Junction Bar & Grill leaves typical bowling alley fare in the dust
For the 10th straight year, October is Dining Month on OnMilwaukee, presented by the restaurants of Potawatomi Hotel & Casino. All month, we're stuffed with restaurant reviews, dining guides, delectable features, chef profiles and unique articles on everything food, as well as voting for your "Best of Dining 2016."
When's the last time you ordered food at a bowling alley?
No, scratch that. When's the last time you ordered food at a bowling alley, ate it and really enjoyed it?
While food is an afterthought at most bowling alleys, there's a South Side spot that is taking the idea of "bowling alley fare" to a new level. In fact, The Junction Bar & Grill, located inside the JB's on 41 entertainment center, would like to be a place where you go, even if you're not into bowling.
"We're really aiming at taking our food to the next level," says general manager and certified cicerone beer server Adam Hug. "We used to cater primarily to bowlers. But now we're taking it to the next level and offering people higher level pub style fare. And we'd love to see people come and sit down at our table who aren't even interested in bowling."
Upgrades to the menu include scratch-made fare, including housemade sauces and fresh produce, that's made daily by Kitchen Manager James Miller, whose experience includes work with The Anchorage and more recently the Miller Time Pub. Diners can supplement their experience by taking advantage of beer pairings from The Junction's solid – and mostly craft – beer list, which features eight taps and over 30 beers available by the bottle.
But what will you find when you go?
We've got the low-down on some of the fresh new options at The Junction, each of which can be paired with one of its beer offerings.
These cheese curds aren't cooked from frozen. In fact, they're fresh curds from Ellsworth Creamery that are hand battered, fried and served with housemade ranch dressing and marinara sauce ($7). Go simple and pair them with a Leine's Honey Weiss. The clean, crisp sweet afternotes offset the saltiness of the cheese.
These fried tortilla rolls are filled with chicken, avocado, corn, black beans, jack and cheddar cheese, and served with Sriracha aioli ($8). These are also a good match for the Leine's Honey Weiss. Or go classic with a Budweiser, because sometimes that's just a good idea.
Burger sliders come topped with cheddar cheese, haystack onions and signature sauce ($9). But you can order up full-sized burgers too, like the Burger Bomb topped with pulled pork, barbecue sauce, poblano relish, pickles and crispy onions ($11). Pair it up with Lakefront Fixed Gear or Eastside Dark, which is a great match for the coffee rub on the pork.
Other sandwich options include the chicken caprese featuring grilled chicken, fresh mozzarella, tomato, basil and balsamic glaze ($8); or the housemade smoked hand-pulled pork served up on a soft brioche roll with barbecue sauce, haystack onions and poblano relish ($7).
The pizza at the Junction has long been one of their most popular items. Pizzas come in 11 and 14-inch sizes that are perfect for dining solo or sharing and come with a crisp crust topped with fresh ingredients. We ordered the spinach portabella with mozzarella cheese, portabella mushrooms and spinach topped with garlic infused olive oil. Try it paired with the Ale Asylum Madtown Nut Brown, which offers up a pleasant earthiness that's a great match for the spinach and mushrooms.
Desserts include scratch made signature bread pudding drizzled with Irish whiskey cream sauce and pecans ($6).
Want to get a taste? Head out to The Junction for happy hour, which takes place Monday through Friday from 4 to 6 p.m. Enjoy half-off on appetizers, $2 long islands, $2.50 domestic taps and $4 rail drinks.
The Junction Bar & Grill is open daily. Hours are Monday through Thursday from noon to 10 p.m. and noon to 12:30 a.m. on Friday and Saturday. The Junction also offers food for takeout.
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