For my very first food review, I was concerned about being assigned Stubs Sports Pub. The Stubs part-not so scary. (Their mascot, Stubby, is a happy little ticket stub-get it?) Pub-well, I didn't get this body by avoiding pub fare so I was o.k. with that, too. Sports-now that made me nervous. I don't know the difference between a touchdown and a homerun and Stubs welcomes potential diners with "...kick back in The Den-our unique viewing area featuring a couch, recliners and a big TV..." I had a vision of being trapped in a La-Z-Boy stuck in the way-back position. My middle name isn't Fearless, but I pretended it was, grabbed my date (BW's I.T. Guy) and we were off.
We got to Stubs on a Saturday around 3 p.m. Avoiding The Den, we chose a booth near a window. The fact that they've named the pizza and sandwiches after sports trophies (thanks, I.T. Guy) was certainly no surprise. However, the menu items themselves were. The Conn Smythe (hockey reference) as the "MVP of pizzas" features chipotle sauce, chorizo, onions and jalapenos. Smoked Salmon Caesar and a Thai salad round off a menu perhaps not found at other sports pubs. We eschewed the Macho Nachos and Stubby's own Spicy Chili and ordered Garlic Cheese Bread with marinara for an appetizer. It wasn't garlicky enough for me, but the cheese was melted onto thick slices of light bread that was soft and holey in the middle and surrounded by terrifically crispy crust. I.T. Guy ordered the Heisman (football)-Polish beer-simmered sausage with mustard, provolone and tomato. I'm close to achieving the personal goal of eating a Reuben sandwich in every restaurant in town that serves one, so I ordered the Stubs version-the Davis (tennis). We were pleased to find our sandwiches served on the same warm, crusty bread as our appetizer. The Davis didn't disappoint. The horseradish was spicy enough to add bite to my sandwich but didn't overpower the other flavors and delightfully complemented thick slices of pastrami. At the I.T. Guy's request-o.k., I insisted-I sampled the Heisman. I hadn't thought much of tomato on a sausage sandwich, but mixed with the provolone and mustard it was a pleasant surprise. Remembering I'd been told to partake of at least one of Stubs's famous pickled eggs, I ordered one. Served on a bowl of pretzels surrounded by peppers sat a hard-boiled neon green egg. Full, but still mostly fearless, I decided to start with one of the peppers and work my way up to the egg. Unfortunately, I know as much about peppers as I do about sports. I bit into an innocent looking little pepper. A crucible of molten steel would've been cooler than that yellow demon. After a crying jag and wiping my tongue with a napkin, I salted my pickled egg and bit. It might have been pretty good, but I couldn't taste anything after the pepper. Had it been later in the day, I would've chased the heat with something from Stubs' great selection of brews (they have everything from PBR to Pyramid's Apricot Ale) or a glass from a fine choice of wines. But I made due with downing somewhere in the neighborhood of three gallons of iced tea. Despite my mouth mutilation, our meal was delicious, the service fast and friendly (I'm sure they've stopped laughing at me by now), and the prices reasonable. Stubs's motto is "find your happy place," and while my happy place usually includes shoes and purses on sale, we had a good time. I'm no longer so afraid of sports pubs but am now terrified of little yellow peppers.
-Amy Atkins plans to legally change her middle name to either "Fearless" or "Beatrice."