Burger Moe’s opens for sports fans and families alike

With the economy doing, uh, not so well, restaurateur Moe Sharif seized a chance to take over the former Il Vesco Vino space and expand his kingdom across the street. The result: an affordable burger joint that caters to just about everyone within a stone’s throw of the Xcel Energy Center. Think malt shops of yesteryear mixed with an expansive liquor cabinet and a patio to rival those on Lake Minnetonka.

Sharif, who also owns Downtowner Woodfire Grille, has been leasing it to other restaurants while he figured out his next move. After the third and final lessee closed shop, he decided it was time to take the plunge.

“Right now, people are looking for mostly casual and value. They don’t want to spend too much money to have dinner,” says Sharif. “I created something that caters to people who go to games and concerts because we’re in walking distance [of Xcel]. At the same time, when you come, you see a lot of families with young kids.”

Nothing on the menu is over 10 bucks, and with 20 burgers made with twice-ground meat processed in-house, two dozen sandwich and wing options, 40 beers on tap, a slew of milkshakes, and enough appetizer options to tide over your whole gang, you’ll be hard pressed to argue with the mojo they’re working.

TBurgerMoesPatio-500.jpghe Cowboy Bison Burger, smothered with BBQ sauce and fried onion straws, and the Denny Burger (named for Mayor Randy Kelly’s deputy, Denny Flaherty) sporting a fried egg, thick apple-smoked bacon, and cheddar, both top the recommendation list–but the owner’s favorite is the Italian Turkey Burger? “I’ve probably had 40 of them since we opened,” says Sharif. “Delicious, healthy.”

Don’t miss the freshly made churros–the crisp exterior is rolled in cinnamon, giving way to a just-barely-done, supple interior, and they’re served with your choice of chocolate syrup or strawberries and a scoop of dense vanilla ice cream.

The space is sprawling, with a large bar area, a good-sized dining room-styled space if you prefer a lower-key atmosphere, a banquet room that can seat at least 75, and a patio that easily doubles the restaurant’s footprint. Even better, plans are in place to install heat lamps, extending the patio season, along with a projector for checking out the game in larger-than-life size.

BurgerMoesBar-500.jpgPerhaps the biggest selling point? Free parking for patrons behind and next to the restaurant (shared with the Downtowner)–even during Wild games, if you can snag a spot.

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