Written by Andrew Pridgen, Contributor
As soon as you walk into Shortfield’s Family Restaurant in TR, you’ll notice that the restaurant doesn’t feel like the sports bars that you’re used to. That isn’t necessarily a bad thing; in fact, I really enjoyed my experience at Shortfield’s, but the establishment does seem hesitant to embrace the sports bar aesthetic. However, that doesn’t stop them from serving great food. As soon as I sat down, I was greeted with a friendly smile and a “What can I get you?” from the waitress behind the bar (gotta love that southern hospitality). Looking at the menu, I once again noticed the strange identity crisis of Shortfield’s. It included classic sports bar items such as beer, wings (although they did not have lemon pepper, a classic and one of my favorite dry rubs), and burgers, but it excluded the selection of different food options that are present in many other sports bars.
I ordered 16 wings–8 hot and 8 honey BBQ with bleu cheese–some spinach dip, and a water. The food took about 20 minutes to come out, which was a bit long, but there were plenty of TVs behind the bar with some solid college football games playing, so I was happy. Once the food arrived I was pleasantly surprised, especially with the wings. The BBQ wings were sweet and tangy with a hint of smoky, and the hot wings had an excellent balance of heat and flavor. I would highly recommend using the bleu cheese on the hot wings, not because of the heat, but because the contrasting flavors of the bleu cheese and hot sauce complement each other to a tee. Next came the spinach dip. I should preface this by saying that I’ve never been a huge fan of spinach dip in general, and unfortunately this didn’t do anything to change my mind. The dip was very dense, making it tough to scoop the dip onto the pita chips that it was served alongside. Also, the spinach overpowered the taste of the cheese that it was mixed with, giving the dip a distinct vegetable flavor that I personally was not a fan of. The spinach dip was definitely my least favorite part of lunch. My meal was not overpriced, although not exactly cheap. It was decent food for a reasonable price that won’t break your college budget if you order the right things.
Shortfield’s doesn’t do anything to change up the original sports bar formula. In fact, I believe that if they expanded their menu and added a few more TVs, really embracing the sports bar aesthetic, they could make their establishment better. If sports bars aren’t your thing, then you should probably avoid this restaurant. However, if you’re looking for a casual place to catch a game, get lunch with friends, or just grab some quality wings, I would recommend Shortfield’s. It’s not a perfect restaurant but, at the end of the day, it’s simple: Shortfield’s has a good atmosphere and good food that you can count on.