Restaurant Review: Fireside Grill and Sports Bar (Henrietta, NY)

Fireside Grill and Sports Bar

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.

Surroundings

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.

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Fire Side Bar and Grill Store Front, Courtesy: Food Mingle Blog

Atmosphere

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.

Fireside Grill and Sports Bar Lobby Waiting Area, Courtesy: Food Mingle Blog
Fireside Grill and Sports Bar Lobby Waiting Area, Courtesy: Food Mingle Blog
Fireside Grill and Sports Bar Wall Art, Courtesy: Food Mingle Blog
Fireside Grill and Sports Bar Wall Art, Courtesy: Food Mingle Blog

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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.

Fireside Grill and Sports Bar - Party Room with Glass Pocket Doors, Courtesy: Food Mingle Blog
Fireside Grill and Sports Bar – Party Room with Glass Pocket Doors, Courtesy: Food Mingle Blog

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.

Fireside Grill and Sports Bar - Bar Area, Courtesy: Food Mingle Blog
Fireside Grill and Sports Bar – Bar Area, Courtesy: Food Mingle Blog
Fireside Grill and Sports Bar - Bar Seating, Courtesy: Food Mingle Blog
Fireside Grill and Sports Bar – Bar Seating, Courtesy: Food Mingle Blog

 

Fireside Grill and Sports Bar Techno Juke Box in Bar Area, Courtesy: Food Mingle Blog
Fireside Grill and Sports Bar Techno Juke Box in Bar Area, Courtesy: Food Mingle Blog

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.

Menu

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.

Food

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!

Fireside Grill and Sports Bar Chicken and Vegetable and Rice Soup, Courtesy: Food Mingle Blog
Fireside Grill and Sports Bar Chicken and Vegetable and Rice Soup, Courtesy: Food Mingle Blog

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.

Fireside Grill and Sports Bar - Prime Rib Sandwich another view, Courtesy: Food Mingle Blog
Fireside Grill and Sports Bar – Prime Rib Sandwich with home made chips, Courtesy: Food Mingle Blog
Fireside Grill and Sports Bar - Prime Rib Sandwich - open face, Courtesy: Food Mingle Blog
Fireside Grill and Sports Bar – Prime Rib Sandwich – shown open face, Courtesy: Food Mingle Blog

 

Fireside Grill and Sports Bar Hot Turkey Sandwich open face, Courtesy: Food mingle Blog
Fireside Grill and Sports Bar Hot Turkey Sandwich open face, Courtesy: Food mingle Blog

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.

Service

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.

Overall Impression

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

Phone: 585-486-4611
Website: http://www.firesidegrillsportsbar.com/
Email:    unable to find an email address
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Firesidegrillsportsbar
Twitter: unable to find a Twitter account

Details:
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
Attire:                              Casual
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)

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Restaurant Review: Bar Louie (Rochester, NY)

Restaurant: Bar Louie in Rochester, NY
Restaurant: Bar Louie in Rochester, NY, Courtesy: http://www.barlouieamerica.com

Surroundings
The newly opened Bar Louie in Greece, New York is nestled in the recently renovated northeast corner of the Mall at Greece Ridge Center. It is the second area location for the Texas-based franchise, with the other area destination in Buffalo, New York’s Walden Galleria mall. As I parked in the lot shared by other mall establishments, I noticed the new cobblestone cross walks and the well-lit surroundings. However, I found it odd that the restaurant did not have an entrance from inside the mall – patrons can only enter directly from an exterior mall entrance. I wonder if this might deter patronage by some spur of the moment mall shoppers looking for a convenient bit to eat.

Atmosphere
Upon entering the restaurant, I first noticed the woefully lacking waiting area. Standing behind only two other waiting couples, I was backed up against the door. With 6,514 square feet of available space, I would have expected a little more room to wait to be seated. Luckily, my dining companion had arrived a few minutes earlier to get a table on this busy Saturday night. The hostess quickly located me and pleasantly and efficiently ushered me to our awaiting table.

As I made my way through the crowded dining area, I noticed that the layout and seating had a sleek, modern feel, with a mix of high bar tables with stools, booths, and dinner tables. The central bar is most definitely the focal point, and allowed for seated drink service as well as standing room for mingling. A small gathering area with upholstered lounge chairs was awkwardly located by the restrooms at the back of the dining room. This proved to be a distraction throughout the night, because it happened to be adjacent to our table.

