THE WHERE (we went)
To a place really far away, with not a whole lot else around. Which is always the best choice for a night wraught with consistent blinding snowstorms, right?
Yeah, we thought so, too.
44Sharp looks to be a relatively newer place over somewhere to the east of Spingfield. Which, of course, brought up Shane’s favorite “let’s head back to the place with only two things on the menu” conversation.
I know you all are on pins and needles for that revisit. Well, OK, maybe everyone except Shane. Unless of course they were serious about that whole reworking the menu thing, in which case he keeps insisting we’ll be sorry for making fun of it then.
Time will tell.
It seems that 44Sharp hosts a lot of bands on the weekends. Or maybe they just like to have people stand around being taller than the rest of the crowd at certain times. But probably more so the band thing.
Also, the entire place just has a lot of free space in general. There’s also a room with pinball and other bar games, a bar by the door to what we assumed was probably the outdoor patio, and another room with pool tables. It’s like the middle of nowhere equivalent of a Dave & Buster’s.
Of course it also helped that we were five of about the collective ten people in the place for the evening, so, you know, size is relative when you’re not exactly fighting your way through a crowd to get a table, I guess.
THE WHAT (we ordered)
Hey guess what, we ordered burgers and wings. Shocker. Maybe we should’ve just stopped a half hour sooner back in Springfield after all.
On his first visit to the table, the bartender shared with us that Wednesdays are burger night – which equates to $2 off all burgers. He also made a point to tell us that the best one is the Rodeo burger. Nice to see recommendations before we had to ask. This is definitely something new.
Although we noticed as we put our orders in that they didn’t ask how we wanted the burgers to be cooked, which we all know by now could be the curse that later delivers condiment-laded charcoal briquettes to our table. Oh, the suspense!
Cassi and Jason got breaded mushrooms as their app.
No one else ordered an app, although the guys all got wings to go with their burgers so I guess that’s kind of the same thing. Ted got Cajun, while Shane and Jason both used their food soulmate powers to pick BBQ.
The BBQ was a dry rub, which ended up being a bit regretful. Better luck next time.
They also both got the Rodeo Burger. See, I’m not kidding about that soulmate thing. Except Jason got his with cheddar cheese, while Shane kept it with the menu-allotted pepper jack.
When the server delivered Jason’s he made a point to call it the “almost Rodeo burger.”
We appreciate sass from servers. It makes us feel like they’re one of the group.
We also appreciate when they look out for us, as was the case when Ted ordered the Brunch burger, sans cheese (of course) … and it later arrived looking like this:
Yeah, that’s cheese. I mean, it’s a fried egg, too, but the burger was definitely covered in melted cheese. And we all know how thrilled that makes our friend Ted, who immediately started in trying to rid the dish of it before it got cold and congealed to any portion of the sandwich.
The server was quite concerned when he saw Ted furiously scraping cheese from the top of the patty.
Server: Dude, what’s this? I put the order in for no cheese. I can send it back. I’m sorry. Are you allergic?
Ted: No, I just don’t like cheese.
Server: Well fuck then, you’ve got this.
Turns out Shane was all too happy to take the scraped off cheese remnants for part of his own meal.
This is true friendship, people. And they aren’t even the food soulmates.
Meanwhile, on the non-drama side of the table, I got the Firecracker burger with additional mushrooms.
The sauce was spicy. Not a bad spicy, definitely a good spicy, but spicy nonetheless.
I just like saying spicy apparently.
And Cassi got the BLT burger.
So remember when I mentioned the distinct possibility for well-done charcoal briquettes? Yeah, that’s kind of what we ended up with here. The burgers were definitely on the burnt side. Even Cassi – who hardly ever admits to things being well done – couldn’t deny that these were bordering on the edge of left in front of the flame thrower a bit too long.
Especially because her burger had no sauce on it, so it somewhat resembled the consistency of a tumbleweed rolling through the desert. The rest of us agreed that if not for the abundance of condiments on ours, we would probably feel the same way. The sauces were good, the meat not so much.
THE WHO (we saw)
Well, I can tell you who we didn’t see, and that’s many other patrons. As mentioned already, there were probably only five other people in the place throughout the course of the evening. Not five groups, literally five other individuals. I mean, I get that it was a Wednesday night, and a crappy weather one at that. But there’s also not seemingly a whole lot else around the area, so it’s not like there’s an Olive Garden down the road just teaming with people who wanted a hot meal in the middle of the week.
I would definitely be intrigued to see the place on a weekend. And what kind of crowd a band brings in. I’m going to go out on a limb and say that there’s a lot of line dancing that happens when they move these dinner tables out of the dance floor space.
Perhaps the trade off to this is that we did see the bartender/server quite frequently. In fact, I’d go on record to say that this may have been some of the best service we’ve ever had.
That’s strong language.
I mean, granted it’s not like he had a ton of other people to keep him busy – but it’s also not like we haven’t been to places before where we’ve been close to the only table there and still gone long stretches between visits from the server.
Jilly’s, I’m looking at you while I say this. Don’t pretend you don’t see the stare.
But at 44Sharp, the bartender came right over to greet us as we walked in, came back with the first round of drinks and menus quickly, and stopped back frequently to check on us. Bonus points for noticing when drinks were almost empty while delivering food to the table, and asking if we wanted refills – as well as not taking the nearly empty drink away when the new one was set down.
Which I didn’t even realize was something I had to be worried about until my half full mixed drink was whisked out of sight and replaced with a new one at another establishment a few weeks ago. Unless you’re planning to magically make half of the cost disappear off my final bill, that’s not cool.
THE HOW (much we paid)
Three tequilas and sodas were $12.75, thanks in part to a Wednesday ladies night special that equated to $1 off mixed drinks. Which we definitely appreciated. Maybe better luck getting the girls out in droves for that one in the summer, though.
But then I think I made the difference back on my meal. So here’s a little restaurant math lesson for you … if burgers are $5 on the Wednesday night special, but then I paid 75 cents for the “extra mushrooms” and another $1.99 for tots that I thought actually came with the meal, am I not just back to the original price again before the Wednesday special?
The answer is almost. A burger with tots or fries is normally $8.99, plus the 75 cents would be 9.74, then take away $2 for the Wednesday special … oh hell, I’m over it by now. Did I mention there was also tequila?
THE WHY (they will/won’t see us again)
They definitely get an A+ for service. I mean, granted for a portion of the evening we were the only people in the place – but honestly given our group’s track record I sometimes think that makes us even more invisible. The bartender/server here was great, though. Also, they have a weekend steak special – a 12 oz for $9.99 – so that obviously intrigued Shane and Ted. I’d put this as a solid maybe. If the right band was playing. And it wasn’t snowing. And we didn’t order burgers.
Did I make that clear enough?
Picked by: Steph