Sidelines is a familiar name on the Toledo area sports bar scene.
The sports eatery and pub has four locations in metro Toledo: one in Lambertville, two in Toledo, and a new location in Maumee.
We were surprised when the bar opened at its Holland Road site earlier this year. In 2005, the local chain opened a location in the same vicinity. The restaurant was shuttered in 2007. The owner cited high heating costs as the reason for the closure.
We stopped by the Maumee location a few times recently to find the restaurant bustling with customers. Many of the diners were families with young children, most likely attracted by the daily specials such as $.95 tacos on Mondays and free kids meals on Wednesdays (restrictions apply).
During our first visit, we sampled the tacos, which weren't on the menu but were advertised as the special of the day. The warm tortillas were filled with the usual fillers of cheese and lettuce piled on top of greasy, flavorless beef taco meat.
We also tried the fish fry ($9.99), a half pound of hand-breaded deep-fried Alaskan Pollock. The crunchy breading created a nice mix of salty and spicy flavors, but it couldn't mask how thin the fillets were and that they had been frozen. The fish was served with steamed veggies and coleslaw.
We were excited to see that the kids menu had 10 options, more than any other place we have visited. However, the chicken sandwich and mini corn dogs (both $4.99) were a disappointment. The mini corn dogs were store-bought and frozen.
The chicken sandwich, two breaded chicken tenders on a plain dry bun, was also frozen. Both meals were served with yogurt.
The garbage fries ($7.99), a twist on traditional potato skins, were the standout. The waffle fries came loaded with melted cheddar and mozzarella, bits of meaty bacon, tomatoes and jalapeno peppers.
During our second visit, another appetizer was the highlight. The fowl balls ($7.99) are small chunks of white meat chicken, lightly battered, fried and tossed in one of about a dozen sauces. The chicken was tender, juicy, and it tasted fresh.
The waitresses wore colorful T-shirts touting the chain's "award-winning" ribs, so we decided to see what all the fuss was about and opted for the rib and shrimp combo ($17.99). Like all the other seafood, the shrimp was not fresh and it was heavily breaded. The ribs were fatty, greasy, and nothing to brag about.
The Philly steak sandwich ($8.49) wasn't a total disappointment. The meat was a little dry, but it was tolerable.
The menu doesn't have a dessert section, but depending on who you ask, you might find one or two options. We tried the brownie a la mode, after being assured by two waitresses that it didn't contain nuts. Still leery, we took a closer look to find that the brownie was filled with nuts of some sort baked in. When we notified our waitress, she shrugged it off and simply said "Oops."
For someone with an allergy to nuts this is a serious problem and should not be treated in a nonchalant manner.
It helps for the wait staff to know the menu and respect the customers.
Contact Bill of Fare at firstname.lastname@example.org.