Harriet’s Inn, a new venture by Paul Dzubnar (CEO of Green Mill Restaurants and owner of Crooked Pint) and Jeremy Brown (franchisee of Crooked Pint), lured us in with promises of delicious pot pies and other comfort foods by a fire as fall turned to winter. We didn’t expect that the food would to blow us away, but we were hopeful that we could sate our seasonal casserole and craft beer cravings.
Billed as a “quintessential neighborhood pub,” Harriet’s Inn sports leather chairs, a popcorn machine, fireplaces, and large televisions. Servers wear shirts featuring a Yeats quote — “There are no strangers here; only friends you haven’t met” — and clearly strive to live up to the welcoming words. Still finding their sea legs, the wait staff is attentive and cordial, with one dubbing a member of our party “boss” (“Gonna have enough food there, boss?” “You okay here, boss?” “How’s that cheesecake working out for ya, boss?”).
Unfortunately, while the atmosphere is cheery and comforting, much of the food was sad — particularly the much-anticipated chicken pot pie ($13). The filling was a thick mass of bland white goo, vegetables (including some undercooked carrots), and pale cubes of breast meat. An equally flavorless pastry cap tops the tasteless pie, and at least adds some fun; it’s hard to be too disappointed when you’re waving around (and miming wearing) a pastry hat. But a cup of New England clam chowder ($2 with an entree) soured our spirits once again. Our server insisted it was house-made; if so, the cooks did a marvelous job of recreating canned chowder.
Even the standard bar food fell short of our hopes, though it was somewhat redeemed in the context of the omnipresent televised sports and carefully crafted list of primarily local beers. The restaurant’s version of the Twin Cities’ fave Jucy Lucy ($9) (two patties stuffed with American cheese) was more Burger King than Blue Door.
Still, the Ellsworth cheese curds are solid (albeit pricey at $9), and we very much enjoyed the gigantic (14-ounce) warm and chewy pretzel ($9). The jumbo tater tots with serrano peppers, cheddar, and bacon ($9) are filling and full of flavor.
In the end, we’re reluctant to recommend Harriet’s Inn for a full meal, but we’re glad to see that it offers a genial, relatively warm neighborhood spot for sports, bar banter, and good beer in an often overlooked section of the city. Come ready for carbs and craft beer, and we expect you really will feel like a new friend.
Brenda Johnson contributed to this review.
Restaurant and sports bar in Southwest Minneapolis
4000 Lyndale Ave S
Minneapolis, MN 55409
OWNERS: Paul Dzubnar and Jeremy Brown
Mon-Thu 11 a.m.-11 p.m
Fri 11 a.m.-midnight
Sat 10 a.m.-midnight
Sun 10 a.m.-11 p.m.
VEGETARIAN / VEGAN: Yes / Limited
ENTREE RANGE: $9-$17