Sidelines Sports Bar & Grill

Food: () In need of a grill cook, Sidelines’ quality suffers, even at breakfast.

Service: () Far from remarkable, but efficient without being cloyingly friendly.

Atmosphere: () Walls of TVs tuned to events provide everything a sports bar needs.

More Info

Location: 1020 NW Wall St., Bend

Hours: 8 a.m.-1 a.m. Monday-Saturday, 8 a.m.-11 p.m. Sunday

Cuisine: American pub fare

Price range: Breakfast $4.95 to $10.95; salads and appetizers $3.95 to $10.95; pizzas $6.95 to $10.95; burgers, sandwiches and entrees $8.95 to $13.95

Credit cards: American Express, Discover, MasterCard, Visa

Kids’ menu: No

Vegetarian and gluten-free menu: Salads, omelets, veggie pizzas

Alcoholic beverages: Full bar

Outdoor seating: No

Reservations: No

Contact: sidelines-bend.com, 541-385-8898

For more area restaurant reviews, visit bendbulletin.com/restaurants

Is there a better time of year to be a TV sports fan than late March and early April? I think not.

College basketball is wrapping up March Madness as the pro teams approach their playoff season. Major league baseball has just launched its 2018 season. Hockey players have the Stanley Cup in their sights, and the National Football League is counting down the days until its annual player draft.

How in the world can a fan keep track of all the activity, short of having a wall of television screens tuned to different channels?

Not to worry. Sidelines Sports Bar & Grill has you covered.

No fewer than five large flat-screen TVs share the wall directly behind the bar at this Wall Street institution. Many more hang facing that wall, beside tables or in the rear area of the restaurant, surrounded by autographed photos and sports memorabilia, including jerseys and team pennants.

Sports as diverse as bicycling, soccer and auto racing are acknowledged. A small statue of “Captain Morgan,” the icon of a rum manufacturer, stands to the side of the bar in the direction of a video-poker room.

Sidelines seats about 80 guests downstairs and has room for another 60 upstairs. Most seating is on tall stools, at the main bar, at a row of tables on the opposite wall, or at a single long bench — just the right height for elbows — between the two.

Overcooked meat

Service is suitable to the scene. It’s far from remarkable, but except when the bar is packed wall to wall, as it is during Oregon football games and other major events, it’s efficient enough without being cloyingly friendly.

The food, however, is a disappointment. Unless flavor is no consideration, I would recommend that you dine elsewhere and come here just for drinks.

To be fair, at my last visit, Sidelines had a sign in the window advertising for a new grill cook. Skilled help is sometimes hard to come by.

Still, breakfast is not normally a difficult meal to prepare. Sidelines’ kitchen demonstrated an ability to fry eggs and to flip them “over easy,” but precious little else.

My dining companion ordered a panko-crusted pork cutlet ($10.95), which the menu described as “hand-pounded and smothered in brown gravy with two eggs.” And there was an additional notation: “Unbelievably Tender!”

For starters, the cutlet was decidedly NOT tender. The thick panko breading was scorched and the meat overcooked. The gravy was exceptionally heavy.

To make matters worse, the accompanying hash browns had a rancid flavor that could only have come from stale cooking oil. Potatoes deserve better.

I ordered a dish called Irish Eyes A Smilin’ ($9.95) — “house-braised corned beef, hash, grilled onions and green peppers with two eggs.”

But the meat in my potato hash was as tough and overcooked as my companion’s pork cutlet.

I was glad for a serving of fresh fruit that I chose to accompany my meal.

Burger and pizza

I convinced myself that later-in-the-day meals had to be more satisfying. And they were, to a point.

The first two bites of my pastrami burger ($10.95) were the best. The patty, 7 ounces of freshly ground chuck, was cooked medium, per my order. It wasn’t as juicy as I might have liked; next time, perhaps, I’ll request it medium rare.

A toothpick couldn’t hold the bun together, however. As the bun fell apart, thin slices of seared pastrami slid out, along with lettuce, tomato, onions, pickle slices and mayonnaise. I couldn’t eat it without a fork.

I wound up enjoying the seasoned French fries, which accompanied the sandwich, more than I did the burger.

Although I don’t think of Sidelines as a pizza restaurant, my companion selected a 10-inch barbecued chicken pizza ($9.95) for this meal. The soft, yeasty, hand-tossed dough was only lightly sauced.

A modest covering of mozzarella cheese provided a base for chopped chicken breast drizzled with an only mildly spicy barbecue sauce. There may have been mushrooms and red onions on the pizza — they were promised on the menu — but there were too few to notice.

The menu features two pages of breakfast choices, served all day, every day, and include pancakes and omelets. There’s a variety of cold and hot sandwich options, as well as fish tacos, which can be blackened, battered or grilled.

— John Gottberg Anderson can be reached at janderson@bendbulletin.com .

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