Every so often I like to visit McNally Robinson’s Booksellers at Grant Park Shopping Centre. They have a quite lovely restaurant called Prairie Ink. I’ve been a couple of times in the past, but generally the line ups and wait times are longer than I’m willing to wait through. So, then I go and look and see what is available in the general area. One restaurant that I’ve recently tried, is Fionn MacCool’s an Irish pub chain.
The restaurant is located in a large, square building, typical of pad construction projects on shopping mall parking lots. The building is red brick with black accents. It is an accessible, both with a ramp onto the sidewalk, and a wheelchair accessible washroom, as well.
As you enter the building, you find yourself at the hosting station, with the lounge and bar area immediately ahead of you, The dining area is off to the right and partially shielded from the bar/lounge area. Their is also a glassed in atrium as well.
Hours might differ
Saturday Lunch at Fionn MacCool’s
My first visit was in the middle of August. I came in for lunch. The restaurant wasn’t particularly full at the time. I chose the dining area over the lounge on my first visit. When it came to ordering, I figured I would rely on the pub’s claim to being an Irish pub, and ordered the Guinness Steak and Mushroom bowl. This came with a side salad.
The flavours in the steak and mushroom bowl were very good. However, I think it’s a little on the scant side when it comes to the filling ingredients. The salad is good and I enjoy the fact that there are chunky pieces of vegetable in it. Since I wasn’t overly filled by the meal, I decided to order dessert. I ordered the sticky toffee pudding. For my beverage I went with Belgian Moon Wheat Beer, on of my favourites.
On the whole the meal is pretty good, and the service was pretty good also. I did also have the pleasure of running into Val and Paul a couple of clergy colleagues. Val is priest at St. Mary Magdalene and Paul is Pastor at Epiphany Lutheran Church.
Birthday at the Bar
Last Saturday was my birthday. In honour of the occasion of me moving one step closer to becoming compost for the next generation of food lovers, I decided to treat myself to some books. I probably should have included a photo of them, but that’s the way it goes. I purchased five, but the only one that relates to this post is Jann Arden’s “Feeding My Mother.” The book chronicles the singer’s dealing with the ongoing consequences of her mother’s dementia. I’ll be writing about it later.
This time around the restaurant was quite a bit fuller, so I took a seat at the bar. I was write in the middle of the front of the bar, with the taps right in front of me. There’s a good selection of beers available on tap. I started off with a beer, ordering a Torque Red Line American IPA. Toque is one of the many craft breweries that have arisen in Winnipeg in the last few years.
I didn’t see any menus nearby, and asked the bartender for one. I looked it over and decided I would go with the Seafood Chowder and then the Fionn MacCool’s Flagship Bacon Burger. Both are really good choices. By Saturday evening the blizzard conditions in Winnipeg had dissipated but the rich, thick chowder really hit the spot.
As good as the seafood chowder is, I like the Flagship Bacon Burger even more. The burger patty is substantial, and the meat is flavourful as well as being really most. The menu says that the burger is topped with a skewer of bacon, but there are also a couple of slice in the burger itself. The bun is a good, soft, brioche bun. This is definitely a sloppy type of burger. At one point I just let the patty slip out, finished the bun and filing, and then took a knife and fork to the burger.
The Jets game was on the TVs, and while I would rather be watching the Habs, between the game and the book, I was in no hurry to leave. By the way, bar taps make a great book rest, it like me you are far-sighted. Given that I was taking my time, I decided to order ice cream for dessert, along with a Bailey’s coffee. I enjoyed them both, but didn’t manage to get around to taking any photos.
The atmosphere at the bar over the course of the evening is quite enjoyable. It is clear that there are a number of regulars who come in. Experiencing the service I received from the two bartenders, I would say that is not surprising. Both bartenders, did a great job of making sure I was well looked after.
I also had a nice little moment at the end of the Jets game. The gentleman who had been sitting to my right was getting up to leave and we started talking about the Jets game. I mentioned that it was my birthday, and the best part of the night had been Montreal’s win over St. Louis. After a little gentle chafing over the fact that I’m a Montreal fan, he offered to by me a drink to celebrate. I said thank you very much and ordered a Guinness to finish my evening. I didn’t get his name, but thank you very much for the birthday treat.
Fionn MacCool’s is definitely a place that will be on my return visit list when I up in the Grant Park area.