George and the Dragon, Prairie Ale House, and more

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The Tap loves restaurant tips from readers, so we’re awarding a Heavy Table pint glass to the best tipster each month. The Tap is the metro area’s comprehensive restaurant buzz roundup, so if you see a new or newly shuttered restaurant, or anything that’s “coming soon,” email Tap editor Jason Walker at

December’s winner: Todd Wiese of Chaska

George and the Dragon (opens in April)

813 W 50th St, Minneapolis | 612.355.9114 |

It has been almost exactly two years since a fire gutted the building at 50th St and Bryant in South Minneapolis that housed Blackbird and Heidi’s, leaving a huge gap in the neighborhood food scene.

The corner has been rebuilt, though, and this spring, Fred and Stacy Navarro, veterans of Lettuce Entertain You Restaurants, will fill that void with George and the Dragon, an English-style pub that will offer affordable food and a thoughtful beer and wine list in a family friendly setting.

“The word ‘pub’ really comes from ‘public house,’” Fred Navarro said. “And I toyed with the idea of calling it George and the Dragon: A Lynnhurst Public House, because essentially that’s the embodiment of what we want to do: be a place where the community can come and gather and really feel a part of it. We’re building a place that hopefully looks like it’s belonged in the neighborhood for years.”

Food will be made from scratch, with an emphasis on delivering the best ingredients possible at a fair price.

“Our priorities are number one, taste; number two, local; and number three, all-natural, organic,” Navarro said. “Over the years I’ve developed relationships with different vendors, farmers, and sources that I can try to use as much as I can and still offer a good value.”

The menu, called “pub classics and family recipes,” will include bangers and mash — “I’m doing a custom sausage done in lamb casing and hopefully Compart [Farms] pork shoulders as my banger base,” Navarro said — mac and cheese, fish and chips, and braised beef ribs. There will be burgers and sandwiches, too, a traditional nightly curry, and what Navarro calls the Asian hangover, which is a five-spice braised pork shoulder served with garlic green beans. There will be 10 taps, with several locals, a couple of British beers, and a root beer, too.

Navarro said George and the Dragon would be an unpretentious, approachable restaurant that could satisfy everyone: from busy families seeking a well-made, hearty meal to those on a night out.

“It’s really not that different than things that have opened over the years, like Tilia or Blue Door Pub,” Navarro said. ”In many ways they all serve that function in that they’re about the neighborhood or community regardless of whether you call yourself a pub.”

Navarro said George and the Dragon likely would open in April.

Prairie Ale House (now closed)

16396 Wagner Way, Eden Prairie | Find it on Facebook

The Prairie Ale House, opened just over a year ago by Aaron Johnson of The Strip Club and old Town Talk Diner, has closed — at least until March, according to its Facebook page. The Tap had received ominous tips recently that the beer selection was down to a few macro domestics and that the staff had few answers regarding the restaurant’s future. Initially the Prairie Ale House was decently reviewed, but that had been slipping. Housed in a former Timber Lodge Steakhouse in an off-ramp strip mall, the Prairie Ale House had high ambitions for its imaginative bar food but faced long odds in chain-heavy Eden Prairie.


