Salt licked

The Black and Blue Burger at McHenry's Pub and Grille.

The Black and Blue Burger at McHenry's Pub and Grille.

Photo By amy beck

McHenry’s Pub and Grille is open 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. The bar is open until midnight.

McHenry’s Pub and Grille

137 Los Altos Pkwy.
Sparks, NV 89436

(775) 626-4202

Few things make me happier than Irish bars, so when I heard that a closed Chili’s had been converted into an Irish pub and grille, I was more than happy to take my friend Megan out for a belated birthday lunch. Walking in, it looked like St. Patrick’s Day. I even started to wonder if it was St. Patrick’s Day, until I realized that, like my friend’s actual birthday, it was over a month ago. However, this theme seemed to be isolated in the bar and the rest of the décor was fairly simple.

Staying true to my Irish roots, we decided to eat in the bar so I could be closer to the alcohol. McHenry’s has an extensive beer list, and we started with some Ickys ($4.25). While our server was friendly, she appeared harried, and our beers took longer than I would have liked, but, to be fair, if I had an IV hooked up to me that pumped beer directly into my veins, that might take longer than I would like.

McHenry’s offers traditional bar food with an extensive hot dog and burger menu and some “Irish specialties” thrown in, like corned beef and cabbage. I ordered the bangers and mash ($8.25). When the plate arrived, I was not thrilled with the presentation. Basically, there were a couple of bangers with a lot of brown gravy dumped over the top. Some mashed potatoes peeked out from their blanket of gravy. The gravy allegedly had Guinness and mushrooms, although the only thing I noticed was a few chunks of onion and an overwhelming salty taste.

The mashed potatoes became a topic of conversation. Megan and I speculated back and forth as to whether or not they were made from a mix. We felt the salty, gummy texture betrayed a mix, but the chunks of potatoes threw us off. The bangers were more successful and were grilled perfectly. Unfortunately, the salty gravy smothered them and overpowered the flavor.

Megan ordered the Irish tacos ($7.25), which were two rye tortilla tacos stuffed with cabbage, corned beef, potato and horseradish. The tacos arrived flopped open and sloppy. The horseradish overwhelmed the tacos and was the only thing you could taste—until the saltiness crept in. I know corned beef is supposed to be salty but this was like licking the Great Salt Flats. I started to wonder if the chef had some sort of sodium deficiency. The tacos came with a really small serving of fries. Ironically, they weren’t salty. We ordered some more Ickys to counter all the salt and then decided to split a piece of apple pie a la mode ($4.25). Sadly, the pie didn’t do much, although it was the best thing about the meal, except for the beer, of course. I felt that the price was pretty high for something that tasted like it had once been frozen and then baked three days prior.

My Irish eyes weren’t smiling when I left McHenry’s. I had to apologize to Megan for not only being obnoxiously late on celebrating her birthday but then taking her to salt heaven. I really hope this was just an off day for McHenry’s because anything is better than a chain restaurant, but they need to step it up if they’re going to last.