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Auntie Mae’s Cafe East

12 Jan

I find that American diner food can be really hit or miss. Since most of the dishes served at these places are simple comfort foods it all comes down to how they are prepared and presented that really makes a difference between a mediocre meal and a delightful taste of Americana.

Egg Salad with Chicken

Egg Salad with Chicken Sandwich

Auntie Mae’s Cafe, originally opened up at Central and Tyler several years ago and recently they expanded to an eastside location tucked away on the northeast corner of Harry and Webb. The new location was the home of a previous diner, so not many changes were needed outside or in. The interior is done up in classic 50s style with vinyl red and white booths. Assorted memorabilia adorn the walls reminding you of the good ole days. The only thing that seems out of place are the flat screen TVs, one of which appeared to play a continuous loop of  Auntie Mae’s commercials, just in case you needed further reinforcement to continue your dining experience here.

The menu at Auntie Mae’s is a greatest hits of classic diner food. There are breakfast, lunch, and dinner dishes from pancakes to burgers to chicken fried steak. They even sneaked a few salads onto the menu for those looking for something a bit lighter. Although their specialties are a cinnamon roll the size of a small child and chicken fried steak, after our holiday feasting we were looking for something not quite as heavy on our visit. They had several intriguing sandwiches and we ending up ordering a chicken salad sandwich and Michael’s Caramel Glazed Turkey.

Caramel Glazed Turkey Sandwich

Caramel Glazed Turkey Sandwich

The restaurant appeared to be moderately busy on this particular Sunday afternoon, but we ended up waiting nearly 45 minutes for our food to appear. Steph reported that the chicken salad was more like egg salad with some chicken mixed in. There was also a lack of grapes in the salad, which were mentioned on the menu description. While the sandwich wasn’t a total disaster, it wasn’t anything we would want to order again. My caramel glazed turkey sandwich was underwhelming as well. It was just chopped turkey with some shredded cheese and a small bit of caramelized onion. The single lettuce leaf and raw white onion on the side was a feeble attempt at a garnish I guess. The turkey was moist and flavorful, but it was not enough to save this sandwich from mediocrity. We both received large baskets of fries with our sandwiches, but for some reason only half of them were crispy. Those that were properly cooked were nice thick cut fries. Our sons mac and cheese looked and tasted very similar to something that came out of a box. One person in our group did order the chicken fried steak and reported that it was good. The portion sizes are large at Auntie Mae’s so there will be plenty of food to go around.

The long wait time and mediocre food were quite disappointing, but perhaps were ordered the wrong items. Maybe we needed to get a burger, or pancakes or one of the colossal cinnamon rolls, but after our first experience it will be hard to go back anytime soon. They did help us recover a toy that had fallen between the booths, so they get some points for customer service.


Auntie Mae's Cafe East on Urbanspoon

Dempsey’s Burger Pub

28 Dec

Dempsey’s Burger Pub is Wichita’s newest addition to the upscale hamburger restaurant category. For those familiar with Lawrence, Dempsey’s is an offshoot of the popular restaurant of the same name there. The Wichita location is part of the compact Clifton Square shopping center, which means parking can be tricky during peak hours.

Like most of the buildings in Clifton Square, Dempsey’s is small, but does offer two levels of dining. The open kitchen is located on the top level with a few tables, while the bar is downstairs with additional seating.

Mushroom Swiss Burger with Sweet Potato Fries

Mushroom Swiss Burger with Sweet Potato Fries

The menu features all things burgers and not just ones made out of beef. Besides offering mushroom swiss, fried egg, or pepper hamburgers, there is salmon, portabella mushroom, and even a quinoa patty that sounded like it wouldn’t be too bad. No upscale burger joint would be complete without the mandatory Kobe beef burger of which Dempsey’s has two. In my opinion “Kobe beef” is just a reason to add another dollar or two to the price. It’s not real Kobe beef from Japan and probably just comes from US raised Wagyu cattle, so there is really not going to be a huge taste difference especially in ground form. French fries are sold separately from the burgers and come with your choice of several different house made dipping sauces. Since nothing goes better with a hamburger than a cold beer, Dempsey’s offers a very good selection of craft beers both on tap and in bottles.

