Sunday, April 26, 2009

Dive Night ~ 4 Seasons

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.

The Dive Night report is here. The participants: Me, Husby, Ruthie, and Ray, as usual. The place: 4 Seasons Restaurant/Drive-In. It used to be the 3-Seasons, but they turned it into something they could use all year round. During three of the four Minnesota seasons it is actually drive-in, which is about the coolest thing ever.

We didn’t hit it during one of those seasons, but had a marvelous time anyway. The restaurant is located in Mahtomedi, MN, right in the middle of town. It will take you back to the ‘50s with its neon and chrome. There were booths with slippery seats and a U-shaped counter with stools. One of the most refreshing things about this place was that it is a hang-out for high school kids. Nice high school kids. Many of the employees are high schoolers, and their friends come in for a soda and burger to visit with the waitresses.

Cool glass block windows, fab lighting fixtures, and a retro lunch counter

Our waitress was a nice high school girl who answered all of our menu questions with the finesse of a lifer. Interestingly enough all four of us decided to get the Friday night fish fry. With the all-you-can-eat fried fish came a choice of two sides. The restaurant is alcohol-free, so we all enjoyed pop or iced tea with our delicious dinners.

More specifically about the food, the batter on the fish was deliciously light. The onion rings and mozzarella sticks were dangerously greasy, which made them taste like heaven. As I mentioned before, the fish was all-you-can-eat, but the first serving was so generous none of us had seconds. The coleslaw went wonderfully with the meal, and the garden salad others chose as a side looked fresh and crisp.

We were so full from our meal and appetizers we didn’t have room for dessert; however, there were wonderful homemade confections available.

Prices were very reasonable, service was excellent, ambiance was retro. Very fun. I would recommend the 4-Seasons to anyone, and I’ll definitely return this summer to get a feel for the drive-in experience.


Ray and Ruthie simply had to have an adult libation that evening, so we picked another dive right down the street from the restaurant. This was truly a dive.

The Flame Bar has been in business since the '30s. It's dark and it smells...bad. If you're looking for a place to drink heartily without food (except for a bag of chips or a microwaved pizza, this is the place to go. While it wasn't someplace I would want to spend an entire evening, it was a pleasure to soak up the character of a real bar.

Mardi Gras beads hung from the ceiling

Behind the bar

So come on up to Mahtomedi, MN for some small town fun. You'll be glad you did.

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