  • The Hole Sports Lounge, 2501 University Ave SE, Minneapolis | 612.331.7474 |
  • Eli’s East Food and Cocktails, 815 E Hennepin Ave, Minneapolis | 612.331.0031 | Find it on Facebook
  • The Oceanaire, 50 S 6th St, Minneapolis | 612.333.2277 |
  • Yogurt Lab, 3104 Excelsior Blvd, Minneapolis | 612.926.8212 | Find it on Facebook
  • Boom Island Brewing Company, 2207 N 2nd St, Minneapolis. Now on tap at Pig & Fiddle; growler sales coming in February. | 612.227.9635 | Our take
  • Zest Bar and Grill, 525 Diffley Rd, Eagan | 651.468.9053 |
  • Colossal Cafe, 2315 Como Ave, St. Paul |
  • El Loro, 2535 W Highway 10, Mounds View
  • Valley Tap House, 14889 Florence Trail, Apple Valley | 952.431.2337 | Find it on Facebook
  • West Bank Diner, 324 Cedar Ave S, Minneapolis | 612.333.2211 | Find it on Facebook
  • Five Guys, 8360 3rd St N, Oakdale; 4105 Vinewood Lane N, Plymouth; 12555 Castlemoor Dr, Eden Prairie |
  • Lucid Brewing, 6020 Culligan Way, Minnetonka. On tap now at various locations; growler sales begin in January. |
  • Venture North Bike Walk & Coffee, 1830 Glenwood Ave N, Minneapolis | 612.377.4476 |
  • Eat Street Pizza, 1931 Nicollet Ave S, Minneapolis (inside The Nicollet) | 612.874.9125 |
  • Famous Dave’s, 590 Prairie Center Dr, Eden Prairie. New fast-casual prototype. |
  • Zamboni Pizza, 184 7th St W, St. Paul | 651.225.2999
  • Kopplins Coffee, 2038 Marshall Ave, St. Paul (new location) | 651.698.0457 |
sign for Social House Japanese in Uptown
Becca Dilley / Heavy Table
  • Social House, 2919 Hennepin Ave, Minneapolis | 612.824.6300 | Our take
  • Wild Bill’s Sports Saloon, 546 Commons Dr, Woodbury | 651.357.1050 |
  • Fulton Brewing, 414 6th Ave N, Minneapolis. Now open for growler sales. |
  • Rye Delicatessen & Bar, 1930 Hennepin Ave S, Minneapolis | Our take
  • Jason’s Deli, 7565 France Ave S, Edina | 952.358.9900 |
  • Krung Thep Thai Cuisine, 2523 Nicollet Ave S, Minneapolis | 612.874.7716
  • Kyoto Sushi, 13751 Grove Dr, Maple Grove | 763.488.1588
  • Turkey to Go, Alliance Bank Center, St. Paul |
  • Lemongrass Bol de la Vie, 8505 Valley Creek Rd, Woodbury (inside Kowalski’s) |
  • The Donut Cooperative, 2929 E 25th St, Minneapolis | 612.353.6089 |
  • My Burger, 3100 Excelsior Blvd, Minneapolis | Find it on Facebook


  • Prairie Ale House, 16396 Wagner Way, Eden Prairie
Jason Walker / Heavy Table
  • Rubylicious, 4100 W Broadway, Robbinsdale
  • Kenwood Cafe, 2115 W 21st St, Minneapolis
  • Chula Vista, 1741 S Robert St, West Saint Paul
  • Black Bamboo, 333 S 7th St, Minneapolis
  • Leaning Tower of Pizza, 2505 University Ave SE, Minneapolis
  • Betty’s Pies, 700 Wildwood Rd, Mahtomedi
  • Il Gatto, 3001 Hennepin Ave, Minneapolis
  • Duplex, 2516 Hennepin Ave, Minneapolis
  • Fru-Lala, 1315 4th St SE, Minneapolis
  • Gangchen, 1833 Nicollet Ave S, Minneapolis. Re-opening as Tibet Kitchen.
  • Coffee Buzz, 5690 West 36th St, St. Louis Park
  • Cafe Twenty Eight, 2724 W 43rd St, Minneapolis


  • Eat Street Social, 14 W 26th St, Minneapolis | 612.767.6850 | Find it on Facebook
  • Tonkotsu Ramen and Curry House, Central Ave and 26th Ave NE, Minneapolis
  • Freestyle Yogurt, 500 Lexington Pkwy S, St. Paul. Opens Jan. 21. | 651.699.1992 |
  • Blood and Chocolates, 495 Selby Ave, St. Paul. Opens in January. | 651.492.4799 | Find it on Facebook
  • Turkey to Go, 101 7th St S (Roanoke Building skyway), Minneapolis. Opens Jan. 23. | 612.655.1795 |
Submitted by Which Wich

