Thursday, May 26, 2011

Comings and Goings: Dick's Open and Church's Closed

Posted By on Thu, May 26, 2011 at 10:31 AM

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There's been quite a bit of activity on the restaurant front of late, and it's getting a little hard to tell the players without a score card. I can tell you that the current score is Dick's +1, Church's -2.

Dick's Last Resort opened their newest outpost this week in the space where Buffalo Billiards used to be at 154 Second Ave. N. Never fear, pool sharks. Buffalo's moved upstairs and Coyote Ugly remains in the basement of the same building. Which is to say that if you're looking to be playfully abused by the wait staff while eating copious amounts of fried food, then 154 Second Ave. is the place to be.

Downstairs at Coyote Ugly pneumatic bartenders do in fact dance on the bar, but don't leer too much or you will be verbally put back in your place. Just enjoy the view and your really expensive longneck and keep quiet. At Dick's, it's even harder to avoid becoming part of the show.

A draw at Dick's is the razzing that patrons receive from the staff. After being seated at long picnic tables, expect to be bibbed and quite possibly have a to-go bag placed on your head with some semi-vulgar epithet written in Sharpie to get you in the party spirit. It's all in good fun. If you ask for napkins, they'll be flung at you in a shower of fluttering paper. Tree-huggers might want to stay away.

The decor looks like a TGI Friday's blew up and was only partially reconstructed. Silly street signs and pictures of the Dick family adorn the walls, and there is a shrine dedicated to Elvis, just in case tourists aren't confused enough about the difference between Nashville and Memphis.

The food is respectable bar food, and by the looks of the menu they must have a fryer the size of a bathtub in the kitchen. Fried alligator, crab balls and pickles dominate the appetizer menu, and the main courses are the typical selection of ribs and sandwiches that you would expect in a BenniganFridayMcGillicuddyHooterMargaritavilleTuesday's, except with more salacious names. Enjoy the Pork Bonerz and your Case O' King Crabs. We can't yet report on the food; we ate dinner earlier in the night at SATCo.

All in all, Dick's should do fine as an addition to the tourist funnel that is Lower Broad. I don't think they took up any real estate that Thomas Keller had an option on, so there's really no need to be hatin' on them if it's not your bag. Hopefully visitors will go and have a good time and leave some extra sales tax dollars in the local coffers. The location is just a few steps from the bridge over to LP FIeld, so I can see Dick's being a good place to get pumped up for a Titans game or to commiserate with friends after another loss.

On the flip side, ever since Church's released their new spicier chicken and then subsequently apologized for their mismanagement in our market, their franchise locations have been shutting down left and right.

I can count at least five locations that have been shuttered in the past six months; the latest two to fall were on West End and on Eighth Avenue near Wedgewood last week. Remind me to sell my Church's stock and invest in plywood. I'll miss that spicy chicken though ...

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