We visited during a fairly busy lunch time crowd, but were promptly seated. Unfortunately we were forgotten for  about ten minutes before a waitress came over to take our order. There seemed to be quite a bit of chaos amongst the servers and staff. I noticed several orders that were sent back to the kitchen. We had plenty of time to decide on what we wanted to eat and drink. I went with the mushroom swiss, while my mom had the bleu burger. We also got a side order of sweet potato fries. As for beer, I went with Warbeard Red, a local offering from Walnut River that is not available at many places in town.

So Many Sauces

So Many Sauces

Both of our burgers were ordered medium rare, which I typically am not afraid to do at a nicer place because of the hopefully better quality of meat and the fact that usually burgers are overcooked anyway. I was very pleased to see our large meat disks were cooked to perfection, with a nice pink center. The mushroom swiss burger came with generous amounts of cheese, bacon, and mushrooms piled onto a thick, half pound patty. The only complaint is that the beef was just a touch under-seasoned, but that did not keep this from being a very good burger.

Evidence of a Properly Cooked Burger

Evidence of a Properly Cooked Burger

The bleu burger was solid as well. It came with plenty of melted bleu cheese, bacon, and sauteed onions. At $8.50 and $9 dollars these burgers are on the high end, especially not coming with any side, but they are large and will easily satisfy most appetites. The sweet potatoes fries were a good effort, but nothing exceptional. As for the various dipping sauces, my favorites were the chili powder based ketchup, and the truffle cream. Our waitress was very apologetic about our wait and ended up comping our beers, thus redeeming the customer service experience somewhat.

We tried Dempsey’s just two weeks after they had opened, so I understand the rough service to some extent. Hopefully they will get their issues figured out, because if there is one thing Wichitans will not tolerate it’s poor service. Dempsey’s serves up very good burgers and should be given a try by all those discerning burgerphiles out there.

Dempsey's Burger Pub on Urbanspoon

YOLO Grill

8 Aug

There are many restaurants in town to get a burger and fries, so in order to be successful,  an establishment has to set itself apart from the others. Keeping the menu simple and not cutting many corners are two easy ways to accomplish this in my opinion. YOLO (You Only Live Once) Grill is just a simple restaurant making simple food, but they know how to do it right.

YOLO is located on West St. just north of Central in an old Sonic building. It’s conveniently painted a lovely shade of fluorescent green just in case you are having trouble finding it. There isn’t much seating inside the small eatery, so be prepared to wait for a seat during the peak lunchtime hour. The menu is pretty straightforward, but does offer some variety. The backbone of the food offerings are their hamburgers and they have several to choose from.

The YOLO burger with Fried Egg

The YOLO burger with Fried Egg

You can have your simple bacon and cheese or up the ante with a fried egg, pulled pork, hot links, or avocado. There are also fish and chips, a BLT, chicken strips, a lighter grilled chicken wrap, and a reuben sandwich. Sides include delicious fried treats such as fries, O-rings, okra, and pickles. For those preparing for an eating contest or just looking for a challenge, they offer “The Tombstone”, a six patty monster burger.

Luckily we visited YOLO on a Saturday, when the reuben is offered, so I went with it. My sister opted for a cheeseburger with a fried egg, and my son got a grilled hot dog although he was eyeing the basket of suckers on the counter intently.

As an aficionado of Reuben sandwiches, I was eager to sample YOLO’s offering as they make their own corned beef. I am rather familiar with corning beef and was impressed that a restaurant is willing to take the extra time to do this.

Reuben Perfection

Reuben Perfection

Piled high with thick cut corned beef, sauerkraut, swiss cheese, and dressing it tasted like everything you could hope for in a reuben. The tender, flavorful corned beef and indulgent amounts of melted swiss made this one of the best reubens I have ever had.  My only complaint was that the bread wasn’t the traditional rye, but I am willing to overlook this. The basic thick cut fries that came with my meal were perfectly cooked and well seasoned.

