Pac-12: top restaurants pac-10

Top restaurants and bars in Pac-12: Utah

April, 5, 2011
Utah fans agree on two things: The Pie is a university institution for pizza and a good burger is important.

But they don't agree on where to get the best burger in Salt Lake City.

It's also clear that new regular visitors to Salt Lake might need to check their cholesterol count when the airplane lands. New to the Pac-12 lexicon: "Fry sauce."

When I was in Salt Lake last week, I had a steak sandwich at Moochies, per a recommendation from football staffers -- in particularly director of football operations Jeff Rudy -- and ate dinner at Red Iguana (mole negro!). Two thumbs up.

A few incisive notes:

Pete from Missoula, Mont., writes: I am a long time Ute Fan and recent graduate. I consider myself the ultimate Utah Man! Anyway, I was raised in Salt Lake City and only recently moved to Missoula, Montana. I still have season tickets and was one of the original members of the Muss. The best places are as listed: Best Mexican: Red Iguana (best I have ever had)Best Brewery: Bohemian (in Midvale but worth the drive).Best Before and After the Game Bar: Lumpy's (the original Ute bar)Best Pizza: The Pie (right on campus)Other Great Bars: Gracies, The Beerhive, The Tavernacle, Keys on Main, Squatters (Brewery), Piper Down, The Bayou, The Bar (Sugarhouse)Hope this helps and see you this season.Go Utes!

Tyrell from Salt Lake City writes: Let's start with food: Seafood: The Oyster Bar at Market Street Grill. Fresh Oysters flown in daily, and a good ambiance (not to mention their eggs Benedict are killer). Bambara is also a good, high end restaurant located on the main floor of the Hotel Monacco. Bars - believe it or not, you CAN get a drink in SLC. Gracies' is a great gastro pub, and a very popular spot (especially in the summer). There a quite a few great microbreweries in SLC, you have to try Squatters (either the "Chasing Tail," "Full-Suspension" or "Polygamy Porter"). Go check out The Beerhive, you can get the local microbrews on tap, hundreds of beers from around the world, plus there is a strip of ice across the bar to keep your beer cold - great pub on Main Street. "Keys on Main" - fun dueling piano bar that is popular with people of all ages (The Tavernacle is another good dueling piano bar). If you are looking for a Martini - Kristauf's is good, and so is the Red Door (small martini bar that was a favorite spot of Kyle Korvers when he was in town). There is a lot more, hope some of the recommendations help, and enjoy your trip to the Wasatch Front.

Jeff from Salt Lake City writes: Salt Lake is known for "fry sauce," an artery clogging mixture of ketchup and mayo. If your cardiologist is okay with it, you can swing by any number of franchises that are names ______ Burger (i.e. Apollo Burger, Astro Burger, Crown Burger, etc) that all has a signature burger, named after the franchise. The burger is a traditional 1/3 lbs burger loaded with lettuce, onion, pickle, tomato, piled high with pastrami and slathered in fry sauce. Order an extra fry sauce to dip the burger in. If you don't experience heaven by eating the burger, you will after the resulting heart attack. Enjoy.

By the way, if you want to get a look at each of the 12 surveys of restaurants in the Pac-12 you can do one of two things. You can search for "restaurants" in the blog search engine on the right-hand side of the page OR you can click the tag "top restaurants pac-10" at the bottom of this entry and then save the link.



The Pie
Trevor from Draper, Utah, writes: Right next to campus, hot spot for students. Most cheese you'll ever see on pizza.

Todd from Salt Lake City writes: It has been around since 1980 in a below level spot right on the edge of Campus. The pizzas are big and wonderful. The Zappis (the Pie's version of the Calzone) are perfect for one person. Not only is this place good for before and after games (if you can find a spot) but is open until 3 AM on weekends for that late night pizza craving. Oh, and don't forget to write your name on the brick walls.

Ryan from Salt Lake City writes: Arguably the best Pizza joint in the state, great atmosphere, and good beer!

Red Iguana
Jonathan from Salt Lake City writes: Gotta hit up the Red Iguana. It seems like it's always popping up on the food network as some of the best Mexican food in the west. They are famous for their Mole and they have won a bunch of awards for it. Ask anyone around here. They'll tell you the same thing.

Ben from Wood Cross, Utah writes: Even if you don't like Mole get it and you will.

Tracy from Salt Lake City: Best food in SLC is also the best Mexican food I have ever had. Eat at The Red Iguana on North Temple. Featured on the Food Network several times. Amazing food. Go Utes!


Crown Burger
Brett from Eugene, Ore., writes: This burger joint is worth the trip alone.

Pat's BBQ
Robert from Salt Lake City writes: Ribs, Pulled Pork, Baked Beans, Fried's all there. The only things missing are Pig's Feet and Chitlins. They have live music most evenings featuring some local favorites. They're BBQ sauce has 3 varieties; 1) I don't know if I like spicy stuff or not 2) Spice up my meat or get it out of my face, and 3) This isn't so hot....wait a minute, the hair is melting off my face. Don't waste your time eating anywhere else.

Dennis from Pinedale, Wyo., writes: Pat's has great personality and atmosphere. Its located in an a very BBQ-esque part of SLC fairly near campus, and best of all, the food rocks. You can't go wrong. Check it out once and you'll find yourself checking it out again.Enjoy!

Dan from Salt Lake City writes: Forage on 370 E and 900 S. is AMAZING! I have a friend that lives in New York and teaches at NYU say that it rivals the best New York has to offer.

Greg from Denver writes: Haven't eaten at every restaurant in Salt Lake but I'm not uncomfortable saying this is the best one.

The Paris Bistro

Trio Cafe
Andrew from Salt Lake City writes: Trio is great for contemporary Italian food, and they also serve an awesome Sunday brunch (they are one of the only restaurants that is open on Sunday morning in Salt Lake).

Midvale Mining Cafe (breakfast)

Blue Plate Diner (breakfast)

Ruth's Diner (breakfast)

Big Ed's (breakfast)

Ryan from Salt Lake City writes: Moochie's was made famous on the "Diners, Drive-in's and Dives" show on food netwoork. They serve up a mean Philly Cheesesteak.I would definitely suggest looking into either one of those eateries while you are in town.


Training Table (burgers)

Rodizio Grill
Justin from Salt Lake City writes: First and one of the best Brazilian steakhouse in the country.

The Braza Grill
Mary Ann from Afghanistan/Florida writes: A more affordable than the "we-spent-all-our-money-on-ambiance-and-unique-meat-feature-gimmick" Rodizio Grill... and features actual Brazilian wait *and* kitchen staff which equals far better cuisine)

Himalayan Kitchen

Cotton Bottom InnStu from Salt Lake City writes: A garlic burger from the cotton bottom bar and grill in holiday/cottonwood heights is always tasty.

Kevin from Sandy, Utah writes: Hands down, best burger in the state of Utah is the Wayne Burger at Scaddy's. You will hear all about the garlic burger at cotton bottom, don't buy into it. Scaddy's address is 1846 South 300 West - SLC. You'll be a changed man. Get the fries, and a side of scaddy sauce. Also, their breakfast is incredible...but why would I pass up a burger for breakfast.

Mandarin Restaurant (in Bountiful)
Justin from Salt Lake City writes: Best Chinese food on the planet!! I have lived many places and tried hundreds of Chinese places and this one is the best!

Maddox Ranch House (Brigham City)

Citris Grill

Christopher's Prime Steak House and Grill
Brent from Salt Lake City writes: This is more your fancy restaurant. Voted best steak house and best seafood. Also offer an extensive wine list and full liquor bar.


Cucina Toscana

B & D Burger

Hires Big H
Joshua from Salt Lake City writes: "Hires Big H" on 4th south just below the University campus is the best place for burgers in Salt Lake. The most famous menu item is the "Hires Big H combo". It comes with fries, and the accompanying fry sauce(a Utah staple) and a frosty mug of homemade root beer. My family has been going to games at the U for as long as I can remember and Hires has always been either a pre or post-game ritual.

Jason from Salt Lake City writes: Small, chef-owned, Italian restaurant about ten minutes from campus. Nice neighborhood restaurant

Settebello Pizzeria

The Dodo
Taggert from Sandy, Utah writes: I could eat a smoked turkey sandwich at the Dodo for every meal.

