Have you ever walked into a place a felt that you were meant to be there? Like, the moment you walked in, you were being called to a certain spot to sit down and that the people there were smiling and nodding at you as if you were “home”? Well, my husband and I had the pleasure of walking into a place just like that a few days ago and I haven’t been able to stop thinking about it since.
The Howling Dog Saloon in Luverne, MN is OFF THE CHARTS, my friends! From the word go, I knew this place was gonna’ be good. Sam and I have been wanting to try them out for quite some time and got the opportunity on Tuesday, May 23rd. We had some pretty important errands to tend to in Luverne and got them all taken care of. Some were fruitful and some were frustrating. By the end of running errands, Sam and I had built up and all-star appetite! Due to financial constraints, even though we were VERY hungry, we planned on going home and fixing ourselves something to eat there. That’s when I saw “IT”. The HOWLING DOG SALOON! Just sitting innocently at 909 S Kniss Ave. I made a split decision and we pulled in. We were tired… worn out, actually, and it was a 20 minute drive home. We were HUNGRY! By the time we drove home and put the effort into fixing something to eat, I would have been to tired to eat it! So I felt it would be well worth the money to pay to have food perpared and served to us. I had no idea what we were in for! From the moment we walked in, our experience was AMAZEBALLS!
Howling Dog Saloon is a classic bar and grill restaurant. It has a wrap around bar with high and low tables for seating. Then there is a drop down seating area that has 3 or 4 pool tables for patrons to enjoy. I believe I saw a few dart boards as well but I could be wrong. I hesitate to label the women who were working there as servers because they were more like trusted friends One of them smiled and came to take our drink order but it was so much more than that and more than I can describe in words here. Sam ordered a Pepsi and I a Sprite and water. When it came time to order Sam had the deluxe burger and I asked for the pork tenderloin sandwich. I forgot to ask for the combo basket as an appetizer so I ran up to our server “friend” and asked her to type that in as she was ringing in our meals. She even guided me on what was best for our four choices on the combo basket… tater tots, cheese curds, corn balls and brocolli cheese bites! Choices fit for royalty, AND ANGIOPLASTY! But Boy, Howdy, was it ever tasty! And dipped heavily in ranch dressing, my taste buds were in heaven. I couldn’t sit still. I was doing the happy dance right there in my high seated bar stool!! And then our meals came… I was already satisfied after the appetizer and still had to eat my pork tenderloin sandwich. Needless to say, I didn’t finish the sandwich, but it was definitely delicious! Sam’s burger was super fantastic as well.
I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the jukebox. It was a TouchTunes jukebox. It’s interactive with an app on your phone and you can play a “butt load” (that’s a technical term, by the way) of music and never leave the comfort of your seat. Can you tell I LOVED IT! I played Jimmy Buffet, Queen, The Beatles and our song (Journey “Faithfully”) Hey, what can I say, we are 80’s kids (well, I’m an 80’s kid. Sam is more of a 70’s kid and an 80’s kid/adult, but I digress) Playing the music on the jukebox made the place magical for us. The atmosphere, the staff, the food, it was the TRIFECTA! Sam and I had no idea that when we hastily pulled in an hour earlier this place would have such a profound impact on us.
What does this have to do with alcoholism or mental heath, you may be asking? A LOT, actually. In AA, we have a BIG warning acronym to look out for. It is H.A.L.T. It means Hungy Angry Lonely Tired. Both Sam and I had three of the four of those going on BIG TIME when we pulled in to the Howling Dog Saloon parking lot. We were both Hungry, Angry and very Tired. As I had mentioned, some of our errands had ended with frustration and we had been running around literally all day long. An argument can be made for me being lonely as well. Even though I was with the “love monkey of my soul”, I was lonely for my Higher Power. I was not feeling very close to God at the moment was pulled into the parking lot. I was so overwhelmed with all of the information I had received from the places we had been, I was processing a “butt ton” (another technical term, and yes, butt ton is MORE than butt load!) of information. Some was good, some was not so good. For some odd reason, I did not feel like I was processing the information with God at the center of everything. So for me, anyway, I had the entire H.A.L.T. thing going on. This acronym can be used in the mental health realm as well. When these four things are present at the same time, you MUST take action to satisfy them or you are heading for a mighty crash! But after walking into the Howling Dog Saloon, H.A.L.T. was washed away pretty quickly. Hungry was taken care of with the yummy food. Angry was taken care of by the amazing staff, friendly patrons, fun jukebox and overall atmosphere (Sam promised me a round of pool next time; he didn’t wanna get beat this time and we were both just too tired anyway) Lonely was taken down because once my mind cleared, my heart opened back up and of course God was right there where I had left Him! Tired was taken care of (briefly) with the burst of energy and excitement Sam and I both felt and discovering such and diamond in the rough. Of course as soon as we got home we both laid down and took a quick nap. What could have been a disastrous event if we would have driven home and tried to handle things on our own, turned into a wonderful experience and allowed us to find a new “favorite spot”.
So, there you have it, my dear friends. I used to say, “My dogs are howlin’!” when I was a server at TGI Fridays and I worked a double shift. Now I get to look foward to going back to my new “favorite spot”, the Howling Dog Saloon at 909 S Kniss Ave in Luverne, MN. Stop by and see them. I bet the magic happens for you as well! Be sure to play the jukebox! It ROCKS! Here is their Facebook page link: https://www.facebook.com/people/Howling-Dog-Saloon/100057365652796/
WHAT A LIFE!