Walking into Zebb’s Deluxe Bar and Grill was a bizarre experience, to say the least. Located at 1890 South Clinton Avenue, it’s conveniently placed right next to a strip mall with a supermarket and other stores, so the area was really just an everyday kind of stop.
In other words, from the outside, there wasn’t much to set the restaurant apart.
However, that changed as we entered. Crossing the threshold, my restaurant cohorts and I felt as if we were taking a weird step back in time.
The style of the restaurant is meant to be 1950s dineresque with black and white square tiled floors, checkered table clothes and blue and pink neon light strips whipping around all the walls like molding and booths with that shiny material that squeaks when you sit on it.
At the same time, in order to be a bit more modern, the big flat-panel HDTVs that were characteristic of the bar area definitely took away some of that appeal.
It seemed like the restaurant had a split personality, which can send a convoluted message to customers.
While trying to be old, it was also trying to be new.
The menu was standard as far as a bar and grill goes, with finger food appetizers, soups and salads, burgers, southwestern fajitas and ‘American Fare” such as steaks and chicken fingers.
Naturally, my friends and I decided to try different types of foods to showcase the options, so I could come away with a better perspective on what the menu had to offer beyond just what was printed on the menu pages.
Between the four of us, we ordered a ‘Big Time Party Platter,” which had freshly cut onion rings, potato skins, boneless buffalo wings and mozzarella sticks.
It also had four dips for each respective piece: chipotle mayo, sour cream, bleu cheese and marinara sauce.
Admittedly, I wasn’t sure what to expect from the restaurant based on my original observations, but this starter was good.
There was plenty of food and it was only $2.50 a person, which is awesome as far as good deals go.
As meals, we had an A1 steak burger, the Santa Fe chicken dinner, chicken fingers and a mediterranean burger.
The A1 burger was ridiculous, but in the best way possible: a burger, topped with shaved steak, cheddar cheese and bacon.
It looked good and, from what I observed my friend enjoyed it a lot. It was definitely not one for the strict dieter, but what the heck, right?
The Santa Fe chicken dinner also looked good, with mashed potatoes, a steamed vegetable and a freshly baked mini-loaf of bread, all of which was presented pretty well and was enjoyed too.
The third, chicken fingers with fries, was sub-par from what I deduced.
The chicken fingers themselves were pretty small and, while there were plenty of fries, that dish really didn’t stand up well in comparison to the other two.
Finally, I ordered the mediterranean burger, which I thought was pretty good.
Topped with pico de gallo, yellow banana peppers and melted feta cheese, it was a really great balance of flavors.
Plus, for all four of us, the hand-cut fries were hot and tasty. I think that a highlight of the experience, as bad as this may sound, was the condiments bar.
None of the burgers or sandwiches came with the basics, so you could go up and get what you wanted to complete your meal.
Lettuce, tomatoes, onions, banana peppers and fresh pico de gallo were all included and gave you the chance to customize.
Personally, the diced tomato, onions and dressing that made up the pico was great to put on the side for my burger, and the best part was the barbecque sauce, which stayed warm in a heated metal container and could be ladled out to your heart’s content.
I never appreciated dipping fries into warm barbecque sauce until this dining experience.
Finally, while the overall menu is very well priced and perfect for college students on a budget, this week’s Best Bang For Your Buck would be all of the burgers, priced at just $8 flat.
To get a decent-sized burger with plenty of toppings to add and a mound of hot fries, it was definitely the deal of the evening, and with about 16 different burgers to choose from, you certainly have your options if that’s your chosen fare.
To conclude, the experience here was standard.
The food was good for the most part, the ambiance while confusing was fine, and the service was wonderful, very attentive and kind.
While this is certainly not the type of restaurant you go out to when you feel like a nice night out, it doesn’t really pretend to be anything that it isn’t.
That being said, the restaurant’s catch phrase, ‘It’s reminiscent of a simpler time,” doesn’t exactly hold true, and I don’t think the word ‘deluxe” is a very accurate description of Zebb’s.
Overall, I wouldn’t necessarily seek this restaurant out, but the food was better than expected for the most part and the price couldn’t be beat.
Siegel is a member of the class of 2010.