Cool Vegan Bar Food at A VFW?

Find lots of beef and cheese too at the new 246 Grill in Uptown’s Ballentine VFW

Live music, karaoke, burgers in the style of grilled cheese, and vegan “fried chicken” all at a Veterans of Foreign Wars outpost? Yes, all of this makes sense only in one place: the James Ballentine VFW Post 246 in Uptown, and Chef Mike German’s new 246 Grill.

I first met German when he was running the kitchen at Alary’s in St. Paul. He has a knack for creating over-the-top yet still culinarily high-quality bar food. He’s had great success running the kitchen at the 328 Grill at the St. Paul Park American Legion, and now he’s brought Chef Marisol Herling over from 328 to run 246.

Herling worked at The Lynhall and LUSH (which prepared her for a hard-core rush during concerts), and she’s bringing a lot of experience to the kitchen at Uptown’s VFW.

The menu is heavy on bar food, but it’s all scratch cooking. Get your basket of cajun fries for $6, or cheese curds for $9. But you’ll also find Minnesota poutine (tots topped with curds and chicken wild rice soup as gravy), and the crazy-good-yet-sort-of-disgusting Cheeseburger Totchos, which are tots with cheeseburger on top, Cheese Whiz, and roasted tomatoes (for your health).

I think people are going to love the “Fo’ Cheezy,” which is a really nicely seasoned beef patty surrounded by American, cheddar and pepperjack cheese on both sides, served on a parmesean-crusted sourdough bun. It’s like eating a grilled cheese with a burger in the middle. It’s a good idea and is just $13 including fries or tots.

And as this is Uptown, there are vegan and vegetarian options. A tempeh club, a chickpea patty burger, and a vegan fried chicken made with “buttermilk” breaded tofu. (I really like that vegan fried chicken too!).

High-quality bar food is exactly what I think a lot of us are looking for right now, and starting this week, you’ll find it at the Uptown VFW!

246 Grill at the Uptown VFW: 2916 Lyndale Ave. S., Minneapolis; 612-823-6233;

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