Stars and Stripes pleasantly surprises families

Kate Froehlich, Executive Editor

The cliché of an American themed restaurant is hard to live up to.

The Stars and Stripes Grill opened in September of 2008, located in the Constant Friendship Business Park, adjacent to the Putt-Putt Fun Center.

However, getting into the building is not quite so convenient.

The entrance is slightly sketchy, hidden in the back of the parking lot. You have to walk around the back of the Putt- Putt building to get to the restaurant, unless you want to walk through a crowd of screaming ten-year olds.

Maybe the biggest problem I see with the location is that a bar separates the restaurant and the arcade. The first thing I think of is how dangerous it is for those combining alcohol with laser tag.

According to George Solomon, manager of Stars and Stripes, the intent was to get families to play putt – putt or laser tag all day, and have a nice restaurant to eat at that evening. As he said, “If you have a family, it’s a no brainer. It’s a good atmosphere. There’s a lot to do.”

When I arrived with my mother and brother in tow promptly at 11, I was met by my waitress, who sat in a pink hoodie at a dining table. When we asked if the restaurant was open, she said, “Oh I guess its 11’o clock, we should be serving food.”

Maybe not the best first impression but the service improved quickly. My waitress, although she remained nameless, came back with our drinks and an official Stars and Stripes navy blue polo.

The atmosphere was patriotic. There were American flags hanging up, American themed light colorings, and the colors of the American flag everywhere. There were empty wine bottles in each window, next to a basket of fake flowers,which is not my personal preference.

However, most of the items on the menu were named after some patriotic theme, like the “Bombs Bursting in Air buffalo wings.” Very creative, actually. I wasn’t a fan of the “Pittsburger,” probably due to my general disdain for the city. I did find one name slightly ironic- “Benedict Arnold Chicken Salad.” Arnold was a great general and all, except for that minor instance of being a traitor to the colonists during the Revolutionary War. But you know, that’s no big deal or anything.

From dinner entrees like shrimp scampi and ribs to lunch deals like wraps and sandwiches, the menu offers a slightly below average selection.

The restaurant was empty, except for four people that came in shortly after we ordered.

The meal only took around 20 minutes to arrive, which wasn’t bad. And of course, to match the theme of the restaurant, each meal came with a little American flag.

The crab soup was very hot and very spicy, but balanced out with a honey biscuit that was like a dessert.  The soupwas packed with vegetables and crab meat, more so than the actual broth, which is always a good thing.

I got a cheeseburger, which was well cooked and tender. It came with “seasonal fruit” which was a mixture of fresh cantaloupe, grapes, pineapples, honey dew, and watermelon, which was borderline flavorless.

I absolutely loved the fries because they were extremely crispy and salty.

The buffalo wrap was much too spicy for my palette, but my brother, who ordered the dish and has a much higher tolerance for spice, enjoyed it. The wrap had lettuce, tomato, provolone cheese, ranch, cayenne baby peppers, and crispy chicken tenders.

The portion size was fantastic. None of us were able to completely finish our meals.

I was extremely impressed by the food, most of which was absolutely delicious. The entire meal, not including tax, came out to about $10 a person, which was reasonable for the quality and quantity of food.

I would come back again. The quality of the food outweighs the less than stellar atmosphere. The Stars and Stripes Grille lives up to its American theme.

Kate Froehlich can be reached for comment at [email protected].com