After I parked my car I walked to the door. During my walk I noticed the patio seating -- since it was sunny and warm, I quickly decided that I needed to grab a spot on the patio. Once I opened the door and got inside, I took a moment to take-in the interior. It was dark, compared to the sunny day outside. But once my eyes adjusted I noticed several pool tables, many dinner/drink tables, and a bar with LARGE projection TVs.
The place is huge -- it practically felt like an airplane hangar. It didn't feel like the place for an intimate dinner. However, if I ever need to watch a big game, THIS is the place to hit.
As the hostess escorted me outside, I was given my choice of tables. I picked the one with the most sunlight (I'm solar powered), and took a seat. The waiter was immediately at my side asking me for a drink order. I REALLY wanted a beer -- but since I didn't want to start drinking before noon (I still had a few minutes to go) I just went to my default: Diet Coke.
Their website says that they're "more than just chicken wings." So, I of course looked at the wings section, and this was my selection process....
" MMM wiings... Tempting.... No. Be good. Get a salad."
I looked at the salad part of the menu.
"What? No buffalo chicken salad??? I'd better look at the sandwiches... but I should still try to be good and get something with lots of vegetables."
I looked at the sandwich part of the menu.
"No, not in a burger place. If they only had something with fried chicken.. Oh, they do, they DO! Wait, wait. No, I want to be good nothing fried. Ohh, how about a Buffalo Chicken Philly Sandwich. Yeah, it has lots of melted cheese. But it's not fried! And onions are vegetables, right??"
Yes, that's right. I went from looking at salds to choosing "Chicken breast thinly sliced, grilled with onions and covered with cheese," smothered in buffalo-style sauce. Yup, I'm a real health nut.
The food came out rather quickly. But I was a little un-inspired by it's presentation. The sandwich was wrapped in aluminum foil, and cut into two. The bread seemed like a slight step up from a hot-dog bun. The fries were more soft than crispy. But, man oh man, was that sandwich tasty!
I took my first bite and was instantly placed in a Buffalo Chicken Philly induced euphoria. The chicken breast grilled with the onions and cheese, was amazing by itself. Then to have the tangy and spicy buffalo sauce mixed in, just made this sandwich a notch above most other sandwiches. I will need to taste it's Buffalo-y goodness again.
It should be noted that their menu does have a fair assortment of selections, from fish entrees to salads, they really do have something for everyone -- including standard bar fare as well. From what I can tell on the website, this Crickets is probably a franchise, and it appears that there are about a dozen -- most of them in the Atlanta area.
Price: $$ (Tax, tip, drink, and sandwich brought me to over $10)
Kid Friendly: Not particularly. I didn't notice any kids menus or high chairs.
Conclusion: Very good sandwich, and I really enjoyed the patio dining. I felt the interior was a little too open for a quiet dinner and conversation. But this would be a good place to hit to watch the game or play some pool.
The Tavern @ J.R. Crickets
9818 Gilead Road
Huntersville, NC 28078