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KYLE GREEN | The Roanoke Times
A Smokey burger at Beamer’s 25 features barbecue sauce, sliced pickles, onion straws and cheddar. Here, it’s paired with onion rings.
KYLE GREEN | The Roanoke Times
The sports theme at Beamer's 25 includes jersey numbers on each dining room table.
Thursday, January 10, 2013
You don't have to be a Hokies fan to appreciate Beamer's 25 American Burger House in the Lofts at West Station in downtown Roanoke. While Virginia Tech football coach Frank Beamer is an investor and football memorabilia decorates the walls, the restaurant doesn't clobber its diners with orange and maroon. It does offer tasty food and beverage selections at reasonable prices.
There is a rustic yet elegant ambiance at Beamer's 25, with exposed wood beams, knotty pine floors and industrial-inspired lighting. There is definitely a sports theme to the decor, including jersey numbers on each of the dining room tables, but televisions are confined to the bar area - visible from some dining room seats but far enough away to create a soothing separation.
The place is lively, but it's easy to carry on a conversation at your table and there is a private room (with a television) for large parties. The service, even on a busy Saturday night, was prompt and courteous, and the wait staff was able to answer any question we had about the menu.
The focal point of the menu is burgers and sandwiches, which are priced from $7 to $13. Entrees, including fish and steaks priced from $17 to $22, are available, and appetizers and salads are offered from $4 to $13. The bar features a variety of craft beers on tap, which can be sampled in 5 oz. flights ranging from $8 for four glasses to $11.25 for six, as well as domestic and imported bottles. Wine is sold by the glass and by the bottle, and the full-service bar also offers cocktails.
I visited Beamer's 25 three times with my husband. The appetizer selection includes traditional bar fare, including wings and cheese fries, but it also includes Southern favorites (fried pickles and Tater Tots) and more sophisticated offerings (seared ahi tuna).
We tried the panko-crusted fried pickles, which were served with a smooth horseradish sauce that I kept to dip the fries that accompanied my sandwich order for an additional $1.50 . The pickles were crisp and the breading clung nicely to the kosher spears. We also sampled the Vidalia onion rings with spicy ketchup. Like the pickles, they retained the crisp breading and the ketchup lived up to it s billing, adding a nice bite to the sweet onions.
The hallmark of a good sports bar is chicken wings, and a plate of Hokie wings at Beamer's 25 did not disappoint. The eight wings ($7.95) were above-average in size, meaty and generously coated (but not too sloppy). The Buffalo-style sauce landed squarely between mild and fiery , and the heat from the wings was easily tempered by the refreshing blue cheese dip.
My husband enjoyed the Smokey burger ($9.25), topped with barbecue sauce, onion straws and cheddar cheese. His dislike of sweet pickles meant I got to munch the gherkin that topped the toasted bun and the bread-and-butter pickles he cast off from the burger. The thoroughly cooked burger was juicy and the toppings did not overwhelm the meat.
I tried the Baltimore ($12.95), a delightful and generously portioned jumbo lump crab cake sandwich topped with shredded cabbage, onion, pickles and a tangy remoulade sauce. We both ordered the wedge fries, cooked crisp despite the widely varying sizes of the wedges, seasoned but not overwhelmed with garlic and salt.
On another visit, my husband made a meal combining the homemade Beamer's chili ($5.50) from the appetizer menu with the B.L.T. salad ($7.95) - three large wedges of iceberg lettuce topped with bacon bits, onion and blue cheese dressing. The beanless chili was thick and meaty, robust in flavor but not spicy, and topped with cheddar cheese, sour cream and scallions.
From the entree menu, I selected the panko-crusted wasabi salmon ($16.95) and, from the litany of side veggies offered by our server, chose the maple-glazed butternut squash. This side was the only disappointing bite I had at Beamer's 25. The hunks of grilled squash were served in a puddle of pancake syrup that was so cloyingly sweet that they were inedible. The failing of the side dish, however, did not detract from the salmon, which was cooked to a perfect medium, well-seasoned with the wasabi and panko crumbs, and presented attractively atop a citrusy hoison sauce.
On another visit, I sampled the Bahn Mi from the burger menu. The ground pork patty is topped with a slaw of cilantro, carrots, cucumbers and pickled ginger. The pork was slightly dry, but the toppings added a fresh flavor and enough moisture to make the sandwich enjoyable.
For dessert during one visit, we indulged in the sinful-but-wonderful fried Oreos ($3.95). Dipped in a beignet batter and deep-fried, the typically crispy double-stuffed cookies became soft and gooey. The four cookies were sprinkled with powdered sugar and drizzled with chocolate sauce. We ordered them with the optional Haagen-Dazs vanilla ice cream and found the dessert to be bowl-lickingly delicious.
The bottom line
Beamer's 25 is a prime spot for downtown dining. The casual cuisine far exceeds expectations, the prices are reasonable, especially considering the quality of the food and service, and the atmosphere is friendly and fun.
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