Every sports bar has televisions. But a new Blaine restaurant also gives you front row seats to live curling competitions while eating your dinner.
Gabe’s Rinkside Bar and Grill is unique because it is located in the Fogerty Ice Arena, 9250 Lincoln St. N.E. Gabe’s has already hosted over 15 banquets and done a few soft opening events for local curlers, but it officially opened to the public Feb. 26.
Hours of operation are from 3 p.m. to 1 a.m. on Mondays and Tuesdays and from 11 a.m. to 1 a.m. Wednesdays through Sundays.
Curling is a very social sport, so business owner Tim “Giggles” Weiss anticipates many curlers stopping by the restaurant for a beer or meal when they are not on the ice.
Whether you are wearing sweatpants and a sweatshirt with the intention to go on the curling rink, a suit and tie after coming from the office, or a polo shirt and shorts after coming from the golf course, Weiss does not want anyone to worry about being under or overdressed to eat at the restaurant.
“We want it to be known as an upscale bar and restaurant with good food that just happens to be attached to a facility that has two ice rinks and overlooks a state-of-the art, six-lane curling rink,” he said.
The menu, developed by executive chef Alex Sadowsky, goes beyond traditional bar food.
One appetizer is the “black and bleu tenderloin tips,” which is Cajun-seared tenderloin tips served over a bed of onion straws and topped with “vodka bleu cheese sauce” and green onions. Those on a diet could try the spinach and smoked salmon salad, which is topped with raspberry chipotle dressing. There are several entrée options ranging from the house sirloin to grilled shrimp and andouille sausage served on a bed of cheesy Cajun hash browns. Some sandwich options include slow roasted Kobe Wagyu beef piled on a hoagie roll with Swiss cheese, creamy horseradish and a side of au jus or a beer battered walleye sandwich.
The menu also features the option to build your own pizza or have a specialty pizza.
There are 16 beers on tap with a heavy emphasis on local brews. Happy hour will be from 3 to 6 p.m. Mondays through Fridays and from 10 p.m. to midnight Sundays through Fridays.
With Aquatore Park next door, Weiss anticipates that some people will want to bring their lunch with them. He is developing a menu to offer food choices that are easier for people to eat while sitting on a park bench or under a tree.
Any menu item can be ordered for take-out by calling the restaurant at 763-233-0699.
Weiss hired Heidi Hrudka to be the restaurant manager. She has lived in Blaine for 21 years.
How Gabe’s got here
When Fogerty Ice Arena Manager Mark Clasen five years ago envisioned attaching a curling facility to the hockey arena, a new restaurant was a given.
“If you build a curling rink without offering food and beverages, it’s like building a bowling alley without food and beverages,” Clasen said.
Socializing with the other curlers is part of the fun of the sport.
Having the action on the curling rink visible to restaurant patrons made sense to Clasen because it would give curlers a chance to watch others play or those who are just curious about the sport.
Clasen anticipates drawing big curling tournaments, which would require some temporary seats, but the restaurant should have enough seats for those coming to watch the games.
While Clasen figured he would draw the curling enthusiasts or the curious, he wanted this business to be a draw to those who just want a nice, new place to eat. He reached out to Weiss, an old high school buddy from Cretin-Derham Hall, who just happened to be a successful restaurant owner, to lead this new business.
Weiss has owned Gabe’s By The Park near Como Park in St. Paul since 1989 and he has sold made from scratch fish and game menu items at the Minnesota State Fair since 2000.
“One of the reasons I sought Tim out is he’s such a promoter,” Clasen said. “He’s not one to sit back and presume people will come. He will work on every aspect of this operation.”
Eric Hagen is at email@example.com