Photos and blog post by John Hoff
First, in a spirit of full disclosure: Mike, the loquacious and irrepressible co-owner of Good Sports Bar and Grill, gave me and my girlfriend complimentary chicken wings, taco salad, chili and non-alcoholic beverages when I walked in the door after a long out-of-state hiatus. I am eating this mountain of food while I type on the keyboard in this LIVE JOHNNY NORTHSIDE FOOD REVIEW!!!!
What else can I do and blog about at the same time? Hmmm. I will have to give the matter some thought.
Closing in upon the one year anniversary of Good Sports Bar and Grill, (200 W. Broadway) Mike shared some surprising insights about his slow but steady success on this rapidly-transforming corner of Broadway.
First of all, the challenge of cleaning up an undesirable criminally-inclined crowd which used to frequent the establishment proved surprisingly easy. Everybody, Mike explained, thought the task would be difficult and perhaps even impossible. Instead, Mike started a business which wouldn't tolerate thuggery and...
...thuggery just melted away.
On the other hand, there was a subtle assumption that a grill with a full lunch time menu would naturally attract a lunch time crowd. Instead, Good Sports has attracted more of an evening crowd while potential lunch time customers buzz right past in cars. But Mike is determined to get the lunch crowd and told me--WE ARE TALKING JOHNNY NORTHSIDE CUISINE EXCLUSIVE HERE, FOLKS!!!--about some new items which aren't even on the menu yet, but will soon be available.
SUPER CHILI BOWL for $6.25. This chili has brisket, not hamburger, and the kidney beans have a perfect flavor and texture instead of just being a "chili afterthought." Served with tortilla chips.
PATTY MELT, $8.50.
COD FILET SANDWICH, $7.25.
The signature item at Good Sports continues to be their chicken wings, which have a spice combo Mike refuses to sell, even when offered large sums of money. He developed the spice combo 22 years ago at his first restaurant, Mike's All Sports Restaurant And Bar. In the top photo, Mike shows how previous photos taken by this author have been added to a little display which was used at a business convention.
"Your photo of the chicken wings made them look as big as a turkey!" Mike laughs.
In the second photo, the famous wings in question. In the third photo, note how the taco salad at Good Sports is actually shaped like a taco, not a big pastry bowl. I don't know why that blows my mind, that what I've accepted so long as "taco salad" isn't even THE RIGHT SHAPE.
Check out Good Sports Bar at lunch time. Just think, until the word gets out you won't have to worry about a crowd.