IN THE D: Experience Basketball & Food Madness

By: Scott Davis | March 17, 2015

Brackets are being filled out, bars are expecting large crowds and basketball fever is coursing through the veins of pretty much everybody right now—it must be mid-March. You know, that magical time of the year when 68 college basketball teams vie to be crowned champions of “The Big Dance,” and just about anything can happen. The only way to define it: madness!

You are not going to want to miss any of the action. Listed below are a few places in Metro Detroit to watch the games. In the spirit of the tournament, we will have some fun with in this article by pitting menu items at each establishment up against each other. May the best dish win!

R.U.B. BBQ Pub, 18 W. Adams St, Detroit, offers 30 plasma televisions, so you won’t miss a single minute of action. In addition to being surrounded by TVs, R.U.B. also offers some of the finest barbecue in Detroit, which is saying a lot. The mac and cheese is on another level of deliciousness. The rubs and sauces are mixed from scratch and use more than 20 different spices and herbs.

Our first pairing: The Slim Shady versus The Bob Seger—two Detroit icons. The former is a pulled chicken sandwich topped with R.U.B.’s signature creamy coleslaw. The latter is a pulled pork sandwich, sautéed with Memphis BBQ sauce and also topped with the homemade coleslaw.

My pick: The Bob Seger. I’m a bigger Eminem fan, but you can’t beat pulled pork with a great sauce. View the full menu, if you please.

Ironwood Grill, 840 Ann Arbor Trl., Plymouth, is also a bar loaded with TVs. It is one of the most popular sports bars in Downtown Plymouth, and for good reason. There are often specials going on, such as half-off pizza on Monday nights or the daily special featuring the Beer of the Month.

Our next match: Asian Chicken Lettuce Wraps (stir-fried chicken, onions, green peppers, carrots and more) versus Tuna Sashimi (Sashimi-style tuna rubbed in spices and seared rare), which is similar to sushi. Here is the menu in its entirety.

My pick: Asian Chicken Lettuce Wraps, which are highly popular at Ironwood, wins this appetizer battle. Sorry Tuna Sashimi, you lost me at “tuna” and “rare.”

Hoops, 2705 Lapeer Rd., Auburn Hills, is an obvious choice. Its name is “Hoops,” going along with the basketball theme, and it has 17 high-definition TVs. Happy hour is Monday through Thursday from 2 p.m. to 7 p.m., which includes $2.50 domestic bottles, $3.50 well drinks, $2 drafts and half-off select appetizers.

Burger Battle: The “Hotshot” Burger versus Black & Blue “Hatcher” Burger. Both are spicy. The “Hotshot” is topped with sliced jalapenos, banana peppers and jack cheese. The “Hatcher” is grilled and seasoned with Cajun spices and smothered with crumbled bleu cheese, as well as all of the normal fixings.

My pick: The Hotshot because the menu states you can add bacon. That settles that issue. Check out the full menu.

Johnny B Good’s Sports Bar and Grill, 26230 Groesbeck Hwy., Warren, is another option to consider. With eight TVs to watch the basketball games, electronic games, karaoke on Fridays and Saturdays and no cover charge ever, what is not to love? Not to mention, it has happy hour seven days a week from open to 7 p.m. on Mondays, and 2 p.m. to 7 p.m. throughout the remainder of the week.

Matchup: Fish-N-Chips dinner versus Corned Beef and Swiss Sandwich. The fish dinner consists of deep fried-battered cod served with coleslaw, french fries and tartar sauce. The Corned Beef and Swiss is the restaurant’s most popular sandwich, served fresh and stacked high as can be.

My (Upset) pick: I’ll take the Fish-N-Chips dinner in this battle, mainly because I’m biased and will pick it over most things. You can’t beat a classic. Here is Johnny B Good’s full menu.

Final Four: Fish-N-Chips Dinner (Johnny B Good’s), The “HotShot” Burger (Hoops), Asian Lettuce Chicken Wraps (Ironwood) and The Bob Seger (R.U.B.).

Fish-N-Chips continues its fundamental, yet delicious flavors and advances to the championship against the favorite, The Bob Seger.

The Bob Seger wins it all because, well, because of pulled pork. Coleslaw on the side instead of on top, though.

Go out and watch the games, drink some beer and eat some good grub. But most importantly, sit back and watch the real madness ensue on screen!