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Denizen Hall – Play With Your Food!

Denizen Hall is located in one of the very few heritage buildings that Edmonton has left standing at the corner of 103 avenue and 103 street.  Formerly the Richelieu Pub, it has been open since 1904 and provided live music, kegs and whiskey bottles to the growing and newly incorporated City of Edmonton.

When I used to live in a different city and travel to Edmonton on the Greyhound bus as a teenager, this place scared the crap out of me, not going to lie! It took me a while to be able to convince my Husband that we should really go and visit because I have heard a lot of good things about this space.  I am sure I mentioned the word “Arcade” but apparently he didn’t hear that part!

The Grand Hotel has been completely re-vamped and is now home to “Denizen Hall” and is again providing live music, kegs and classic arcade and pinball machines to the people of Edmonton.

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Chael MacDonald is the Consulting Chef for Denizen Hall and he has a wonderful variety of comfort pub fare to offer with some great brews on tap to give you the fuel to beat that arcade game in the back! Check out their menu HERE.

The decor is very interesting.  There is a beautiful mural painted on the ceilings, some taxidermy on the walls, cheezy black velvet paintings in the live music area and the rustic look of wooden floors and tables.

Here is the only pub that I know of that you can play with your food; order some great comfort food and perch it on a table beside you, near your favorite arcade game and take bites between rounds.  On second thought, that delicious food will get cold… Eat first, then play pinball!

They have a great selection of beer on tap, unfortunately my memory is not that great and they didn’t have a liquor menu.  They do have ShockTop though, and that was all that mattered.  The menus are served on clipboards and a little worse for wear, but still legible.  The food has a “Southern Style” twist to it. Our Server did not introduce herself, so I did not get a name.

My husband had the “Beer and Cheese” soup for a starter and then the “Pulled Pork Sammich” as his main.  I had the Bison Burger with grilled veggies and grits.

The Beer and Cheese soup was pretty phenomenal.  My Husband was raving about it and let me have a taste.  Very thick and creamy and flavorful.  The garlic toast that they served with it was grilled, it was amazing!  It reminded me of my favorite restaurant as a child, the same smell and flavor as “Mr. Mike’s”.

The Pulled Pork Sammich was great for flavor, but unfortunately the pork was mushy and overcooked. My Husband really enjoyed the BBQ sauce that they used.  The Ketchup for his hand cut fries was also house made and tasty.

My Bison Burger with cheese and bacon was pretty wonderful.  The patty was not a frozen version and the bun had been buttered and grilled just like the garlic toast that came with the soup.  The veggies and fixings on the burger were fresh and delicious, the cheese was real and the bacon was nice and thick.  It was a great burger experience for me!  The grilled veggies were fantastic and flavorful.  The veggies were just right, not overcooked and not too crispy.

This was my first experience with “Grits“.  I am still on the fence.  Our Server explained that it is kind of like porridge and will take on the flavor of what ever they are cooked with.  This version had cheese and sounded good so I decided to give it at try.  It is a corn based porridge dish.  It was okay but I’m not sure that I would order it with a burger again, it might be good with the fried chicken.  Portion sizes are pretty large here.  I did not manage to finish my whole meal.

After I finished my veggies, I was allowed to go and play!  They have about 15 games for you to play in the back of the space.  It is a mixture of pinball, classic arcade, (Centipede, Donkey Kong, Ms Pacman, Marvel vs Capcom, Tekken etc.) a couple of shooters, some air hockey and Foosball.  They have my favorite game of all time “House of the Dead” and that is all I really cared about!  The arcade runs on tokens only.  There is a bank machine to get cash ($2.50 service charge) and another machine to convert your cash to tokens.  The tokens go fast, but it is SO much fun to have the opportunity to play those games again.

Overall, the food was pretty great, the atmosphere was comfortable, the service was good and the arcade games were in amazing condition.  We will be back to play with our food again soon!

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