It was with much anticipation that Mr. C and I approached Stanley's on a invitingly chilly Wednesday evening. Myself (and many others in the Minneapolis area) have been eagerly awaiting the revamp of the old Stasiu's space. So, off we went!
The exterior doesn't look totally different from Stasiu's, with the exception of a patio and some windows in lieu of a haggard wood exterior. The interior is another story. It's completely different. I won't go into it much here, as you can see plenty of pics on Stanley's web site. For me personally, I felt the ghost of The Times past in my bones...dark wood, dim lighting, same type of crowd.
We grabbed a spot by the window and perused food and drink menu's. Stanley's boasts over 30 (!!) beers on tap. This is a list that many beer enthusiasts would be pleased with, with over half of them being local brews. The beer list conveniently describes each beer, and also includes the alcohol content (but not the price..) I had a tough time choosing, so our waiter brought me 2 samples, which I immediately did not like. He suggested I try something different, so I got 2 other samples to try, one of which I did like this time. When the waiter came back, I pointed to the one I liked (which was obviously lighter in color than the other one) and said that's what I wanted. Somehow, the waiter ended up bringing me a Brau Brothers Scotch Ale (which was what I THOUGHT was the one I liked) but it was the wrong one. We all looked in confusion at the sample beer I had in front of me, the one I liked (confused yet?) and wondered which one it was. I apologized to the waiter who basically shoved the Brau Bros beer at me and said "here, just take this" and promptly walked away. Time out.
I know that I probably got confused over which beer I was ordering. And I know I ordered 4 samples, and it was very nice to be accomodated as such. However, as a server, it is YOUR job to remember what people like, especially if you are serving/suggesting different things that the customer is indecisive about. Never should you get impatient with a customer because they got confused about what they tasted/ordered. I know to some, service doesn't matter. But to me, it does.
So I marched over to the bar with my beer, told the bartender I didn't care for it and he refilled it with a beer of my choice, no questions asked. And to Stanley's credit, they have a very unique, yet accessible and affordable wine list. The cheapest wine by the glass is a PINOT!! (Napa Cellars Pinot Noir - $5.50.) Very nice!
Whew. So after all that, we started looking at food. Stanley's menu offers modern american food/comfort food; sandwiches, soups, and entrees (meatloaf, beef brisket, grilled cheese, beet salad.) Mr. C and I decided to share a Stanley's burger (Stuffed with brisket and gouda, served with carmelized onions and skin on fries - $12) and the Crispy Sausage Stuffed Olives ($3.)
Shitty phone pic time! (The Olives)
I know you can't really see it well, but there are 5 olives and they are breaded. I don't think they are deep fried (I don't think you CAN deep fry an olive??) but they are light and crisp. The salty brine of the olive against the meatiness of the sausage is interesting. I wouldn't say one marries to the other especially well, but overall it is quite a tasty treat.
The burger was cooked perfectly, It was a firm medium, which is the opposite of a sloppy medium. Sometimes, mediums just drip. And the buns get soggy, and your arms get messy. This was very flavorful, but the brisket and gouda inside were mostly undetcted. The bun offered nothing special, and the pickles were more cucumber than pickle. The fries, although skin on and tasty, were soft and borderline soggy. We devoured every single thing in about 5 minutes. The size wasn't suitable for sharing, so I recommend this as a one person meal.
Overall, I will go back to Stanley's and keep trying. Even if for nostalgia sake alone. The atmosphere isn't suited quite to my tastes (dives for LIFE.) However, you can't beat a $5.50 pinot noir in a stemless wine glass in a laid back place.