Thanks to Mike’s Butcher Shop for their support. Hosting a dinner party? Simply looking for something quick and easy? From fresh cuts to grill-ready kabobs, you’ll find everything you need at Mike’s.
There are more sit-down restaurants in West St. Paul than you think—and a majority of them are locally owned. Missed the first half of our sit-down restaurant round up? Go back and visit part 1.
Sit-Down Restaurant Reviews
Here’s the second half of our sit-down restaurant reviews:
1741 S Robert St / 5-8club.com/locations/west-st-paul
The 5-8 Club is a Minnesota chain with a long history. The first location opened in South Minneapolis in 1928 as a speakeasy called the 58th Street Club. The restaurant offers one of the original juicy lucy’s (there’s debate on where it originated, 5-8 or the nearby Matt’s Bar), and has been serving burgers, appetizers, and beers in West St. Paul since 2014.
For those new to Minnesota, a juicy lucy is a burger stuffed with molten cheese. It’s a must try for visitors and newcomers, and always fun to sample different restaurants’ take on the classic. The 5-8 serves six different kinds of juicy lucy’s—a classic stuffed with American, Amablu bleu, pepper jack or swiss cheese, as well as a PB&J, stuffed with peanut butter and American cheese and topped with strawberry jam. My favorite juicy lucy is the Saucy Sally. It’s stuffed with American cheese and topped with special sauce, onions, and shredded lettuce. It tastes like a fresh take on a big mac. Extremely messy, but busting with classic burger joint flavor.
Though I rarely stray from the Saucy Sally when at the 5-8 Club, there’s also a variety of spicy wings, sandwiches, and broasted chicken with jojos. We enjoyed a special chicken sandwich the night we went, which was well-seasoned with a crisp beer batter.
55 Wentworth Ave E / carbones.com/locations/west-st-paul/
Carbone’s is another Minnesota chain that started in 1954 in St. Paul. The West St. Paul location on Robert and Wentworth opened in 1980, serving thin crust, square cut pizza loaded with toppings, along with other Italian dishes. The restaurant underwent an update in the 2010s, with a new bar and seating area, and also boasts a large shaded patio.
One would assume the thing to order at Carbone’s is pizza, and with heaps of cheese and a wide array of toppings (from the usual pepperoni and sausage to the slightly unexpected like shrimp and banana pepper rings), you can’t really go wrong. But one of my favorite items at Carbone’s is the pizza sandwich, which feels like a steal at only $5.50 (one topping is included, and additional toppings are $1.35 extra each). The sandwich is similar to a calzone, but lighter and not as doughy. It’s stuffed with a generous amount of toppings and oozing with cheese. There are also many appetizers, including soft and garlicky Italian cheese bread, sandwiches (hoagies and hot sandwiches like a meatball sub and spicy Italian sausage), and pastas smothered in rich, homemade Italian sauce.
With its homey dining room and crowd pleasing Italian dishes, Carbone’s is a great choice for a family-friendly night out.
Jameson’s Irish Bar
886 Smith Ave S / jamosbar.com/
Recently rebranded as an Irish bar and grill, Jameson’s occupies the historic Cherokee Steakhouse space on Smith and Annapolis. There are private dining rooms that can be reserved for parties, as well as a bar space with cozy booths and tables. There’s also a shaded patio in the back.
We sat in the bar area on our recent visit, where a young guitarist set the mood. Jameson’s often hosts live music or comedy on Friday nights, and there’s a large selection of cocktails and tap beers.
Our group gobbled up the soft pretzel with creamy cheese sauce in seconds. I ordered the Irish Twins, filet mignon sliders with Brie cream cheese and caramelized onions. They were hard to eat as a slider, but that was nothing a knife and fork couldn’t solve. The creamy cheese and buttery, decadent onions smothering a small bite of filet were rich and a perfect portion size. I got Brussels sprouts on the side, which were fried crisp and salty. Our table also enjoyed the chicken sammie, a crispy chicken breast with a sweet and spicy honey sauce. The slightly sweet, slightly tangy housemade chive vinaigrette that accompanied the side salad was also noteworthy. The menu features pub fare, like bangers and mash, and a variety of burgers and sandwiches.
1720 S Robert St / melathaicuisine.com
Thai food is one of my favorite cuisines, and was something West St. Paul lacked until recently. Sometimes I feel like pinching myself that we now have two phenomenal Thai restaurants on Robert Street (Mela Thai and Thai Pepper).
Mela Thai is a great choice if you feel like dining in versus taking out because of their spacious dining room located in the old Pho Saigon space.
Mela Thai features fresh, from scratch authentic Thai dishes like massaman and panang curries, and drunken noodles and pad see eiw noodles. They also have fat, fresh spring rolls and curry-flecked chicken satay with a thick peanuty sauce for dipping. My favorite Thai dish is tom kha kai (or gai) soup, and the one at Mela Thai is excellent. It’s a little sweet (from the coconut milk) and a little sour from the kaffir lime leaves, and chock full of tender chicken and mushrooms. We also enjoyed the curries, which had perfectly tender vegetables and rich flavors. The spice levels are no joke, so if you order hot you’ll get hot.
One unique thing about Mela Thai is that they also offer a small variety of Chinese dishes, like sesame chicken, beef and broccoli, orange chicken, and lo mein. This is a huge help for those of us who have picky kids who like Chinese food but not Thai (yet—we’re working on him!).
Be sure to check out part one of our series on sit-down restaurants. We did leave out a few sit-down restaurants in our series, specifically national chains, buffets, and restaurants already covered in other reviews (you can find Nuevo Morelo’s in our taco roundup and Tokyo Sushi in our Asian eats review).
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