Thursday, December 24, 2009

What Do You Get . . .

when the worlds of rock music and sports collide? You get Alice Cooper’stown, that’s what.

This sports-bar-meets-rock-hall was opened by shock rocker and Phoenix resident Alice Cooper in 1998 and is located across the street from the US Airways arena, home to the Phoenix Suns pro basketball team. The dining room boasts sixteen mega televisions which show nothing but sports.

The day we arrived for lunch with Chuck’s aunt Evelyn and cousin Raina, the courtyard patio was filled with small children and women dressed live elves (see the elf ears on the women in the red and white striped shirts, left). Wait a minute!! I thought that this was a sports/rock bar. It seems that Cooper’stown was hosting a children’s Christmas party complete with a visit by Santa.

Now Alice Cooper hasn’t just put his name on the menu. The day we were there, he could be seen standing behind the merchandise counter with a microphone and camera in his face and, later, walking through the restaurant talking with the staff. This appears to be more hands on than I anticipated.

Now I have to admit that the menu is rather hokey with most of the food items being named for either sports or rock stars/bands. We have your Ryne Sandburger, a half pound burger named for the Chicago Cubs Hall of Fame second baseman; the Connie Hawkins Hot Ham & Cheese named after the Harlem Globetrotter and Phoenix Suns basketball star; the Shaq Stack burger, a mushroom swiss burger set on top of a bacon cheese burger (a full pound of beef); or Megadeth Meatloaf named for a heavy metal band.

We heard about this place on an episode of Anthony Bourdain’s No Reservations on the Travel Channel and decided that a visit while in Phoenix was mandatory. It was on this segment that Alice served up one of the house “specialties” – the Big Unit Hot Dog (“More Meat than You Can Eat”) named for Randy “The Big Unit” Johnson, the former pitcher for the Arizona Diamondbacks. This is a twenty-two inch long one pound Vienna Beef hot dog served on a baguette. Enough food to feed the entire table? You would be wrong. Chuck ordered this for himself.

Anticipating that I would share a significant portion of the Big Unit, I decided on a ten-piece order of the spicy wings.

Evelyn opted for the chicken quesadilla,

while Raina chose the tuna casserole.

Whenever a customer orders the Big Unit, buzzers buzz, bells ring, and your server calls out “Serving a Big Unit” when the food comes to the table. Heads turned in Chuck’s direction. Finishing this by himself now became a manly challenge, and I was only allowed a small taste for literary purposes. The hot dog was close to an inch in diameter and had been grilled rather than steamed or boiled. With the dog came a side of good crispy fries and a cup of not so good cole slaw.

My very meaty wings were excellent. The kitchen had tossed the deep fried wings in just enough sauce to coat but not so much sauce that the crisp skin became flabby. (There is nothing worse than flabby chicken skin.) And while the sauce packed a punch, it was not so hot to be painful.

Alice Cooper’stown is more of an experience destination for sports and rock fans and shoppers than a fine dining destination. Still, the food was good enough to warrant a 4.0 Addie score.

To family, friends, and drop-in readers, we wish you all a Merry Christmas and a Healthy and Happy 2010.

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