The single patty hamburger was a solid effort, that was highlighted by the gently charred crust of the meat disk. YOLO uses an open flame grill for cooking so they can impart that flavor onto the meat as well as keep the grease in check. The burger was a touch overdone, but nothing to really complain about. The fried egg added a little flair to the basic burger.

My son seemed to enjoy his ketchup laden hot dog and fries. When ordering a hot dog you have the option of having it grilled or fried, while we went with the grilled version, I can imagine you can’t go wrong with a deep fried hot dog.

I was happy to see the pride that goes into the food at YOLO. While the menu offerings are nothing new to Wichita, if you like American comfort food done right this is a great place to check out.


Yolo Grill on Urbanspoon

Food Trucks at the Fountain

25 Jul

If you have always wanted to sample some of Wichita’s most popular food trucks, keep in mind the last Sunday of each month. On this day several trucks gather at the Water Walk Fountain in downtown to serve up lunch from 11:30 to 2:30.

The owners of the Flying Stove are responsible for “Food Trucks at the Fountain”, so their truck is a constant each month. There are several other trucks that round out the offerings and provide plenty of options. On our visit B. S. Sandwich Press, Park-n-Pork BBQ, The Waffle Wagon, Brick House BBQ, and Let’m Eat Brats were serving as well.

When we pulled into the parking lot nearest the food trailers it seemed that there was some sort of problem. Apparently in a frenzied rush to order caramelized waffles from the Waffle Wagon, people had simply forgotten how to use a parking lot properly. I present to you Exhibit A:

Massive Parking Lot Fail

Massive Parking Lot Fail

Once out of our car we walked up and down the row of trailers, scouting out the menus. Steph went with a Cobb salad sandwich and the famous crack-laced truffle fries from The Flying Stove. After much deliberation I went with a Carolina style pulled pork sandwich and green beans from Park-n-Pork. There was a good crowd even at 1:30, so each truck had decent queues for both ordering and picking up food.

Cobb Salad Sandwich from Flying Stove

Cobb Salad Sandwich from Flying Stove

The Cobb salad sandwich was filled with a generous serving of lemony grilled chicken, tomatoes, avocados, blue cheese, egg, lettuce, and dressing. The chicken, while somewhat overcooked, had very good flavor. The rest of the ingredients worked as well together as in a traditional Cobb salad. I was most impressed with the bun. Laden with this many ingredients it is not uncommon for buns to suffer CBF(Catastrophic Bun Failure) and render themselves a wet mass of mess, but this one held strong. The truffle fries were as delicious as usual. There is certainly no need for ketchup with these perfectly seasoned fried potatoes.

Carolina-Style Pork Sandwich

Carolina-Style Pork Sandwich

My pork sandwich featured a decent amount of pulled pork, a vinegar based BBQ sauce, and coleslaw. I was happy to see that despite sitting in a warming tray for the last several hours the pork was still fairly moist, which is no small feat. The pork had a nice smoke flavor and good rub as well. Overall I liked the sandwich, but I thought there was too much coleslaw overpowering the pork and sauce. The spicy green beans were a disappointment because they were canned and it was such a meager serving. The peppers and garlic provided a good kick, but were unable to save the bits of bean. I think if fresh or even frozen beans had been used this would have been a tasty side dish. For dessert we were hoping to get a caramelized waffle from the Waffle Wagon, but unfortunately that had sold out by then.

I was glad to see that the event was so popular, but the large crowds meant longer waits and food that started running out towards the end. Food Trucks at the Fountain is a good way to scope out the various food trucks that continue to pop up over town.

Bill’s Charcoal Grill

26 Mar

In theory the hamburger is simple, a disk of meat, a few condiments, some toppings, and a bread based cover are all that is necessary. Yet I am always surprised how restaurants find ways to screw up this pure Americana dish. The most egregious error is when restaurants opt for frozen pre-made patties and then proceed to cook the hell out of them. A burger patty should be handled with care and not require a pick axe to remove it from a frozen stack. If the aforementioned burger atrocity strikes a chord with you as well, then you will find a safe haven at Bill’s Charcoal Grill.

