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Dec 28, 2011 10:06 AM

Blue Door Pub

I hear the Nook has gone down hill and wanted to try a new burger joint. Is BDP one of the best? How hard is it to get a table mid week?

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  1. Can you please share some specifics about what you've heard about the Nook? What, specifically has gone downhill? The burgers? Fries? The person you heard it from, have they gone a couple of times or is this information based on just one visit? I'm very sad to hear it.

    I haven't been to the Nook since the fire, but I have been to their sister restaurant, Shamrocks and even though it's not as good as the Nook (or as good as the Nook was last time I was there a month or so before the fire), it's better than BDP. BDP has great tater tots, great service, and a solid beer list, but their burgers are a sloppy greasy mess and often red in the center. Can't eat there any more.


    2 Replies
    1. re: The Dairy Queen

      I kind of agree with the Dairy Queen. I want to love it, but I don't. It can be packed even mid week and I am not so inclined to wait for a table on a Tuesday night. I love the vibe and the beer, but have kind of been disappointed in the burgers. I think some of them try to do too much--too many toppings and flavors to really be successful.

      The new one is opening just a few blocks from me, and I will likely try it, but I might stick to some non burger options.

      1. re: The Dairy Queen

        I've been to the Nook a handful of times since the fire and haven't noticed any drop in quality.

        And I'm with TDQ on BDP...nice beer selection, great tots, lackluster burgers. Combine that with the lack of seating and it leads to an experience I don't go out of my way for.

      2. I personally think BDP is one of the best and am not going to bother saying it's better or worse than the Nook, since I think they're both pretty great and everyone has their own preferences and stripes to fly (though if given the option, and if wait isn't an issue, I'm heading to BDP).

        The BDP is generally always packed since it's popular and has a small footprint. If you go during the off hours you might be able to snag a seat or table right away (HH from 2-5 PM daily with cheap tots and tap beer). Yes, the burgers can get a bit sloppy, but I've found that to be the case just about everywhere serving burgers of similar magnitude, and the BDP certainly garners extra points for their creativity of burger options.

        The Nook has a bit of a different look and feel to it since re-opening, but the burger I had on my last visit was pretty much as good as always. Since they've added the bowling alley and bar downstairs it's generally a bit easier to get a seat here as well, though the kitchen doesn't always operate as quickly as would be preferred.

        1. Whoever told you the Nook has gone downhill is insane. (OK...hyperbole). I was there on Monday for my usual and it was spectacular. It was my 4th or 5th time post-fire.

          It was mobbed (way more than usual...I think the nice weather and most people were off from work on Dec. 26). But as a solo diner, I got seated immediately at the bar (the place I prefer anyway). Parties of two were not waiting long, especially if they were also OK with the bar.

          By contrast, I've been to BDP maybe just south of a half dozen times and have never had anything that I thought was special at all. Fair disclosure, I am not at all an afficianado of the stuffed burger, so that puts a cramp in the appeal to me of BDP. But, IMO it is nowhere near as appealing as the Nook.

          14 Replies
          1. re: MSPD

            This is just one person's opinion who was a regular at The Nook. They said Shamrocks is better post fire. Maybe the new grill doesn't have enough patina? The mention that BDP burgers have red intrigues me as most places over cook their burgers. The blucy with stuffed bleu cheese sounds good too but long waits don't.

            1. re: kriminalrat

              You can usually avoid the long wait by getting there right at opening on a weekend. But, you can't avoid the raw-inside burgers as far as I can tell.

              The Blucy (or however it's spelled) is the one that calls to me, too. I LOVE bleu cheese! I want to love that burger, but I just don't. Unlike MSPD, I actually like stuffed burgers when done right, so that's not my particular issue. The issue is that the BDP burgers are not cooked through (and I don't mean that there's still a little pink left, I mean the ground beef is totally raw inside as if it just came out of the grocery store fridge case) and are sitting in a puddle of grease, rendering the bun completely soggy.

              We got a peanut butter one one time, too, that was really gross. Same issue. Greasy, and not cooked through.


              1. re: kriminalrat

                Huh. Well, I've always thought the "grill patina" bit was a bunch of hooey anyway so maybe your person and I don't see eye to eye in general. FWIW, my good friend Bill Roehl who sometimes posts on here is also in the camp that the Nook is way better than Shamrock's. He has been to both in the last 10 days and just yesterday was blathering on about the difference on our way to lunch (somewhere else). He also hates BDP (he is very opinionated).

                Anyway...all I know is I've never had great food at BDP, think the Nook is as good-if-not-better than always, and Shamrocks is also great.

                Good luck in your search.

                1. re: MSPD

                  Tomorrow for lunch will be my first post fire visit to the Nook. I'll let you know what I think. but I've always found Shamrocks to be nearly if not equally as good. But then my burger of choice is not a stuffed burger, but the Triple B. mouth is watering.

                  Not a huge fan of the BDP. Not terrible except I don't have a lot of patience for crowds unless it's for something spectacular and I just don't think they are worth the wait.

                  1. re: Bobannon

                    There are some specific, intentional differences between Shamrock's food and the Nook's, pickles notwithstanding, though I can only name them for the items I get most often, which is the Molitor with fries. The fried onions on the Molitor at the Nook are finely diced whereas Shamrock's are sliced. The Nook's fries have a distinct vinegar taste and Shamrock's do not. In the beginning I thought there were other, more subtle differences but I no longer notice those things, in part because it's been so long since I've been to the Nook, but also I think Shamrock's has gotten better. The first few burgers I got at Shamrock's were as soggy and greasy as BDPs. But, I haven't noticed that lately.

