George and the Dragon

A neighborhood pub, with a twist

An hour wait at 8 p.m. on a Wednesday? Welcome to George and the Dragon, which literally rose from the ashes of Heidi’s and Blackbird at 50th and Bryant in south Minneapolis. Clearly the neighborhood was lacking a place where grown-ups could gather for post-game pub fare and pints—with their uniform-clad offspring in tow.

George is a public house with a familiar formula: big bar, big booths, and big portions of food that tend toward the meaty, starchy, and fried. Owners Fred and Stacy Navarro met during their 17-year tenure working for Lettuce Entertain You Restaurants (most recently, Fred oversaw Tucci Benucch, Twin City Grill, and The Magic Pan), so George has the consistency of a corporate operation, yet retains the personal feel of eating at the owners’ home, which happens to be four blocks away.

The requisite fish ’n’ chips and onion rings sport a crisp beer batter made with the ultra-local Fulton Lonely Blonde. Beer is a big deal at George. The signature beef short rib is braised in a bewitching brew called Dragon’s Milk, which lends the dish a malty sweetness. And the restaurant’s draft list includes three nitrogen taps, which impart a smooth, creamy texture to English favorites such as Old Speckled Hen.

In addition to its burgers and sandwiches (or “toasties” per the Brits), George offers several UK classics, including an English-style fry-up breakfast and the meat-potato-popover pileup known as Sunday Roast. But there are also a few dishes the Navarros brought to the restaurant’s kitchen straight from their own, including the Filipino fried egg roll, lumpia (Fred’s mom’s recipe), as well as fluffy beignets and a catch-all dish called the Asian Hangover, starring five-spice pork.

813 W. 50th St., Mpls., 612-208-1047,