Boasting dive bars and strip mall diners, you could easily pass through Blossom Park and overlook the outstanding eateries along Starcrest Drive. While there a fair number of fast-food chains across from the Blossom Athletic Center on the city's north side, why go for a franchise sub, pizza, or burger when you could have house-made Salisbury steak and fried mushrooms cooked onsite?
That's just one offering from the small, independent restaurants and bars that line a stretch of Starcrest Drive. This unassuming corridor offers everything from fresh, inexpensive Mexican food to American pub grub. So the next time you find yourself heading to or from the airport or catching a game at the BAC, try one of these local, under-the-radar restaurants that won't break the bank.
Charlie Brown's Neighborhood Bar & Grill
Located in a small retail center that abuts a residential development, the Salisbury steak and fried mushrooms, among many other menu items, can be found at Charlie Brown's. There's no Peanuts theme, but visitors will delight in the casual atmosphere. Other must-try entrees include chicken-fried steak, a 6-ounce bacon-wrapped filet, 10-ounce New York strip, and 16-ounce rib-eye. Each entree comes with a side order.
There is a variety of sandwiches, such as a Philly cheesesteak, buffalo chicken, club, and a hoagie. The burgers are plentiful, too, at Charlie Brown's. Choose from a classic, barbecue bacon, mushroom and Swiss, or one with bacon and egg. There are also traditional pub appetizers like the popular hot wings.
The bar is fully stocked, with happy hours on weekdays and daily specials. With live music, karaoke, big-screen TVs, trivia, Bingo, and a pet-friendly patio, Charlie Brown's is the definition of a neighborhood bar and grill.
Brenda's Mexican Restaurant
Brenda's is literally a few yards away from Charlie Brown's in a detached building in the same center. It's a compact, casual Mexican restaurant that has changed management and names over recent years.
But the idea of having such an easygoing eatery in the same spot has proven popular with neighborhood residents. Brenda's serves up breakfast and lunch, with tacos, of course, being a main attraction.
Going west a bit on Starcrest and you'll reach Zona, a low-key bar much like Charlie Brown's. It's a quiet spot that gives you more time and room to relax after a long work day, before returning home, or perhaps a prime spot to watch a game without distractions.
Zona serves up traditional pub grub — with pizza and wings are the most popular — along with karaoke some nights and a DJ on others. There's also a small but comfortable patio out front with a clear view of the Blossom Athletic Center.
La Choza Mexican Restaurant
A bit further west on Starcrest at Jones-Maltsberger Road, find La Choza in a small retail hub. The exterior and interior both look basic, but the eatery makes up for it in budget-friendly, home-style cooking in a relaxed atmosphere.
La Choza offers breakfast and lunch specials, with fideo being a popular item, in addition to homemade tortillas. It's a no-frills kind of place, but La Choza does the trick.
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