                    I'll be interested in reading about your visit!


                    1. re: The Dairy Queen

                      It was everything I remembered and more. Sooooo good. And plenty busy. We sat downstairs and waited quite a while for our burgers. Totally worth it though. I find it hard to believe there are people who think they've gone down hill.

                      1. re: Bobannon

                        Looks like the majority have voted and my source shall be deemed untrustworthy. Glad to see neighborhood defenders of the nook...if I lived close by I would be defensive of a nearby gem also.

                        1. re: kriminalrat

                          Most people who live close by the Nook also live close by BDP.


                        2. re: Bobannon

                          I'm relieved to read your report! I'm glad to read that they are busy, too. That's partly why we haven't been back in awhile.


                  2. re: kriminalrat

                    You're getting some suspect information IMO. We're regulars and Shamrocks is still as it had been...which is to say, not at good as the Nook...and I dare say the Nook has gotten even more consistent since the fire...still the same great food and the space feels more open and better ventilated.

                    Decide for yourself, but The Nook is still the best in town in my opinion.

                    And while I also think the grill patina thing is BS, the original grill survived the fire at the Nook and is still in was the first question everyone asked on here when the place went up.

                    A similar caveat to MSPDs...I do not do burgers with cheese inside them

                    1. re: Foureyes137

                      Now I have to go to BDP since I've already been to the nook and shamrocks. For the record my favorite is Matt's...I like the crispy exterior. I also like my steak rare so if BDP undercooks, it could be good thing.

                      1. re: kriminalrat

                        Yeah, I like a pretty rare burger, and I like BDP. Depending on what you order, the bun can get soggy fast. I'd stick with blucys the do not add grease to the equation. The Merriam Park burger is my go to burger there.

                      2. re: Foureyes137

                        On a side note do you really think the people at The Nook would let on to the fact that the griddle may have been destroyed in the fire? Also TDQ I have had every single burger at BDP twice and have the shirts to prove it and have never experienced this greasy burger you are talking about. Also The Nook brine their sliced potatoes in vinegar and water which was the way Mickey did it back in the day when he was the owner.

                        1. re: Fudist

                          That's exactly right about the Nook's fries and it does leave a bit of vinegar bite to the fries. I don't know why Shamrock wouldn't also brine their fries overnight the same way, but they don't seem to because I don't notice the bite.

                          I can't explain why you've never experienced the greasy burgers at BDP. I've been there four times and each time (except once when I ordered the St. Paul sandwich and my dining companion ordered a burger) we've ordered two burgers, one each, and every time the burgers were sitting on a soggy bun in a pool of grease. I've always gotten the Blucy (so, that's three strikes). My dining companion tried several different burgers over the four visits. We almost always go first thing in the day (though once we went mid-afternoon and had the same results), so I've wondered if maybe the griddle isn't sufficiently heated yet? It's the only explanation I can think of as to why we've gotten the greasy, obliterated bun 7 out of 7 times and you haven't. But, I'm surely not going to go back and try any other burgers, not even to get a free T-shirt.


                  3. I've been going to the Nook for over 20 years and let me just say that now when I am craving a burger I usually go for BDP. Not too big of a difference between the two imho to say if one is better than the other.

                    6 Replies
                    1. re: Fudist

                      The good- The Blucy was excellent. The meat was cooked pefectly to medium rare...a little pink and flavorful. My only complaint is that the bleu cheese they used would be stronger with more of a tangy flavor. The bun had a little grease on it but was not overly greasy by any means. The tater tots were done well...crispy on the outside and tender on the inside. The beer list was great, many excellent options...especially local.

                      The Bad- After waiting 45 minutes packed like a sardine getting bumped and jostled by 20 something hipsters we were seated only to find someone standing next to me while I ate.

                      To be fair I have waited at the Nook and at Matt's but once seated was able to eat in peace without someone hovering over me. I won't be back.

                      1. re: kriminalrat

                        Stop the misinformation. The Nook has definitely NOT gone downhill. We've been there numerous times since they reopened and the food is as great as ever and consistent as well. When I'm craving a burger, a juicy nookie is the only thing that comes to my mind. And I find the remodeled space to be more comfortable than before.

                        Been to the Blue Door a few times. While I didn't dislike it, there was no Wow factor. And the place is too small and cramped for me to feel comfortable.

                        1. re: nancyd

                          I have to agree with nancyd. The Nook is totally consistent. I always get the Paul Molitor with grilled mushrooms and onions and it is the same every time, which is excellent.
                          I don't like the Blue Door for the reasons she mentioned. Also the burgers were cooked a bit past the way I wanted them and the tots were hit and miss. One time they were awesome the next time way under-cooked and almost cold when they arrived.
                          Both places are small and crowded but I'll pick the Nook.

                          1. re: nancyd

                            What misinformation? I stated that I had heard from a regular that the new Nook wasn't as good. I stated this was one person's opinion.

                          2. re: kriminalrat

                            You would freaking despise Al's Breakfast.

                            Good to hear you enjoyed the burger. An online acquaintance of mine swears by Tin Cup's on Rice Street (at Maryland) in St. Paul. I haven't been there yet, but in the spirit of your quest, here is a link to her blog review of it....maybe if you like Matt's Bar, etc. you'll enjoy it.


                            1. re: MSPD

                              I had heard a little about Tin Cup's and it looks worth checking out. If I can get myself to not go to the Nook . . .