The walls were adorned with nightlife photography and tile artwork. The ambiance also included several flat-screen televisions, adding to the rising noise level as the restaurant filled with families and groups alike, making it difficult to carry on an easy dinner conversation. The outdoor patio (closed for the winter season) boasted a wrap-around bar and a heated seating area – sure to be a popular destination in the warmer months! Bar Louie describes their employees as an “eclectic group of team members, managers and support staff”, which proved to be accurately represented by the wait staff dressed in black tank tops, many proudly displaying their inked upper limbs.

Menu
I found the Bar Louie dinner menu to be more varied, and slightly more sophisticated, than the average sports bar or bar and grill menu. Highlighted menu offerings included “Small Plates” (think appetizers), “Large Plates” (think entrees), Flatbreads, Salads, Burgers and Sandwiches. The waitress informed us that the Luigi Sandwich (shaved rib eye) is a popular choice. A kids menu offers age appropriate options and portion sizes for kids 10 and under. If you are looking for a dining value, consider the happy hour specials which include discounted drinks, appetizers and flatbreads, from 4-7pm Monday-Friday.

Known for their libations, Bar Louie features over thirty signature martinis, a variety of mojitos and margaritas, an extensive selection of imported beers and over twenty wines by the glass. Non-alcoholic beverage options include Coke products.

Food
For my dinner selection, I ordered the Drunken Fish-n-Chips, accompanied by seasoned fries, tartar sauce and a lemon wedge ($13). To round out my seafood theme, I also ordered Crispy Calamari with cocktail sauce ($10.50).

The fish entrée was served hot, and included two slightly smaller than sandwich-sized pieces of tempura battered, fried cod. Although the batter was rich and a bit heavily applied, the cod was flaky, moist and tasty. I was disappointed that the accompanying fries reminded me of the frozen string variety. Based on the name of the dish (Fish-n-Chips), I expected something more like hearty “steak fries” or potato wedges.

The hand-battered crispy calamari arrived in a fun and interesting spring-shaped, cone-like vessel, reminiscent of an over sized martini glass silhouette. It was lined with a paper similar to that used in a take-out meal. The paper served its purpose well, soaking up the extraneous grease clinging to the calamari. The calamari was tender and well-seasoned, and included both the ring/tube-shaped pieces as well as the tentacles, which I don’t mind at all. Unfortunately, though, it was prepared with the same tempura batter as the cod (confirmed by the server). As such, the rich tempura batter double-play was a little off-putting to my palate.

My dining companion ordered Boneless Chicken Wings served with bleu cheese dipping sauce and celery ($10). She also requested two sides of other sauces: Buffalo sauce and BBQ sauce, both offered at no additional charge. The order included ten boneless chicken wings, which she reported as being hot (temperature), meaty, tender and moist. However, the bleu cheese dipping sauce was a bit soupy for her taste and the celery sticks appeared to be less than fresh and were too few in number. Of the two additional sauces, she really enjoyed the spunky buffalo sauce as compared to the mild BBQ sauce.

Service
We were pleased with the fast and friendly service throughout the entire visit. I was greeted promptly by the hostess and shown to my table, where my dining companion was already seated. Our server was knowledgeable about the history of the eatery, telling us about the other area location in the Walden Galleria mall. When asked about details of a few menu options, she happily answered our queries and sought out the answers when needed. Our water glasses were proactively refilled and we were cheerfully brought extra napkins after the server checked on our experience. Our request for separate checks was graciously granted as well.

Overall Impression
Overall, my dining companion and I enjoyed most of our meals, as well as the efficient and courteous service at Bar Louie. I would seek out this restaurant again if I specifically wanted a colorful and energetic evening out, including casual (but not inexpensive) tapas with friends. I would not consider it a “special occasion” destination or a quiet or fancy dinner out, but rather a trendy and modern mall bar, where you can also get a decent bite to eat.

If you go:
Bar Louie
98 Greece Ridge Center Drive
Rochester, NY 14626
Phone: 585-797-1054
Website:     barlouieamerica.com
Email:        greece@barlouieamerica.com
Facebook:  facebook.com/BarLouieGreece
Twitter:     @BarLouie

Details:
Business Hours: Daily Sun-Sat 11 am – 2 am
Cuisine: Sports Bar and Grill, American Cuisine
Meals Served: Lunch, Dinner & Late Night Dining
Children’s Menu:        Yes
Accepts Credit Cards: Yes
Handicap Accessible:  Yes
Attire:                       Casual
Requires Reservations: No
Table Service:           Yes
Take Out:                 Yes
Outdoor Seating:       Yes, seasonal
Parking:                    free and plentiful in the adjacent mall parking lot
Valet Service:            No
Bar Seating:              Yes
Alcohol:                    Full Bar
Coat Check:              No
Date opened:            10-4-2013
Date visited:             12-28-2013 evening

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