Episode 21: Sidetrack Bar & Grill
Address: 4722A Nolensville Pike
Hey everybody, long time no see! I'm sorry I've been more or less silent since the holidays, but my wife and I got sideswiped by that gnarly flu-shit that's going around and I didn't think it would be fair to anyone if I reviewed a new spot while my GI was set for self-destruction.
But I'm better now and ready for adventure! And in the spirit of adventure, today's installment of the road takes us to that weird little alley that runs alongside Nolensville between Haywood and Northcrest — you know, behind the best-named clothing store ever "Sexy Fashions for the Whole Family" — and the Sidetrack Bar & Grill. It's a weird little corner of The Road that I didn't even know existed until a few weeks ago, but I'm glad I found it. Plus, it's the 21st edition of The Road, so we might as well spend it at the bar.
Let's start with my one major disappointment — they have frog legs on the menu. This is disappointing only because I didn't realize they had frog legs until after I had eaten and was too full to put down an order of Kermit's kickers. Bummerino metropolis, ladies and gentlemen. I really wish that this review was about frog legs. Ah, well. I had been lured into the Sidetrack by a mural promising a meat-and-two, but from the looks of it their version is a more standardized bar menu with a particularly down-home Southern bent. It's not a crazy menu, but the prices are right — my two-beer lunch came to $12 — the service is fast and the food was better than expected.
Actually, my fried bologna sandwich was damn, damn good. The 1-to-1 ratio of cheese slices to bologna slices — and the fact that all of the vegetables were really fresh, multiplied by the toasted bun — made for a pretty sublime sandwich. The more I think about it, the more I want to ditch my desk and run back for another one, actually. It almost makes me miss being a grill cook and making sandwiches like that for myself when the boss wasn't looking —and I NEVER miss being a grill cook. The fried pickles weren't the best I've ever had — the batter could use a little more seasoning — but they were made from scratch, and that counts a hell of a lot in my book. Also, the unsolicited reviews from the dudes next to me would indicate that the cheeseburger is "phenomonal," "amazing" and "fucking great, pardon my language."
The decor of Sidetrack is pretty standard-issue sports bar, with plenty of TVs and couple of NASCAR-emblazoned car hoods. It's dark but not dingy — they have a 97 for a health score, which is really good considering it's an old building with an old kitchen — and they have a few pool tables, darts and some bar games. They also have a stage — with a house drum kit — and from the signs I saw they do songwriters' nights on Mondays. While I'm usually 110 percent against writers' nights, I feel like the folks who are hanging out at this bar — it's an older, working-class crowd from what I can tell — have far better stories than your average 23-year-old Scarlett-wannabe working the coffeeshop circuit. Sidetrack is a solid dive with some solid grub, and worth venturing off the main road for.