The Happy Gnome

The Happy Gnome is a restaurant fortuitously located beyond the parking lot of the St. Paul Curling Club in St. Paul, MN.

Let me just say that our meals were delicious and they offered more varieties of beers than I have ever seen offered in a restaurant. The serve was the thing of most interest to me.

My experiences there began as my Curling team and coach slid across the pavement on black ice to the nearest restaurant, The Happy Gnome, on the evening of March 4th. It had that slight tavernish feel with the warmth of wood, a well stocked bar, and an impressively sized (though non-descriptive) sign. The Gnome motif was not immediately clear to me so I asked our waitress if they had Gnomes inside the dining area. “They’re all over!” she snapped, and on closer investigation I found that there were indeed scores of very small, brightly colored creatures nestled in with the liquor bottles on shelves. The rest of our service that night was ok, generally on par with a busy family style restaurant like Denny’s.

Our next visit was for lunch a couple of days later. It was a new day and a new waitress. She was quite knowledgable and offered excellent suggestions when asked. Overall, the service this day improved to the quality one would expect from a nice restaurant on Fisherman’s Wharf in Monterey (e.g., nice, mid-ranged, tourist restaurant).

Brunch. Brunch can usually go either way, either you get no attention at all or you get a bit too much attention, so I was most curious about this visit.

Immediately I noticed that my knife was not cleaned well and I set it aside. When our waitress, the third in as many times, came to take our drink orders, she came baring a new knife for me. She anticipated our every need and her easy smile convinced me that this was one very special restaurant.

My dining experiences improved considerably over this one week, and I am left with the one hope that I will again be fortunate enough to visit The Happy Gnome.

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