The Olympian

Happy Sumo

Cafe Rio
Nathan from Washington, D.C., writes: This is a can't miss. It's quick-serve tex-mex style food. Local chain that is expanding nationwide. There's one just down the hill from the stadium. Just won some kind of "National Restaurant of the Year" award. Salads or burritos enchilada style. It's a can't miss.

Blake from Albany, Ore., writes: Ever since I relocated from Ute Country to Duck Country, (Duck fan here) I have always wished there were a Cafe Rio in Oregon. Actually, there are a number of restaurants based out of Utah that provide the same type of mexi-grill food (Costa Vida, Bajio), but Cafe Rio is the original. Don't mess around with all the other stuff on the menu, the reason to go is for the pork salad with tomatillo dressing. It is a big mess of food that really hits the spot. You can find them anywhere in SLC.

Lonestar Taqueria
Taggert from Sandy Utah writes: Their fish tacos are legendary

Trevor from Draper, Utah, writes: incredible sushi downtown on Market Street (where all the high end food is). Make sure to order the "Go Utes" roll - not on the menu. My boss is from SoCal and says it's as good or better than anything he had in L.A.

New Yorker

Atlantic Cafe

Market Street Grill
Steve from Salt Lake City writes: As good as you can do fish and be 800 miles away from the ocean. (also Market Street Oyster Bar)

Bambara (Hotel Monacco)

Darin from Queen Creek, Ariz., writes: Tucano's is a Brazilian bbq place that is a bargain for lunch. Be prepared for the meat sweats.


The Beerhive

The Tavernacle

Kristauf's Martini Bar

Red Door
Tyrell from Salt Lake City writes: A small martini bar that was a favorite spot of Kyle Korvers when he was in town.

Desert Edge

Keys on Main

Phillip from Salt Lake City writes: Best local beer selection.

JM from Salt Lake City writes: Squatter's in my opinion is an absolute must, their beer (microbrew) is fantastic and so is the food. Their seasonals and nitro beer is usually awesome on top of all their staples!Best beer AND food: Squatter's (good sunday brunch too!)(Red Rock is pretty good as well, but Squatter's beer is better).

Piper Down

The Bayou
Steve from Draper, Utah writes: Best beer selection is The Bayou (also awesome food - recommend the Cajun burrito, and for dessert their alligator cheesecake).

The Bar in Sugarhouse

Fiddler's Elbow

Brent from Salt Lake City writes: A favorite spot of mine. You will find many Utah fans on game day before and after games. Each booth has it's own television. Plus the big screens showing the games. Nightlife, it has a dance floor upstairs. Given that I'm under 30 your more likely to see that type of crowd for the nightlife. Great food and bar. I have spent many game days during football season at Lumpy's.

Kurt from Salt Lake City writes: Squatter's,Lumpy's and Gracie's are all good watering hole's with good food and are all close together downtown.

Comment: For one, Pac-12 fans who enjoy a beer or cocktail (or two) need to know that Salt Lake City is much more friendly to them than it was just a few years ago. I also got a kick out of all the LDS writers who often humorously apologized for not being able to help with the bar selections (a couple included a parenthetical "sigh"). The Squatters, Lumpy's and Gracie's troika got plenty of praise. It's likely the Pac-12 blog will one day appear at Kristauf's or the Red Door. As for the restaurants, it's clear that there's a wide range of choices, from high-end cuisine to burgers & pizza. It seems to me we need to find some clarity on which places truly offer the "best" burgers, though obviously there's some subjectivity there. Red Iguana was a clear top vote-getter along with the Pie. Takashi got a lot of support, so you can get good sushi in Salt Lake. Settebello Pizzeria also received plenty of support. Lots of good places for steaks, and there seems to be a bit of a squabble over the best Brazilian steakhouse.

Top restaurants and bars in Pac-12: Colorado

April, 4, 2011
We're going to add Utah and Colorado to the Pac-12, so we've also got to add them to our posts asking readers for their favorite restaurants and bars near their home teams.

While in Boulder last week I ate dinner at Jax Fish House and had lunch at The Kitchen. If you had done that too, you would be excited about playing at Colorado next fall. A planned trip to "The Sink" got waylaid by, well, the work part of my job.

We'll do Colorado today and Utah tomorrow.

Here's one of the better notes:
Ted from Boulder writes: Ted, you are in for a treat by getting CU added to the Pac-12 (or the 12-Pac, as we're fond of calling it). My wife and I have been here for 13 years (after 8 in Tempe and 8 at Stanford), and we're here to stay! The list of great restaurants and hang-outs is too long to list, so I would suggest multiple visits. A few quick suggestions: anything on the west end of Pearl St Mall (the downtown walking mall), such as "The West End" (bar/pub), "Salt" or "The Kitchen" (higher-end), "Jax Fish House" (oysters/seafood), "Sushi Tora" or "Hapa" (sushi). The ultimate in high end is "Frasca" (on the east side of the mall) or "Flagstaff House" (with a 5-star wine list and on the mountain above downtown). And you should try to hit the Hill (near campus) for a burger at "The Sink" or a NY-style slice at "Abo's". I am the Boulder rep for the Stanford Alumni Association, so we'll be setting up most of the tailgates, etc. when the team comes to town in 2012.

And another:
Matt from Boulder writes: High-End: Frasca or Brasserie Ten-Ten. Best Sushi: Sushi Zanmai. Best Burger: Mountain Sun. Best Beer Selection: Backcountry Pizza (50+ taps) or Mountain Sun. Best Before/After Game: Harpo's or Lazy Dog. Best Sports Bar: Lazy Dog. Best Under-30: Sundown Saloon, Walrus, Catacombs, Shooters. Best Over-30: Pearl Street Pub, Tahona Tequila Bistro, Centro, West End Tavern. Best Wings: West End Tavern. Best Drunk Food: Pearl Street Pub. Best Cart Food: Gyro Stand by Old Chicago. Best "Seedy" Place: Dark Horse (Cheap/Good Food and Drinks). Wildest Menu: Centro. Best Local Music Bar: Conor O'Neil's. On The Hill: Sandwich - Snarf's or Cheba Hut, Pizza - Cosmo's or Abo's. Place you NEED to go: The Sink (Try a Grateful Dead and thank me later).

Note: These are reader submissions. I didn't put any restaurant on this list that didn't receive multiple votes from reader mail.



Flagstaff House
Chad from Denver writes
: Located up in the mountains overlooking all of boulder and the Colorado frontrange its a beautiful sight. If you opt for this make a reservation after dark and be prepared to spend some moola.

Red Lion Inn

Rio Grande
Gabe from New York writes
: Rio Grand has strong margaritas and big happy hour (use to have 3 Marg limit) - totally Mexican food central.

Boulder Creek Market
Andrew from Diboll, Texas writes
: I spent 3.5 years as a student in Boulder. The two things I must eat when I go back are the wild boar sandwich at the Boulder Creek Market and a Big Fish burrito from Illegal Petes. Two of the best dishes I have ever eaten outside the state of Texas.

Snarf's Sandwich Shop
Keith from Tempe, Ariz., writes
: Best sandwich you'll find anywhere.


The Buff

The Mountain Sun Brewery
Chris from Denver writes: The best nachos I have ever eaten and they make some seriously incredible beer.

Ryan from Denver writes: Epitomizes the Boulder vibe. Amazing well-priced, healthy pub food. They brew all of their own beers from scratch. Exceptional, attentive, friendly service. And you seat yourself at wood-carved tables with board games to keep you busy while you salivate over your pending feast and take in the energy of such a unique community. I implore you to check it out!

Mahalo from Honolulu writes: They have the best beer on the planet (and are always coming up with new stuff,) the food is all natural, fresh, delicious, and super reasonably priced. It's quintessential Boulder, from the loud music (classic rock/jam band/indie/soul/etc) to the concert poster-art to the beautiful chalk art to the quirky-yet-hard-working staff. It's always busy, for good reason...On your first visit, have a Colorado Kind Ale. If you like hops, the FYIPA is unbelievable. The food is all great, but I can never help but order the Junk Burger every visit. Cheers!

