Dooley’s is a well-executed sports bar in a failing space

DOOLEY’S BAR AND GRILL (259 E. Broad St., 706-850-1587): It’s unclear if this new bar/restaurant takes its name more from the film Johnny dangerouswhich has a facility by that exact name, or by the former head football coach and athletic director of the Georgia Bulldogs, although it’s probably the latter.

Home to a number of mediocre restaurants and bars, lately Einstein Bros. Bagels, the space has never been inspirational, but now it feels jazzed up. The place seems to have mastered the ability to be a sports bar, that is to say both a bar and a restaurant, with a menu that’s a little more interesting and better executed than one would expect. None of this means you can expect healthy foods or a focus on locally grown vegetables. Most of what’s available is greasy: wings, grilled cheese, burgers, baskets of fried stuff. That’s what sports bar food tends to be, and in this case it is. You’ll need some napkins and you might have to grab a tums, but your meal provides a solid base for several beers. The faster your food is eaten in relation to the preparation time, the better it will be. Hot fat beats cold fat.

The prices aren’t bad. The Floyd’s Fried Bologna n’ Cheese sandwich is a simple affair: thick-cut charcuterie spilling across the griddle, American cheese, mayonnaise and mustard, all grilled between sourdough bread. It’s also only $6, and while it’s not huge, it’s filling. That doesn’t include a side dish, but who says you always need one? The impulse buy items that top the menu in appetizers are more expensive. The Buffalo Chicken Rangoons, served with a sriracha honey-lime dipping sauce (basically fancy ranch dressing), are pretty good bar grub, but at $8 for a handful, you can tease them a little. Baskets of fries or chips covered in various toppings are $9, and if you want to add steak ($5) or chicken ($4), it costs a fair bit more. The Peach and Pig is a fancy grilled cheese that pairs brie with homemade canned peaches and bacon on wheat bread. can i write this It has too much bacon compared to the canned ones. I love bacon and I don’t really like the sweet and salty combo, but the sandwich would be better if it leaned more into the contrast. Like the rest of the menu, the burgers are compact (3 ounces), inexpensive, and greasy. They need a little more punch, but they’re perfectly executed. There are salads if you want to go that direction, and kids’ meals, which cost $8 but come with a side dish and a drink. There is also a well stocked bar with few taps but a good selection of canned and bottled beer.

Of course there are TVs that are generally tuned to sports, but they might be showing an episode of “Supernatural” if you go to lunch, and there’s plenty of memorabilia lining the walls. Dooley’s is open Monday through Saturday from 11am to 2am and Sunday from 11am to midnight. It delivers and takes away but has no outdoor seating.

BLENDERZ (245 Oconee St., 706-514-0060): This place that inherited the location of Frutta bowls in The Mark feels like a chain in its infancy. It’s kind of the opposite of Dooley’s in that its food is expensive, health oriented and not that well prepared. I understand the rising costs of restaurateurs, but $15 for a quinoa bowl with chicken, romaine, black beans, cheddar, corn, avocado, salsa, and Greek yogurt is, you know, a bit much. For reference, the Power Lunch at The National, which is reliably delicious, healthy, and has plenty to eat, costs $14. A chicken panini with red onions, cheddar, salsa, and jalapenos costs $12.50 and isn’t huge. A “regular” size smoothie can cost as much as $9.

The prices could be more bearable if the food was better. It tastes like something you could get at your average grocery store, and while you might be happy with it there, your costs would be less and your expectations lower. Do you really, really want your açai bowl served in a half coconut for an extra $8 so you can post it on Instagram? Or did you train at Orange Theory right next door? Those are reasons to go here. Blenderz is open Monday to Saturday from 7am to 8pm and Sunday from 10am to 6pm. It validates parking for 20 minutes.


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