When I first moved to the NYC area, I had this crazy idea that I would mingle amongst other Midwesterners at some kind of Iowa-themed bar. Silly, I know, but I have “How I Met Your Mother” to thank for that. One of the main characters, Robin, ventures to a Canadian-themed bar if she ever feels homesick. She got the idea from Marshall, a boy from Northern Minnesota who visits a Vikings bar whenever he feels the same. TV shows don’t ever spread lies, I told myself, so there has to be a Minnesota or some kind of Midwest bar in NYC! Canadian bars, yes, even trailer park bars are available for refuge. Green Bay Packers have their own bar, but I am not a big sports fan. I just wanted a bar that would give me that “close to home” feel. So I found Burnside, located in Brooklyn. I had read some good reviews in various articles, and ventured there yesterday with great expectations.
Walking in, I immediately felt like it was a Pinterest-inspired 1900’s farmhouse – if hipsters lived during that time period. Faded wallpaper, sandblasted wood, dim lighting through candles and old-timey lanterns – yes, if Laura Ingalls Wilder was trying to be ironic, in a really painstaking way, this would be considered Midwest. (There was a shuffleboard, so they get an up vote for that.)
Their beverage collection. Well … they had Milwaukee’s Best in cans, a Stevens Point lager, and Leinenkugel. And lots of microbrews from the NYC area. Ahem. Oh, I spotted a small bottle of Templeton Rye (shout out Iowa!) behind the counter. The same size I usually spot in a personal liquor cabinet, but eh.
Food? There were bratwurst and burgers, and portobello mushroom sandwiches (something I enjoy, but never consider an Iowa fare). But they had fried cheese curds. A saving grace, thank you God. I have been missing fair food, something I don’t eat a lot of but miss it intensely. You could buy a bag of jalapeno poppers or something fried and heat it up at home. Or just go to Leon’s Pizza and taste their decadent cheese balls with homemade ranch dressing … okay, now I’m drooling. But not here, they don’t have the same respect for fried food as some of us Midwesterners do. So we ordered two baskets, no reason to waste time when fried food is on the line. No side of ranch or ketchup (come on people!), and they tasted more like funnel cake then greasy, beautiful breading-wrapped cheese.
This was a disappointment.
We didn’t stay long, like we thought we would have. Instead, we headed home for supper, not wanting to even imagine what their burger tasted like.
It was decided that The Machine Shed would make a killing in NYC. Seriously, if something farmer-themed came here, I would predict it would be an instant hit. If I had a ton of money, I’d definitely try to finance something of that nature here.
So what I guess I am saying is that I’ll have to wait for a trip home for old-fashioned beer lights, good Iowa food, and an actual Midwest bar. No more of this hipster crap for me.