On Scene: New lunch options | SteamboatToday.com

On Scene: New lunch options

Margaret Hair

On Tuesday, about half a dozen members of the Steamboat Pilot & Today editorial staff decided to go in a group for the soft opening of Big House Burgers and Bottle Cap Bar.

The West Steamboat sports bar, which has its grand opening this weekend, initially caught our curiosity because it is across the street from the newsroom. Journalists like proximity in their eating establishments, so really, that’s the only selling point we needed. Still, the burger joint’s promise of reasonably priced food delivered reasonably fast upped its appeal.

The idea behind taking a group of six people to a restaurant that had opened its doors for the first time literally an hour before was, I think, “Trial by fire, Big House Burgers. Trial by fire.”

Granted, six is not that many people. But in your first hour of business, with a new staff, new menu and incalculable combinations of ordering options, it kind of is.

There were rough patches in the restaurant’s first lunch shift, and that’s to be expected. Some of them were bigger than others. But owner Rex Brice has retained the burger quality from his namesake restaurant while dreaming up a long list of sauces and toppings to augment the medium rare beef.

Other menu options, ranging from seared fish sandwiches to potato-based “redneck nachos” might be better saved for another time, after the restaurant has had a couple of weeks to work out kinks and culinary inconsistencies.

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Big House Burgers will undoubtedly do well – I would go back again and again just for the BBQ Ranch and Dean’s Oriental dipping sauces, which are killer and unlike anything else available in town. The location is prime, and the menu model has potential for both quick lunchtime service and prime dinnertime relaxing.

All that said, there’s still a huge gaping void for quick, affordable, tasty bar food in this town. The same goes for lunch options that ring in less than $10. Big House is a step in the right direction, with burgers starting at about $7. But once you add a $2 order of fries and a $2 Coke, you’re still above the lunch money mark.

Skyrocketing food prices, a need for high employee pay and steep rent costs make an affordable, quick restaurant a difficult operation, but you have to wonder if they really do make it an impossible one.

– Margaret Hair, 4 Points