  • Which Wich, 2073 Ford Pkwy, St. Paul. Opens Jan. 28. |
  • Butcher and the Boar, 1121 Hennepin Ave, Minneapolis. Opens in February. | Find it on Facebook
  • Sweet Ducky Cupcakery, 117 W Churchill St #2, Stillwater. Opens in February. | Find it on Facebook
  • Devil’s Advocate, 89 S 10th St, Minneapolis. Opens in Feburary.
  • Maruso Street Food and Cocktails, 715 Hennepin Ave, Minneapolis. Opens in February.
  • George and the Dragon, 813 W 50th St, Minneapolis. Opens in April. | 612.355.9114 |
  • Masu Sushi & Robata, Mall of America. Opens this spring. | Our take on the original
  • Bar Louie, 1320 Lagoon Ave, Minneapolis. Opens spring 2012. |
  • Icehouse, 2528 Nicollet Ave, Minneapolis. Opens April 2012.
  • Ike’s, 17805 Hwy 7, Minnetonka. Opens in April. |
  • Smokehouse Brewpub, 38th St and 28th Ave S, Minneapolis. Opens May 2012. |
  • Blue Door Pub, 3448 42nd Ave S, Minneapolis. Opens this spring. |
  • Mona, 333 S 7th St, Minneapolis. Opens this spring. | Find it on Facebook
  • Rodizio Grill, 12197 Elm Creek Blvd N, Maple Grove. Opens in 2012. |
  • Dr. Chocolate’s Chocolate Chateau, 579 Selby Ave, St. Paul | 651.379.3676 |
  • Well Seasoned, 920 E Lake St, Minneapolis (Midtown Global Market)
  • American Joe, 344 Wabasha St N, St. Paul
  • Sparks, 230 Cedar Lake Rd S, Minneapolis
  • Dangerous Man Brewing, 1300 2nd St NE, Minneapolis | 612.377.4164 |
  • The Original Just Turkey Restaurant, 3758 Nicollet Ave S, Minneapolis |
  • Tibet Kitchen, 1833 Nicollet Ave S, Minneapolis
  • Cupcake, 949 Grand Ave, St. Paul |
  • Hell’s Kitchen Bakery, 80 S 9th St, Minneapolis |
  • Burger Night, Minneapolis
  • Rincon 38, 38th St and Grand Ave, Minneapolis
  • Selma’s Ice Cream, 3419 Saint Croix Trl S, Afton. Opens in 2012.
  • Pistol Pete’s BBQ, 222 N Chestnut St, Chaska
  • Patron Mexican Restaurant, 207 N Chestnut St, Chaska
Katie Cannon / Heavy Table
  • Pizza Luce, 800 W 66th St, Richfield
  • Humble Pie, 822 W 36th St., Minneapolis. Kim Bartmann’s revamp of Gigi’s. | 612.825.0818
  • Cranky’s Bicycle Bar, E Lake St, Minneapolis | Find it on Facebook

The Tap is The Heavy Table’s guide to area restaurant openings, closings, and other major events. The Tap is compiled by Heavy Table writer Jason Walker, and will be published biweekly. If you already subscribe to our newsletter, look for an emailed version of The Tap every other week — otherwise, you can find it on the website on alternating Tuesdays.

If you’ve got tips for The Tap, please email Jason Walker at The Tap’s Twitter feed has moved to@heavytable.

One Comment

  1. grahampuba

    hats off to Prairie Ale House. It was the establishment that, for a brief while, satisfied all senses,.. except the inflated sense of entitlement. I was present for many an indignation such as the likes of having to wait ones turn, regardless of how polished ones ‘flurry of snaps’ was. The travesty of not ‘know(ing) who I am’ was just too much for this establishment to try to endure in the previously unchallenged stronghold of douchebaggery, Eden Prairie. Trying to bring beers rather than Coors Light and appetizers other than chicken strips was just too much an affront to those that couldn’t pronounce poutine without wrinkling a fresh botox injection.

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