"This is a bad place for a diet," the top of the menu at the Pour House Grill announces.
It is a fair warning, with the rest of the menu listing choices of ribs, chicken wings, piled-high burgers and other offerings of meat slathered in various rich barbecue sauces. There is a brief section for salads, but those are almost beside the point.
I should admit, I wasn't expecting much when I traveled over to the relatively new pub and sports bar on a recent weekday evening; after all, the restaurant is caddy corner to Little Caesars on Third Avenue and nestled along the budget motels there.
But after one meal at Pour House—a spread of chicken wings and spare ribs—I have my new go-to for sports pub grub. Yes, with really good ribs and a variety of excellent chicken wings, and a backdrop of five big TVs and smiling service, Pour House is my go-to for watching the Olympics—or, for that matter, March Madness or even just a break from healthy salads and carrot sticks.
The idea behind the restaurant is an accessible, and family friendly sports pub with great food, explained owner Chip Simmons, who opened the restaurant last June.
"Our philosophy is good comfort food, all fresh. There's nothing frozen in the place," said Simmons.
There's a distinct lack of vegetables on the menu (the wilted lettuce and old celery that accompanied the appetizers simply should have been left off the plate, and the coleslaw is skipable). But what Pour House lacks in the vegetable food group, the kitchen more than makes up for with an abundance of hot sauces and game-day snacks, hot-off-the-smoker ribs, and barbecue combos.
With a variety of sauce choices—Buffalo Style Mild, Medium and Hot, Teriyaki Hot, Agave Chipotle Sweet and Spicy BBQ Sauce— there is enough variety to keep the ribs and wings unique for each different night of the week, if not the entire month of Olympic viewing. The house-made sauces and smoked meats are all recipes Simmons picked up managing barbecue joints in California and his experience shows in the food. In particular, the ribs are plump and meaty, clearly from a happy and fattened pig.
The waitress, with a certain amount of pluck and don't-be-a-wuss bravado, warned that the jerk seasoning was particularly hot. And it, with a unique blend of island style spices, fulfilled that promise with a long sizzle that put heat back into the winter.
Appetizers are a strong point of the menu. The deep fried basket of Pulled Pork Poppers is particular generous (about the size of a cow's hoof), and tasty. Crispy and roasted jalapenos overflow with a seasoned cream cheese filling ,accented with bites of pulled pork. The rich meat, matched with the crunch of the breading and the steady spice of the peppers, was a departure from the typically under-seasoned fried cream cheese ball served in most pubs, and the perfect excuse for yet another one of the 20+ beers offered at Pour House.
Pour House Grill, 1085 SE 3rd St.
Open everyday, 11 am-10 pm