Mario's has recently opened a second location in the former Tailgators building along University Avenue in Star City. Tailgators is no more, but Mario's is bringing their stellar food and fun atmosphere to the other side of town, which I'm sure will delight customers from one end of town to the other.
Parking is way easier, and I think there's more room. It looks to be two levels, but I didn't venture to the bottom one. The top one has that more of a restaurant feel - separate tables is a pro for me. I am not a fan of the communal dining you sometimes get at the other location. I like my space, and I like that there are options for sitting, whereas the original location was oftentimes "standing room only."
The building itself has that old smoke smell. Nobody is currently smoking there, but after years of cigarettes, the interior smells of it.
You get a "restaurant" vibe more than the "bar" vibe at the other location. It's not cluttered, but I think they are on their way there. The walls have a few small paper plates with writing on them. I think they're going to take the same approach with this restaurant, which gives the current generation of restaurant-goers a hand in creating this place's history. If it turns out like the original location, you'll be happy if you had helped this one in the beginning.
It wasn't really busy when I went in, so the server came over to me right away. I ordered a frosty fishbowl and looked over the menu. Some paper menus are already sitting on the tables. It looked to feature the same grub - some subs, sandwiches, cheesesteaks, and, of course, their wings.
Mario's has somewhat of a reputation for their wings - they're fried so the outside is crispy. While that's all and good, I opted for some boneless ones in their honey bbq. I hear hot is the way to go, but not for me. I also ordered a side of pepperoni and cheese bites because that just sounds too good to pass up.
The wings were, as all boneless are, little nuggets of meat. This isn't bad in my book - in fact, I like it. The sweet and tangy sauce coated all the deeply fried morsels of meat. Lip-smackingly good, but not for the avid wing fan who prefers the bone-in, with meat falling off. I knew what I was ordering, and I was happy with the outcome. If you prefer the bone-in kind, they certainly have those and they come critically acclaimed.
The pepperoni and cheese bites were probably frozen and deep-fried. Not homemade or anything, but not a bad snack-tizer. They came with some marinara dipping sauce, which helped give that pizza taste to them almost. Think frozen pizza - it's not the best pizza, but it's still pizza. Little bites of cheese and chunks of pepperoni is always going to be good. I can only imagine if Mario's put their talent to work here and made them homemade, though. Mmmm. They weren't anything too fancy, and for $5, I think I'll skip them next time.
If you're expecting the original Mario's, this isn't exactly it. It is however, a spin on that version and is likely to be successful, if not only for the name alone.