Saturday, July 9, 2011

Varsity Club

I, along with my co-worker Danielle, hit up Varsity Club on Friday, also her birthday. We had tried to go here a few days ago when the power was out, so we decided today would be the day. Unfortunately, we picked a day when the Morgantown weather gods decided to also torrential downpour, so outside pictures were nearly impossible.

Varsity Club is located on Don Nehlen Drive, right across from the stadium and very close to Chateau Royale. I'm not usually on that side of town, so I had never visited Varsity Club before. It's situated on a small hill, and the parking lot is tiny. So tiny, in fact, that all the spots were taken up when we tried to go, so we parked illegally in a fire lane. No ticket/towing though, thank goodness. But there's a large oval sign out front that signals you're there.

When you first walk in, the dining area doesn't look too large, but there's another area behind the bar. There are frames of various sports memorabilia plastered across the wall. The bar sticks out like a peninsula, so there's an area in front, to the left and behind. As soon as we set foot inside, a waitress told us to sit anywhere we liked. That made me feel instantly comfortable - new place, but I didn't have to stand up wondering what to do for a minute. We walked around to the back, because there was a little bit more room. Our waitress noticed the table was a little close to the one next to ours and told us we can shimmy it over. Perfect - she was really paying attention and wanted to make us feel comfortable, which she did very well. She took our drink orders, then we picked up the menus already located on the table and searched.

I had been perusing their menu all morning, so I had a good idea of what I wanted: the pulled pork sandwich. It had hickory smoked pork, varsity slaw, hushpuppies, chips and slaw. She asked if I wanted fries, and I said sure. After Danielle ordered her quesadilla, the waitress asked if we'd like to just share a basket for about a dollar more, and we took her up on it. Shortly thereafter, she brought out a "sauce" carrier. In the form of a plastic 6-pack of beer bottles, this little carrier instead housed six different types of BBQ sauce. I get to choose my own sauce to put on my sandwich? I can try all of them to see which one I like best? Perfect. Major points.

Our dishes came out fairly quickly. A large basket of seasoned fries was situated between Danielle and I. The fries were medium-width, so a decent amount of potato inside. I prefer a bit crunchier french fry. My sandwich was piled high with pork on a warm bun. The pork was tender and plentiful. A heaping handful of chips accompanied my sandwich - plain, greasy ones. I also had three hushpuppies that were absolutely excellent. Crispy outside and moist and well-seasoned inside. I only wish there were more on the plate. I also had a condiment container full of slaw. It wasn't mayonnaise-based, but it was very good nonetheless. I never had a slaw like that - it was cold and moist, but I would almost say it was a water-based, rather than mayo. It tasted the same, only fresher and lighter.

I tried all the sauces out with fries. The Memphis Sweet BBQ was fairly sweet for my taste, but still good. I also liked the Golden Carolina BBQ and used it for a good bit of my fries. My favorite, however, was their very own house sauce, VBQ. It had a hint of buffalo sauce, but it was a nice combination between the sweet and tangy without relying too heavily on one or the other. I really liked all of the sauces, and I would have been happy if any were on my sandwich. But I couldn't finish my whole sandwich and opted to drizzle some VBQ on the rest of it. When I asked for a to-go box, the waitress was nice enough to ask if I'd like a container to take a sauce with me, as well. The waitress was great.

At the heart of it, this is a sports bar. It's a great location for those going to the football games, but it's not fine dining. The typical dishes are pizza, sandwiches, wings and some seafood. If you want a good, greasy meal after or before a day of drinking, this is the place. The food is exceptional for many sports bars, and I wouldn't mind going back.

Grade: B
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