The Classic Cheeseburger with Sweet Potato Fries

The Classic Cheeseburger with Sweet Potato Fries

Located on the corner of 29th and Arkansas, this simple eatery knows how to make a reasonable hamburger. The new owners of Bill’s spruced up the interior and made a few minor changes, but the original concept has remained the same. Besides the typical burger options, a few pasta, seafood, and steak dishes are offered now. Side dishes include fries, sweet potato fries, O-rings, and baked beans. A condiment/topping bar is located next to the counter, so you can add all the veggies you desire. The food is reasonably priced with the basic burger and side costing around $5.

On our visit Steph tried the basic cheeseburger with sweet potato fries and I went with the exotic California burger and a side of O-rings. I was pleased and somewhat apprehensive when we were asked how we wanted the burgers cooked. Too many times I have been deceived by restaurants promising to cook burgers to order, only to discover that everything comes out well done. I know in this age of ecoli, you must be very careful when dealing with ground meat, but with proper handling and quality meat, cooking a hamburger to medium doneness is safe and acceptable.

The California in All Its Glory

The California in All Its Glory

I was quite impressed with the California burger. With the first bite I noticed that several of the qualifications for an acceptable hamburger were met; a toasted bun, plenty of melted cheese, and a juicy meat disk. Besides cheese the California comes with bacon, avocado, and a split hot link for good measure. While the hotlink was good, it provided almost too much decadence as well as grease. Next time I will order the Cali sans link. Steph’s cheeseburger  was just about all you can hope for in a basic burger. I was impressed that both of our burgers were cooked just as requested. Both the fries and onion rings were just average. The fries could have used some seasoning and the onion rings seemed like they were of the frozen variety.

Bill’s Charcoal Grill should definitely be in the discussion when the topic of best burgers in Wichita comes up. Their fresh, cooked to order patties help set them apart from many other contenders. If you happen to save room for dessert head next door to one of my favorite restaurants in town, Paleteria La Reyna for some delicious homemade ice cream.

Bill's Charcoal Grill on Urbanspoon

The Hill Bar and Grill

13 Oct

It was with much anticipation that I waited for The Hill to open this summer. The promise of craft beer and a gastropub style menu seemed like something the Eastside needed. Finally two months after opening we got a chance to have dinner there.

Located at Oliver and Douglas, it’s hard to believe the The Hill’s building once housed Barriers as the insides have been completely gutted. In place of the Waterford crystal that once filled Barriers there are copious amounts of TVs. In fact there are more tellys in this place per square foot than most sports bars. I’m all for a TV or two inside of an establishment that bills itself as a bar and grill, but this is kind of overkill. Coupled with piped in background music, the atmosphere is a bit noisy and distracting.

The Hill Burger: Loaded and Greasy

The Hill Burger: Loaded and Greasy

The first big decision of the night was what beer I should start out with. The beer menu is conveniently broken down by varieties, with about 20 beers on tap and 30 or so bottles. While the selection is not as large or diverse as The Anchor, it is certainly respectable. I ended up ordering one of the seasonal draft selections, Fluer de Houblon, which is a delicious Belgian pale ale.

I was surprised at how wide ranging the food menu at The Hill was with anything from ceviche to smoked ribs to a 22 oz ribeye offered. There are also burgers, salads, “street tacos”, homemade pretzels, and much much more. While there were many items that caught my

Jazzed Up Turkey Burger

Jazzed Up Turkey Burger

attention I finally decided to order the turkey burger. Typically my strategy when trying a new bar and grill type restaurant is to order a burger because it’s a good benchmark item. If you can’t cook a decent burger then it’s going to be tough to pull off much else. Steph went with the The Hill’s signature burger, and our son got the kids quesadilla.

