Bentley’s at the Wheeler
February 10, 2004
You know the old joke about business. What three things does it take to have a successful one? Location, location, location. Well, add a few more “locations,” and you have Bentley’s.
Now, Bentley’s is, in all fairness, better known as a bar. A good bar, with a marvelous selection of beer. A nice looking bar, with the actual bar part having been imported from England, where they do bars right. A popular bar, one that you can count on to be bustling on any given evening, regardless of whether anything is going on at the Wheeler Opera House, Bentley’s next door cousin, or not.
But this is a restaurant profile, so I’m obliged to talk about the food, thought I should say a little more about the location first, just to soften the blow.
Bentley’s resides in the corner of the building that houses the Wheeler, and for that reason it makes for the most wonderful stop off before or after any Wheeler business that you may have, be it watching a performance or neck deep in rehearsals for a performance. If you are a tourist in town, it takes a great deal of effort NOT to find yourself in Bentley’s, as it is located right at the end of the mall, and if you glance away for a moment while walking west, you’re bellying up to the Bentley’s bar before you know what hit you. Or, if you are that rare combination of a tourist who is paying attention, then you’ll be seduced by Bentley’s charming exterior, the cornerstone of the most beautiful building in town. And the interior isn’t so bad, either, all spiffed up with classic movie posters and brass and such.
We brought a few friends with us on this profiling meal, something we will be doing more often, so as to get an objective viewpoint of the cuisine. The menu is a two pager, served for the entire time Bentley’s is open, 11am-2am. A few apps, a few soups, salads, sandwiches and a few entrees. I can tell you that some of the entrees are stir fried chicken, vegetables or shrimp for $10.95-$14.95., but since we did lunch there, I can’t go into much detail. There is also a ruby trout filet for $13.95 and shrimp scampi for $15.95. Could be just the thing at 1am.
For lunch we started with the nachos grande, because we suspected that it meant “big nachos.” It did. We were all quite hungry, the waitress was in the weeds because her shift partner had called in sick, so some patience was necessary and not very difficult to achieve. One of our dining guests was momentarily gruff (“I didn’t effectively modulate my tone.” He said), and as a result we made him leave a gratuity grande.
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You can also appetize on chicken quesadilla, some wings, potato skins with melted stuff on them, fried mozzarella sticks or chicken fingers, all in the $4-6.75 range. Or start with a chef salad, spinach salad or Caesar, all around $6, all containing what you would expect them to contain.
Sandwiches and such: We had the veggie melt (served with a side of guac, worth mentioning in a town where avocados are a luxury vegetable), the club sandwich and the avocado and turkey sandwich. All in the six buck range.
Here’s what was said:
“It’s good that they don’t put mayo on the club. I believe in liberty and self determination when it comes to condiments.”
“It’s nice to be able to get a sandwich and fries for six bucks.”
“I don’t think turkey is shaped like this in its natural form. This
turkey has been through some changes, and it didn’t fare well.”
Final vote: The food, at least the items that we had on that day, was
pretty much glorified Denny’s fare, and not glorified too much, I might add. But they have a kick ass bar, and if it’s 1:30 am and you’re hurting for some nourishment, sometimes even Denny’s looks good, right?