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Put the napkin in your lap and pull up to the table with Eau Claire's Hungry Italian as he provides the area's only true Restaurant Review.  Don't have another family night ruined by poor service.  Find the perfect spot to take that special online someone on the third date that has romance commingled with value.  

EATING ESTABLISHMENT   The District

DINING DATE   Wednesday August 26, 2020

 

MEAL TIME     Dinner

ATTENDEES IN PARTY   2 adults

TOTAL BILL  - $39

Ordered   Spicy Cheese Curds and Cole Slaw Burger

 

ENTREE 

Venturing out to an actual dining room has been a limited experience in the last several months for many, the Hungry Italian included.  That makes this opportunity to try out The District in Downtown Eau Claire a little more special than usual. The Hungry Italian tied on the bib with Mrs. Hungry Italian for a no-frills date night on a lovely late August evening.

UWEC students were arriving back into town and with a mixture of locals, downtown was lively with activity as people moved about.

The District has established across from the Confluence in a location that had been a graveyard for previous restaurateurs.  However, none of them had the benefit that The District does, in that until recently this was a hidden corner.  Now with not only the Pablo, but the entire Haymarket Square, footbridge and overall increase in boots on the ground this is now a desirable spot.  The District also got off to an inauspicious start a few years ago when it basically knocked over another local business. 

See, the name “The District” was actually already in use.  By a popular arcade and gaming business located a block away. It was a brazen and rather egotistical decision.  In the end, the arcade changed its name and has since moved onto London Road as Eau Claire Games & Arcade. The name changes are actually better for each as the arcade now has an even better suited name and The District was able to stay.

On to the location.  Its rather small, with a multi-level layout that fits the urban setting.  Upon entering there is a hostess stand and a layout of a few tables and booths on the first floor. 

 

Running along Graham Street is wall to ceiling windows that look as those they could be used as slide windows but I’ve yet to see the District do that (like the nearby Firehouse) so the Hungry Italian is not sure if they are operational like that.  The windows give a clear view to The Pablo and street traffic.

A two step climb brings one to the second level which features a long and narrow bar along with a couple other seats.

Masks aren’t required of diners but all staff have them on continuously.  Our server on this evening was an affable gentleman who took our drink and appetizer order and returned shortly thereafter for the entrée selections.  When people are seated their tables are wiped off and utensils provided in a small paper bag which minimizes the amount of human touch they’ve had after cleaning.

 

As for the food, the spicy curbs are exactly that…spicy.  There is definitely more of a kick than one may expect as the term “spicy” gets overplayed and has been tempered by restaurants over the years.  These are very tasty but if you’re expecting the tameness of what fast food places claim is “spicy” you’ll be in pain with these.

 

The curds are of the popcorn variety and coated in a deliciously crunchy coating.

The Hungry Italian ordered the Slaw Burger as the main course.  This is a ½ pound burger covered in a crispy cole slaw snuggled between what appeared to either be a potato bun or a brioche made with extra eggs.  Regardless, the bun was outstanding.  Flavorful, moist and buttery.

 

The filling was also good.  The burger was tasty and the addition of the slaw kicked it up a notch.

Overall, a good selection and one the Hungry Italian would get again.

 

The District has a vibrant atmosphere and it can’t be forgotten that it does fill an under-served need in downtown.  That of being an affordable, bar/grill sit down restaurant.  While there are a few eateries in the few blocks that constitute downtown, there just aren’t places like this and it’s a shame. Its only worse now that the pandemic has put many on the shelf (i.e.:  The Plus). 

 

SECOND HELPING 

The Hungry Italian plans to get back to this place. Likely won’t order the spicy curds and would go with the regular ones next time.

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