First look: Glory Days Bar and Grill

In 2011, it's difficult to understand where the concept of the sports bar originated. With multiple and massive flat-panel HDTVs in just about every bar or restaurant in town--regardless of theme or philosophy--it's not easy to remember a time when the sports bar could be considered novel or unique. Hell, what even defines a sports bar nowadays? Some Twins pennants on the wall and an old Vikings jersey in a glass case? 

New Brighton has a new addition to the less-than-illustrious list of local strip-mall sports bars called Glory Days Bar and Grill. The Hot Dish stopped by for a brew and to watch the Twinkies languish in the AL Central cellar.

The first thing to notice when one walks in is the set of six bleacher seats salvaged from the Metrodome. Nostalgic?  Yes. Comfortable? Meh.

The space feels like a really nice rec room in someone's house. The wall of plate glass windows on one side of the location looks out on some houses across the street, so close that one could probably watch the occupants in those houses watching the Twins on their own TVs.  If we lived in one of those houses, we would invest in a very good set of blinds.

There's not a whole lot to say about the decor. It's standard sports bar regalia, including a large scoreboard and banks of TVs. In fact, if anything, it's a little sparser than the average sports bar.  Considering that Glory Days has been open less than two weeks and hasn't had its grand opening yet, this may well be changing soon.

The servers working this night seemed to understand the deal: This is a low-key neighborhood hangout. As a result, there was a very casual, though not inattentive, feel to the service. We took advantage of the All Day, Every Day Special--a pint of Hamm's for $1.50--and sat down with a menu.

The offerings are exactly what you expect to find at a sports bar. Chicken wings? Check. Burgers? Check.  Bastardizations of Mexican food? Check.

There really are no unique or signature dishes here. The menu does tout the Glory Days Dip, which was represented as a saucy juggernaut of awesomeness. We decided to add a side of this magical dip ($1.50) to our order of a steak tips wrap ($12.95) and the Nordeaster Turkey Club ($8.95). The sandwiches come with French fries or a choice of soup or salad.

Nordeast Turkey Club

The Nordeaster Turkey Club is not, despite the name, made from turkey basted in Grain Belt Nordeast beer. This is a disappointment.  Seriously, somebody get on that. Turkey, bacon, cheese, lettuce, tomatoes, and banana peppers make up this solid sandwich. The bun isn't really up to snuff and doesn't hold the messy insides of the sandwich very well. But the bacon is crispy, the melted cheese is plentiful, and the banana peppers keep the affair from entering "too-bland" territory. The French fries are reasonably good, though we would advise the owners to start stocking malt vinegar, because these are definitely the kind of fries that go well with malt vinegar.

Speaking of things to dip your fries in, the Glory Days Dip was quite underwhelming.  Basically sour cream with some french onion soup mix stirred in, the dip does not hold up to some of the other signature dips around town. The horseradish sauce served with the steak tips was more interesting.

Steak Tips Wrap
Those steak tips were certainly the highlight of this visit.  They are normally not sold in a wrap, but, since the menu says "Ask us to wrap anything!", we did. It probably made these much easier to eat. The menu also mentions that these tenderloin tips are cooked in a red wine reduction, which "sounds fancy but tastes good."  And the menu is right. There is a very rich and robust red wine and pepper flavor to this combination of tender beef and mushrooms.

But the bottom line is that Glory Days will not be a destination for its food. It's a place for locals to hang out and be able to get a cab ride home without breaking the bank. It's the kind of place the local softball leagues would go after the games. And for them, it's quite satisfactory.

But there may be one thing about Glory Days to draw in some far-flung folks. When the restaurant celebrates its grand opening on May 7, the feature attraction should be complete: an indoor virtual golf and hunting experience.

Playing a game of Super-Duper Buck Hunter? Now that might be worth a short drive.

Glory Days Bar and Grill 500 Fifth Ave NW, New Brighton 651.633.2226

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