By Jamie Swinnerton
By Mark Antonation
By Lori Midson
By Jonathan Shikes
By Amber Taufen
By Cafe Society
By Juliet Wittman
By Jonathan Shikes
Any good Minnesotan, Cheddar Head or even Iowegian knows a great, functional way to decorate the home. That's assuming the women haven't already taken over. Women will worry about filling bathrooms with soap and towels that no one is supposed to use while also insisting that there not be a protective layer of grime on all porcelain surfaces. They will worry about color coordination in the bedroom and guest room(s) and demand that you spend good money on something called a duvet cover when the comforter you've had since college that's also favored by the dog is more than workable. Finally, they will insist on crappy little knickknacks all over the house, each tied to some important emotional event you don't remember, like your first movie together, your first weekend away together, the first outfit she wore on a date with you, the underwear for said outfit that she swears she "forgot" to wear, and your wedding.
Guys, on the other hand, focus on the garage -- if they're lucky enough to have one -- or the patio/deck if they aren't. We like to adorn these areas with large recreational items like canoes and snow-blowers, as well as sports paraphernalia not limited to a large banner devoted to our favorite team that covers an entire wall. But as any upper-Midwesterner knows, the centerpiece of the space should always be the beer fridge, a full-sized refrigerator stocked with your favorite adult malt beverage, a few crap beers for unwanted guests or cooking, and a few bottles of wine for those occasions when you and your significant other want to share another emotional event you'll soon forget. If the fridge has a freezer, it is stocked with ice and/or vodka.
I have had a beer fridge for a while now, but I'd forgotten what a wonderful thing it truly is until I walked into Famous Dave's Barbecue (7557 East 36th Avenue). Giant Old Milwaukee, Schlitz and Hamm's bottle tops hung from the walls, dinosaur-sized fish stuffed in mid-fight were mounted nearby, and the mouth-watering smell of charred pork floated through the air. Immediately, I was transported back to my grandfather's garage in Minnesota.
I was tempted to see if Famous Dave's actually had Hamm's ("From the land of sky-blue waters...waters"), but instead decided to rely on Flying Pig to wash down the pounds of pig I was about to consume. Both were phenomenal. The Flying Pig came in big 22-ouncers, and the barbecued pig came on plates piled so high that I could barely see across the table to continue the conversation I'd started about how awesome it is to have a beer fridge.
For those of you who don't yet have your own beer fridge, Famous Dave's makes a very passable substitute. It features beer, good food, great service and an atmosphere conducive to reliving past glories and remembering the fish that got away. But as much as I appreciate the place, it's only whetted my appetite for my next acquisition: a kegerator.