Ignore this Irish pub at your own peril.
I say this because I did. And abruptly suffered the consequences.
About a month ago, I wrote a cover story on Wayzata’s restaurant growth spurt, particularly in the past year or so, when five new restaurants cropped up.
Attached to that story was a short guide: 9 restaurants to try in Wayzata. The list included all five new eateries, plus a few others — 6Smith, Cov, Gianni’s and Sushi Fix — along with a little commentary about each place.
What the list did not include was McCormick’s Irish Pub & Restaurant (331 Broadway Av. S., Wayzata).
And McCormick’s loyal fans went berserk.
Keep in mind that the list stated “9 restaurants to try” — not “the very best 9 restaurants in all of Wayzata” or even “the top 9 restaurants,” though many referenced it as such.
Nonetheless, the regulars of McCormick’s were inspired to rev up their computers and pick up their phones to beseech me — some politely, some not so much.
I got upward of 30 e-mails on the topic. Thirty! I wouldn’t get 30 e-mails if I announced that downtown Wayzata was shuttering altogether.
But then again, nothing gets people excited like leaving something off a list.
It soon became clear that to these people in Wayzata, McCormick’s was much more than a restaurant. It was an old friend. A meeting place. A community.
“My wife and I are writing to express our extreme disappointment,” one man wrote.
“It deserved to be included,” another lamented.
“Slap in the face,” another retorted — before kindly wishing me happy holidays.
One woman implored me to “give the whole story.” One man straight-up thanked me for leaving it off because “it’s too crowded already.”
The staff and ambience were lauded over and over. Specific dishes were discussed in detail with superlatives such as “best in town!” and “best in the region!” tossed around lavishly. Specials and portion sizes were given their nod as well. Even the reservation policy was noted for the record.
I should include that I got a few e-mails about other restaurants, too, such as the District Fresh Kitchen + Bar and Wayzata Bar & Grill, but not to the same extent as I did for McCormick’s.
I received so much feedback about McCormick’s that I was forced to create a pre-written response and save it in a Microsoft Word document just to manage my time. And even after being told that “this article was mostly about the new wave of restaurants in the area, and unfortunately, we didn’t have the space to list all other restaurants” — many responded again.
It was unconscionable to many that McCormick’s would be excluded.
As a man named Don wrote, “McCormick’s IS Wayzata to many of us.”
So, I put on my trusty journalist hat (just kidding, it’s a regular stocking cap) and decided to go check it out for myself — anonymously, of course.
It being December, I was first pleased by the underground parking.
But would it be as warm, wonderful, welcoming, exemplary, cozy, yummy, lively, friendly, generous, outstanding, consistent, popular, diverse, delicious and special as my readers described it?
With snow fresh on the ground, I’ll admit, McCormick’s looked straight out of a small town in a movie. Evergreen boughs were draped along the window tops. Wreaths were hung. Bright red bows popped through the sky’s swath of gray.
Inside, despite it being the middle of the day, the bar bustled. A host welcomed us cheerily. The bartender, too, promptly bringing us waters and citing those famous specials. The inside of the restaurant was decorated for the holidays, too, with twinkling lights and more greenery and bows. Flags, depicting various teams and Guinness beer — which was poured with expert technique, by the way — were strung around the red ceiling and walls. A stunning antique back bar boasted bottles aplenty and a wooden clock. Golf was on TV. A couple of men, sitting solo at separate tables, talked to each other a yard or two away. The dining room on the other side of the establishment exuded the same stately feel — complete with a fireplace, chandelier and tall windows.
I would offer aloud, on my own volition, an adjective I hadn’t yet heard to describe the place: charming.
As for the food? It was solid — and I mean that as a compliment. The French fries were crispy. The wings were meaty and perfectly fried, although I would have liked a little more sauce than the few teaspoons beneath. The burrata was delightful. The shishito peppers, nicely charred.
The bartender was friendly and helpful and quick, and didn’t even appear to judge us when we darted around the restaurant, taking photos and videos of the space like true millennials.
All and all, I left full and satisfied and with a doggie bag full of leftovers.
So, the question this meandering article has been leading to:
Was I wrong?
Should I have included McCormick’s on my list, even if it was just noting “restaurants to try” and not “the very best restaurants of all time” and really had nothing to do with the crux of the story?
Should I swallow my pride and acknowledge publicly that McCormick’s is a fixture of downtown Wayzata and not just a “restaurant to try” but a fine establishment with crispy fries and cold beer and a kind wait staff?
WAS?? I?? WRONG????
Maybe I was.
And maybe, just maybe, I’ll be back to McCormick’s again sometime.