The Hill is one of the few places where you can get a turkey burger in town and I was happy with their effort. The patty was reasonably thick and had enough seasoning to make up for the normal blandness of ground turkey. To further jazz up the burger it was served with havarti cheese, cranberry relish, and arugula. The only issue was the bun, it could have used a nice toasting on the grill. The fries were crispy, but really nothing that impressive. The house made dill pickles served on the side were tasty.

The Hill’s signature burger was a spectacle to behold. Besides a large beef patty it featured several slices of delicious ham, swiss cheese, sautéed onions, tomatoes, lettuce, and dijonnaise. And what kind of bun was utilized in this masterpiece you ask? Why a pretzel bun of course, because you can’t have a fancy burger these days without the obligatory pretzel bun.  Steph’s burger was actually cooked to medium so that right there is good for a few points. Unfortunately the burger was so large that its structural

Quesadilla and Fries: A well balanced meal

Quesadilla and Fries: A well balanced meal

integrity failed and it proved difficult to eat. It was also abnormally greasy, perhaps from the sautéed onions. Besides all the mess, it was a quality burger although I’m not sure it was worth the $12 price tag. Adding a fried egg would have increased the price to $14, it must be a hell of an egg to cost that much. Our son’s quesadilla was simple, but perfect for kids and he enjoyed it. The only odd part was that it came with some pickles as well. Pickles and quesadillas are a combination I am unfamiliar with.

Although The Hill was not quite what I thought it was going to be, it is still a decent addition to the dining scene. The hectic atmosphere and large menu detract from the experience. I would like to go back to try some additional dishes and more craft brews of course. Despite what I have read on urbanspoon and yelp, our service was good.

The Hill bar and grill on Urbanspoon

Annex Lounge (Home of the Inside Out Burger)

9 Aug

The Annex Lounge is one of those Wichita institutions that many people have driven by all their lives, but never bother to or had the courage to venture inside. Located at Woodlawn and Harry, The Annex is your stereotypical neighborhood bar. If one was looking for an authentic dive bar experience this would be the place. It is the Bruce Springsteen of bars, where the locals gather for cheap domestic beer and a unique burger.

First off, this is an over 21 establishment, so the kids will have to wait until they are of legal age to experience The Annex. Inside you will find a small bar and a few tables on either side. The interior is clean, but most of the fixtures and furniture probably haven’t been updated in the last 25 years, which is the way you want it to be in a place like this. Trendy faux marble tables and giant flat screen TVs would really ruin the mood. They do have pool and shuffle board tables for entertainment.


My poor camera phone does not do the Inside Out Burger justice

The menu is pretty small at the Annex. If you are looking for anything besides a burger you are pretty much out of luck. Besides the traditional single and double, they offer an intriguing one called the Inside Out Burger. My friend and I both went with this option with everything on it including onions, ketchup, and mustard.  Within a few minutes we discovered that the Inside Out consisted of a regular meat disk with an inverted bun that had been slathered with butter and grilled. It was a simple manipulation of the bun, but it proved to be rather transcendental.  The patty itself was of decent size for a single, although next time a double will be in order. The meat was flavorful and juicy enough despite being well done. The onions, cheese, and buttery bun helped to make this one of the best dive bar burgers I have had to date. While the side of chips was none too exciting, for less than $6 dollars I wasn’t complaining.

The Annex is first and foremost a drinking establishment and a blue collar one at that. So craft beer snobs who can’t enjoy a domestic brew every now and again should stay away. The good news for all you hipsters is that PBR pounders are available at a reasonable price.

I think too many people have the notion that dive bars are full of seedy regulars and surly barmaids, but that is not the case here. The waitresses were friendly and welcoming, while the patrons appeared to be fairly normal human beings. So if it’s no frills beer and burgers you are in the mood for then The Annex Lounge should be on your list.

Annex Lounge on Urbanspoon

Stearman Field Bar and Grill

10 Jul

Typically dining at an airport is not something to get terribly excited about; whether it’s battling crowds, overpriced food, or some greasy junk you regret eating as soon as you jam into your aisle seat. Fortunately, at Stearman Field in Benton you can enjoy a pleasant dining experience without having to be poked and prodded by TSA agents. The unique bar and grill is located right on the airstrip and is a popular hangout for both locals and those from the surrounding areas.

