A few years ago, Leslie Bock, the eccentric owner of Psycho Suzi’s Motor Lounge, Donny Dirk’s Zombie Den and Uptown tattoo shop Saint Sabrina’s, got the itch to take up golf. So she sought to join a country club to learn golf from its private instructor. But her application was denied.
“They said they reject people because of two reasons: the inability to afford it and the quality of your character,” Bock said. “Then I decided that wasn’t that cool. I was very confused and didn’t really know what that meant.”
The snub spurred the concept for Betty Danger’s — her new “country club on crack” on the site of the original Psycho Suzi’s in northeast Minneapolis. The 200-seat restaurant and bar is like a bizarro Bearpath Golf & Country Club for the 99 percent.
“I don’t think a certain group of people necessarily needs to own preppy, or education or own a lot of the things that come with that life,” Bock said. “Ours is better because we have plastic animals and vertically revolving patios and pink fireplaces.”
That “vertically revolving patio” is actually a 65-foot Ferris wheel, which looms over the 19,000-square-foot plot. The plastic animals line an outdoor mini golf course. Dubbed the Monetary Correction Golf Course, its 8½ holes follow a narrative Bock dreamed up, which (spoiler alert) ends with a middle-class victory.
“I don’t want to call it art, because it’s not that great,” she explained. “But it’s interpretive and I want people to figure it out for themselves. It asks more questions than it answers. I hope people will see it as thought-provoking, but if they see it as just playing golf, that’s fine. Have some beer, play some golf, enjoy the sunshine.”
Neither the links nor the carnival-style attraction will open until spring, but once the Ferris wheel is rewired it will run year-round with winter riders offered hot drinks and blankets.
For now, guests can settle into the astro-turfed four-season front porch billed as the Garden Room, the 26-seat bar or the main dining room, aka the Library, which has a raised section lined with intentionally tacky equestrian wallpaper. Servers in prep-school attire plop menus on doily-ornamented tables. Taxidermy animal heads preside over the comfortably kitschy room.
The “Mexampton” food is a whimsical mashup of Mexican cuisine and assorted comfort dishes, ranging from jalapeño mac ’n’ cheese to grilled and stuffed tortilla sandwiches. Entrees (about $10-$15) such as Edward’s Lasagna — a pasta-stacked brick of braised beef and cheesy excess — certainly throw weight-loss resolutions under the golf cart. The fortifying Minne-Mex Pot Pie is a pastry-capped mess of braised chicken, vegetables and a thick, rich gravy. The drinks list features a handful of margaritas, including the Dartmouth with muddled fresno peppers and cucumber.
Come warmer weather, a Tiki Tram will shuttle bargoers between Betty’s, Psycho Suzi’s and Donny Dirk’s for a buck. Never mind taproom-speckled northeast Minneapolis — this swath of the Mill City is now Bock Land.
“There’s a lot of internal pressure for me personally,” she said when asked about trying to outdo herself. “If I ever get crazy enough to do another project, which I’m not going to, somebody should shoot me.”
Betty Danger’s Country Club
Where: 2501 NE. Marshall St., Mpls.