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Boots and Bites

Whiskey Roads provides serious eats before you dance the night away

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While I'm not a huge fan of nightclubs, my curiosity overcame my reluctance and before long, I stepped foot into Whiskey Roads and discovered this newly opened country-western dancehall serves food. Not just overpriced bar slop, but actual food. And not just actual food, but actually good food.

The interior is very spacious, equipped with a full bar, plenty of tables and chairs, and a stage and dancefloor. It has the look of a roadhouse-type concept set up by an enterprising Nashville musician looking to get into the restaurant business. But Whiskey Roads is actually the nightclub offspring of Putney's, the popular sports bar on North Oracle, which switched from an off-track betting dive to a slick hangout with a chef-driven kitchen and menu back in 2016. So maybe the owners know what they are doing.

The menu reads like a comfort food field guide: Burgers, meatloaf, ribs, steak—the kind of fare any good boot-scootin' cowboy would crave after a hard day and before a long night. But having go-to grub available can be a trap; the quality and flavor could go in either direction, be it bland standard or elevated yumminess. When I gnawed on the Green Chili Burger ($14), I concluded that Whiskey Roads rolls toward the latter option. The huge burger is crammed with grilled green chilies, roasted tomatoes and house-made spicy chipotle aioli. The meat was so juicy, I had to apologize for the mess I was making while taking a bite.

Something to share with your buddies as you sip on a craft cocktail or ice-cold pint: spare rib nachos ($14), a sierra of chips, meat, guacamole, southwest pico de gallo, cheese and sour cream. And it has to weigh at least 10 pounds.

Let it be known that Whiskey Roads serves lunch. They are open at 11 a.m. and offer food till 9 p.m., shutting down the kitchen before the bands and DJs take over. If you're nt feeling the meaty options, there are several salads to choose from. An easy standout was the Strawberry Gorgonzola Salad ($12), due to its use of fresh greens, candied pecans, tart gorgonzola and a house-made strawberry vinaigrette, all of which came together in a light and delightful plate. And, yes, keeping up with everything else on the menu, it is quite large. It would have been disappointing otherwise.

Whiskey Roads is now doing daily specials such as the requisite Taco Tuesday, where each one will run you about $2 each, or, and this is where it gets interesting, $10 for all you can eat. Not to mention the spicy and rich Bloody Mary I had

So don't judge a club by its cover. Whiskey Road is a pathway to unexpectedly good comfort fare and well executed cocktails. But you still won't catch me line dancing anytime soon.

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