Saturday, October 13, 2012

Olympic Cafe Plus Raises Stakes In West Broadway Fried Food Arms Race With Exotic Fish Offerings, Frog Legs, And (My Personal Favorite) Chicken Gizzards...

Photo, blog post by John Hoff

After Megan Goodmundson told me Olympic Cafe Plus had frog legs I had to stop by and give the second Olympic Cafe location a try. I hesitated, though, some friends and neighbors on Facebook were outraged about one of their delivery drivers who reportedly whipped out his weenie and urinated on the fence at 1121 Russell, laughing about it, making no attempt to be inconspicuous in front of two women and a child.

To be fair, after the owner of the cafe was called (or some guy with a thick middle eastern accent who MIGHT be the owner) he sounded "genuinely horrified and apologetic." The little pink placard you can just barely see in this photo advertises for a driver so, well, maybe their "freshly squeezed urine delivery dude" no longer works for Olympic.


And why am I memorializing this incident for all time before reviewing the frog legs? Because... media is a powerful thing, and it's being harnessed by the forces of Northside revitalization. Even a few years ago, incidents like this had to be endured after making the record with a futile 911 call. Now the internet gives us the power to publicize incidents like this to legendary proportions and roll back the tide of uncivilized behavior.

So in regard to their menu; it's as affordable as you'd expect of a West Broadway deep fried food joint but also has a tendency toward the unique and exotic. Though zucchini sticks are becoming more of a common item in many fried food places, I was delighted to see frog legs and such fish offerings as mahi pieces, sword fish steaks, sole and grouper filet, whole corvina fish, pollock, whiting, baramundi and cod. I had to look up a couple of those fish on the internet.

Olympic also has chicken gizzards, which is an earthy and acquired taste, but if you can't keep fried food out of your diet they're a good choice because you use up so many calories chewing. On the night in question I ordered frog legs, pictured below along with fries and a couple humble slices of what might be Wonder Bread.

I found the batter from their frog legs to be a bit flavorless, but frog (the other white meat) is such a delicate flavor you don't want to overwhelm it; at least not before dunking it in tartar sauce.

The cafe is still new and nice inside, so enjoy it before all the drug dealers from West Broadway get their butt sweat all over the seats.

Here's a shot of the outside with its nice new neon and windows.

So the other day I was thinking how there's so much fried food on West Broadway, and a lot of people complain about the lack of salads or "sit down" restaurants. But what if we just EMBRACED all that greasy food? Imagine if we had a "fried food zombie crawl" and people dressed like zombies had to visit each fried food joint from one end of West Broadway to the other.

"Brains?" the zombies would ask, hopefully.

At every location, one zombie would buy an entree and all the zombies would descend upon it, making zombie sounds, Ooooooooooooooooggggggggghhhhhh.

You could have a t-shirt for the event.


But, I say, why save the promotion for one night of the year? We have a corridor of affordable and delicious fried food that runs for MILES. Let's promote the "West Broadway Fried Food Corridor" and reach out to chubby but fun loving people all over the region.

And if we ever do get that high class, sit down restaurant on West Broadway...

Maybe it will start out as "upscale fried" with a sideline in healthy entree offerings.

In any case; Johnny Northside blog welcomes Olympic Cafe Plus to West Broadway. Be sure to tell all your drivers to keep it in their pants. 


Anonymous said...

My favorite, a giant plate of beige. Here on Broadway, food prep requiring more skill than "ding--fries-are-done, ding--fries-are-done, would-you-like-an-apple-pie-with-thaa-aat" doesn't jibe with the atherosclerosis crowd.

Naysayer said...

Well, pretty funny if it weren't for the epidemic malnutrition problem in NoMi. Most other countries that I have visited where frog legs are considered a delicacy grill them rather than deep-fat fry them. But we seem chained to that good old southern tradition of introducing massive amounts of free radicals into our blood streams by deep-fat frying everything that isn't green, which is guaranteed to clog arteries. However, I do have a new-found interest in the Olympic Cafe as an innovative force on the West Broadway cuisine front. I might even wander down to sample their new offerings.

