Hazelwood Food + Drink (Bloomington, MN)

I do a lot of flying for both work and pleasure, and things generally go pretty smoothly. However, every once in a while I do have an event that reminds me how tightly woven and highly-subscribed our air transportation system is when something goes more than a little off. After a nice morning workout at my hotel in Minneapolis, I hopped on the light rail, got to the airport, and was about to board my 9am flight… “Your connecting flight’s been canceled. We’re going to have to rebook you.” The next flight they could get me was… 6pm the next day. Well, I’ve certainly had worse things happen than a spare day and a half in the Twin Cities. I spent most of it hanging around with friends out in Chanhassen, but this also gave me a chance to wander around Bloomington, MN looking for a righteous Sunday brunch before my flight, and that’s how I found Hazelwood Food + Drink.

Hazelwood is a Twin Cities smaller chain (other locations include St Louis Park and Tonka Bay), and their Bloomington location is located just east of the Mall of America in the relatively new cluster of hotels, just SE of the intersection of 24th and Lindau. It’s a very nice location: a large, central bar, a very spacious and airy main dining room with views into the mostly-open kitchen, and one of the better outdoor patios for the area (even if the view is essentially the Eastern Parking Garage from the Mall). Being there right as the opened, I easily scored a nice high top table with good views by the kitchen, and started poring over the menu. The brunch menu at Hazelwood is basically modern comfort food. On the breakfast side, a half dozen omelets and breakfast combos, a breakfast burger (which unfortunately wasn’t available on my visit, it looked intriguing on the menu), hash, and a biscuits and gravy. On the lunch end of the menu, mostly burgers, bowls, salads, and in-house wood-fired pizza. I ended up sticking strictly with breakfast, going for a Bloody Mary and the Chicken Biscuits and Gravy.

While waiting for my main course, I enjoyed Hazelwood’s take on a Bloody Mary, made with their rather spicy house mix, amped up with a pepper-infused vodka, and garnished up with some pickled vegetables and… two strips of candied bacon. Tasty and enjoyable, and while starting to flirt with the “ridiculously-garnish Bloody Mary” trend, not really infringing too badly; the underlying house mix was flavorful, and the drink quite enjoyable.

The main course was their “Chicken Biscuit and Gravy”. This was a nicely done breaded boneless chicken breast (moist inside, good breading that didn’t overwhelm things), and the biscuit itself was quite competently done with a good crumb to it. The whole mess was topped with a rich and not-too-salty sausage gravy and a sunny-side egg, and… two more strips of the same candied bacon (it was almost a gag at Hazelwood, seeing that with just two menu items ordered, I ended up with four strips candied bacon). But despite the excessive garnish, this was a delicious dish, and one of the better chicken and biscuit combinations I’ve had since the excellent “Winona” I reviewed at Denver Biscuit Co in 2019.

Overall, I liked Hazelwood. This was a solid, enjoyable brunch in a pleasant dining room. I’d love to come back and check out their burgers (which have gotten some of the better ratings in the Twin Cities). I’m sure they’ll serve up one with some candied bacon…

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