First published in the Coastal Courier Newspaper in October 2015
When I first moved to this area, there was a place the locals all flocked to for lunch, happy hour and evening celebrations called El-Rods.
Man, it was a happening place. It served great steak and burgers, was the gracious host to several fundraisers that aided local charitable organizations, and was a place where literally everybody knew your name.
Cue the theme song from “Cheers.”
The first time someone had mentioned the place to me was when I asked where I could get a decent steak or burger that was not from a chain restaurant. Granted, I was a bit leery when I learned it was housed at the end of a strip mall. You had to drive behind the building to get to the entrance.
The entrance led to a side-patio sitting room and a few feet away were the bar and restaurant.
I spent many nights chomping down on burgers and washing them down with a cold beer or two. It was a place where I would often meet my co-workers for lunch or on weekends meet up with friends.
I was sad when it closed, even sadder when it remained closed for quite some time.
About a year ago, a sign was posted announcing the restaurant was going to open again as a place called The Pour House Bar and Grill. It opened in July and finally, about a week ago, I walked in for lunch to give it a look and try a burger.
I paused upon entering. The room that was once divided in two was now an open space. The bar remained where I remembered it to be, and the once-open patio area was now an enclosed space. The back entrance was also where I remembered it to be, but the new place also has an entrance that faces the front section of the strip mall.
I perused the menu and glanced at the listing of burgers and sandwiches. Then something caught my eye. Among the selection of po’boys and sandwiches was a ribeye steak sandwich. The menu claimed it was the best “Sam-ish” in town.
Say what? Challenge accepted.
The waitress came around and took my order. Along with the sandwich, I got some sweet tea and a side order of coleslaw. As I waited, I looked around. The far corner wall near the kitchen had a neat chrome industrial look that fit well with the new open space, lighting and new ambience. On the wall across from the bar, a chalkboard listed all the available beers on tap and bottled. It was an impressive list. It has a few flat-screen TVs placed throughout the restaurant, all displaying different sport channels.
I glanced at the long list of specialty brews and waited for my sandwich. Much like a few places I have written about recently, The Pour House cooks your meal to order, which I can appreciate instead of a reheated or premade meal that sits under a heat lamp.
And it didn’t take long. Suddenly before me was this thin — but massive — ribeye steak, spewing out beyond the reach of the toasted French bread-style bun that struggled to hold it in place. It was topped with lettuce and tomato. The sandwich is served with a specialty sauce the restaurant calls “horsey” sauce.
The sandwich was cut in half, and I hoisted up the first half and took a bite.
It was delicious, and then I tried the next bite by dipping the tip of the sandwich into the sauce.
The best way to describe the sauce would be to say it is like a creamy ranch dressing with the addition of horseradish. The perfect topping for a steak sandwich. I will concede The Pour House has the best ribeye sandwich in town.
Realizing I went for a burger and was distracted, I returned to The Pour House a few days later and this time, I focused on their burger selection. I settled for the bacon cheeseburger, especially pleased the restaurant lets you pick the cheese you want.
Once again, I looked over the beer list. Knowing my boss would not appreciate an inebriated writer, I stuck to sweet tea. There were three people seated at the table to my left. The woman was bragging about the crab soup featured on the menu.
She convinced the man seated across from her to order a bowl.
My burger arrived. Again, it was massive. Yet much like the steak sandwich, I finished the whole thing. It was perfectly cooked, still juicy. The pepper jack cheese held the thick and crispy slices of bacon in place. I had to cut it in half just to get a handle on it for the first bite.
I devoured it and was munching on the fries when the man was served his crab soup.
This is the best you will ever taste,” the waitress said to him, adding that the chef won’t even tell the staff the recipe other than it has cream and blue crabs.
We all watched him take the first taste.
“Lawd in heaven, this is good,” he said.
Suddenly, I realized I would need to come back again and try it one day.
In fact, I started looking at the nearly seven-page menu and started making a mental list.
The soup will be my next adventure, then maybe the buffalo shrimp appetizers. Or maybe the crab-cake sandwich. Maybe I should sample the crab cake from the appetizer menu and save room for their daily lunch specials.
Oh, look they also have a shrimp po’boy. And on Friday, the pulled-pork sandwich is the lunch special for this week… Decisions … Decisions.
But I think next time, I’m coming after work so I can finally sample the brews, too.
The Pour House Bar & Grill
• 135 W. Hendry St., Hinesville
• Hours: 11 a.m. to midnight every day except Friday, when it’s open until 2 a.m.
• Phone: 912-368-7687