Anonymous said...

I think its a shame that folks think the only thing we eat over norf is fried food. I like me a good salad and greens from time to time. Its songs like that hot cheetos that make everyone thing we only eat fried food. Why would a restaurant serve anything fresh when the general opinion is that we only eat what is fried or comes in a bag at the gas station.

Anonymous said...

LOL Anonymous 5:21! How long do you think a sushi place would last in North? It's called free market capitalism my man, and this shit is the formula for it in North!

Anonymous said...

Perhaps there should be a sushi restaurant or farmers market or grocery store that stocks fresh food and vegitables. Maybe one of the many non-profits we have in NOMI could get a grant to get it off the ground. I suspect that the only reason folks eat fried here is that's all they know. If the government was to start a store or restaurant offering healthy items at free or reduced cost it would develop a taste for this type of food here.

Anonymous said...

Is that a biker gang member in the photo?

Johnny Northside! said...

I've always heard that particular group really is more of a motorcycle club than a bike gang, but to answer the spirit of your question, yes.

Anonymous said...

I didn't even know there were biker gangs in North Minneapolis. Frankly I think there is enough gang activity in Minneapolis without glorifying more by posting a photo of a gang member. Perhaps the next time wait for a clear shot to avoid promoting gang activity. But thanks for the restaurant review.

Anonymous said...

" If the government was to start a store or restaurant offering healthy items at free or reduced cost it would develop a taste for this type of food here. "

It's not the government's responsibility to offer free or reduced healthier foods. Folks already get food stamps and EBT, and now you're expecting me to fund your decisions, too? Are you NOMI folks just that dumb? Or are you just opposed to thinking for yourselves?

Just shag your fanny to the store and actually purchase them yourself, like I do for my family. Oh yeah, and I also make a meal from scratch without a microwave and we sit down together to share the meal.

(And, no I'm not some right wing tea bagger. I'm just a good mom who cares about her family's well-being.)

Anonymous said...

Get Brasa to open a new location on Broadway. It's relatively inexpensive (a full lunch of meat, two sides, a drink and a dessert is less than 15$), it's probably something that NoMi residents can relate to (pulled meats, fried veggies) and it's VERY GOOD. Plus they use a lot of local ingredients, strive for a new kind of menu (North & South American, Caribbean) and overall it is much healthier than the typical deep-fry fare.

Anon 10:45's har-haring at the idea of something other than "plate o' beige" is the kind of attitude that promotes the sucky status quo. No one suggested a sushi restaurant--that kind of business would go NO WHERE on Broadway right now for many reasons, the most obvious being that sushi is already saturating the restaurant market in the Metro area.

People are willing to travel to Robbinsdale to eat at Travail--I literally saw 40 people waiting for the place to open at five--so why not Broadway?

Anonymous said...

I'd also like to add the kind of gov't intervention I'd like to see on Broadway is not some bizarre EBT restaurant, but real incentives/pressure to force commercial property owners to drop a load or get off the can. Sorry, but if you are either too elderly or too unmotivated to get some viable tenants in what could be another very successful retail hub (leading right into Downtown!!), then you need to sell and move on with life. I actually got my hopes up when the one-stories next to Cub were renovated, but to my dismay no legitimate business has moved in. The neon-green "Comming Soon, Laides" sign is pathetic.

Naysayer said...

I really like the idea of a sushi restaurant on W. Broadway--big bucks for raw meat with a little pinch of ginger and horseradish to clear the palate served on a small square plate. Washed down with a spot of wine, maybe an Alsatian white. Mmmm. And, within walking distance, yet. It probably wouldn't convert neighborhood preferences for coagulated grease and flour, but it is nice concept to dream about.

To Anon@1:17: I would love to be invited over to your house for a meal made from scratch, but wouldn't want to be dissed for being a NoMi resident.