Food & DrinkGrub Notes

Dooley’s Is a Well Executed Sports Bar in an Unsuccessful Space

Dooley's Bar and Grill

DOOLEY’S BAR AND GRILL (259 E. Broad St., 706-850-1587): It’s unclear whether this new bar/restaurant gets its name more from the movie Johnny Dangerously, which features an establishment called just that, or from the former Georgia Bulldogs head football coach and athletic director, although it’s probably the latter. 

Home to a series of mediocre restaurants and bars, most recently Einstein Bros. Bagels, the space has never been inspiring, but it feels spiffed up now. The place seems to have mastered the ability to be a sports bar, which is to say both a bar and a restaurant, with a menu that’s a little more interesting and better executed than one would expect. None of that is to say that you can expect health food or a focus on locally grown vegetables. Most of what’s available is greasy: wings, grilled cheeses, burgers, baskets of fried stuff. That’s what sports bar food tends to be and, in this case, is. You will need some napkins, and you may need to take a Tums, but your meal will provide a solid base for several beers. The more quickly eaten relative to time of preparation your food is, the better it will be. In other words, hot grease beats cold grease. 

Prices aren’t bad. The Floyd’s Fried Bologna n’ Cheese sandwich is a simple thing: thick-sliced bologna run across the griddle, American cheese, mayo and mustard, all grilled between sourdough bread. It’s also only $6, and although it’s not enormous, it is filling. That doesn’t include a side, but who’s to say you always need one? The impulse-buy-type items that sit atop the menu in the starters are more expensive. The buffalo chicken rangoons, served with a sriracha honey lime dipping sauce (a fancy ranch dressing, basically), are pretty good bar food, but at $8 for a handful, you may resent them a bit. Baskets of fries or chips covered with various toppings will run you $9, and if you want to add steak ($5) or chicken ($4), that costs a good bit extra. The Peach and Pig is a fancy grilled cheese, combining brie with homemade peach preserves and bacon on wheat bread. Dare I write this? It has too much bacon relative to the preserves. I love bacon, and I don’t really like the sweet-and-salty combo, but the sandwich would be better if it leaned into the contrast harder. Like the rest of the menu, the burgers are compact (3 oz.), decently priced and fatty. They need some more punch, but they’re perfectly well executed. There are salads, should you want to go that direction, and kids meals, which are $8 but come with a side and a drink. Plus, there is a well-stocked bar with few taps but a good selection of canned and bottled beer. 

There are, of course, TVs generally tuned to sports, but they could be showing an episode of “Supernatural” if you go for lunch, and there is much in the way of memorabilia on the walls. Dooley’s is open from 11 a.m.–2 a.m. Monday through Saturday and 11 a.m. to midnight on Sundays. It delivers and does take-out, but has no outdoor seating.

BLENDERZ (245 Oconee St., 706-514-0060): This place that took over the location of Frutta Bowls in The Mark feels like a chain in its infancy. It’s kind of the opposite of Dooley’s, in that its food is expensive, health-oriented and not all that well executed. I am sympathetic to restaurateurs’ increasing costs, but $15 for a quinoa bowl with chicken, romaine, black beans, cheddar, corn, avocado, salsa and Greek yogurt is, you know, a bit much. For reference, the Power Lunch at The National, which is reliably delicious, healthy and has plenty of food, is $14. A chicken panini with red onions, cheddar, salsa and jalapenos is $12.50 and not huge. A “regular”-sized smoothie can cost as much as $9. 

The prices might be more tolerable were the food better. It tastes like the kind of thing you could get at your average grocery store, and while you might be happy with it there, your cost would be less, and your expectations lower. Do you really, really want your açai bowl served in half a coconut for an extra $8 so that you can put it on Instagram? Or did you work out at Orange Theory right next door? Those are reasons to go here. Blenderz is open 7 a.m.–8 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 10 a.m.–6 p.m. Sunday. It validates parking for 20 minutes.