At the first of this year, a new hamburger joint opened at the corner of East Brainerd and Morris Hill roads called the Great American Filling Station — taking its name from the fact the location was formerly a gas station. The Filling Station didn't last long, though, and had closed by summer.
Five weeks ago, the place reopened under new management and a new name, Mahoney's Grub House. I stopped in to see what changes had been made.
The layout is still the same: one big room with 12 small tables, three high-top tables, one banquette and a small stage on one end; a bar spanning the length of the opposite end. The interior decor has only slightly changed with the addition of some gray paint and lighter Formica tops on the tables.
Four TVs are suspended across the top of the bar with a fifth one hanging in the dining area. But in that one room, five screens are enough to watch your favorite games with the gang.
If you go
› Where: Mahoney’s Grub House, 8701 E. Brainerd Road
› Hours: 11 a.m.-9 p.m. Sunday-Thursday, 11 a.m.-10 p.m. Friday-Saturday
› Price range: $2.99-$10.99
› Alcohol: Full bar
› Phone: 423-541-6244
› Online: https://www.facebook.com/mahoneysgrubhouse/
The menu is pub grub, just like the name promises. The prices are reasonable: $2.99 for sliders, $6.49 for six chicken wings, and 12 types of burgers ranging in price from $8.25 for your basic burger to $13.99 for a double cheeseburger. All burgers are served with choice of one side.
Twelve sandwiches are priced from $5.99 for a chicken salad, BLT or grilled cheese to $9.99 for the club, pastrami or corned beef sandwich. These come with the option of either fries or choice of one side.
There are six choices of Coney Dogs ($2.50-$6.99) and a dozen entrees, which offered the expected chicken fingers to surprises such as Bangers and Mash and Chicken Marsala (each $9.99).
A daily special (red beans and rice with andouille sausage the day I visited) and a soup of the day was printed on a white board by the bar.
I asked my server for her suggestion, and she said the Hot Ham and Cheese Sandwich was her go-to. But I was searching for a dinner entree, so I went with Chicken Marsala, a favorite dish of mine so I wanted to try their spin on it. I picked the vegetable medley as my side.
Instead of a full chicken breast in Marsala wine sauce, I was served a bowl with chicken medallions and bite-size chicken pieces over a hefty helping of rice. A savory Marsala sauce was drizzled across the top. The rice might have been a tad over-cooked, but it hadn't reached the gummy stage. There was so much rice, that I left half the serving behind because it was more than I could eat.
Having been a single mom who often relied on heating frozen veggies for a quick dinner, I recognized the small cup of veggies for what it was. Not only were they not fresh, they had no seasoning and left a vinegar-like aftertaste with each bite.
My server was friendly, patiently answered all my questions about the menu and the venue's reopening and, when she learned I didn't care for the vegetables, she quickly offered to bring me another choice.
And in what was a first for me, she chased me out the door when I left. By this I mean that having already paid my bill, I got up to quietly leave. But apparently she noticed I was gone and must have hurried to the door. Because as I was reaching my car I heard, "Come back and see us again," and there she was in the open doorway waving to me. How's that for friendly service?
Mahoney's appears to be a good choice for pub food. I watched several burgers, an onion blossom and Coney Dogs coming out while I waited for my entree, and they all looked appetizing. My Chicken Marsala was a good, strong effort for a reasonable price. But next time I will try my server's sandwich suggestion.
The atmosphere is laid back and informal; a place you can run in wearing your sweats and not feel out of place. The east end of East Brainerd Road needs a neighborhood hangout like this, so I hope it's successful.
Contact Susan Pierce at email@example.com or 423-757-6284.