Although I work only a few miles from Fireside Grill and Sports Bar in Henrietta, NY, I had never visited it, or even heard of it until my friend Sharon suggested that we try it for lunch. Tami and Jerry Justice opened the grill and sports bar in 2013, in the former location of FDR restaurant.
The exterior of Fireside Grill and Sports Bar appears new and modern, although somewhat nondescript. The neutral colors cause the building to seemingly withdraw into the landscape. If it wasn’t for the large sign placed close to the street entrance, I might have passed it by all together. Parking, however, is plentiful, free and convenient. We parked right in front of the door, a much appreciated convenience during a cold western NY February.
Upon entering the restaurant, that first of impression of blandness quickly vanished. I immediately noticed that the amply windowed dining room was flooded with bright, streaming sunlight and a festive color palette. The name of Fireside Grill and Sports Bar perfectly depicts the dual nature of the establishment. Connected by a narrow hallway, this restaurant/sports bar has two distinct personalities. A dining room on one side and a sports bar on the other, it truly is a depiction of duplicity.
Just inside the entrance to the restaurant side of the establishment you’ll find a small but cozy waiting area. It features a long, upholstered bench seat with several throw pillows, and a lavender-colored accent wall. Gold and silver brushed metallic-themed art carries throughout the room, in the clock in the waiting area, and as wall art displayed on the light yellow-green dining room walls.
I was especially fond of the hardwood floors and the unique mix of high-top communal tables and standard tables in the main dining room. A grand, gas fireplace in the center of the dining room added a touch of homey comfort. It was no doubt the inspiration for the name of this business. In addition, free WiFi and a total of 17 flat screen TVs throughout the dining room and sports bar, are sure to please technology conscious diners and sports fans alike.
Toward the back of the dining room, you’ll find additional seating. Etched with the restaurant logo, the clear glass pocket doors at the entrance to this area were a nice touch. They are just enough to allow for some separation when closed for a private party, while still allowing for a cohesive dining room when open.
After we finished our lunch, we wandered over to the other side of the establishment, to check out the sports bar. On this Thursday afternoon at lunch time, the bar was surprisingly desolate. It’s small, but well designed space, arranged in the shape of a long rectangle. A long, narrow bar along one wall is outfitted with plenty of bar stool seating. Patrons can enjoy a beverage there while watching TV over the bar. Along the opposite wall, hungry guests can enjoy a bite to eat from the full menu, at traditional style tables and chairs. The same attractive hardwood floors continue from the dining room into the bar. The dual personality of Fireside Grill and Sports Bar was again apparent via a separate bar entrance from the parking lot.
One funky item in particular caught my eye as we perused the sports bar. It was a juke box, but not your average juke box. This one was mounted on the wall and featured a touch screen which could also be played from your smart phone! How cool is that?
The bar manager told us that it was installed not too long ago and it was a hit with the customers. However, it was rather expensive, charging $5 for three songs. Still, I thought it was a unique attraction and probably a good conversation starter.
I noticed a flyer for karaoke night, as well as a dart board, so I imagine that the bar is hoppin’ when the regulars take the microphone or play darts (hopefully not at the same time). Finally, I liked that management displayed a commitment to the local community, sponsoring a fundraiser for the local high school softball team.
The menu at Fireside Grill and Sports Bar has something for almost everyone. They offer appetizers, pizza, salads, sandwiches, burgers and desserts. Specials change daily, but always include Wednesday night prime rib and Friday night fish fry. Sharon astutely commented that the only thing missing from the menu was a lunchtime combo of either soup and salad or soup and a sandwich. The waitress actually agreed.
Their appetizers (“Warm Ups”) average $6 – $14 and include Nachos in four sizes, Mozzarella Sticks with pizza dipping sauce, Chicken Fingers, Quesadillas, Fried Calamari, Crab Cakes, Chicken Wings, Spinach and Artichoke Dip, Hummus, Homemade Potato Chips and Dip, Surf and Turf Sliders, and Asian Beef Lettuce Wraps. What an eclectic mix of starters.
The menu section for salads ($10-$13) featured home-made salad dressings. Salad selections include Chicken and Mango Salad, Calamari Salad, Grilled Steak Wedge, Garden Salad, Chicken Club Salad, Caesar Salad and Greek Salad. Sandwich offerings range in price from $7-$10 and include Tenderloin Steak Sandwich, Hot Pastrami (“The Chet”), and selections of roast beef, chicken, corned beef, pulled pork, grilled cheese, tuna, grilled vegetables, and turkey. Finally, burgers are offered in a variety of preparations and include a house steak rub, along with your choice of a kaiser roll or multi-grain roll.
