Over the hump

The Italian chicken sub is one of the thicker sandwiches you’ll see around town.

The Italian chicken sub is one of the thicker sandwiches you’ll see around town.

Photo By David Robert

I called Evan about six times before he finally pulled into the art department parking lot, sheepishly smiling and apologizing. He was scheduled to arrive sometime in the previous hour, and I almost trekked home with an empty belly. Luckily, The Breakaway is only a hop and a skip from UNR.

We sidle up to the bar, as the sign posted in the kitchen advises. There are at least 12 patrons seated at the J-shaped bar, and to my surprise, only about half seem to be drinking their way past hump day. Evan inquires as to whether I’d like a cold one, and I reply in my most demanding voice, “Are you gonna buy it for me?”

“I’ll buy you everything,” he says gleefully, as he hands over his platinum card.

The menu is more complete than many bar menus I’ve seen. They make a lot of pizza here, keeping the young minds of UNR sharp and greasy. There are many varieties of burger to choose from: Mexican, teriyaki and bacon … mmm, bacon. Most meals come with a choice of soup, salad or fries, but beware: The bartender informs me soup is a rare treat, more generally appearing alongside winter storms.

I’m feeling chickeny today, so I choose the Italian chicken sub sandwich with a side of french fries ($6.95). Evan orders the teriyaki burger with a salad, made complete with bleu cheese on the side ($6.25).

As we chat, a familiar face peers at us from the other side of the bar, and Evan, the friendliest guy I know, introduces me to Max Ezra of the Bleulion Art Gallery. (Actually I’ve met him a number of times, but as I said, “the friendliest guy I know.") Our conversation turns to the upcoming election, and Max reminds us of the “Dissenting Opinions” show scheduled for late October. I make a mental note—my opinion tends toward dissent quite often.

Our chat is cut short by the arrival of our food, and we rush to our stools to meet it. My sandwich is about 6 inches long and thick—breaded and fried chicken strips under lots of melted mozzarella and topped with marinara sauce—I have to squish it to take a bite.

Evan tears into his giant burger, motioning to me that he’s enjoying it—sort of like speaking sign language with Koko the gorilla (who, incidentally, has a pet sparrow named “Tongue"). My fries are crispy and heavily seasoned with some delicious salty powder, and I eat them ravenously. Evan’s salad looks lonely for more veggies—there are only tomato and lettuce, although both look fresh. A bit more marinara for my sandwich would have made it perfect.

We finish our meals and hang around the bar talking life for a while. Our dinner was good and filling, as a bar meal should be. We were able to gamble and smoke before and after, and drink some beer during. A hearty meal, but The Breakaway is probably better known for its liquids. Check out their daily drink specials and then come early to put some food in your belly before you drink all night. Or, heck, come late like Evan did, there’ll still be time for a beer with your burger—it’s not like the platinum card is going to get maxxed out anytime soon.