Manly Pub Food – March Madness

Every Friday, Roots in Alpharetta features an article on food and dining in a series I like to call Foodie Friday. This post continues my Manly Restaurant March Madness tournament.

Yeah, I skipped the burger category. I’ll get around to it, promise! In the meantime, let’s talk pub food. This was a difficult category. By Tuesday of this week my wife told me she had enough of the wings and loud sports on TV. Unlike our pizza or barbecue categories, you’ve got to consider a lot of different food. I’ve tried my best to sample the menus at these three joints but I didn’t try everything. Let’s get on with it.

Loco’s Deli vs Hudson’s Grille

These two contenders have similar backgrounds. Loco’s has a bunch of locations across Georgia with Alpharetta’s spot being on Haynes Bridge. Hudson’s has fewer locations but has the backing of the Metrotainment group of restaurants.

Hudson’s has a much classier feel than Loco’s. Their decor reminds me a lot of Alpha Soda (I hate making that comparison). You’ll find nice, comfortable booths and tile floors. On the other hand, Loco’s is a much more casual feel but not nearly as comfortable. Score one for Hudson’s.

The menu at Loco’s feels an awful lot like a chain restaurant, yet has some shining spots. The chicken wings are rather pitiful, the hot buffalo sauce coming in on the bland and wimpy side. The burgers are a decent choice, my favorite being the blackened burger with fried onions. My wife loves, and at times craves their shrimp burrito with cheese rice as the side.

Hudson’s counters back with a surprisingly delicious angus burger. I last tried it on a Monday, their $5 burger day. At that price it is a steal, especially considering that you get a half pound of meaty goodness. And unlike a lot of angus burgers, theirs still maintains a juicy feel. Pair it up with onion rings; easily worth the dollar up-charge.

On decor and quality of the burger, Hudson’s takes down Loco’s.

Wild Wing Cafe vs Mulligan’s Grill

Wild Wing on Windward is the undisputed wing king of Alpharetta. They have dozens of flavors and are willing to make them in small batches so you can sample. I sometimes find their wings to be on the overcooked side but otherwise they are very tasty. If you’re a serious wing aficionado then try them on Tuesday for “two-fer-one” wing night.

Mulligan’s in south Forsyth classifies as a hidden gem. You’ve got to look past the redneck decor (and clientele) to find some decent grub. The menu has expanded recently from what was mostly fried stuff. The best of the fried food still remains, my favorite being… tater tots! As a side on a burger these things are delicious and the portion generous. Is it enough to overtake an above average chicken wing from the competition?

Unfortunately for Wild Wing, the rest of their menu is the pits. I’ve tried the chicken sandwich and fingers. None of them do it for me. The nachos are decent but not enough to redeem a thin menu. Go here for wings or go elsewhere.

Wild Wing offers one of Alpharetta’s few spots for singles. The bar is usually slammed and has a reputation for being a pickup joint. That doesn’t factor into my competition, but I thought I would mention it.

In the end, a good chicken wing isn’t enough to overcome a thin menu. The unknown Mulligan’s advances.

Hudson’s vs Mulligan’s

I like this matchup… the classy versus the dive redneck bar. Mulligan’s loses ground here. Their decor is rustic wood paneling that doesn’t exactly come across as charming. The NASCAR posters are not helping matters. Their availability of TVs is acceptable but is no match for Hudson’s. Hudson’s manages to cram a zillion TVs everywhere without overcrowding their space. I’d much rather watch a game at Hudson’s.

Mulligan’s fires back with probably the best fried pub food around. Their chicken fingers, while probably straight from Sysco, are quite good and cooked golden brown and delicious. I order them for the kids but always snitch one for myself. Their fried pickles are very good as an appetizer and plentiful. And while the Mulligan’s offers a very good value, Hudson’s manages to compete there as well with terrific daily specials.

What will put Hudson’s over the top is beer selection. I don’t think they get much attention here considering they are just down from Taco Mac. By local standards, Hudson’s doesn’t have a great selection, but compared to the others in this article they are tops. On tap you’ll find stuff like Fat Tire and Stella Artois.

So Hudson’s will advance to the manly restaurant final four. Look for a mid-week burger matchup soon followed by the final four a week from today. Do you agree with the winners here, or am I loco? Do I need a mulligan? Leave me a comment!
Hudson Grille on Urbanspoon Mulligan's Grill on Urbanspoon

Wild Wing Cafe on Urbanspoon Locos Deli & Pub on Urbanspoon

One Response to “Manly Pub Food – March Madness”

  1. Travis Allen March 28, 2011 at 1:22 pm #

    I guess I’m going to have to expose how picky I can be when it comes to burgers…I just don’t understand how a restaurant can have several burgers on their menu, but not have AMERICAN CHEESE as an option. I just can’t give a nod of approval to Hudson Grille either after the last few times I paid a visit as the service was horrible each time and we had multiple issues with the food, granted that was over a year ago, so maybe I should give them another try.

    The cheese issue applies to both Hudson Grille and Wild Wings…others include, and yes I keep track, lol…Cheesecake Factory and O’Charley’s

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