Sunday, January 6, 2008


Main street in Greater Downtown Frisco sure is a happining place these days. Exit off the Tollway onto Main, turn right, and the first thing you will see on the right is the impressive City Hall Complex, site of a delightful Christmas sound-and-lights display during the just-completed holidays of 2007. A block or so down, you will find Lochrann's Irish Pub, newly opened but already boasting a faithful clientel of regular revelers. A mile further East and you will see Randy's Steakhouse on the left, one of the finest steakhouses and best-kept secrets of the Northern Metroplex Environs. Finally, if you are really diligent and drive another mile or two down, you will come to the always-busy intersection with Preston Road. If you turn north at this point and go a block or two and look on your left, you will be rewarded for your diligence with the site of Coach Joe's Sports Grille, the newest silver star of the Frisco dining/sportsbar/karaoke scene. My lovely wife the Rock Star and I motored our way to this spot on a recent Saturday in hopeful search of all three previously-mentioned pleasures. (Or at least dining and sports; on Saturdays Coach Joe's offers live music instead of karaoke, and we were looking forward to this as well.)


Coach Joe's is named for legendary Dallas Cowboys and Desperadoes coach Joe Avezzano, and the place sure matches his expansive yet downhome personality to a Texas T. Large but not overwhelming dining space up front with the karaoke stage in the front corner. Delightfully busy bar along the front left wall. Behind these are a smallish game room with pool tables, a cozy viewing space with flat-panel TV's, and all the way to the rear, a massive outdoor patio with it's own centrally-located oval bar. In short, a very inviting collection of rooms, and the intrepid reveler could easily find a space somewhere to roost. The Rock Star and I checked in at the hostess stand, only to discover a 45-minute wait in the main room. We then headed for the crowded main bar, where we received our first delightful surprise of the evening: a very engaging silver-haired gentleman and his companion were just leaving, and graciously offered us his spots at the bar. Life often imitates fiction, and Blanche Du Bois famous line about the kindness of strangers was thus made incarnate. As with virtually all good restaurants these days, full dining is offered in the bar and we quickly sat down and were offered menus and drinks.


Coach Joe's menu promises recipes from Mama Avezzano's kitchen, and many of the offerings, such as Baked Shrimp Wedges and Tequila Lime Chicken, sure sounded tempting; however as soon as we sat I noticed another diner polishing off an authentic-looking bowl of Texas chili, and my mouth started watering, so I ordered one for myself as well. The Cowboy Chili was indeed a deep purplish brown, and was loaded with ground beef, onions, spices, and authenticity, and was nicely sized so I could make my entire meal off it and take some home for later. The Rock Star and I had started our repast with very good Chips and Queso, the large bowl of chips matching well with the thick cheese sauce and chunky salsa. For her entree, the Rock Star stuck with the Pre-Game menu and selected Mini-Joes: Four excellent sliders served steaming on fresh rolls. When they arrived, my spouse discovered to her dismay that she had forgotten to add cheese. Not to worry, we still had some queso left, and the gooey dip made an excellent topping for the miniature burgers. She also added Joe's Scoop Fries and they were a standout: Thin, crispy potato wedges that proved chewy in the center and served with a very good blend of mustard and barbecue sauce for dipping. (I know it sounds like an unusual dipping sauce, but trust me, it works well with fries.) In due course, we boxed up our leftovers and turned our attention back to the flat-screen TV's and the games at hand.


As the NFL playoffs unfolded on the screens in front of us, we were attended by two bartenders. The first was good but not great, but the second gentleman more than made up for it, a backslapping-type comrade that treated my spouse and I like true regulars. Alas, when we were ready to leave, we discovered that the promised live music was still almost an hour away, so the Rock Star and I decided to leave that aspect of Coach Joe's for a later visit. Consult for a schedule of bands and all the details.


Coach Joe the Man and Coach Joe the Coaching Legend is now Coach Joe the Restauranteur, and his place is well worth a visit. Motor thru charming downtown Frisco soon and discover for yourself, and remember:


No comments: