VENUE DETAILS

Downtowner Woodfire Grill

Price:

$$

Cuisine Type:

American, American casual, American contemporary, Pizza

Serves:

Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner, Late-night

Handicap Accessible:

Yes

Outdoor Seating:

No

Handicap Accessible:

Yes

Outdoor Seating:

No

Rating: No Star No Star No Star No Star

REVIEW

This must be one of those cases of great minds working alike: Two new restaurants have opened near the Xcel Energy Center arena in downtown St. Paul that not only have similar names -- the Mississippi Mud Rivertown Grill and the Downtowner Woodfire Grill, but also similar decor, right down to the open kitchens, wood and limestone finish, gas-burning fireplaces and decorative fountains near the entrance.

Both also have big bars and big TV sets tuned to sports channels, and both are obviously eager to cash in on crowds of sports fans who come to the Xcel Center.

The menus are similar, too. Both specialize in meats cooked over wood-burning grills, and both also offer a few designer pizzas and a variety of sandwiches and salads, including a Caesar salad, plain or topped with chicken or shrimp.

There's just one big difference: the food is a whole lot better at the Downtowner Woodfire Grill.

The Downtowner is actually an old neighborhood cafe, the Downtowner Cafe, with an extensive face lift and a new menu, while the Mississippi Mud Rivertown Grill is the new restaurant inside the Holiday Inn River Centre.

The old Downtowner lives on in the breakfast menu, which offers the same menu of omelets, pancakes and similar fare at the same prices as before. If you value living well over living long, try Moe's Cajun breakfast ($6.75), a cholesterol-laden extravaganza of crisp hash browns, green peppers, sausage and poached eggs topped with Hollandaise. To die for, so to speak.

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