Stearman Burger

Stearman Burger

The interior of Stearman has a shockingly aviation oriented motif. If you have ever wanted to enjoy a hamburger, while staring down the nose of a P-51 this is your place. Several tables are made from plane engines, replica planes hang from the ceiling, the walls are covered with aviation memorabilia, and there is a Big Ass ceiling fan. It literally is a Big Ass fan because that is the name of the manufacturer and this one probably has 10 foot blades on it. Besides indoor seating there is a large covered patio that is perfect for gazing upon landing aircraft or a picturesque Kansas sunset. There is even a small jungle gym  to keep the kids entertained.

We hit the restaurant on a busy Saturday night and had to wait  for a table to open up, but that gave us time to enjoy a beer and watch planes do touch-n-go’s.  The menu at Stearman is your generic bar and grill fare with daily specials offered as well. We had heard that the Stearman Burger was a popular choice so I ordered that, while Steph went with the patty melt. I got some O-rings

Patty Melt

Patty Melt

with my meal and Steph ordered her usual sweet potato fries. The Stearman burger came with grilled jalapenos, onions, and pepper jack cheese. It was a good combination that gave the burger some added heat and texture, but the patty itself was average. More disappointing were the onion rings that I’m fairly certain were previously frozen. Steph’s patty melt was okay, but again the meat was lacking much in the flavor department. The sweet potato fries were fresh and crispy though.  Our son seemed to enjoy the food, as he polished off most of a grilled cheese sandwich. Stearman also has a full bar and several unexpected beer selections, such as Stella Artois.

While we weren’t blown away by the food we had during our visit to Stearman, it was a fun place to have a meal. You can’t beat the unique atmosphere if you are looking for a little weekend diversion with the family or a good place to throw a party. They are open daily from 7am till 10 pm, so there is plenty of time to get out there and experience Stearman Field.

Touch-N-Go's with Grandpa

Touch-N-Go’s with Grandpa

Stearman Field Bar and Grill on Urbanspoon

Jack’s Coffee Shop(Proudly Taking the Dive Restaurant Concept to Eleven)

5 Apr

Way down on south Hydraulic and 61st street sits a rather suspect looking structure that lacks any visible sign of being a dining establishment save for a  neon “Open” sign and a small banner on the west side of the house bearing the name Jack’s Coffee Shop. For those in know this happens to be a “restaurant”(I use this term quite loosely)  that serves gigantic burgers from 11am to 2 pm Monday through Saturday.

Don't Worry It's Safe To Go Inside

Don’t Worry It’s Safe To Go Inside

Everything about this place is a well calculated assault on your general expectations of what a restaurant should be. First of all, the name really has no bearing as to what goes on inside, as I saw no evidence of Jack nor anything resembling coffee on my visit. Most coffee shops have Wi-Fi and pastries, this one had an old bed frame and exposed electrical outlets. Jack’s has certainly taken the minimalist approach to interior design, which is evidenced by the concrete floor, mismatched furniture, unfinished plywood counter, non-existent light bulbs, and lack of paint. The exposed kitchen

Communal Bowl of Chips

Communal Bowl of Chips

concept leaves nothing to the imagination as everything from the generic hamburger buns to the small flat top grill is in plain sight. And in one corner sits an old bed frame and dresser. While waiting for our food, my party hypothesized as to the reasoning for having such furniture in an eating establishment. Possible explanations include: Covering up a hole in the wall, a prize for the 10,000th customer, or perhaps some type of tax loophole for a multi-purpose room. Anyway, this place is a dive and a damn good one at that. In fact it is probably the diviest dive I have had the pleasure to visit.

