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Archive for Thursday, December 3, 1998

TUCKED-AWAY SPORTS BAR HITS A DELICIOUS HOMER

December 3, 1998

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Molly McGee's serves up dishes with spice and style.

Though Molly McGee's, 2429 Iowa, isn't exactly what one would call "off the beaten path," I must admit that I sometimes forget it's there. That's because the sports bar is tucked away in a strip mall; its nondescript entryway is easy to pass by.

But with its longtime reputation for excellent meals at reasonable prices, and its status as one of the best burger joints in town, the restaurant certainly doesn't need to depend upon me for its livelihood. It has a devoted clientele.

On a recent weekend, my wife and I ventured in for a late afternoon lunch, and were again delighted with the decor of the restaurant and the menu selections.

Although the outside may be generic, the inside is worth writing about. The restaurant is laid out on different levels. When you first enter you notice a spacious bar area, slightly elevated and separated from the rest of the restaurant by a dividing wall. This varies the main floor level, which gives it a nice look, while also separating diners from the din of clanking glasses. There is also an upstairs dining area.

The decor features wooden floors and tables, and hunter green walls tastefully adorned with vintage advertising memorabilia. The lights are dimmed, music plays, and although you are surrounded by 10 TVs, they are strategically placed so they don't overwhelm the room or your dining experience.

Molly McGee's, which opened in 1989, gives customers the sports bar favorites, but with a certain flair and a lot of spicy garnishes.

They serve several dishes with salsa, guacamole and Cajun spices, which gives each meal a tangy, delightful taste.

Don't worry about bringing the Tums along if spicy food doesn't agree with you. Molly's has numerous selections with a more moderate taste.

Entrees include T-bone and ribeye steaks, baby back ribs, pork chops and lasagna, while sandwiches include the Winchester Steak, the Chicken Italiana and a pork tenderloin.

You can also try one of the burgers, which usually rank among the best in Lawrence. They are huge and come with names like the Windsor, Tex-Mex and Barbados.

For my lunch I selected the Cajun Linguine Alfredo with Blackened Chicken. I knew this would be spicy, but the full plate I received had a well-balanced taste to it. The spicy flavor complemented the entree without overwhelming.

My wife selected the Southwestern Stuffed Shrimp. The large shrimp were stuffed with mild red chile peppers and cream cheese. The shrimp came with a seasoned rice pilaf and a "fiesta" dip.

Although she enjoyed the entree, my wife recommended the restaurant consider serving the meal with a milder rice on the side, or perhaps ranch dressing, to counterbalance the taste. As it stands, everything on the plate is rather spicy.

For dessert we split a generous and delicious piece of Turtle Cheesecake. The total tab with drinks and a tip was about $30.

Once again we had to be reminded that Molly McGee's was there, and once again we were glad we went.

-- The Mag's phone mesage number is 832-7146. Send e-mail to jbiles@ljworld.com.

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