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First bite: Checking in on Cheers Downtown

Post by Sue Kidd / The News Tribune on March 3, 2011 at 2:18 pm | 1 Comment »
March 3, 2011 2:18 pm
Could stuffed burgers possibly be very bad for you? Yes. But eat them anyway.

Yes, they have stuffed burgers. I confirmed that with a visit during the first full week of operation at Cheers Downtown, the restaurant that is an outpost of Cheers South Hill, home to the gooey, fattening and horrifyingly bad for you stuffed burgers I’ve written about once or twice.

The cushy sports bar opened Feb. 23 in the old space that housed McCabe’s, which had been shuttered for more than a year. Both Cheers locations are owned by Ali Kashi. Jon Donahue is the chef at both locations.

My first visit to Cheers Downtown found a restaurant that serves solidly executed bar eats that don’t hover much above the $10-$12 range. Gourmet? Not really. Great bar eats? Yeah.

The food was executed with near precision, which impressed me considering the restaurant was in its first days (oh, how I’ve suffered much worse during the opening days of so many restaurants). Service was friendly but spotty. Nice and polite servers can make up for some gaffes, but when appetizers and entrees show up around the same time, straws for beverages go missing, and a server forgets what a diner ordered and has to return to the table to ask – these are clear signs the crew is inexperienced.

Grill marks. It's an early alert system that this is going to be a good burger.
The food is similar to what you’ll find at Cheers South Hill. The stuffed burgers ($11.95) I like so much are on the menu in seven varieties. We ordered the jalapeno popper whopper burger, but we received what looked to be the stuffed jalapeño with pepperjack cheese. Wrong order or not, it was a decadent stuffed burger that oozed melted cheese and was laden with pickled jalapeños, surrounded by a toasted, grilled bun and crisp lettuce and tomatoes.

The Cuban sandwich comes on flatbread with a heavy smear of mustard.

A Cuban sandwich ($10.95) was a monster portion with four wedges of grilled flatbread stuffed with the double-pork punch of ham and roasted pork, finished with a smear of whole-grain mustard, swiss cheese and crunchy pickle wedges.

The crispy-crunchy breaded jacket on the fish and chips lunch special ($6.95) broke to reveal flaky cod inside.

Fries came with everything we ordered but tasted of the freezer variety instead of fresh. Our server confirmed they were, indeed, frozen.

Cheers Downtown
Address: 2611 Pacific Ave., Tacoma
Phone: 253-627-4430
Website: cheersdowntown.com
Hours: 11 a.m.- 2 a.m. Daily
Parking: Free in an adjacent lot. This is an ideal destination before or after Tacoma Dome events.

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