St. Paul >Food & Dining > Axel's Bonfire
850 Grand Ave., St Paul, MN | Directions 5510544.939642 -93.136031
Neighborhoods: Summit Hill
Gluten Free Menu! – The first time I went to Axel's was for a company party in May. Having never eaten there before, I took a chance and booked the Red Room and hoped the food would be up to parr. Overall, our evening was fantastic! A group of 20 of us dined and had a lovely time and were well taken care of by the two staff assigned to our party. We spent about $450 on entrees and desserts, and everything was delicious.
The most amazing aspect of the whole experience was the fact that there was a gluten free menu available! While most of the dishes on this special menu are comprised of meat, the waiters were kind enough to make a vegetarian version of their fajita dish for the vegetarian-celiac of the group. I appreciate when a restaurant puts together a menu for those who are gluten-intolerant/ celiac, and I have returned many times since this gathering to take advantage of this special menu.
The only reason why I didn't give five stars was due to the music being VERY loud in the restaurant area and the TV screens way too bright, flashy, and distracting. It was hard to have a conversation with all the commotion, and I had a hard time hearing the person across the table. There's a point at which the atmosphere becomes a nuisance, so perhaps turning things down a bit would alleviate this problem.
Great place to sit back and relax with a drink – This place is a great place to grab a drink or just to out with your friends and or co-workers. The atmosphere is great, the food was good and the drinks are not so bad either. I most definitely love the entertainment, especially the dueling Pianist!
Awful food, poor service. – We waited 15 minutes after we were seated before the server came to our table. Then we waited for our appetizers, but the worst was then waiting another 50 minutes after the appetizers for our entrees. The spinach-artichoke dip was cold and had far too much sour cream. The pizza was cold and burned black. The chili was just average, but by the time that came, our experience had been ruined. We then waited for the server to bring our check. We never got an apology or explanation for the several long waits. But aside from that, the food wasn't even close to worth going back. Definitely our last visit there!
Fun place – Better for younger people who don't have to read lips to hear if it gets loud. I had a harder time hearing the members of my party, but it was fun none the less!
Exceedingly awful. – Three strikes, Bonfire, and you're out. Call it stupidity, call it desperation (everything else seemed to be booked solid... hmm, perhaps that's a little clue), call it hope springing etermal... but I've subjected myself and hapless others to this place for the last time. Let's start with the service... friendly, but slow and inept. Why, oh why, would you serve the four adults at the table and leave the 8-year-old hanging for another 10 minutes? And why would you serve appetizers without plates (which were remembered about 5 minutes too late) and entrees without utensils? And why would you choose the exact moment I was bringing a large glass of beer to my mouth to reach across and grab plates, sending said glass into a collision course with my luckless teeth? But compared to the food, the service was sterling... the "cheese dip" was worse than any suburban backyard velveeta-n-salsa horror that your tackiest, cheapest neighbors always bringt. The artichoke dip, while slightly less disgusting, was soupy and cold. The corn chips were weirdly sweet (?) while still oversalted. And my "vegetarian" version of the burrito was... full of onions and *nothing* else. No beans. No cheese. No lettuce. No tomatoes (although I did espy one sad little slice of green pepper). It was one of the most repellent items ever served me on a plate. Wait, that's generous... it was one of the most repellent things ever served me on anything. I will never, ever darken this doorway again... but i will be happy to stand outside the window and jeer at those who continue to allow this kind of culinary treachery to be inflicted upon themselves.
Loud and full of people – This is a good place to come if you are looking to peole watch and listen to the dueling piano's with some decent food. The bar is packed on the weekends, and there can be a wait for tables. The food is pretty good.
Loud, long wait, no parking – The decor was the high point. We waited over 40 minutes on a Thursday for a party of 4. There was no live music. The bass from the sound system pounded so loudly it was hard to maintain a conversation. One person in our party got their entree a good 10 minutes before everyone else. The pizza was bland. The house salad was mostly the tasteless center chunks of iceburg lettuce. Small, boring menu. Very few options for anyone not wanting heavy meaty entree. For the price, I expected much better.
Nice place but a little over-priced – The place is nicely decorated with Tiffany Deco style lamps overhanging the bar area. Gets crowded for dinner so you may wait 10 minutes or more to be seated. Parking is hard to find so you will have to pay for parking at the ramp. The seats are not comfortable unless you get a booth. The place can get sorta loud at times but once the piano starts playing, it is almost impossible to hear your neighbor. Dueling pianos are not very good and loud. Plates range from $9 - $22, drinks are about $5. Overall, the menu is American Grill Style food, fancied up. A normal dinner and drinks for 2 can run you about $60 or more. Nice natural relaxing tones, attractive clientelle from business casual to bus. dress, very good service, but dinner can be spendy for the style of food you order...
Just average – I came here for lunch on a sunday and there were 4 people in our party - 2 walleye sandwiches, 1 beercan chicken, 1 walleye entree. We all agreed that the food was a little bland, and the walleye fillets were small. It wasn't bad, but it wasn't great. I've had a better walleye sandwich at a place just down Grand.
waitress from hell – My sister and I went to Bonfire on a Thursday night. Our waitress was pretty much non-existent through the whole meal. In respose to the non-existent service, we didn't tip her very well. After paying the bill and tipping,the waitress came literaly running after us to confront us about her small tip. Raising her voice, stating " Do you think I work for free!?! " This was just the beginning of her rant.. Never will we go back there again!
The great thing about it was how the manager, Gretchen handled it. Thanks Gretchen!!!
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