Ah, Valentine’s Day. I like you when I have a boyfriend, but not so much when I don’t. This year I don’t. So in honor of that, I’m just going to rattle off a few under-the-radar joints where you won’t need reservations, but where you CAN indulge yourself with delicious food that you’ll probably regret later and also some cocktails (which, depending on your self control and behavior, you may or may not regret later).
Goby’s Grill & Pub
A relatively non-descript little pub nestled between the overly ’80s facade of Rita Ambourn Hair Salon and Plum’s Bar, Goby’s is a little slice of blue collar heaven. Elements of the watering hole and restaurant seem to still have the glaze of the pre-smoking ban days, and the deep-fried smell of the joint is something you may need to shower off yourself (though, if you’re single, why bother). Still, Goby’s holds an air of working class charm that cannot be denied — and they’ve actually got a great menu of delightfully greasy bar fare that includes big, juicy burgers (that come fully loaded if you so choose) and perfectly golden, crisp onion rings and much more. The cozy dive pours some seriously stiff drinks as well, so your chances of successfully hitting on someone in a grubby sweatshirt are relatively high.
Goby’s, 472 S. Snelling Avenue, St. Paul, (651)690-5731
DeGidio’s Restaurant & Bar
While there may very well be some jerks trying to get romantic tonight at this West 7th Italian joint, the bar will surely be all yours. Try to block out the “Lady and the Tramp” references that come to mind when you think of a lovey-dovey spaghetti dinner, and concentrate on what matters most: eating something bad for you and drinking the pain away. The menu here offers a variety of pastas, but the real deal is the Old Fashioned Hot Dago. A spicy, half-pound of Italian sausage is slathered with DeGidio’s homemade spaghetti sauce on Vienna bread, then baked with an unhealthy amount of mozzarella over it. Who can argue with that? Wash it down with a reasonably priced bottle of red and pretty soon you’ll start feeling better about your life.
DeGidio’s, 425 W. 7th Street, St. Paul, (651) 291-7105
This popular neighborhood haunt will probably be crowded on V-Day, but then again, it’s crowded every day of the week. You’ll do well to belly up to the bar to grab a spot, or maybe head to the backroom/gameroom where seat-yourself hightop tables abound. In ye olde 2006, the Blue Plate Restaurant group (Highland Grill, Longfellow Grill, etc) took over what was then called B.B. Dixon’s. With some spiffy upgrades to the decor and menu, the Groveland Tap was born. Enjoy a brewski, some cheese curds and/or one of the best Jucy Lucy’s in St. Paul while you angrily throw darts at the imaginary faces of your ex-lovers.
Groveland Tap, 1834 St. Clair Ave, St. Paul, (651) 699-5058