I never ate at Travail. That was the ultra-trendy chef-driven restaurant that thrived for 2+ years in Robbinsdale. There are two reasons why I never ate there, despite enduring derisive comments from friends along the lines of: “How can you not want to go? You’d love it!”
Reason 1 (and the main reason) – No reservations. Sorry, but I feel that policy reflects a bit of snobbery as well as disrespect for a customer’s time. The word was, you had to show up by 5:30 to get a table at Travail, or contend with an undefined wait that could be hours long. And no disrespect for Robbinsdale intended, but there just isn’t that much to do while killing time waiting for a table.
Reason 2 – The other word was that if you did manage to get a table, you really had to order the tasting menu. Well, I’m probably venturesome enough to try the tasting menu. But I guess I really would like to have the flexibility to order what I want, not take what the chef feels like serving that evening (though I’m sure that it would be noteworthy).
There was a big hue and cry about Travail’s decision to close and reboot this spring. But the creative minds behind the restaurant had ambitious plans in the works, including a rebirth in a new location and a pizza joint in the old. The pizza joint was named Pig Ate My Pizza. I don’t know why.
But curiosity got the best of me. I needed to meet my son recently. He lives in North Minneapolis, not far from Robbinsdale. I suggested we get lunch. We considered a few options, and then I suggested Pig Ate My Pizza. Ben quickly agreed. He brought along his wife and son.
We got there right at noon, when the restaurant opens. We had our choice of tables. Ben chose a funky booth. The interior and décor is pretty rustic. The menu is posted on a couple of chalk boards. The lunch menu is somewhat abbreviated from the dinner menu, but enough choices to satisfy most palates.
For the five of us (four adults and a three-year old), we ordered two pizzas, but no salads or starters. The amount of food was ample.
One pizza was the margarita. It was a pretty classic presentation – nice chewy crust, garlicky tomatoes, and big creamy puddles of melted mozzarella cheese. This was my favorite.
The pizzas were creative and tasty. The service was friendly and attentive. The ambiance is relaxed and friendly.
We asked about the pizza tasting menus that were posted on the chalkboard – $60 for two people, $110 for four. My son thought it sounded good. He may give it a try. But Linda and I aren’t likely to drive to Robbinsdale for pizza dinner. Still, I did enjoy it enough to return for lunch someday.
And did I mention? Still no reservations.