By my count, Doug has his fork in at least seven to eight kitchens in town, including Corner Pub in the Woods, The Alley and Dalton's in Bellevue, Austin's in Fieldstone Farms, Joe's Place on Bandywood and The Corner Pub in midtown and the Crow's Nest. Doug and his partners have repeated their model with a new restaurant in the location of the recently departed Paradise Ridge BBQ off Charlotte Avenue in the same shopping center with Strike & Spare. The new restaurant is humbly named DJ's Pub and Grub. The name describes the joint perfectly.
DJ's is a smoking establishment, so leave the kiddies at home, but the day we visited it wasn't too smoky. I can make no promises when football season rolls around and nervous SEC fans start to chain-smoke Marlboros while they enjoy the voluminous beer menu offered at DJ's. The decor is vintage sports bar and the room is cozily dim. There's also a small stage in the corner for music on the weekends.
The moderately priced bar menu offers everything you'd expect plus a few surprises. Bragging on "The Best Hot Wings in Nashville" may seem a little bit bold, but they were pretty damned good. I actually preferred the hot and sweet "Juan's Wings" option over the traditional Buffalo variety. The surprise on the menu came in the form of "Omar's West Nashville Roundsteak" which promised to be "thick sliced & deep fried — covered with cheese and mustard on grilled white bread." The description concluded with a "Can I get an amen?"
Not being hip to the tradition of Alabama Roundsteak, I ordered this with no idea what was coming. Was it going to be some kind of chicken fried steak? I just knew it was going to be be good to me and bad for me. So what did I get for my $7? Well, it was the second-best fried bologna sandwich I've had in this town. (Jimmy Carl's will always hold the pole position in my race.) Grilled crisp on the outside and slathered in melted cheese and yellow mustard, Omar's Roundsteak reminded me of the sandwiches my mother never made for me. A single slice of Elm Hill on some Bunny bread and Plochman's Mustard could never hold a candle to this artery-clogging masterpiece.
Is it fine dining? Heck no. Is it a dive bar? Not yet, but it proudly aspires to become a neighborhood hang-out. Let the neighborhood decide how divey it becomes. They've only been open a few weeks, but if you happen to drop by on a trip to Costco, let us know what you think.
DJ's Pub & Grub
3736 Annex Ave.