Surprise party

Head Chef David Lambert is excited about this deep dish combo pizza.

Head Chef David Lambert is excited about this deep dish combo pizza.

Photo By Allison Young

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I just celebrated a birthday. My friends wanted to prove how much they hate me, so they took me to Harry’s Sports Bar and Grill. Well, at least that was my first thought when I walked in because this place seems like more of a dive bar than a sports bar. To be fair, it does have a lot of flat screen TVs that were tuned to baseball games, but the lighting was low and it looked rundown. The space is odd, with the bar in the middle, then pool tables on one side, and a wide variety of pinball machines on the other. There are also a few tall tables in the bar area.

When the bartender, Christian, came over, he was very welcoming and seemed glad we were there. We caught the tail end of happy hour, which runs until 7 p.m., so I decided to have a Rolling Rock (on draft for $1). When we asked about food, he assured us the food was great, and then proceeded to pull the one menu off a nail on the bar. Do I need to mention I didn’t have high hopes? Especially since right about this time, my friend Justin dislodged a cup of matches from a hole in the bar. Christian shrugged off the hole, and explained someone had put their elbow through it as the bar is a little thin because they’re waiting on gambling machines to be put in. He further explained they only have one menu because they are in the process of putting together a new one. The place didn’t look like it just opened, but these changes prompted me to ask. Nope, turns out Harry’s has been open for about a year, after a new owner took over.

Looking over the menu, my hopes lifted a bit as there were a variety of choices from sandwiches to Mexican food. We decided to get some appetizers to start and went with the fried pickles ($6), chicken wings ($9) and Reuben fritters ($5). The Reuben fritters were round balls filled with pastrami and cheese and were excellent. The fried pickles were decent, and I liked the sweet batter on them. The chicken wings were awesome. The wings were meaty and coated in a spicy sauce that contained melted bleu cheese and parmesan. It sounds strange, but oh how it works. We ended up placing another order of these, along with two deep dish pizzas, the combo ($13 for 10 inches) and the Dave’s ($14).

When the pizzas came out, Christian wasn’t sure which was which as the major difference seemed to be some green peppers on the combo, but we were all sharing so it didn’t matter. The deep dish crust was crispy on the edges and soft on the inside. Combined with tons of cheese and thick layers of toppings, we were all pleasantly surprised. Dave’s was the better pizza, but both kinds made me just want to come back and order more. The kitchen is only open until 8 p.m., so plan accordingly.

We stuck around for more drinks, played the jukebox and some pinball and had a good time. My friends later admitted they took me to Harry’s to mess with me but the joke’s on them, because the atmosphere, while dingy, is also relaxed and welcoming. The biggest surprise of the night was definitely the food because this is cooking I would absolutely come back for.