The Village Coffee Shop
Kane from San Diego writes
: As an ex Buffs player - if I had to eat anywhere in Boulder - it would be The Village Coffee Shop.... world's greatest breakfast. Do not miss it!!! Take it from an ex Offensive Lineman!

Half-Fast Subs

The Med

Il Pastaio
Scott from New York writes
: The BEST food place/hide in boulder is Il Pastaio on Baseline and 30th. It is a very cheap, high quality Italian restaurant. It is so cheap because they make a lot of their money by making fresh pasta and selling it to the high end restaurants in town. You have to get their Cream of _____ (it changes) soup. Always amazing!

Sushi Zanmai


China Gourmet

Old Chicago's
Gabe from New York writes
: Old Chicago's is the chain, but they have hundreds of beers and will track the ones you've had for you in their database. When you hit milestones you can get your name on a plaque.

Walnut Brewery


Ras Kassas
Thomas from Kailua, Hawaii writes
: Feeling exotic? Try Ras Kassas for gourmet Ethiopian food. It's an experience you won't forget.Aloha

Sushi Tora

Brasserie Ten-Ten

Hapa (sushi)

Matt from Denver writes
: Likely the best restaurant in Colorado.

West End Tavern
Cole from Boulder writes
: The West End Tavern has the best damn wings you are going to find in the state of Colorado (and a great Bourbon selection).

Abo's on the Hill

Zolo's Southwest Mexican Grill

Illegal Pete's
Derek from Scottsdale writes: For a quick bite you have to have a burrito (or fish tacos) at Illegal Pete's. The one on Pearl Street has a great bar, but the one on "the hill" is the original.


Chris from Denver writes
: Great for a pregame breakfast if you can get in.

The Sink (under 30)
Mark from Boulder writes
: You haven't seen Boulder until you have been to The Sink. Great place with killer burgers, pizza and beer selection. It has the real college vibe. No other like it.

Chris from Denver writes: A Boulder institution.

Steve from Littleton, Colo., writes: the Sink in Boulder is my choice, anytime of day. Great pizza, fantastic burgers, and drink specials all week. It's a Boulder institution, a single location that's been there since the 1920s (plus Robert Redford used to be a janitor there!). I miss going there the morning of CU games and seeing an age range from 21-year-old newbies to 60-year-old alumni downing a few beers before kickoff.


Conor O'Neils

Harpo's (over 30)
Cole from Boulder writes
: A sports bar with a gazillion tvs, solid beer/liquor selection, and a good location away from the hustle and bustle of Pearl St. and the Hill.

Lazy Dog

Walrus (under 30)

Sundown Saloon (under 30)

Shooters (under 30)

Pearl Street Pub

Tahona Tequila Bistro

Centro (over 30)



Round Midnight (under 30)

Comments: Boulder has long been one of the best college football destinations in the country, in large part because of the community around the university. Want choosing a restaurant or bar to be easy? Go to the Pearl Street Mall and wander. You can every type of food imaginable, from high end to pizza and sandwiches. But, obviously, if you are willing to venture forth, there are plenty of rewards that are a short drive away. The Sink is the "institution" destination. Just about every other person who wrote made note of it. More than a few folks believe Frasca is a restaurant that would stand out in any major city in the country. It's clear, however, that Boulder will offer many, many options for many, many road trips in the future.

Top restaurants and bars in Pac-10: Arizona

September, 15, 2010
Arizona folks love their restaurants and bars.

I just spent two hours working through the hundreds of nominations. (Is it Happy Hour yet?). It's possible that I may be using this list for personal use sooner rather than later.

Away we go.

(*Means I've been there).



Trident Grill (also was noted as a good over 30 bar)
Dom from Tucson writes: Arrive early, park there, short walk to the Mall for tailgating, and another short trip to Arizona Stadium. Too many TVs to count, lots of red (naturally) and nice co-eds ready to fill your beer from one of the over 20 on tap. There's usually great game day specials on food and drinks.

Patrick from Tucson writes: Great bar, amazing sandwiches, awesome nachos. Line is usually out the door, and it's best for a pre-game meal. It's on 4th ave., so I'd say it falls into the under 30 range, being in a college area. But to be honest you may see a random 90 year old.

El Guero Canelo
Joseph from Tucson writes: you've never had a hot dog until you've had their Sammy Dog Mexican hot dog
Dave from Tucson writes: Just imagine: A hot dog. Wrapped in bacon. Smothered in mayonnaise, Ketchup, mustard, pico de gallo, onions, and hot sauce... true Mexican food. Top it off with 4 carne asada tacos - the best in the country.

Cafe Poca Cosa*
Mark from Tucson writes: It will change you life. A foodie friend in Boston raved about it to me years ago. If it's too expensive then Little Poca Cosa is great also, a bit more authentic but somewhat less life changing.

El Charro Cafe Downtown*
Ken from Pebble Beach, Calif., writes: Truly awesome Mexican food - El Charro great food and local flair. Be sure to try the carne seca.
Jaye from Tucson writes: That place has thee best Mexican food ever!! Carne Asada tacos and enchilada platters. The place is basically an old two story house with an outside patio and a small outside bar. The meat is dried out on the roof and they have over I believe 40 different kinds of tequila. Very 5 star with a little kick to it. I suggest you go there unless you haven't already.

Zacharys Pizza
Kevin from Houston writes: It's a stones throw from Arizona stadium. they serve super thick deep dish pizza, and have some great beers on tap.
Bruce from Scottsdale, Ariz., writes: An absolute dump but the best Chicago-style pizza you will ever have, including in Chicago and exotic beers on tap before that was de rigeur. It's been there at least since the late 80's, though not always in its current building. Also walking distance down 6th street from the stadium makes it convenient on game days, yet it is rarely packed. Plan on spending 2 hrs there, service is horrible and ambiance nonexistent, but the pie rocks

A "UA Student" writes: has some pretty amazing burgers on 4th avenue. it was featured on man vs food!!

Brooklyn Pizza Co
Cody from Tucson writes: They make amazing pizza and the whole place is powered by solar energy from the sun!

Sausage Deli
Ryan from Tucson writes: Great local sandwich shop on Euclid, less than a mile from campus. They serve amazing hot and cold sandwiches, and are generally slammed during lunch hours every day. Get the Black Dog or the Omar (or the Susie Sorority if you're so inclined)

La Parrilla Suiza



Mosaic Cafe

Guadalajara Grill
Kevin from Houston writes: This off campus eatery was the best Mexican food I had in Tucson, and that's saying a lot. they have a huge selection, and a salsa and guacamole lady that will make it to your liking and spice level. try the guadala-rita.

Nimbus Brewing Company

1702 Pizza and Craft Brew
Larry from Tucson writes: Beers you didn't think existed or didn't think you could get here in the States. It is right off of campus and the name is the address in case people get confused

Ra Sushi
Michael from Tucson writes: This whole area is packed with 3 or 4 good places to eat, so you can't go wrong heading up to the hills here, about 15 minutes away from campus. It's Tucson's nicest area for shopping/dining. The menu is standard sushi items you would see at any place, with a few twists. The ambiance is great and the place is always buzzing with college kids and adults looking for a place to unwind.

Travis from Carrollton, Texas, writes: Great ribs.



El Minuto

Barrio Brewing Company
Seth from Santa Barbara, Calif., writes: Barrio Brewing Co. in the historic warehouse section on 16th avenue. It can be a little tricky to find, but the beers and food are well worth it.



Nite life

Frog and Firkin (under 30)*
Rishi from Los Angeles writes: the best place to grab dinner and drinks that's on campus is Frog & Firkin hands down! Great place to eat, drink, people watch, and get a feel of Wildcat fans on University Blvd right in the heart of the University of Arizona!
Will from Norfolk, Va., writes: Your best bet for burgers is Frog & Firkin on University Ave. Perfectly seasoned and come with a good portion of beer battered fries. Also have a good draft beer selection. You can get a burger and two pints for under $15.
Steve from Bakersfield, Calif., writes: Surprised you didn't include a category for best day-drinking spot, a favorite past time of every Pac-10 school (except maybe Stanford). At any rate, Frog & Firkin in Tucson can probably outright win the cocktails/nightlife category based solely on daytime hours. There are few better days than those spent on the patio watching the foot traffic on University Blvd with a few cold pitchers and a couple dollars in the jukebox. Gamedays, and Homecoming especially, are standing room only, with the latter crowded as early as 6am. Definitely an "under-30" bar but occasionally sprinkled with faculty for lunch sans cocktails.
Jason from Los Angeles writes: They have great beers, burgers and pizza and there's nothing better than sitting out on the patio on a Friday enjoying the scenery. Also, you can't beat Beyond Bread for sandwiches in Tucson.

