BY JESSICA JASPERSON
A rectangular bar in the center of the room greeted me as I walked in and seated myself at a high table and chair. An early Tuesday evening left the building somewhat bare. Besides my party of three, a few middle-aged men drank beer at the bar.
It’s difficult to see the Red Hen Taphouse if you’re not searching for it in the Gateway Crossing strip mall, tucked behind CVS on Highway 10 in Dilworth.
This 21+ sports bar opened in early November, and has a pretty good following thanks to the reputation of owner Dave Ericsson’s other successful establishments in Fargo-Moorhead. Erickson owns the Bulldog Tap and the soon to open Hennessy’s Irish Pub in Fargo, as well as Dave’s Southside Tap in Moorhead.
I’ve only been to Dave’s Southside Tap once, but the Red Hen has a similar set up – a bar as its focal point. The interior design is made up of mostly wood paneling on the walls and bar, but is a little more “old school” than Dave’s Southside. Nineteen TVs hang on the walls for broadcasting any sporting show or event a customer may suggest.
The atmosphere is laid back, and the room can easily be filled with conversations among friends. I picture the Red Hen Taphouse as a quiet bar where you always know there will be an open table to grab a beer with a friend, especially for Dilworth locals who find the location easily accessible.
My friends and I split a basket of lightly battered white cheddar cheese curds with marinara sauce for $7.49, and the amount was sufficient to satisfy us before the main dishes.
After perusing the beers on tap, there is a wide selection of Minnesota brewed beers, including Junkyard Hatchet Jack, Surly Bender, Surly Furious and Third Street 3 Way EPA. They also serve a Fargo Brewing Company beer
Happy hour runs Monday through Friday from 3 to 6 p.m., and nightly drink specials range from domestic pitchers for $6.50 on Tuesdays to Bloody Mary’s and Caesars for $3.50 on Saturdays.
The food is standard bar food, but a bit pricier. The menu offers flatbreads, salads, wraps and sandwiches. Everything on the
menu is under $11.
I ordered the spicy option: The inferno burger for $7.95. All wraps and sandwiches come with chips unless substituted for waffle fries, onion rings or a side salad for extra money. Other items ordered were the veg-head for $7.95 and walleye sandwich for $10.95.
The chips were over-cooked, unsalted and cold. However, the inferno burger was delicious, topped with onions, pepper jack cheese and jalapenos. The veg-head didn’t impress my friend who said, “I can’t even finish this burger, and usually I’ll keep eating a burger even if I’m full.” The best part of the walleye sandwich was the toasted bun for my other friend. If I return, I probably won’t order food and will opt to just stick with a drink.
The Red Hen Taphouse has plenty of seating around the bar and at tables for larger groups of people. It’s open Monday through Saturday 11 a.m. to 2 a.m. and Sunday 12 p.m. to 2 a.m.
Stop in to watch a game with endless free popcorn or have a drink and chat with friends.