Since John Brann Sr. built the first Brann?s Steakhouse & Sports Grille in Grand Rapids in 1960, the restaurant's steak dinners have become practically a local landmark. Eleven locations across Michigan have banded together to sell more than 15 million USDA Premium Black Angus sirloin steaks, which can be customized with grilled Gulf shrimp, boursin cheese, or saut?ed mushrooms. The small plates are equally hearty and comforting, ranging from cheese dip infused with Founders pale ale to avocado nachos and flash-fried green tomatoes. While families gather to dine?lured by a kids' menu starring tot-size steaks and Oreo shakes?other groups turn their eyes to games on big-screen TVs and their lips to local craft beers and mixed drinks made with New Holland liquors.
Joe V’s Sports Bar builds a menu of pub fare and Chicago-style pizzas on a foundation of homemade dough, sauce, and Italian cheeses. Pizzas are constructed with the clean lines of minimalist cheese ($9.29 for 12”) or the ornately decorated Super Deluxe pizza ($16.79 for 12”), which brings along its entourage of pepperoni, sausage, ham, mushrooms, onions, olives, and green peppers to shower it in flavor and compliments. Homemade potato chips ($2.99) crisp just quietly enough to avoid interrupting the sounds waves of live music or karaoke as they dance through the air. An olive-swiss burger ($7.99) is made from a half pound of Black Angus beef and paired with fries. Strewn liberally with televisions, Joe V’s lives up to its title of sports bar by displaying games and spontaneously producing basketballs every evening.
The Venue Scottsdale is a chameleon of a building, as ready to effortlessly host an elegant wedding reception as it is to present a comedy show or concert. The 29,000 square-foot, multi-level confines feature an indoor cobblestone courtyard and leaf-covered balconies, offering an outdoorsy ambience without the worry of inclement weather. Upstairs, a ballroom and a VIP lounge welcome private event goers, while a comedy club inspires knock-knock jokes with its own private entrance.
Because it's their eponymous dish, it might seem like the Burger 84 would be the natural thing to order. But there's only a very, very select few who can handle it. The monstrous creation piles four 8-ounce Angus beef patties beneath eight toppings of your choice, and is paired with a full pound of french fries. And those who can down it in 84 minutes or less are sufficiently rewarded: their photo is hung in the restaurant's wall of fame and they're sent home with a commemorative T-shirt.
For those who couldn't possibly tackle a meal that huge, there's regular-sized burgers customized with Angus-beef, black-bean, or turkey patties. Topping options include everything from jalapenos to homemade chili, and finished creations can be sandwiched between pretzel, kaiser, or whole-wheat buns. In addition to burgers, there's also hot dogs and cheddar-peppercorn brats.
Cheer on popular American sports such as shot put and alligator-wrestling while tippling frosty glasses of draft beer or selections from a menu of outrageous belly-fillers, including the pulled-pork quesadilla ($6.99), a heap of slow-roasted meat smothered in Sweet Baby Ray’s and a blend of melted cheeses. Half-pound burgers arrive with hand-cut home fries and torrential toppings, such as the Brunch burger's ($8.99) arsenal of fried egg, crispy bacon, and cheddar cheese, ensconced not in blithe buns but in two separate grilled-cheese sandwiches. The Tailgater ($8.49) solves the dilemma of choosing between a burger and a brat by enclosing both in a single bun. Brick-fired pizzas, strombolis, and subs round out the offerings. Vegetarian-friendly options are also available.
A group of ESPN analysts looking for a bite to eat before taping their shouting match would do well to wander through Tripper's. Upon entering, they could brush up on fodder for their next debate by watching the eatery's 50 televisions flicker with heart-pumping sporting events from across the globe, from college football and Australian rugby to playoff baseball and amateur yak tickling.
Though they might posit a PTI-worthy opinion or two of their own, the sports fans who flock to Tripper's share two universal traits: a love of Michigan sports teams and a craving for classic pub eats. They keep their morale and energy high by devouring custom pizzas, Angus burgers, and homemade, seasoned potato chips in between whistles. Glasses of craft beer from Arcadia and Bells rise and clink amidst a wall of roaring cheers, celebrating touchdowns, game-winning goals, and home runs that make the ball shriek like Roger Daltrey. For those unsatisfied with letting others doing their competing for them, Tripper's has a collection of pool and foosball tables and arcade games. Tripper's chefs also sate classic American cravings at on-location parties with their catering and menu-planning services.