Dirtbags (under 30)
Andrew from Sacramento, Calif., writes: Generally under-30 crowd, but older alumni always seem to stop by has been an Arizona institution since 1983, and the decor of this dive lives up to the name. A short walk from Arizona Stadium, it is THE place around to campus to grab a beer or one of their specialty shooters like the 911 Turbo. I'm terrified to think about how much money I spent here during my undergrad years, but like the sign says, "it's a part of growing up."
Michael from Tucson writes: It's apart of growing up. Classic fraternity/sorority scene, right on campus near the end of Greek Row. Suggust the "Rubber Duckey"
Kevin from Santa Monica, Calif., writes: TUCSON=DIRTBAGS!!!

Gentle Ben's Brewing Company*
Matt from Lake Havasu City, Ariz., writes: The beer selection is phenomenal and the menu is wide-ranging and very good brewery food.Gentle Ben's also attracts a wide variety of friendly patrons, although the later it gets the younger the crowd will be on the outdoor patio upstairs.Take it from this displaced Arizona graduate: when you visit Tucson make a trip to Gentle Ben's Brewery


Texas Roadhouse (over 30)
Ken from Pebble Beach, Calif., writes: 30+ age group, lively atmosphere and great food and service.

The Shanty (under 30)

O'Malley's (over 30)
Michael from Tucson writes: Great place for the slightly older crowd, good bartenders and good drinks.

Sky Bar (under 30)

North (over 30)

Risky Business (over 30)*

Hotel Congress
Dan from San Francisco writes. Best Random Historic Bar: It's where John Dillinger was captured the first time.

Comments: Seems like everyone has a favorite Mexican place in Tucson. El Charro, El Guerro Canelo, Cafe Poca Cosa and Guadalajara Grill got a lot of support, but I'm sure just by typing that we'll have some piping in with other ideas (including the folks who work sports information at Arizona). One problem with Cafe Poca Cosa is the last time I went there they wouldn't let me eat at the bar. The name for that policy is "Really Freaking Stupid." For cheap eats, lots of support for Bisonwitch, Zachary's Pizza and Lindy's. No two places in our entire survey of Pac-10 schools, however, generated as much enthusiasm as the Frog and Firkin and Dirtbags. Both were mentioned perhaps 50 times.

Top restaurants and bars in Pac-10: Arizona State

September, 14, 2010
Our review of the Pac-10's best restaurants and bars continues with Arizona State.

For the complete list so far, go here.

Arizona State


The Chuckbox
Taylor from Tempe writes: It is the best place to eat anytime in Tempe and especially gameday as it is 5 min walking from Sun Devil Stadium. Chuckbox wins best Valley of the Sun burger every year and is priced fairly. My favorite place around campus and in the state!

Alex from San Diego writes: The ambiance is that of on old western joint. You know when you step foot in this place that you are going to get yourself a good old fashion burger. This is must for the best Pac-10 restaurant. It's what a true college restaurant should be, a great burger joint.

Four Peaks Brewery
Matt from Mesa, Ariz., writes: I would send you to Four Peaks, but since I would suggest trying their beer sampler and you'd be on the job ... that would be pointless (although anything beer battered and deep fried there is very good)

Jordan from Phoenix writes: It's a small local brewery and their beer is outstanding! The food is also quality, especially considering its mainly a brewery. I would recommend it to anyone coming out to a Sun Devils game.
Adam from Seattle writes: Kiltlifter and the Italian beef are my favorites, but everything is amazing. How can you go wrong with beer battered bread?

Casey Moore's Oyster House

Damon from Phoenix writes: Try the Pork Osso Buco - yes, PORK, not veal - it will change your life.

Tee Pee Mexican Restaurant

Todd from Houston writes: It's inexpensive, good, close to Campus and soaks up a lot of tailgate beer win or lose.

Stacy's Smokehouse BBQ

Monti's Steak House
Jacob from Colorado Springs, Colo., writes: While it isn't the greatest steak house in the Phoenix area, it is the one with the best history and local charm. Carl T Hayden built the adobe structure that is part of Monti's in 1871, and if you can find one of the owners of Monti's, he/she will be glad to sit down and tell you the local history of Tempe (possibly even over a beer). Oh, and its in walking distance to the stadium

Richard from Tempe, Ariz., writes: Amazing ice cream sandwiches from fresh baked, made from scratch cookies (11) and 20 ice creams - my choice, my way. Incredible place to celebrate after the game or before to get ready and cool down in the desert heat!

The Original Long Wong's

Matt from Mesa, Ariz., writes: for all the gringo visitors, you can't really go wrong with Macayo's

Deborah from Tempe writes: I work at Z'Tejas Southwestern Grill so I'm biased in my thoughts that Z'Tejas is the best place to go before an ASU game, but here are my reasons:- You asked for fresh and flavorful restaurants. Our tag is Fresh. Flavorful. Innovative. We take traditional ingredients and cooking techniques from all over the South & Southwest to create a taste without borders. You won't find our shrimp and guacamole tostada bites or catfish beignets anywhere else!- Margaritas. We've been named best margarita in Phoenix by almost every publication. They're so strong that when UGA came here a few years ago, many of their fans couldn't even finish one! - If you dine at Z'Tejas and use our valet, than valet is FREE! We're just a short walk to the stadium (plus you avoid the parking lot mess after the game)

Nite life

Mill Avenue (under 30)
(About 10 people sent in this response. It's the main drag near campus.)

Dave's Electric (over 30)

Geisha a Go Go

Pussycat Lounge (under 30)

The Vine Tavern (under 30)

Comments: The Chuckbox, Four Peaks Brewery and Z'Tejas were the top choices with more than three votes each. More than a few national sportswriters love the Tee Pee Mexican Restaurant -- I ate there with a gaggle of guys during the BCS meetings. ASU is considered a big party school, so I was a bit surprised by the lack of nite life suggestions. Note: The original version of this included "The Library" on Mill Avenue under Nite Life. An astute insider just wrote me that it's closed. So don't go there.

Top restaurants and bars in Pac-10: California

September, 8, 2010
Sorry for the delay on California's post for our series on the Pac-10's best restaurants and bars, but the football part of football distracted me from our survey.

My bad.

And it took a long -- LONG -- time to read the hundreds of responses from Cal fans. We really cover a lot of ground here, from types of food to price range.

By the way, if you want a handy way to keep up with the entire series, click here.

Away we go.



Zachary's Pizza
JJ from Lafayette, Calif., writes: It's Chicago-style deep dish at it's finest while maintaining the California spin with specialties like Spinach & Mushroom. We're often there on a Friday before a Cal game eating delicious deep dish pizza and downing pitchers of our favorite beverage.
Douglas from Los Angeles writes: Zachary's is so good that once I saw someone carry-on one of their deep dish pizzas on a Southwest flight.
Matt from Berkeley writes: It is the best pizza in the world.
Pablo from San Francisco writes: Best pizza in the freakin' world.


Brazil Cafe
Azhar from Berkeley writes: Hands down, the best tri-tip sandwich you'll ever have in your life.
Joshua from New Orleans writes: Honestly, Ted, a trip to Memorial Stadium would not be complete without a pre-hike lunch from this Berkeley institution.

Top Dog
Matt from Berkeley writes: It's a Berkeley institution, and their brats are top-notch (better than many I've had in Germany, even). Go to the location on Durant, up by the dorm units: it's got by far the most character, although it's the smallest.
John from Riverside, Calif., writes: Hot links, bratwurst, calabrese, etc., plus German or American style frankfurters, all served on toasted french rolls. Don't miss the hot Russian mustard or the pressed, unfiltered apple juice.

