POTSDAM A local sports bar has a new name, a new location and a new image.
Tons Sports Bar was forced to vacate its location behind McDonalds on outer Market Street to make way for a new hotel thats being built. It moved down the street to 141 Market St., for many years home to Tardellis Restaurant.
Tons previously was a popular late-night place to grab a few drinks and listen to a live band. The new location is much smaller, and to reflect that, the owners changed the name to Half Tons Bar and Grill.
Now its more of a restaurant than a crowded locals bar that serves drinks in plastic cups. The new facility has been extensively remodeled and features separate diner and bar entrances.
We arrived on a Monday evening at 5:30 through the diner doorway. The stark dining area featured about a dozen tables with a strange fluorescent light dimness. Only one table was occupied, so we walked through a short corridor that took us to the bar side, which had a far more welcoming atmosphere.
The beautiful stone fireplace has been retrofitted with a gas insert. Several tables were set up for dining and drinks in the room. The main bar is down a few steps in a sunken area, formerly Tardellis banquet room.
We grabbed a table by the fireplace. The bar was busy and remained that way throughout the dinner hour. From our vantage point, we noticed people eating at the bar and at high-top tables, watching TV (there are five of them) and playing a friendly game of darts; a great pub atmosphere.
Our server greeted us quickly, offered us menus and took our drink orders.
The house Chardonnay tasted just fine, especially for four bucks, and turned out to be Sutter Home out of one of those little bottles, we were told. Unsweetened iced tea ($1.99) came sweetened but our server quickly corrected that.
The menu features appetizers (mostly fried), sandwiches (on bread, as a wrap or on a sub roll), burgers, pizzas and diner-like dinners (deep-fried chicken, ham dinner, shrimp basket) and the quintessential Friday fish fry and Saturday prime rib.
We began with an appetizer that appeared to be the only one made from scratch, bruschetta ($6.99). Four small squares of French bread were topped with a tasty bruschetta mix diced tomatoes with just the right amount of onion and garlic. It was a nice appetizer for one or two people.
We got a personal-size white pizza with chicken and broccoli, a great deal for $6.99. The homemade crust was crisp; the toppings were tasty. It would have been good even without the chicken, as a veggie pizza. It was more than enough for one and big enough to share.
The cheeseburger ($9.49) was good. Although we werent asked how wed like it done, it came out medium with the perfect amount of pinkness still juicy and definitely not dry and overcooked.
It came with lettuce, tomato and onion and, like many other menu items a choice of avocado slices a nice upscale touch. Fries are standard with all burgers and sandwiches. We chose sweet potato fries which also were good.
A chicken, bacon and ranch wrap cost $9.49. The wrap bread was supposedly Southwest but didnt taste Southwest in any way. But that didnt matter the stuff inside was mighty tasty: plenty of fried chicken-tender pieces, crispy bacon, chopped lettuce and tomato and flavorful ranch dressing, plus avocado slices which we had requested.
Our server was happy to sub onion rings for french fries. They were a standard frozen product but they tasted as they should. And the flavor of the oil they were fried in didnt impart the flavor of everything else being deep-fried that day.
We tried a side of potato salad ($2.49). It was homemade and it was excellent seasoned just right, and the potatoes were cooked just right.
We couldnt resist desserts, a choice of homemade pies baked by the weekday cook, Margaret Bartel. We ordered Toll House, pumpkin and chocolate cream ($2.99 each).
The Toll House, as with all the pies, featured a wonderfully flaky crust with a warm, chocolaty Toll House cookie-like filling. The pumpkin pie had the same crust, of course, and a good, standard pumpkin filling. The slice of chocolate pie was very good as well.
After asking our server to compliment Margaret on her pie-making, the cook took a break from the kitchen and stopped at our table. We learned that she previously cooked at a great diner/restaurant in Norfolk called Nins. While it is no longer in business, Nins had a great reputation for its food and especially its pies.
Dinner for three came to $49.66 before tip and drinks from the bar.
All in all, the new Tons (Half Tons) is a good place for a quick, casual dinner. The food was good, our server was friendly and helpful and the atmosphere by the fireplace was warm and cozy.
The folks who went with me enjoy eating at diners and found the prices to be a bit high by north country standards. They pointed out that sandwiches are offered only in a platter, with fries. Having the sandwiches available a la carte for a lower price would be nice, they suggested.
Half Tons is open seven days a week and offers one menu, along with daily specials, from 11 a.m. until 8 p.m. daily.
You can contact restaurant reviewer Walter Siebel via email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Half Tons Bar & Grill
141 Market St.
A local sports bar has a new name, a new location and a new image.
HOURS: Food served seven days a week from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m.
The bar opens at 11 a.m. daily except for Sunday, when it opens at noon. Last call is 2 a.m. every day.
OUR PICKS: White pizza with chicken and broccoli, chicken bacon ranch wrap, potato salad, any of Margarets homemade pies