The Dish: Arena Tavern

Arena Tavern

2000 Satellite Blvd., Duluth



· Open since: April 15

· Location: The Arena Tavern is at the intersection of Satellite Boulevard and Sugarloaf Parkway in Duluth, just down the street from the Arena at Gwinnett Center.

· Hours: 11 a.m. to 2 a.m. Monday through Saturday and 11 a.m. to midnight Sundays

· Owner: The Arena Tavern is owned by Laughing Out Loud Restaurant Group, which is based in Gwinnett. Michael Miller of Dunwoody serves as CEO of the company and Snellville resident Tony Shaw is president of operations. Laughing Out Loud also owns Nacho Daddy's in Lawrenceville.

· Atmosphere: The highlight of the Arena Tavern is the outdoor dining area, complete with a full bar. Waterscaping adds to the upscale ambiance of the open-air patio and 17 flat-screen TVs keep the sports bar atmosphere alive. The patio features a 15-foot fireplace that will warm up the dining area during colder months and the entire patio can be enclosed.

The Arena Tavern boasts 60 high-definition, flat-screen TVs.

"There's not a bad seat in the house to watch television," Shaw said.

The indoor bar area offers high-top and regular table seating as well as booths, while the main dining area offers regular tables and booths.

· Menu: Most of the burgers on the menu at the Arena Tavern are all named for popular arenas, including The Omni, an indoor coliseum in Atlanta that was located where the CNN Center now stands. Other arenas that are honored are the Spectrum, the Joe Louis Arena and the Knickerbocker. All burgers are a half pound of certified Angus beef. The Omni is topped with barbecue sauce, cheddar cheese, bacon and an onion ring.

The most popular appetizers at the Arena Tavern include the shrimp-n-grits appetizer - fresh gulf shrimp and creamy cheese grits cooked low-country style - and Little T's Sliders, named for Shaw's 7-year-old son, whose nickname is Little T - four sliders with a choice of chicken or beef topped with pickle chips and shredded lettuce. Megan's Filet, a bacon-wrapped hand-cut filet served with a house salad and mashed potatoes, is named for Miller's 12-year-old daughter. The pot roast, a century-old family recipe of slowly braised meat served with mashed potatoes, brown gravy and fresh vegetables, is a popular entree, while the Real Philly Cheese Steak holds the top spot for sandwiches. The Philly comes with a choice of steak or chicken topped with grilled onions and white American cheese served in an Italian hoagie roll along with a side of French fries.

Signature salads and soups round out the food selections.

The Arena Tavern serves 60 wines, 36 draft beers from around the world and 50 bottled beer selections.

· Things you might not know: The sports memorabilia displayed throughout The Arena Tavern is for sale, with proceeds benefiting the Fellowship of Christian Athletes.

If you have a restaurant you would like to see featured in The Dish, call Staff Writer Deanna Allen at 770-963-9205 ext. 1321 or e-mail deanna.allen@gwinnettdailypost.com

SideBar: On the menu

· Catfish bites - Alabama catfish fried and served with spicy mustard, $6

· Chopped delicatessen salad - Fresh lettuce mixed with turkey, ham, bacon bits, tomatoes, mixed cheese, onion, croutons and eggs, $9

· Tavern B.L.T. - Vine-ripe tomatoes, shredded lettuce, thick sliced bacon and mayonnaise served on toasted Texas toast with a side of fries, $6

· 12-ounce rib-eye - A hand-cut steak seasoned and served with mashed potatoes and a house salad, $18

· Banana split - A fresh banana split and topped with scoops of chocolate and vanilla ice cream, fresh strawberries, chocolate sauce and whipped cream, $6