we need a little revival
The wait goes quickly, actually, and bar service is first come, first served. But let me be clear, there is no way this place can keep up with any take-out orders. At least not yet.
The design of the space is Midwest meets southern but is entirely simple, with mod floral wallpaper and one stenciled rooster head, in a mocking sort of fashion. If you had a head cold and entered, devoid of any aromas, you wouldn’t know whether to expect hot dish or hush puppies.
But comfort food it certainly is. For many Minnesotans, the menu may have some moments akin to “what’s hoppinjohn?” but I’m here to bring you the good news: it’s all good. Okay, I can’t speak for absolutely everything, but I ordered a pigs ear (while picturing the shriveled dog treat, beloved by canines everywhere) and it was great. Imagine what they can do with the more palatable parts of animals.
Speaking of palatable, the fried chicken livers appetizer is one of the best dishes being made in Minnesota right now, rivaling Nighthawks’ fried turkey gizzards. They arrive in a heaping pile, atop “Texas toast” and sprinkled with delicate sunflower slaw. The texture is almost as silky as butter with the heft and bite of meat. Not a single moment was tough or chewy.
The formidable strength of Revival’s drink list is how well it interfaces with the food. Some perfect pairings jump out at me as a beer drinker because of the heyday offered by bottled and canned beers like Victory Prima Pils, Lakefront Fixed Gear, or McChouffe Belgian Brown. The place only has three taps but they constantly rotate and are used wisely.
It is nearly impossible to exit the building without at least trying the fried chicken. It is graciously offered in three sizes: 2 pieces, half a bird, or a full chicken. For $7 for the smallest portion, indulging is cheap and gratifying. Pair the chicken (or their endlessly popular burger) with Brooklyn Lager, claimed to be a pre-prohibition style offering more body and flavor than most modern lagers.
Prices are often reasonable, if a bit befuddling. The cider cost about $2 more than at other restaurants, and for a smaller pour. On the other hand, the livers are an insane portion at only $7. Service is average-plus at best and varies greatly, but the staff is very knowledgeable about the food.
Revival consistently delivers authentic southern food, gimmick-free, to those far removed from Southern culture or cuisine. While some of the items come off as very foreign, somehow they integrate themselves to all kinds of palates when they arrive at the table. Though the space is small, there is no feeling of urgency or inability to converse privately.