Gordo Taqueria
Jake from Berkeley writes: It is one of the better Mexican establishments in the Bay Area. It's about a 7 minute drive or a 20 minute walk from Memorial stadium and, of course, the food is great. I prefer either the crispy carne asada tacos with guacamole crema fresca and black beans or the carnitas burrito with everything.


Chez Panisse
Geoff from San Francisco writes: If you got a date to impress on Friday night, you must check out Alice Water's Chez Panisse.

Cheeseboard Pizza

Claremont Hotel
Rob from Berkeley writes: Very pricey, but a truly delicious dinner in the Oakland foothills, about a 10 minute drive from campus.

Bay Wolf

House of Curries

Durant Food Court
Matt from Berkeley writes: Called "Asian Ghetto" by students and community members, Durant Food Court is the best place for students to eat out, and offers multiple fabulous and fairly inexpensive options, including Chinese, Italian, Middle Eastern, Thai, Sushi, Korean BBQ, and the best donuts I've ever eaten.

Matt from Los Angeles writes: It is the most underrated and delicious restaurant in the bay area. Conveniently it is located next to the Rockridge Bart parking lot, a great place to leave your car for free on game days.

Fred's Deli

Vik's Chaat Corner
David from Emeryville, Calif., writes: The BEST Indian food in the Bay Area (my Indian friends are unanimous). Authentic Mumbai street food.Everything on the menu is amazing.
Tylurker from Land of Oaks, Calif., writes: The the best Indian food in the Northbay.

Boot and Shoe Service
Darryl from Oakland writes: The restaurant bought the place and never changed the name, it's off of Grand Avenue near the lake, highly recommend it.

Gypsy's Italian Trattoria
Thomas from Berkeley, Calif., writes: It is part of the foundation that is the Asian Ghetto, which is somewhat odd since it doesn't serve Asian food. Rest assured that this is pretty authentic Italian, and while you have to wait a little while extra for the calzones, they are absolutely worth it.

Fondue Fred's

Dan from Sacramento writes: Classic greasy seafood and a Berkeley institution.

House of Nanking
Adam from New York writes: It is perhaps the best Chinese restaurant in the world. It's in San Francisco. So it counts for Cal and Stanford? Closer to Cal.

Nite life

Bear's Lair (under 30; campus pub)
Rob from Berkeley writes: The Lair is better during the day, as the band comes to play, and there are tons of Cal chants, songs and cheers filling the air.
Joshua from New Orleans writes: It would be sacrilegious to not say the Bear's Lair. You've heard it before: campus pub with mediocre beer, aging decor, and a goal post hanging from the ceiling. Basking in the sun with the best bartenders around--Kristin, Anna, Laura, Courtney, Red, Mike and more. The best not-bartender around--Kyle--and a fantastic kitchen staff, especially Jose.


Jupiter (under 30) Douglas from LA writes: Craft beer, fire pit, and often has good local music.
Tylurker from Land of Oaks, Calif., writes: The best bar in Berkeley, hands down: Jupiter on Shattuck just West of campus. The Jups has select micro brews and an assortment of house beers on tap. No hard liqs but there is wine. Fantastic outside seating under a giant redwood. Regular live music. Good pub grub with awesome wood stove pizza. Excellent service and collegial atmosphere.

Meridian (over 30)

Triple Rock (under 30)

Henry's (over 30)
Douglas from LA writs: Brave the crowd and see everyone you haven't seen since last season.
Dan from Sacramento writes: Indoor & outdoor places to eat/drink, this place explodes on game days. Gotta arrive early or you're waiting in line for an hour.

Kips (under 30)

Beckett's (over 30)
Shawn from Oakland writes: A great Irish Pub, that has good drinks and atmosphere. It'll usually have a band on Saturday nights, and they typically aren't bad. The wings are great too. I'd pick this for the night time, rather than pre-game.

Comments: Fair to say you guys really, really like Zachary's Pizza. Top Dog, Brazil Cafe, Durant Food Court, Chez Panisse and Vik's Chaat Corner also were widely celebrated. Chez Panisse is one of my "eventually must go" restaurants. I've heard it's easier to get a seat at lunch. As far as the bars, Bear's Lair, Henry's, Jupiter and Beckett's were the top vote-getters, so there's a wide range of places to get a drink.

Top restaurants and bars in Pac-10: Oregon

September, 2, 2010
The big response from Oregon fans was not unexpected. Eugene is great college town with lots of restaurants.

This is a long list. But every place listed got at least a couple of votes.

(The "*" means I've been there).

On to it.



Papa's Soul Food
Taylor from Eugene writes: Southern-style cooking in Eugene? Yes, it's true. It's also some of the best southern barbecue you'll find anywhere in the Pacific Northwest, and I'd hesitate to say that it trumps a fair amount of the establishments I've eaten in when I was down South.
Troy from Eugene writes: Really good southern cooking, everything from fried chicken to catfish. Also when the weather is nice they open up the patio and have live blues. Not to mention its the only place i found that serves kool-aid in Eugene, always a plus.
Brandon from Eugene writes: It may be a little ho-hum to a southern boy like yourself, but for those of us who don't get to eat Cajun very often, it's pretty amazing. All their drinks are served in mason jars, and they have a backyard where blues is played more or less nightly. I would recommend the ribs, but really anything on their menu is good. It's out on 4th and Blair, so proximity isn't much of an issue. Service can be slow on certain days, but trust me... It's worth the wait.

Beppe & Gianni's Trattoria*
Greg from L.A. writes: I eat here any time I get back to Eugene. It's your favorite, right? Ditto on the hostesses, by the way.
Pac-10 blog writes: This is Ducks defensive coordinator Nick Aliotti's favorite joint. Gone there about 7-8 times. Never had a bad time.

Track Town Pizza
Jacob from Beaverton, Ore., writes: It's a great college town food joint. The place is decked with Oregon sports photos and memorabilia, including a signed picture of Dennis Dixon. The pizza is great, especially their specialty ones such as the BBQ chicken pizza and The Hammer (pepperoni pizza with pepperoncinis and bacon bits).
Andrew from Port Falls, Idaho, writes: The thing that makes this an amazing place to eat is not actually the food. Taste for taste I would rather go to a CPK or a Mackenzie River. But this is intoxicatingly a Duck restaurant. The walls are painted yellow and green, pictures of Oregon sporting and Alumni are everywhere (about half of which are Prefontaine. Its a great atmosphere, it's always packed every Saturday, and it most definitely is one of the best Pac-10 Restaurants.

Cafe Soriah

The Vintage
Mark from Eugene writes: It's only a few blocks away from you're usual, Adam's Place. If you make it by Thursday then enjoy their burger and a brew special: locally made hamburger patty, fries, and TWO locally brewed beers for 9 bucks. If you can't make it until the weekend then enjoy drinks off of a cocktail menu that rivals Adam's Place's, crepes, fondue, paninis, burgers, sandwiches, or a well-rounded selection of entrees.

Adam's Sustainable Table*
Pac-10 blog writes: Been there three times. Three good meals. Good bartenders. More than a few Oregon fans have teased me about it being a hoity-toity place. Did I mention the martinis?

The Eugene Electric Station

Dickie Jo's Burgers
Kyle from Cottage, Grove, Ore., writes: It has everything you could want in a local hamburger place. It's only a few blocks away from the University of Oregon campus in downtown Eugene and has a 50's dinner style to it. Great hamburgers, Chicago style hot dogs, shakes, and much more! If you want to come to have one of the best burgers on the west coast,

Lucky Noodle
Charlie from Portland writes: The best place to grab a bite to eat in Eugene is Lucky Noodle on 5th Avenue. I've had a number of their hand-crafted Thai noodle dishes, and they are all delicious and filling.


Sy's Pizza
Rob from Portland writes: It has the best authentic New York-style pizza within a 1,500-mile radius. If NY pizza isn't your thing, try the Sicilian-style deep dish, which is just as good, if not better.
Preston from Tualatin, Ore., writes: A hole in the wall restaurant on campus that offers exceptional pizza and serves the unique "garlic knot" (a small bread roll, about the size of a cupcake, with garlic baked in and cheese on top).I go to 3 to 4 Ducks games per year, and every Friday night I head to Sy's for a slice and a knot.

