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BEST VEGETARIAN BAR Minneapolis 1999 -

Okay, so it might be the only public vegetarian drinking hole in town. But the Triple Rock Social Club would also qualify for plenty of other awards, like Best New Bar, Best Punk Pickup Joint, Best Bar Makeover, and Best Graphic Menu Design. Let us explain. Not long ago Blondie's on the Avenue--a cheerfully mediocre West Bank shotgun saloon--shut down, and members of leading local punk band Dillinger Four took over. Now the joint is an inviting p-rock restaurant, though it's neither dingy, elitist, nor overly noisy. The menu--which is decked out zine-style with irreverent (or is that irrelevant?) footnotes and hilarious references to nostalgia icons like Jimmie Walker and Yoda--features a preponderance of items that are vegetarian and/or can be made vegan. That doesn't mean you're limited to items like the campily titled "New Fangled Meat-less Loaf" (a soy-based loaf). For example, if the "Big Ass Meatwich" doesn't scare you off, you're in for a treat. The kitchen staff can be a little slow aligning the kebabs onto a stick--meals can take a long time reaching the table--but they excel at most everything else. There's no live music at the Triple Rock (this is, after all, a "social" club), but the real coup is this: Blondie's used to control the headlining "alternative" stage at Cedarfest, Minneapolis's most famous summer music festival. With D4 and the Triple Rock in Blondie's place, could Cedarfest get the creative kick in the pants it so desperately needs? Stay tuned.

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