Bar dining goes upscale at Bar Louie! With locations around the country, great food and atmosphere, you’ll definitely want to find one near you.
Two weeks ago I drove to Denver with Michele, to take her son Jacksen to college orientation. We drove out Thursday, and the trip took us about 9 ½ hours, including lunch at The Cozy Inn in Salina KS. The drive is easy, but it is literally hundreds of miles of nothingness.
By the time we got to the hotel, we were getting hungry. We wanted to stay in the local area, and one of the recommendations by the guy at the hotel front desk was Bar Louie. All of his suggestions were at Belleview Promenade, an upscale strip mall less than a 5 minute walk from the hotel.
Michele tends to prefer restaurants that are on the upscale side for dinner. A dive restaurant wouldn’t be my first choice for dinner, but I’m perfectly fine with very casual. I had been to the Bar Louie in Kansas City during the Big 12 basketball tournament, and the vibe seemed very casual. But during the tournament, every bar in the area becomes a very casual atmosphere. Besides, there are several other restaurants in the Promenade, so worst case we would choose something else.
Bar Louie has locations throughout most of the eastern half of the country, as well as Texas, Colorado and Arizona. Sadly, no locations in Oklahoma, but I know it would do well in either OKC or Tulsa.
Bar Louie was nearly empty when we arrived, but it was also 9pm and the area has a lot of office buildings. The restaurant leans towards the upscale, while still keeping a fun atmosphere. A large patio out front that takes up nearly the entire length of the restaurant, with several seating options: 2 large picnic-style tables, high-top tables, and lounge seating areas. There are standing heaters and umbrellas along the outside gate, and a couple of the high-top tables surround a fire pit. There are large garage-type windows separating the patio from outside, that can be rolled up during beautiful weather. The inside is mainly tables, booths at the far left end, and a large bar in the middle. There was a guy playing live music that night, and he was really good.
The Bar Louie menu is quite large, for both drinks and food. Of course, the first thing we checked out was the drink menu. Michele went with the dirty martini, and I got the spicy pineapple margarita
I’m not a martini fan, and I don’t like olives, so I didn’t taste it. But Michele really enjoyed the drink.
This margarita packs a serious punch! The spice comes from the cayenne pepper on the rim, which is a great twist on a traditional margarita.
The Bar Louie food menu features appetizers, flatbreads, burgers, salads, sandwiches, entrees and desserts. I don’t do well with large menus, and I was hungry but not starving. I scanned the entire menu quickly, and then focused on the appetizer section.
About 20 years ago I was at dinner with Kara and Coach White, and they ordered an appetizer. They wouldn’t tell me what it was, but insisted that I try it. I don’t know what came over me, because back then I was not adventurous with food at all. But I gave in to pressure, tried a piece, and loved it. About halfway through, they dropped the hammer that it was calamari. I dropped the piece I was eating, and refused to eat any more. It was several years before I would try it again, and now I eat it every chance I get. So when Michele suggested the calamari, of course I agreed
The calamari is fabulous. It came out screaming hot, freshly fried, lightly seasoned and breaded, and delicious. I’m not sure if the sauce is homemade, but it is really delicious and has a wonderful texture.
Michele went with the pear & blue cheese salad
We were both very pleasantly surprised at the generous size of the salad. I tasted a bite, and it was wonderful. I don’t typically eat pecans, but these are candied and fantastic.
After some back and forth, I decided on the salmon sliders
Wow, these are huge chunks of salmon! The sliders are excellent. The bacon is thick cut, the pesto mayo adds a wonderful burst of flavor, and the bread is delicious. I made it through 2 entire sliders before I gave up on the bread on the last one.
I’m a huge french fry snob, and my eyes are always bigger than my stomach…so a small serving of fries is always disappointing. But this dish is an appetizer, not a meal. The fries are excellent, scorching hot, crispy on the outside and fluffy on the inside.
Our server was a very nice young lady, working to save money for law school. She did a good job in the beginning, but when it came time to pay our bill she disappeared for about 15 minutes. Another couple was sitting at the table next to us, and they finally moved to the bar because our server was MIA. We finally took our bill to the bar to pay, only to find out that our server had to process the charge. About a minute later, she came running out to take care of us.
On Friday I had the whole day to myself, while Michele and Jacksen were at orientation. I went back to Bar Louie when they opened to have a glass of wine while I contemplated where to have lunch. I actually considered having lunch there, but that would go against the spirit of the blog. And there are way too many other restaurants in the area to choose from. There was a steady stream of diners coming in as I sat, and by the time I left 45 minutes later, the restaurant was nearly full.
When I went to the restroom I saw a sign for the Bar Louie “Mobile Mob”; when you sign up, you get a free appetizer. I wish we had known, since the first thing servers ask after offering drinks is if you want an appetizer. To me, it’s a miss that our server didn’t at least ask us if we were members. In March I was in Kansas City for the Big 12 basketball tournament, and had lunch at Drunken Fish Sushi. While chatting with the manager, she told me that I would get a free appetizer by checking into the restaurant on Yelp. That’s all I needed to hear to sign up.
When I first arrived at Bar Louie I sat at the bar, but then changed my mind and sat out on the patio to enjoy the gorgeous weather. Then I sat and waited…and waited. Finally the patio server came over and asked if I had been taken care of. Turns out, she had seen me move from inside, and thought that I was getting a drink from the bartender. Once we solved that issue, the service was great . She was very friendly, and gave me some great recommendations for lunch.
I will definitely go back to Bar Louie. The food is delicious, and I love going to restaurants with outdoor patios. Oh, and I’ll be signing up for the “Mobile Mob” so I can get a free appetizer.Shared on: Thursday Favorite Things, Best of the Weekend, Link Party Palooza, Favorite Things Saturday