Marche Provisions

Studio One
April from Los Angeles writes: The French toast is a melt-in-your-mouth, shiver down your spine, best meal of your life experience. My friends and I still talk about it and we graduated 15 years ago. Fresh Oregon berries, silky, homemade creme anglaise, rich almond custard, and perfect french toast - thickly sliced with brioche texture and buttery crisp edges. Don't miss it!

King Estate winery
Geoff from Boise writes: Just half an hour southwest of Eugene.. The wine is very good, the view is gorgeous, and the food is fantastic - definitely my favorite place to go in the area for a special occasion.

Burrito Boy

The Dough Co.
Brett from Eugene writes: This place does calzones. Over 31 varieties of calzones. From the "Most Meat Zone" to the "Steak Bomb" to the "Hawaiian Zone" these calzones are the perfect college food: cheap, filling, and tasty. After Duck games the line is out the door as hoarse and hungry students file in to stuff their face. To get the authentic UO student experience, The Dough Co. is a must

The Jail
Marc from Albuquerque writes: A dive teriyaki joint, but the best in the state of Oregon. Huge portions and cheap

Patrick from Washington, D.C., writes: While I attended the UO my favorite restaurant was a little neighborhood place west of campus, kind of Eugene's take on the classic diner menu..

Mucho Gusto

Pegasus Pizza
MarcolaDuck form Marcola, Ore., writes: The bar is first class and the zah has slow smoked meats. It is the best.

Nite life

Taylor's* (under 30)
April from Denver writes: It's the BEST college campus bar!!! During football season is packed from the morning of the game till the bar closes at 2am! Go Ducks are among the most heard sayings. Its a place where students, alumni, players can all hang out together! Justin the manager takes very good care of all!! Nothing is better than a bloody mary made by Tim Shipley pregame and a bubblicious to to celebrate the victory.
Charlie from Portland writes: If any bar ever captured an Animal House like scene, it would have to be Taylor's. Just don't wear orange, for obvious reasons...

Rennie's Landing* (under 30)
Ben from Eugene writes: Rennie's is a great place to hang before or after a game at Autzen Stadium. With two stories, two full bars and a ton of outdoor seating on its two patios, sitting outside on a fall evening with a pitcher (or three) of beer with some friends is awesome.Rennie's has a full-menu with some great food... I think the most famous thing at the joint are the cheesy bacon fries. Ask any college student who frequents the bar and the cheesy bacon fries? a plate of fries with cheddar cheese and bacon crumbled on top with a side of ranch ?? are the perfect food to go along with a few drinks.... Just ask Oregon grad Neil Everett!
Crystel from Portland writes: Most of us that went to UofO call Rennie's our "second home." It's chill, their hef is kept at the perfect temperature, and nothing is better than a Rennie's Lemonade and a plate of Cheesy Bacon Fries after an awesome game.

The Cooler (over 30)

The Bier Stein (over 30)
Marc from Albuquerque writes: Best beer selection in Eugene, over 1000 different beers to choose from.
Geoff from Boise writes: I miss is more than anywhere else in Eugene.

John Henry's (under 30)

Comments: Papa's Soul Food, Beppe & Gianni's and Track Town Pizza were the most popular restaurants. And it was a not unexpected showdown between Taylors and Rennie's for top bar, though the Beer Stein got good of support. Obviously, there's plenty of food diversity in Eugene. My experience is that the food is solid on the low-end and surprisingly good on the high-end. As for the bars... let's just say I've tipped back a few in Eugene. Think Bruce Feldman, John Walters and I may have closed down Taylor's last year the Friday before the Cal game. I wanted to at least check out Rennie's but Feldman seemed to be enamoured with the big gulp cups of beer we kept getting for, like, $3.75. Of course, my memory on that might be completely wrong.

Top restaurants and bars in Pac-10: Oregon State

September, 1, 2010
A tip of the cap to Oregon State fans: Great work on reaching a restaurant and bar consensus and including amusing and insightful remarks about your choices.

Got to admit: I've never stayed in Corvallis even when I've covered a Beavers game (or visited practice). I always stayed in Portland or (sorry about this) Eugene. Biggest reason: No Marriott.

But after reading your notes, I'm at least going to plan on grabbing a meal -- and perhaps a toddy -- on my next trip.

Away we go.

Oregon State


Local Boyz Hawaiian Cafe
Brandon from Albany, Ore., writes: If anyone from Beaver-nation suggests any other place, just remind them of Local Boyz and they will change their answer! It's a statewide landmark and a campus staple. P.S. This is all coming from a huge Duck fan.
Michael from Corvallis writes: The biggest endorsement for Local Boyz comes from the many Hawaiian and islander students (and student-athletes) that pack the place.
Nicholas from Troutdale, Ore., writes: I was told about this place by all the seniors. I have been addicted ever since... My favorite visit was a few years ago, when I sat at a table with Ken Simonton.

American Dream Pizza
Mr. Deeter from Silverton, Ore., writes: They have a location across the street from campus, and also one downtown. The downtown location has a cozy bar and rooftop seating. Both locations have a great beer selection (you'll have to go downtown for amazing cocktails), and the best pizza I've had on the west coast.
Heller from Tacoma writes: I know, it's a cliche to pick a pizza place in a small college town. but once you've had it you will be hooked (Just ask President Obama) fresh ingredients, light fluffy dough, a wide selection of toppings and beers. But if you go on game day go early...the line is out the door and around the block.

Flat Tail Brewery
Cory from Corvallis writes: They have great beer, they brew beer on site, serve burgers, sandwiches, ribs, and for the health conscience, fish and chips. The decor is OSU both current and retro and about 8-10 flat screens. Perfect place to have a microbrew, eat a burger, and watch the Beavs take down TCU!!

Block 15
Dan from Corvallis writes: This is a local brewery on 3rd Street that serves burgers, pasta, delicious pulled-pork, seafood, etc. The beers are great: I like the Nebula Stout. Block 15 opened a few years ago and is a big local favorite. They've also got darts, shuffleboard, TVs, live music, etc.

Daren from Guatemala City, Guatemala writes: The Squirrel burger is magical.
Fludrick from Seattle writes: I am especially fond of the deviled eggs.

McMenamins (two locations)

Ryan from Corvallis writes: Perhaps the best steak in town, strong sports knowledge, and fun employees and patrons. Every time I go there I have a great time.
Nite life

The Crowbar (under 30; added bonus, it's connected to American Dream Pizza)
Dan from Corvallis writes: Best cocktails in town, super-cool bartenders

Sancho's (under 30)

Impulse (under 30)

Bombs Away (under 30)
Jonathan from Corvallis writes: Makes very strong drinks and has a daily special. Monday $2 margaritas, Tuesday $2 micro brews, Wednesday $2 wells, Thursday $5 long islands and i'm not sure what the rest are, but this lineup helps me to get through my toughest weeks, and it is close enough to campus, i can stop by and get a drink in between classes.

Clodfelter's or Clods (under/over 30)
Josh from Kansas City writes: Located across the street from campus and about a 5 minute walk from the stadium, Clod's has great late night food, the best bartenders in town and a top of the line game day (and night) atmosphere. Plus, after closing time you can hop across the street to the Circle K for munchies and Gatorade to try to make your morning not suck as bad.

Top of the Cock/The Peacock (under 30)
Doug from Corvallis writes: The cock has been the dump of choice that serves good bloody's and a gut-lining greasy breakfast on game days for decades. Back in the day you could watch head coach Joe Avezzano play his guitar and pick up coeds on Friday nights before games. You can travel the world and meet OSU alums and the first question in the conversation will be "Is the Peacock still standing".

Tailgaters (under 30)

The Cantina (under 30)

El Presidente (under 30)

Comments: Just about everybody loves Local Boyz and American Dream. Both places were named at least 25 times. I think Stephen Paea waxed poetic with me about Local Boyz once during a chat. The connection between American Dream and Crowbar strikes me as a really, really good thing. I also gather from your notes that Clodfelters and The Peacock are Corvallis institutions. And the Pac-10 blog loves institutional drinking. Er, thinking! I meant thinking. Is it just me or would an amble down Monroe Avenue produce promising results if an Adventurer were trying to touch base with the true spirit of Corvallis?

