

I heartily suggest you try some food at Grampa Tony’s. You won’t spend a lot of money, you won’t go away hungry, and you won’t have to cook dinner the next night.
Addendum: For dessert Ruthie and Ray treated us to some ice cream at Cup N Cone in White Bear Lake. I'm so glad that little stop is always busy. It was Husby's first visit, and he's been begging me to go back ever since. We'll have to get there again before the close of the season.

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