MIDVALE — If you're a sports fan, you'll enjoy Iggy's Sports Grill.
If you're a food fan, same deal.
In fact, Iggy's is a great place to which you can decamp if your mania for watching every bit of the Olympics available on TV and the Internet means you've got no time to cook. There's a variety of well-prepared, pubby food, excellent service and an atmosphere that welcomes families as well as couples and packs of male sports fans.
One more thing: Their TV is bigger than yours.
On the night we visited the new Union Park Iggy's, a raucous group of Kansas Jayhawks fans cheered their team to victory over Oklahoma State. Other diners watched the Jazz lose to the Lakers or Russians Tatiana Totmianina and Maxim Marinin capture the Olympic figure-skating gold medal. It depended on where they sat in relation to the giant TV screen hovering over the restaurant's central bar.
In fact, if you look at the bar area as a playing field, this newest Iggy's is arranged a lot like a stadium, with tiers of comfortable, U-shaped booths. Though there's plenty of reference to sports in the memorabilia and art adorning the walls, those touches are secondary to the vintage-style ambience of the big, airy space with its warm woods, lots of plants, racks of spinning fans and pulley-style lamps shaded in art glass.
It's brighter than I expected, the better to watch the sports program of your choice. I also enjoyed the service, which was prompt and attentive without hovering. Our server made sure our glasses were filled and there was plenty of space for our food.
We needed the space. We started with Iggy's Tin Lid, a ginormous appetizer served on a tin garbage-can lid. It includes coconut shrimp, hot wings, onion straws, onion rings, "Southwest" eggrolls and Iggy's signature chicken balls. Everything was good, not at all greasy.
Iggy's kids' menu is a wonderful value, serving up an entree, drink and dessert for $3.95. Our kids enjoyed their cheddar grilled-cheese sandwich, and spaghetti with marinara and a big, juicy meatball.
My husband had one of Iggy's half-pound burgers, a hefty round of well-seared beef topped with cheddar, thick and chewy bacon, and just enough barbecue sauce to enhance the other flavors. It was served with crispy thin-cut fries.
I had the Sausilito Chicken, a nuanced, thoughtful dish by any standard, but especially for a sports grill. It featured browned sliced chicken in garlic cream sauce with basil, onion, artichokes and pine nuts, all of which brightened the cream and made the chicken taste special, even exotic. It came with mild, fluffy rice pilaf and buttery mixed veggies.
For dessert, we went all out. The kids had their sundaes, adult-sized and adorned with a pirouline cookie and a cherry, and my husband tried to have the "Volcano." He barely made it through half of this huge wedge of rich, buttery macadamia-nut ice cream sandwiched between two slabs of cakey brownie and topped with tart raspberry sauce, whipped cream and nuts. This original take on a brownie sundae was delicious, but it was also about the size of a meatloaf. Definitely for sharing.
As for me, I was in heaven with my banana-cream pie, stuffed with golden filling and fresh sliced bananas, and topped with cream and almonds.
Appetizers $2.50-$17.95, soups and salads $2.95-$9.95, burgers and sandwiches $6.95-$11.95, pizzas $7.95-$11.95, pasta $8.95-$13.95, entrees $8.95-$17.95, desserts $3.95-$6.95, kids' meals $3.95.
Where: 7640 S. 1300 East, Midvale (four other locations in downtown Salt Lake City, West Jordan, Sandy and Layton)
Hours: Monday-Thursday, 11 a.m.-11 p.m.
Friday-Saturday, 11 a.m.-midnight
Sunday, 11 a.m.-9 p.m.
Payment: No checks accepted
Stacey Kratz is a freelance writer who reviews restaurants for the Deseret Morning News. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org