Top restaurants and bars in Pac-10: Stanford

August, 31, 2010
Lots of consensus in Stanford's list. You can take this one on your road trip with confidence.

For a variety of reasons, I don't know Palo Alto and the surrounding areas very well (scheduling quirks when I covered Washington -- as well as an East Coast desire to stay in San Francisco when visiting the Bay Area -- and the program's extended downturn didn't help).

But I stayed in Palo Alto before last season's Oregon game and plan to again for any Stanford games I cover this year. I will definitely take this list along.



Tom from Palo Alto, Calif., writes: It is a really cool New Orleans "Cajun fusion" themed restaurant with a menu items such as Voodoo Chili, Spicy Seafood Jambalaya, and Cheesy Grits. The best part about the restaurant is that all the tables are located in an open air courtyard or on a balcony that overlooks the courtyard- in a nutshell, the restaurant does a pretty good job of replicating the feel of the big easy. Finally, you can wash the food down with a "Moron bowl", which is the restaurant's bay area take on the classic hurricane.


Mitch from San Jose writes: Cho's is the epitome of a hole in the wall. It's a dingy little dim sum restaurant run by a rude owner who serves up the best pot stickers for miles around. $10 dollars will get you a small feast as the food is very inexpensive. And just thinking about the three-in-one steamers, the egg rolls, and the pork buns are causing me to drool on my laptop as I write this.



Alpine Inn (Portola Valley)
Nick from Mountain View, Calif., writes: It's a little out of the way but [it's] is a gem of a Stanford hangout. Formerly known as Rozotti's, the Alpine Inn was originally a 19th-century highway stop. Now it's a beer garden serving some great local microbrews and the best cheeseburgers in the area. Nothing's better than pre-gaming at the Alpine Inn under the shade of the eucalyptus trees with a burger and a beer. Coach Harbaugh does his annual pre-season pep talk for season ticket holders there, too.


Nite life

Antonio's Nut House (over 30)
Charlton from Palo Alto, Calif., writes: the unclassiest dive bar around... you'll meet some characters, sure, but the good times roll deep into the night.

Dutch Goose (over 30)
Tom from Palo Alto, Calif., writes: It is the quintessential Stanford bar experience. Somewhat run-down wooden seats, fun atmosphere, good burgers. The main draw is definitely ordering the deviled eggs- they are delicious. Also has a pretty nice beer selection too along with a back porch.

Rudy's Pub (under 30)

Old Pro (under 30)
Mark from San Francisco writes: Make sure to order a Beerzooka

The Oasis (under 30)

Rose and Crown pub (over 30)
Charlton from Palo Alto writes: The biggest and best beer selection on the south peninsula.

Iberia Restaurant (over 30)
Jorge from Stanford writes:[It] has the best damn lounge/bar ambiance (of the laid-back and relaxing variety) in the area. They offer one of the best selections of scotch (and brethren spirits) and hard-to-find wines. This is the kind of place you want to visit at the very end of a long day - even in the middle of the week. Come with 1-2 buddies and stick to the lounge/bar area; claim a spot near the back (preferably in one of the leather chairs) and order yourself a pour of 18 yr-old Macallan.

Comments: Nola's and Evvia got lots of votes. Evvia was No. 1 on TripAdvisor, so the multiple notations of it seem legit. There was an even better consensus with the bars. You guys love the Nut House, Dutch Goose and Old Pro in particular. I included Iberia Restaurant in the "nite life" area because of Jorge's description, which made me want to knock off work early and get on a plane. Based on it the official website, it looks like a nice restaurant, too. I have a hunch they will see me one Friday night this season.

Top restaurants and bars in Pac-10: UCLA

August, 30, 2010
Of all the Pac-10 schools, the UCLA mail on top restaurants and bars was lightest, though when we type "lightest" we're being relative because the overall response was so overwhelming.

There's a good reason for that: The Bruins play football in Pasadena. They practice and go to school in Westwood. Which location gets priority?

Still, based on what I know -- and can surmise from websites -- this is a high-quality list. Bruins fans who participated didn't send a lot of random fluff (or try to stack the deck, as it appears some did -- you know who you are!)

(Again: The "*" means I've been there).



Arroyo Chop House* (The Pac-10 blog writes: Yum.)

Tommy's Burgers

Tarantino's Pizzeria
Chanley from Pasadena writes: Best pizza in town.


Gale's Italian Restaurant and Bar
Dano from Los Angeles writes: Great Italian food and Italian food is good for you in advance of a long day tailgating.

Bill's Chicken
Writes Nathan from Los Angeles: Best fried chicken in all the southland.

The Dining Room at The Langham Hotel (It's currently being renovated and won't re-open until Oct. 1).

Bar Celona
Writes George from Los Angeles: Great Tapas and Sangria. The Paella is fantastic. walking distance from the Rose Bowl.

Apple Pan
Writes Ryan from Phoenix: I recommend the Steak Burger, which has been served the exact same way since 1927. Then wash it down with a slice of fresh home-made apple pie. Its worth driving out for a game just to have an excuse to hit this place up.

Taps Fishhouse and Brewery
Cam from Albany, Ore., writes: "The Misses and I spent new years eve here, eating and dancing until the wee hours of the morning. Bring your wallet, your liver, and your dancing shoes."

Rick's Drive-in

Shamshiri Grill*

Nite life

Barneys Beanery (over 30)
Daniel from Pasadena writes: Just a couple miles from the Rose Bowl. Great American sports bar with an insane amount of TVs. 3 stories big and the top floor is a billiards bar.Their menu is huge.

BJ's (over 30)

Freddie’s 35er Bar (over 30)
Anonymous from Seattle writes: Just a great dive sports bar.

O'Hara's (Under 30... used to be called Maloney's, and many people still call it that).

redwhite+bluezz (over 30)

Gypsy Cafe (under 30)
Kramer from Westwood, Calif., writes: Because we know you love smoking a hookah, Miller.

Comments: Gale's, Bar Celona, Freddie's 35er and O'Hara's got more than a couple of hits. O'Hara's sounds like a good place to go if you're a college student on a road trip. Barney's Beanery and BJ's are your sports bars. There seems like a lively debate about best burgers and best pizza. I'm staying in Pasadena in two weeks -- Stanford at UCLA -- so I'm trying to figure out which one of these places I'll sample firsthand. Will report back.

Top restaurants and bars in Pac-10: USC

August, 27, 2010
I knew USC (and UCLA to some exent) would be tough for our review of the "Top Restaurants and Bars in the Pac-10." While L.A. is a huge -- HUGE -- city with plenty of good restaurants and places to imbibe, there's not a lot around the USC campus or the Coliseum.

Nonetheless, I'm fairly satisfied with this list. Some good places (an "*" means I've been there).




The Original Pantry
Dano from Riverside, Calif., writes: "Good food and tons of it. The hamburgers they serve must be close to a pound. Plus you get a bowl of coleslaw and half a loaf of French bread. Yummy..but plan on sharing it or getting a doggie bag"

La Taquiza*
Evan from San Francisco writes: "Get the Mulitas. They are incredible. Hence the restaurant's slogan 'La casa de las mulitas.'"

The Pantry (24 hour breakfast)


Papa Cristo's

Philippe's French Dip
Bobak from Minneapolis writes: "They invented the French dip sandwich and still makes it better than anywhere else: they pre-dip the sandwich bread for you, just like they accidentally did to the original."


El Cholo*
Bobak from Minneapolis writes: "This place makes the best margaritas in town, as well as what many argue (including myself) some of the best Mexican food (the restaurant is also very old, and used to be located right next to the then brand-new Coliseum). This place, particularly the location on Western Ave, is a legend."

La Barca
Myles from San Francisco writes: "It's a hole in the wall with best burritos near USC. The best selection on the menu is the Colossal Burrito. The size of this burrito makes it a challenge on your own but with a buddy it is a perfect dinner; along with a margarita or two".

Spring Street Smokehouse


Kyo Chon
Jeb from LA writes: "A Korean joint with wicked good chicken wings."

The Bazaar
Drake from LA writes: "It's a former Esquire Magazine restaurant of the year. Huge and strange and pricey. But the food is good, as is the people watching."

