Rated 3 stars 

 

{mosimage}My first visit to Beef O’Brady’s came a few weeks ago when an artist friend from Raleigh and I had just finished hanging his art show. It was mid-afternoon and we were both starved and in need of caffeine. My mind was set on buffalo wings as part of some research to find the best wings in town.  

After perusing the menu, the salad section caught my eye. Beef’s has a selection of eight salads to choose from. They all sound so tasty: Asian Mandarin, chicken salad with teriyaki chicken, crispy rice noodles and mandarin oranges, beefy taco salad with shaved beef seasoned with southwestern spices, with chili and warm queso, and buffalo chicken salad with fried chicken tossed with buffalo sauce on a tossed salad with cilantro ranch dressing are just a few of the choices.  

Who would’ve thought that one of the best places in town to get a not so run of the mill salad would be at a family sports pub? A sports pub that sports at least 15 TVs and serves up ice cold beer at that. Beef O’Brady’s is just that place.

That’s not to say that you wouldn’t want to go there for the baskets full of wings or chicken or burgers or wraps. But the salad selection is very tempting, especially this time of year when some of us may be dreaming of washboard abs or fitting into that new monokini that was purchased one size too small as incentive to lose 10 pounds before summer vacation.

The Buffalo Chicken Salad was my first choice. It was just plain satisfying. The boneless chicken in the slightly spicy sauce paired with the cool crisp lettuce and cilantro ranch make a perfect combination. It is like having wings without having to suck the sauce off of your fingers in public. My friend had the Fish ‘n’ Chips basket with pineapple coleslaw. He loved the slaw and was impressed that the meal came with a complimentary side salad that was big enough to have been an entrÄe salad.  

Our friendly waitress gladly made us a pot of fresh coffee upon request. We drank the whole pot. After having pleasant conversation, satisfying food and a recommended daily allowance of caffeine, my friend commented that Fayetteville has changed since the last time he has been here. He enjoyed the experience so much that he said that he will make Beef O’Brady’s a destination restaurant for himself  and his family whenever he’s in our neck of the woods.

Upon first reflection, one might wonder why anyone would put another restaurant downtown. There are already how many in that half-mile radius č nine or 10, including coffee shops? One might also wonder why anyone would want to put yet another chain restaurant anywhere. Don’t we have enough already? However, after stumbling into a chance conversation with a well-traveled older woman a few weeks ago, a suitable answer was offered. The downtown area needs an anchor, a draw č a destination that many people may be familiar with. Beef O’ Brady’s is downtown Fayetteville’s restaurant anchor. (For anyone in the driver’s seat in the area of downtown development, please note that a clothing store anchor would be nice, as well, maybe something like a Steve & Barry’s.)  

Lunch time during the week is a busy time at Beef O’Brady’s, with a mix of active duty military, business people, and families. One of the appealing things about the restaurant is that you pick your own seat. It’s nice to be able to get a window seat without having to slip the host or hostess a $20 bill. A note of warning about the window seat č be on the lookout for a man who looks like he is accustomed to slipping $20s to get the best seat in the house to come over and jokingly tell the waitress that that is his seat and he wants it.  

The atmosphere is relaxed and the wait staff is friendly. Expect about a 15-minute wait for lunch. The seating is open and spacious. The prices are the same for lunch and dinner. Expect to pay about $20 for an entrÄe and drink for two people. Beef’s also has a light menu that offers smaller portions of some of the items on the regular menu. They have a typical kid’s menu with nothing priced over $3.99.

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