The lunch specials on the day of our visit included a Prime Rib Sandwich ($11), Country Sweet Chicken Plate ($12), Seared Tuna Caesar Salad ($12) and a Hot Turkey Open Faced Sandwich ($10).
Our server told us that some desserts are made on-site, while others are ordered from The Special Touch Bakery at The School of the Holy Childhood, just down the road. I really enjoyed the roll in my lunch entre and asked our server if it was made in house. However, she told us that the bread is purchased from an outside supplier.
We eagerly studied the menu and ordered our lunch. We both ordered one of the daily specials and added on a cup of Chicken, Vegetable and Rice Soup. Not only was it piping hot, but it was very tasty. The cup was filled with chunks of white meat chicken and tender rice. The broth was flavorful and satisfying, bursting with a trio of carrots, celery and onions. Priced at only $3.00, it was a great value. I was so happy with it, that I forgot to take a photo until I was almost done!
I ordered one of the daily lunch specials – a Prime Rib Sandwich ($11) with melted blue cheese and bacon, and a refillable glass of ginger ale ($2.00). The thinly sliced prime rib was served on a wonderful garlic-toasted roll with a side of home-made Fire Side potato chips and a pickle wedge. Although I rarely order red meat, I was anxious to try this special. I’m glad that I did because it was a treat. The sliced prime rib was plentiful, tender and oh so delicious. I don’t usually like blue cheese, but I didn’t ask to have it excluded because I wanted to order it as offered. To my surprise, the combination of just enough melted blue cheese and bacon was a delight. The home-made Fire Side potato chips were a big surprise as well – they were thick and crunchy, but not greasy. Fancier than regular potato chips (dare I say…gourmet?), they were the perfect accompaniment to this elegant lunch.
My lunch companion, Sharon, had great things to say about her lunch, too. She ordered-the Hot Turkey Open Faced Sandwich with Gravy and Mashed Potatoes ($10). This lunch special was served with vegetables and the same home-made chips which I enjoyed.
She quickly noted that the turkey was hand carved and was served over a buttery, toasted roll. She liked that the vegetables (broccoli and zucchini) were perfectly al dente and the gravy was light in color and texture, and quite nicely spiced. She absolutely raved about the generous portion of rich and smooth mashed potatoes, even commenting that they were the best she has ever had when dining out. I sampled them, and I have to say that they were great. Overall, she said that her lunch was “really good – delicious.” It doesn’t get better than that.
Although each of our lunch portions probably could have fed two (or one with leftovers), we both indulged in finishing the whole thing. I did, however, refrain from licking my plate.
The service at Fire Side Grill and Sports Bar was fantastic. Upon entering, we were quickly greeted by a friendly staff member who asked if we were there for one of the two in-process parties. After we replied that we were there for lunch, she graciously gave us our choice of available seating. Once seated, we were presented with our menus, as well as a listing of the daily specials. We chatted with our server, as she told us about the history of the business. She was friendly, knowledgeable, and accommodating as she answered our questions about the menu and made recommendations based on our preferences.
Our soup was quickly served and was followed by our lunch order. Our server checked on us a few times and was gracious in letting us stay and chat uninterrupted after we finished our lunch. She even followed us over to the sports bar area and talked with us and the bar manager briefly. Overall, we were quite happy with the friendly and hospitable service. As we left, we were thanked for our visit and urged to come back again. I think I will.
Definitely give this restaurant a try for lunch or dinner. If you are more of a sports bar patron, you might want to try the bar during karaoke night, although I cannot vouch for that side of the business as I didn’t indulge. However, I would recommend Fire Side Grill and Sports Bar for a hearty lunch or a pleasant dinner get together with friends and/or family. The staff also appeared to handle two large lunch-time parties quite well, which says a lot about their organization and efficiency. If you do go (and I hop you do), be sure to order the Fire Side home-made potato chips – you’ll love ’em!
If you go:
Fireside Grill and Sports Bar
3939 E. Henrietta Road
Rochester, NY 14467
Email: unable to find an email address
Twitter: unable to find a Twitter account
Business Hours: Mon-Sat: 11am-12am, Sun: 12pm-10pm
Cuisine: American, Sports Bar
Meals Served: Lunch, Dinner, and full service catering
Children’s Menu: No
Accepts Credit Cards: Yes
Handicap Accessible: Yes
Requires Reservations: Takes reservations for large parties
Table Service: Yes
Take Out: Yes
Outdoor Seating: Yes, weather permitting
Parking: Free and plentiful in private lot
Valet Service: No
Bar Seating: Yes
Alcohol: Full Bar
Coat Check: No
Date opened: 2013
Date visited: Thursday, February 12, 2015 (Lunch)