Sunday, April 7, 2013
730 8th Avenue South
If you promise burgers, whiskey and beer you had better deliver burgers, whiskey and beer. The Pour House keeps it simple and to the point: a variety of juicy burgers, a huge selection of whiskeys and a good beer line-up. If you’re looking for something more you might want to head elsewhere.
The Pour House is in an unusual location. On the plus side, you have Frugal MacDoogal as a neighbor, and that makes it easy for customers who want to stock up on booze and then go drink the stuff with lunch. Just watch out where you park, the numerous signs seem to imply some sort of developing issue. On the minus side, you have the interstate rumbling past, especially noisy if you are seated in the large upstairs and downstairs outdoor seating. Pour House is certainly well located when it comes to the burgeoning 8th Avenue strip: Jackalope and Flyte are just down the street.
The interior is dressed in the new standard roadhouse/ country kitsch design (come on Nashville, let’s move on). It’s comfortable, with a mix of table styles, including some booths. While designed for live music and nightlife, the joint also works for lunch. Service was a bit hit or miss early on and that’s to be expected for a new joint. It’s apparently been a popular place on weekend evenings and that’s even harder for a new restaurant. They definitely need a whiskey and beer list for customers to peruse…perhaps a chalkboard with new offerings?
The Big South burger lives up to the name: fried green tomato, onion ring, cheddar and bacon graced with a runny, fried egg that splits just right to add to the juicy goodness of the burger itself. It’s a mess and well-worth the napkins. Sweet potato fries are thin-cut and reasonably crispy, if a bit uninspired. The bourbon ketchup is a sweet twist on the first visit and perhaps a bit too sweet on the second stop. That second lunch brings the Cuban burger to the table. It’s an inventive twist on the classic Cuban sandwich: a juicy pork patty topped with ham and pickle. It’s completely satisfying and a nice break from beef. The beer battered mushrooms have a light fry and are tasty. Unfortunately, the horseradish sauce on the side is rather bland. The blue chips fare better. The house made chips are baked with blue cheese, tomato and onion. We get the bacon on the side to help out the Veggie Eater. Needless to say with burger joint, there is not a lot on the menu for her, but perhaps enough for one meal.
Veggie Eater: As noted above, there’s not a lot of veggie options here. The one veggie sandwich, a portabella cap, was at least respectable. It’s served on a fluffy brioche bun, covered in smoked gouda, and adorned with arugula, tomato, mayo, and grilled onions. The menu promises bourbon onions and truffle mayo-I found both items to be a bit too subtle in flavor, but the overall result was still satisfying. You get your choice of side, which is a nice option, as their sides appear to be more veggie friendly. Not sure there’s much to draw be back as a frequent flier, but might piggy back another visit with the stock up run at Frugal.
Meat Eater: I’m worried about the attitude of Pour House staff after my initial visit. I quiz the bar tender about any possible drink specials featuring that well-chosen whiskey. I am informed that they are not interested in getting “riff raff” at the bar and thus might not be offering drink specials. As a member of the riff raff community I am not offended, just amused. I did notice happy hour specials listed on our return visit, still none highlighting that fine whiskey, from what I could tell. Oh, and this too had me worried. I walk out and up pulls a fellow in a perfectly muddied pickup truck. I swear this mud was spray painted on it was so perfectly applied. The guy is dressed up like he wants to be Kid Rock and his girlfriend is wearing eight inch heels and a red leather dress. All of this at 11:30 on a weekday morning. Thankfully, the bullshit quotient is a lot lower on our next visit- a nice variety of families and lunchers. What it’s like at night I will have to leave to someone else to describe. We tend to avoid bullshit at any hour.
This isn’t bargain burger territory. I paid $17 for a burger, beer and fries on one visit and we paid $35 together on another.