Our order was called in about 30 minutes prior to arrival, which is highly recommended as the large meat disks take some time to cook and the grill can only handle a few patties at a time. Don’t worry about forgetting the menu, your choices are hamburger or cheeseburger.  Upon taking a seat, a plastic bowl of communal potato chips were brought out to the table. A plastic tub of pickles and another with pickled jalapenos and carrots were also

Paper Plate Perfection

Paper Plate Perfection

made available to us. I have to say that the  jalapeno and carrot combination was unexpected, but they proved to be tasty. When our burgers came out, I quickly understood why this place remains open. Before me was one massive cheeseburger and a bun that was woefully undersized to handle such ground beef girth. Our burgers also came with a paper plateful of grilled onions that were shared between the three of us. The only other fixings were generic bottles of ketchup and mustard. Armed only with a plastic fork, my strategy for consuming this burger was to attack the exposed flanks of meat first to get things more manageable before moving onto the bun covered section. Overall the burger was okay. It was

Tubs of Condiments

Tubs of Condiments

slightly overcooked and I don’t believe any seasoning was used on the patty. The two cheese slices and excellent grilled onions helped  balance out the meat. For the price this meal is hard to beat. You get copious amounts of chips, a 3/4 pound burger, and a drink all for $6.50. The pop selection varies from day to day, so be prepared to be flexible in case they are out of Pepsi Max.

For those who like to live out on the edge of the dining scene Jack’s is a place to check out. A lunch here is one of the most unique experiences in town. At this point I probably don’t need to mention it,  but they only accept cash.

Jack's Coffee Shop on Urbanspoon

Public at the Brickyard

27 Mar

Finally I have found what has been missing from the Wichita dining scene, a good Gastro Pub. For some reason the combination of a good environment, beer selection, and well executed food has eluded diners until now. Located in the subterranean abyss of the Brickyard Bar in Old Town, the newly opened Public is fairly impressive.

The basement that houses Public is deceivingly roomy and nicely decorated. It feels like you have walked into someone’s upscale man cave.  There is a good sized bar, shuffle board table, and an area that has plush chairs and a large television.

Brisket Tacos: BBQ Meets Mexican

Brisket Tacos: BBQ Meets Mexican

The menu at Public is small, but  packed full of unique offerings that utilize local food sources. Yoder Meats, Delano Bakery, and La Tradicion Tortilleria are a few of their suppliers. The appetizers include their house made pickles and black bean hummus, there are also several salads, upscale sandwiches, pizzas, and ribs. We tried to order the pickle plate, but unfortunately they were still brining, so we must wait until next time to taste the famous pickles.  For our lunch Steph went with the ultimate blue collar fusion food: brisket tacos. I decided to try the Prairie Sliders with a side of garlic and rosemary fries.

Two decent sized sliders greeted me when my plate was brought out along with an ample serving of fries. I was impressed with how delightfully juicy my burger was and upon further inspection

The Perfect Burger Plate

The Perfect Burger Plate

noticed something that I have not seen in a restaurant burger for quite some time: a nice pink center. Yes these particular burgers were perfectly cooked, something that is hard to find in this age of food borne illness hysteria. The patties had a nice supporting cast of cheese, onion, and bun that left me not wanting to add any other condiments. These were easily some of the best burgers I have had in a while. The crispy fries were good paired with the rosemary and garlic, although some the clumps of garlic were hard to stomach. The brisket

Here is What a Properly Cooked Burger Looks Like

Here is What a Properly Cooked Burger Looks Like

tacos were fairly impressive in their own respect. Tender and moist brisket was piled onto two corn tortillas with cheese and cilantro on top. A nice smoky salsa was served on the side. The accompanying side of black beans was a nice change from the obligatory taco accompaniment, refried beans.

If you are in need of a cold beverage on your visit, Public has you covered. There are several signature cocktails as well as a small, but impressive list of craft beer choices.

Public has the perfect combination of atmosphere, food, and beverages that makes me wish I could live there or at least remodel my basement to resemble it. Whether you are looking for a happening place to get some dinner before hitting the town,  a place to watch sporting events, or just taking the family out to lunch, this is your place. I hear they also have a very good brunch on the weekends that features unique specials.

Public at the Brickyard on Urbanspoon


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