When we heard the CC Club was bought by French Meadow — for the parking lot, it’s rumored — we were all a little shocked, saddened, appalled. You name it, we felt it. One of the last remains of Lyndale’s historic rockin’ past, the CC Club is a favorite spot of nightly neighborhood regulars, weekend adventure-seeking suburbanites, and just regular people looking to smoke cigarettes and drink beer.
So we decided to check it out, snoop around, and see what’s changed. And we are happy to report: nothing. Well, almost nothing. Besides the slightly brighter feel — that could be in my head — it appears the menu is the only thing French Meadow has influenced. With its brightly-colored and differently-sized block lettering, it’s pretty much “the same old food but with fancy new wrapping,” as the familiar waitress told us.
We ordered a few dishes that seemed newer, or at least fancier, like the CC Burger and jalapeño poppers (above), and a few standbys, including waffle fries, and it’s confirmed: The food is indeed the same. The delicious meal, a melange of brown fried things, is exactly what you want as you drink a pitcher of beer — heavy, salty, and comforting. And now a lot more visually organized. The waitstaff can no longer charge what they see fit to upgrade to cheesy waffle fries, an old standby. Actually, the cheesy fries are no longer on the menu — not that they were before, but the hangover fries (basically waffle fry nachos) are a reliable replacement.
But between sips of Summit EPA, I slowly realized where my hesitancy about this small change lies. With its snappy font and succinct descriptions, the menu is almost too tidy and fresh, with hints of the barbecue-joint branding at which places like The Lyndale Tap House excel. Which makes some sense — my burger did have chopped, leafy green lettuce on it that was not only crunchy but plentiful, a welcome addition to the slabs of bacon and sweet caramelized onions. But besides perhaps getting a new food / produce distributor through French Meadow, the relatively new menu almost makes me feel like I’m at a fake dive bar — a place that is intentionally grungy with a calculated amount of “roughness around the edges,” but has genuinely good bar food so you keep going.
So I guess all of our hesitance was unwarranted, at least for now. And there are even some tasty new additions. Even if it looks fancier on paper, the CC Club is the same place we grew to love, with The Replacements’ “Here Comes a Regular” piping through the jukebox. As long as the CC Club doesn’t lose its distinct identity, we’ll be happy, burger and waffle fries in hand.
CC Club, 2600 Lyndale Ave S, Minneapolis, MN 55408; 612.874.7226