I’d like to think of myself as a pretty good cook so, if I am going to spend extra money to have a ho hum dinner, I might as well stay home. Add a couple of kids to the mix and suffice it to say that my restaurant dining options are limited. Nonetheless, I am on a seemingly endless quest for local (read: not chain) restaurants that are both family friendly and satisfying so I was quite excited when Bulldogs Grill, a retro style diner with unique menu choices and a cheeky sense of humor, opened in downtown Waucondathis past summer. This place has since become a staple, or dare I say obsession, for my family and I have been singing their praises to anyone who will listen.
Entering Bulldogs can be a bit overwhelming so be sure to come prepared. They have over 34 unique hamburger choices on their menu along with dozens of other items (salads, wraps, wings, etc…)and some mouth watering daily specials. They even serve breakfast on weekends. So check out their menu before you go and be sure to become a fan on Facebook where they post their daily specials along with a random Facebook fan who wins a free meal each day. Once you make up your mind, you order at the counter and find a seat either in the front of the restaurant or in the back area, dubbed the “man cave” courtesy of the large screen televisions playing sports all day long. I am a woman and I do not like sports but we always end up in the man cave because I find it to be least distracting for the kids and a little more secluded for those times when my toddler wants to run around before our food arrives.
They bring your food to your table quickly and this is where the fun begins. Nearly all the food is house made from the hand cut fries to the 1/2 lb burgers and even the sauces and specialty ketchup flavors. My favorite burger, which is not on their regular menu, is topped with bleu cheese, grilled onions and truffle mayonnaise. My husband loves their wings and, although I am not a wing fan, I can see that they are far meatier than the wimpy wings that you get at some of the more well known chains. If you want to take a walk on the wild side, try the Asylum wings for a chance to get your photo on the “Wall of Flame” but I have to warn you that these wings are seriously insane and their “Wall of Shame” is bursting at the seams. For the kids, I stray from the “Ankle Biters” menu options and instead opt for their preferred meal of a sliced up avocado and whatever relatively plain grilled chicken is available. And don’t forget to order a shake; my daughter and I love the strawberry while my husband enjoys a classic chocolate malt. Through the end of November they are also offering a wild game menu including waygu (American Kobe), bison, elk and wild boar burgers. They also have duck fat “fry” days where you can order fries cooked in rendered duck fat topped with a little rosemary and a side of truffle ketchup for dipping. I have to admit, whether it’s fancy mushrooms or chocolate, I am a sucker for anything with the word “truffle”. They also have salads and wraps on their menu and I am sure they are equally tasty but I go to Bulldogs when I want to eat with reckless disregard for my waistline.
Bulldogs doesn’t offer crayons or coloring pages although they are family friendly just the same. The atmosphere is loud enough that my children don’t disrupt anyone’s leisurely meal yet not so overstimulating that it causes them to go into a hyper active frenzy. There are lots of fun hand painted murals to look at and a staff that seems to genuinely like kids. Truth be told, any place where my children mysteriously sit calmly while also allowing us to actually taste our food is family friendly in my book even if it takes a shake with a fun twisty straw to do the trick. Plus their employees and the owners are some of the nicest and most accommodating that I have found in a restaurant and, although they don’t always know what I am asking for with my frequent off menu orders, they always find a way to make it work.
If the line outside is any indication (side note: get there early to avoid the afore mentioned line), Bulldogs is going to be around for a long time. How many places can you think of that leave the kids happy while also serving you a meal that has you wanting to come back for more?
122 S. Main Street