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Friday, March 9, 2012

Anything Special About Magoo's Grill and Bar?

Magoo's Diesel Dog
Magoo’s Bar and Grill on Sherwood Forest sits in a building formerly occupied by Schlotzsky's Deli.  How Subway makes it where Schlotzsky's failed is beyond me, but that's another story. Magoo's owner Rick White wanted a fun name in the style of old cartoons and came up with the concept based on the old Mr. Magoo character. Frustrated with the fact that he couldn't always give his diners exactly what they desired in the franchise world that he previously lived in, Rick opened Magoo's with different intentions. According to White, everything on the menu can be tweaked in order to accommodate to the tastes and preferences of his customers. For example, anything on his menu that is deep fried, which is a lot, can also be ordered grilled with no questions asked.

Magoo's Appetizer Sampler with Fried Green Tomatoes on the Left
I started with a couple of different appetizers including Magoo chips, which are potato chips made in house, and fried green tomatoes. White explained that he personally enjoys fried green tomatoes and wanted to offer a southern favorite that you can’t usually find at chain restaurants. The tomatoes were hearty and a nice green color, but not too tart. They were surrounded with a flaky, crunchy crust and topped with Parmesan cheese. They went well with the spicy ranch dressing that Magoo’s serves on the side. The appetizer sampler also came served with fried mushrooms and an interesting take on fried pickles. 

Another look at the Diesel Dog






Next on the menu was the Diesel Dog. Being a fan of hot dogs, I had to try it. It turns out, it’s almost as intimidating as it sounds. Magoo’s takes an all beef frank, wraps it in bacon, then deep fries the whole dog before covering it with jalapeno ranch. Unlike a normal American hot dog, Magoo's uses an England style bun that is more similar to a soft, buttery toast. Everything about the dog works. The beef frank is nothing amazing, but when wrapped in bacon it certainly gets the job done. The spicy jalapeno ranch adds extra flavor to this not so average hot dog. And the bun is something that truly has the ability to set this dog at Magoo's apart from its competition. I definitely thought the Diesel Dog to be one of the better items on the menu.




Mr. White seemed eager for me to try an item on the menu with the signature “Magoo sauce.” I certainly am not the kind of man to turn that down. He brought out the Saucy Magoo, which is a decent sized, hand crafted burger topped with bacon, grilled onions, and Magoo sauce, served on a Ciabatta bun. The Magoo sauce might be a little misleading. Don't try to dip a french fry in it, that's for sure. The sauce really contained a combination of normal burger fixings all mixed and bound together including shredded lettuce, onion, pickle relish, mustard, and mayonnaise. I had to think twice about it, but when I dove into the burger it all made sense. I didn't have to work about any topping sliding off or escaping from underneath the bun. Instead, all the goodies were held in place as one condiment. Not too shabby at all.

Magoo's Cheesy Grilled Shrimp Croissant

Switching gears from turf to surf, I tried the shrimp croissant which consists of fried shrimp dressed with cheddar cheese and mayo on a croissant. I opted for grilled shrimp (which, as Rick White pointed out, is never a problem) on what seemed like a mediocre dish to eat after having cheeseburgers and hot dogs loaded with sauces. The shrimp croissant presented itself as a simple, flat sandwich. However, the first bite proved otherwise. The flaky croissant exploded with cheesy shrimp flavor that actually kept me going back for more despite being fairly full by this point. Simple, yes, but while this popular Magoo's dish sticks to the basics, it still stood out as something a little different.  A few more shrimp may have been nice though.

I liked Magoo's. I liked Rick. I'd love to see businesses like his succeed because they are what we need to continue to grow our food scene. By no means is Magoo's fine dining or even a stellar place to impress a date, but it is something local and authentic. It is the kind of place that reminds me to hang my head in shame at how many people go to boring chain restaurants instead of supporting the stores owned by their neighbors. I hope Rick decides to take some chances. I hope he commits to having a decent beer selection and a cool bar if he really wants one. If he conforms to the array of franchised crap out there then he'll struggle. However, a narrowed focus on building solid dishes like his Diesel Dog and burgers, and he'll have a chance to make a splash that sends some ripples through the Sherwood area. I'll definitely be back to keep supporting them, and I encourage you to check Magoo's out and tell them Bite and Booze sent you!

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