Versailles Cuban Restaurant*
Carl from Charlottesville, Va., writes: "No Pac-10 road trip to LA could be fulfilling without going to Versailles Cuban Restaurant (I frequented the Venice and Motor location in Palms) Get the Bistec de Pollo con Morros (Garlic Chicken breast with fried black bean/white rice)"

Nite life

901 Club (under 30) USC students call it the 9-0. It's an institution. Nate from Houston writes: "Definitely under 30 crowd (mostly frat/sorority type), but has recently been renovated and is the most authentic SC experience you can have."
Traditions (under 30) It's the on-campus bar -- students call it "Traddies." The original is gone, torn down to make way for a new student center. It's now in a temporary location and is supposed to re-open in said student center. We shall see.

Pete's Cafe and Bar
Evan from San Francisco writes: "If you're an adult (not a student), don't go to the 9-0. You're too old. Go to Pete's, grab a Chimay, and watch highlights of USC's most recent victory."

Seven Grand (over 30)

Comments: If you are a road tripping male from another Pac-10 school, you're going to want to hit the 901 Club. Just trust me on that. Er, not that I've ever been there. Top vote-getters for restaurants were: El Cholo, La Taquiza, Chanos and Philippe's French Dip, with about a quarter of the respondents noting El Cholo. The Bazaar is on my list of high-end restaurants, and not just because of the food. Here's the Esquire review. Place just sounds really interesting. I'll second Carl on Versailles Cuban Restaurant, but my recommendations would start with pork. Mmm.

Top restaurants and bars in Pac-10: Washington

August, 26, 2010
One of the complications of doing a "Top Restaurants and Bars in the Pac-10" is that the Pac-10 includes so many major metropolitan areas that are among the best food cities in the country.

And so we have Seattle, which easily ranks among the top-10 U.S. food cities.

As many of you noted, we could list a "Top-10 Seattle restaurants" -- Cafe Juanita, Harvest Vine, Lark, Canlis, etc. -- and then try to find someone to pick up the $100 per person tab. Rover's made the list only because a handful of you noted it (and it's where I typically took my parents when they visited, though Pops got stuck with the tab).

Still, most of you remained within the spirit of the exercise and tried to stick with places fairly close to Husky Stadium that leaned more toward festive than haute cuisine, which is probably for the best. (And, as a former Seattle resident, I can attest this is a strong list).

Let's get to it. Remember, the "*" means I've been there.



NorthLake Tavern*
Jason from Seattle writes: Murals of UW football by the legendary David Horsey [two-time Pulitzer Prize winning cartoonist for the Seattle Post-Intelligencer], and pie so good you forget about 0-12.

The Ram in University Village*
Joey's Lake Union
Dad Watson's*
Dick's Drive-In*
Aladdin's Gyro-Cery

Sam from Portland writes: The sausage is PHENOMENAL. It kindled my love for sausage and it is benchmark to which I compare all other sausages to.

Dan from Los Angeles writes: As a student in the early 90's, I'd go once every couple weeks. Now it is a full-fledged restaurant and bar. It may have lost its ambiance due to its size now, but I keep getting drawn back in when in town.

Dukes on Lake Union*
Gary from Denver writes: Bloody Mary's, burgers and chowder at Lake Union Dukes prior to tailgating is our annual tradition.

Ezell's Chicken* (As a southerner, I can attest: this fried chicken is the real deal).
Thai Tom's*

JaK's Grill (It is with great regret I never went there while I lived in Seattle. Australian buddy of mine swore by the place).
Shane from Seattle writes: Jak's Grill Laurelhurst is bar none the best restaurant anywhere close to Husky Stadium (and damn near the best in Seattle). An amazing brunch menu featuring "Man-mosas" (giant mimosas) and for dinner, prime Nebraska beef. You can't beat it. Plus, one of the best burgers in the city.

Ray's Boat House* (An institution that delivers good seafood with a great view).
Agua Verde
Anchovies and Olives (Think it's new since I left. It's earned national praise).
Rancho Bravo
The Attic in Madison Park
Rover's* (It's a little odd to have such a swank place on the list, but Chef Thierry Rautureau is not only a genius, he's a prince of a guy. Sure he reads the Pac-10 blog everyday).

Ivar's Salmon House on north Lake Union*
Kevin from Seattle writes: For $50 you get a great seafood brunch plus roundtrip by boat, saving parking cost and traffic hassle. Nice deck for post-game librations on a sunny day. Besides, I grew up hearing Ivar sing silly shanties.

Nite life

The Duchess Tavern* (under & over 30: I wandered in one time and heard a, "What the hell are you doing here?" Seems that a couple of Huskies weren't happy to see me. Can't imagine why. Beer smoothed things out).
Brouwers* (over 30)
Norm's* (over 30)
Red Door* (under 30)
Earl's (under 30)
Peso's in Queen Anne* (over 30)

Comments: Top vote getters were: NorthLake Tavern (which does have some righteous pizza), Dick's Drive-in (the Seattle burger chain), Schultzy's, Thai Tom's, The Ram and the Duchess. The Duchess Tavern, to me, is the quintessential Huskies dive. If you like Belgian beer, Brouwer's is your heaven. Norm's is where I drank a lot of whiskey during my Seattle days. If you are a visitor, I'd suggest finding a place on the water. That's just very Seattle. I never completely "got" Dick's Drive-In -- I think the burgers at Kidd Valley are better. But then again, I've heard outsiders don't get The Varsity in Atlanta, which I find incomprehensible.

Top restaurants and bars in Pac-10: Washington State

August, 25, 2010
I thought I'd get a good response when I asked for submissions on favorite Pac-10 restaurants and bars.

Oh, my. I got 23,000 words -- 105 pages when pasted into a MS Word document.

You have opinions. And more than a few made me hungry.

My plan was to be as thorough as possible and read all of them, but -- holy, cow! -- it was. Just. Too. Much.

So consider this a salute to your general awesomeness. Kudos.

Let's begin!

We're going to break it down by school in reverse alphabetical order. So up first: Washington State.

I'm mostly going to list places that received multiple "votes." I'll include some comments. And an "*" indicates that the Pac-10 blog has been there.

So away we go...

Washington State


South Fork Public House
Black Cypress
Paradise Creek Brewery
Old European
Fireside Grill
Dupus Boomer's (on-campus)
Tam's Place (breakfast)
Ferdinand's* (WSU creamery outlet) best ice cream and cheese you'll ever have

Dominic from Grand Forks, N.D., writes: Personally for the dining it's got to be Sella's. I'm sure that you will get tons of emails about that place too, but it's just so good. I would give anything to have a calzone and draw a picture of a cougar biting the head off a husky. Chris from Spokane writes: "Sella's calzones are the bomb. Beers are BIG, served in Mason jars. The football stadium is within walking distance." Ed from Bellevue, Wash., writes: "Still the best Calzone I've ever had (and yes, I've been to Chicago and Italy :)"

Cougar Country Drive-In
Trevor from Los Angeles writes: "It has the best burgers in town. I've had dreams about the place. Everything is fresh and the place hasn't changed in years."

Sangria Grill* (Moscow, Idaho)
Rancho Viejo

Night life

Rico's* (over 30)
Sports Page Tavern* (over 30)
The Coug* (under 30 but it's THE place in Pullman)
"Nothing says Wazzu like this place" writes just about everyone.
Stubblefield's (under 30)
My Office (over 30)
ZZU (under 30)
(under 30)

Comments: Many, many votes for Sella's, The Coug, Rico's and Cougar County Drive-In. More than a couple of folks said Black Cypress is the best high-end restaurant in town. Matt from Pullman writes: "Kinda Mediterranean style food. One of the few places in Pullman that could belong in a big city." Au contraire, writes Craig from Los Angeles: "Swilly's is by far the best restaurant in Pullman / Moscow. Very good / great food and good wine list with lots of fairly priced Washington wines. Nice atmosphere though it can be a bit chaotic and loud on busy football weekends. Compares favorably with good restaurants anywhere." The Old European also sounded interesting, writes Arret from Burlington, Wash., "Amazing crepes, goulash, dutch babies, and other European breakfast items you will never see at your average restaurant."