Sauce and the City

Well, actually, I don't know if you should pick up those beans. There are merits to delivery, mainly that Woolsey brings his neighborly style even to the tough world of food on the go: He's one of the few restaurateurs who eschew restrictive zones. If you want delivery, generally you get delivery, even if you live way out in Ridgedale, or way up in Uptown. On the other hand, if you go to pick up your food, you get to see all the movie memorabilia that crowd the place--such as a room list from the Hotel Nicollet when James Cagney and Greer Garson were in town; a poster from One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest; and a whole lot of Wizard of Oz stuff. (Sitting on extra Cowardly Lion geegaws? Woolsey trades food for Oz.)

I've said before that Minneapolis barbecue is like no other, and I've always thought of the brisket and fried potatoes at Ted Cook's as the quintessential Minnesota-grown, meat-and-potatoes barbecue. But now I'm adding Scott Ja-Mama's to the list of decidedly idiosyncratic regional 'cue. It's Waikiki Room-derived, devotedly backyard cookout-style barbecue. It's meat on the grill, cooler of beer on the deck, the swoosh of elm leaves and the roar of airplanes landing.

"It sounds corny," says Woolsey, "But I got exactly what I wanted. I just wanted to have a nice little store in the neighborhood I grew up in. I don't need to be the rib king, it doesn't interest me. This is enough for me. I grew up on 46th and Clinton, a mile and a half from here. My eight brothers and sisters, my folks still live around here, we always have friends of the family coming in. We had a guy come in here one day--he ate right here, got done, and then he said, 'I only had sauce like this one place in my life. There used to be a place downtown called the Waikiki Room..."

 

TABLEHOPPING

YOU READ IT HERE FIRST: Well, sort of. Eaters' Digest connoisseurs will recall that a year and a half ago, I wrote that downtown Minneapolis's most beloved pizza place, the venerable Lucé, was looking for an Uptown or South Minneapolis location. Patience is a virtue, folks, because the location has been announced: Sometime this spring, or summer, or absolutely by the fall, there will be a Pizza Lucé on the corner of 32nd and Lyndale.

Jason Husby, general manager, says Lucé lovers are in a frenzy, but "there's not a lot to tell yet, because we still haven't purchased the building, so it's hard to know any kind of a schedule [for opening]." More, more! "It will be exactly the same menu as we have downtown, beer and wine like we have downtown, late hours. We've gone door-to-door talking to neighbors, and everyone seems to be happy about us coming in there." Delivery area? "At least to 40th [Street] or something, and we'll definitely cover the Uptown area. We already get like 10 people that call down here every night begging us to deliver to Uptown." For now, those beggars will have to haul their butts to the original Lucé, (119 N. Fourth St.; (612) 333-7359), where they serve all that precious Lucé grub Sunday to Thursday 11 a.m. to 2 a.m., and Friday to Saturday 11 a.m. to 3 a.m.

IT'S MANORIFIC: When I first started going to the Manor, St. Paul's Love Boat-style dining-and-dancing stronghold, I felt like the only person without a big white Chrysler and a timeshare at a snowbird getaway. But the swing craze has changed all that, and the place is now a judicious, pleasing mix of Reagan babies and FDR survivors, all shimmying between the brass guardrails to the big band and swing of Jim Tolkes. When much-beloved chanteuse Donna Dee returns in June for her band's summer run--well, my prediction is that the Manor (2550 W. Seventh St., St. Paul; (651) 690-1771) will be the Next Big Thing.

Remember, too, you don't have to dine on prime rib to enjoy the no-cover magnificence. The bar by the dance floor serves as a perfect cheap perch. Meanwhile, in the attached lounge, ace piano-bar singer/player/leader/enthusiast/den master/Zen master Bob Pine is finally getting the following he deserves, which I offer to you as evidence that the universe is not only sometimes age-balanced, but even occasionally just.

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