Slippery’s Tavern & Restaurant
West End of Main Street
Wabasha, MN 55981
GPS coordinates-N 44º23.214′ W092º02.231′
Open 7 days a week, 11:00 am to 10:00 pm
(Bar open 11:00 am to 1:00 pm)
by Kevin Wynn
On the inside it’s a typical sports bar, with pool and foosball tables, TVs, posters and signs for Minnesota’s professional sports teams decorating the walls. So what’s unique about this particular sports bar? It’s the view, man, of the mighty Mississippi River. Every window in the joint looks out across water, and the sense of motion and power here is palpable. It seems the GreatRiver narrows here, to the point that it never freezes in winter. The water flow is fast, and I could see someone prone to motion sickness having issues looking out across the water.
I was in Wabasha as a participant and volunteer for the 2nd Annual Great River Eagle Ride, supporting the NationalEagleCenter (152 West Main St., Wabasha, or www.eaglecenter.org). Pardon the shameless plug, but the staff of the National Eagle Center (NEC) is a dedicated crew whose primary goal is the preservation of our national symbol, the Bald Eagle. For you, the reader, rider and eater, a fine day would be exploring the two-lane blacktop south of Red Wing, checking out the EagleCenter, and then visiting Slippery’s Tavern & Restaurant for lunch on the river. It’s entirely likely you could spot an eagle picking lunch out of river while you’re picking something tasty off the menu. As the former location of the Wabasha Boat Yard and Marina, the building is right on the water, and when the flood waters rise,as they do from time to time, right in the river. There are sun decks and shady porches for outdoor dining with the best view short of a flat bottom boat. It’s very nice location for a leisurely meal.
After a morning of apex strafing and my visit at the EagleCenter, I motored a few blocks down Main Street to another landmark in this river town. You may remember Slippery’s from the movie “Grumpy Old Men” and its sequel. In the movie the location of the bar was moved to another spot in town, and Slippery’s was turned into Chuck’s Bait Shop. The back of the menu tells the story of the bar’s history, its namesake and what a colorful character he was. Many of the great lines the Grumpy movies came from Slippery himself.
Today we’re fortunate that things worked as they did, as we’re left with a great destination and some darn fine eating. I sat down at the bar, ordered a soft drink and perused the menu, looking for something…. but what? Maybe a Putz Burger, or a Morons Chicken sandwich, in honor of Walter Matthau and John Lemmon? No, too easy. Yes, there it is, the Slippery Burger. What could be more fitting? Large enough to ward off the hunger from a morning ride, with sautéed onions and “the cheese that made it a legend.” according to the menu. What kind of cheese would that be, I wondered. I’ll leave it to you to ask for yourself, but it’s very special!
What could I find to top this? Something in keeping with the location on the river, perhaps, like a Catfish Hunter sandwich? Yes, this was the ticket, a crispy deep fried catfish filet, the hoagie bun buttered and toasted. Excellent flavor and worth every extra bite I stuffed myself with.
Had I the room, or there were more of me, there were a number of other items on the menu I’d like to sample, like the Ragetti’s Spaghetti, the Canadian Walleye or the bacon wrapped Filet Mignon. Alas, it will have to wait for my next visit, and I will be back. Any club should keep Slippery’s on their short list for club events.
Dessert, for the day, was a nice little run with two of my fellow Eagle Rider’s, on Minnesota’s best answer to Wisconsin’s alphabet roads, US Hwy 60 between Wabasha and Zumbro Falls. Traffic was light, the company was good and the road was fine, as usual. Another great day of bikes, birds and friends.
Eat well. Ride well.
Got something to say to me? Comments on this article or suggestions for future reviews are welcome from readers at: firstname.lastname@example.org