I did a less than favorable review for the burgers at JL Beers in Fargo last year (see that entry here) and I heard from a couple people who suggested that I try a place called Three Lyons Pub, an English Pub on the West side of Fargo. (Actually, I don't know where Fargo ends and West Fargo begins.) I had been out in Western North Dakota for a couple days and took a direct hit to my windshield from a rock that was kicked up by a truck in front of me. A major crack developed in my windshield, so I made an appointment at a Safelite Glass location in Fargo to get it repaired. I had some time to kill before I could get my car in and since it wasn't far away from Safelite Glass, I decided to go to Three Lyons to get a burger for lunch.
Three Lyons Pub is located in a strip mall on the south side of 13th Ave. E. in West Fargo (see map). The owner, Blair Thoreson, opened the doors of the place in 2005. Thoreson wears many hats - not only is he the owner of the Three Lyons Pub, he is also a medical program writer for Microsoft in Fargo (the largest Microsoft campus outside of the Seattle area is located in Fargo), and he has also served the Fargo area as a North Dakota state representative since 1998. Because he is so busy with other endeavors, Kent Larsen runs the day-to-day operation for Three Lyons Pub. He's helped out by Michael Anderson who runs the kitchen, and Liz Swanson and Ryan Ellingson who co-manage the bar area.
I was a little apprehensive when I saw the exterior of Three Lyons Pub. As my old neighbor, George, used to say about some Irish pubs, "They put up a couple Irish flags in a strip mall building and call it an Irish Pub." I was afraid that Three Lyons may fall under that description, only as an English Pub in this case. But I was pleasantly surprised when I entered to find a spacious dining area with high wooden tables with sturdy metal high back chairs, a long wooden bar to the left and a homey, pub style decor down to the pictures of Winston Churchill on the walls. Ornate antique style lamps hung from the ceiling over the bar area. The back wall was made of brick and featured three flat screen televisions. In fact, there were flat screen televisions located throughout the place.
I had my pick of seats in the place as it was after the lunch rush, so I just decided to sit up at the bar. One of the young ladies working the bar came over with a food menu and asked if I wanted anything to drink. Since really all I had left that particular day was to get my windshield fixed, I ordered a pint of Smithwick's, one of nearly 20 beers Three Lyons has on tap. Their beer menu is extensive with a number of domestic, import, craft brews, and cider beers available. I've never been a big fan of the cider style beers, but they had six different ones to choose from at Three Lyons.
Although I was told to try the burger at Three Lyons, they had a very interesting menu that included a dozen appetizers, three soups - including a corned beef and cabbage soup that sounded interesting to me, salads, sandwiches and a bevy of main entrees called "Her Majesty's Finest" which included Wellington Sliders - three small beef Wellington pastry puffs served with garlic mashed potatoes and Guinness beer gravy; Pasties - two puff pastry shells filled with ground beef with rutabagas and onions; Bangers and Mash - two pork sausages served with the Guinness gravy and garlic mashed potatoes; and a Shepherd's Pie - ground beef, carrots, onions and celery topped with garlic mashed potatoes and cheddar cheese. The beef Wellington pastry puffs sounded very interesting to me.
They also had a hot beef or hot turkey sandwich that was paired with garlic mashed potatoes and topped off with the Guinness gravy. That actually sounded good to me - after a week of travel and eating all different types of food, some comfort food would have been welcome at that point. They also had a London Broil sandwich featuring thin slices of steak on a French bread bun with your choice of two toppings that included sauteed mushrooms, sauteed onions and peppers, horseradish sauce, and jalapenos. One other interesting sandwich was the Messy Jessy - pulled pieces of turkey topped with a homemade barbecue sauce, cheddar cheese and your choice of either pickles or jalapenos. But, nope, I was there for a burger.
And their burger menu was rather interesting, as well. You can get a regular hamburger or a turkey burger and build your own by adding cheese, veggies, bacon, etc. But they also had a number of "signature" burgers including the "Klaus" - a burger with sauteed onions, jalapenos, bacon and cheddar cheese (jalapenos were very prevalent on many items on Three Lyons menu); the "Helle" - topped with, once again, jalapenos, bacon, pepperjack cheese and then sprinkled with the hot Chinese Sriracha sauce; the "Reu-burger" which wasn't a burger at all, but featured grilled corned beef and sauerkraut with Swiss cheese and 1000 Island dressing. They had a blue cheese/bacon burger, a burger with American cheese and barbecue sauce, and a patty melt burger.
But the burger that caught my eye was the Mushroom Swiss cheese burger. When the bartender asked me what I wanted to order, that's what I told her I wanted. Except I also asked if I could get some bacon on the burger, as well. For a dollar upcharge, she said it would be no problem. Kettle potato chips come with the sandwich, but she told me for a small upcharge I could get a side of fries with a side of the Guinness gravy. I quickly signed up for that.
It wasn't that long of a wait for the burger and fries to come out. The burger patty was covered with Swiss cheese and an ample amount of mushrooms - canned, not fresh - and sat on the bacon. The bun was big and fluffy, but it was a little dry and didn't really add much to the overall taste of the burger. While the burger was good, I couldn't call it outstanding. The bacon, cheese and mushrooms helped zip up the taste of the beef which was average, at best.
The fries were also average, but the Guinness gravy was worth the price of admission. Thick, savory and flavorful, it was better than dipping the fries in ketchup. I even dipped the burger in the gravy for a couple bites. The Guinness gravy was outstanding.
While the burger at Three Lyons was all right, I don't know if it was better than the one I had last year just down the street at JL Beers. It seemed to be a bit more flavorful, but still not one that I'd deem as excellent. But for pub fare, the burger was fine. As was the service from my bartender. Three Lyons Pub is a nice little place with a pretty good - but not outstanding - burger. If I were to make it back at some point, I'd want to try some of their more traditional English fare.