Goal Post Tavern
I'm a sucker for those half-off coupons, especially when food is involved and especially when I spot one for a restaurant I've never been to (which is rare). In this case, my sense of thrift and a hankering for some pub grub is what sent The Grub Spouse and me in the direction of Goal Post Tavern on the Cumberland Strip.
Goal Post Tavern caters to the college community, and as such, the emphasis is as much, if not more, on the bar and social-gathering component. Drink specials abound, and the horseshoe layout of the bar and surrounding seating is conducive to watching football games and other sporting events on the multitude of TV screens.
We arrived during the dinner hour to an empty house, another sign that things don't really get kicking at GPT until later in the evening. We snagged a booth and started checking out the menu, which kicks off with a standard array of wings, cheese sticks, potato skins and the like. The Spouse and I are fried-mushroom junkies, however, and put in an order for those as soon as we spotted them.
Most of the fare is devoted to sandwiches and burgers. Specialty sandwiches include catfish, French Dip and a Philly, while deli-style sandwiches feature the likes of a club, Reuben, hoagie and roast beef. There is also a tempting variety of chicken sandwiches, including mesquite-grilled, Louisiana-blackened, south-of-the-border and chicken Philly.
I focused my attention on the selection of 10 burgers, ranging from the cordon bleu and French (Burgundy wine sauce and mushrooms) to the Mexican and Swiss recipes. My selection, the Italian burger ($8.95), was based purely on our server's recommendation. The usual half-pound Angus patty is complemented by provolone and Parmesan cheeses, pepperoni slices and marinara sauce.
You'll also find a decent selection of hearty entree-style dinners, including mettwurst and beans, turkey and gravy, pork chops, and fish and chips. Featured among the specialty dinners, which include a salad or cup of soup, are catfish, chicken and chopped steak. The Spouse got the Cuban chicken, a char-grilled breast topped with cheddar-jack cheese and pico de gallo and served over steamed rice and black beans ($13.95).
Our wait seemed a bit on the long side, considering we were the only faces in the house, but it wasn't unreasonably so. Meanwhile, we kept an eye on the TV action and scoped out the expected array of UT sports-themed memorabilia on the walls. It was noticeable but not annoyingly excessive.
We had intended to order a half-basket of 'shrooms, but we were brought a full basket ($8.95). Fortunately, they were half off during happy hour. The fungi were hot, juicy and tasty, although I thought the breading was uneven and unremarkable.
In general, the food was a decent effort but again, nothing that made you stop and think, "Wow, this is really great." The burger patty could have been juicier, and in my book, the Italian embellishments neither detracted from nor enhanced what was still a satisfying open-faced meal.
I was more pleased with the Cuban entree, although this was another case in which the protein could have been a little more succulent. But I did think the flavors embodied by the pico, beans and rice resulted in an overall fun flavor experience.
So if you stop in at Goal Post Tavern to wet your whistle, I think you'll have a reasonable chance of finding something that will also whet your appetite.
Goal Post Tavern
Address: 1824 Cumberland Ave.
Hours: 11 a.m. to 3 a.m. Mondays through Saturdays; 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Sundays
Full bar service
Bottom Line: Check out this Cumberland Strip restaurant and watering hole for game-day food, fluids and fun.
© 2012, Knoxville News Sentinel Co.
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