Lindy’s at Redline Sports Grill
C or 2.0 out of 5.0 stars
This could be a cool place as it attempts to draw upon and expand on the legacy of an undisputed old time favorite of Tucson called Lindy’s (the original and still open location is on 4th Ave). The new location features a similar menu of burgers, dogs, and lots of fried food. What makes the new location unique is that it has multiple giant bars and plenty of room to stretch out and different seating areas. The place is huge!
Clearly, Lindy’s at Redline Sports Grill is attempting to take their original and revered Lindy’s model and sort of corporatize it to a place where more than just college kids and townies want to go. To that end, they’ve found a central location and converted an upscale nightclub (formerly “Pearl”) located on Wetmore just west of Oracle, and completely transformed it into a restaurant and bar complex called Lindy’s at Redline Sports Grill.
When we first walked in to the outside bar we were both a little giddy. The potential is clearly there for this to be a cool outdoor space to hang in. With a badass biker theme and large outdoor bar with lots of misters and ample bar stools, we were eager to be pleased. We immediately saddled up and asked for menus.
The outdoor bar with the Harley up on a pole and a the fire shooting out of the tailpipes?
The Applebee’s reminiscent splattering of the reproduced signs on every square foot of the walls?
Open areas and all kinds of unique spaces, nooks and seating crannies to hang out in.
Lots of fried food!
Could be great but falls a bit short.
As we sit at the outside bar on one of those Tucson afternoons where things hover between about to be ridiculously hot and the respite of still cool nights we find ourselves really liking the place on first impression. Lots of interesting people sitting around the outside bar, a set of experienced bartenders, and the food is reminiscent of the fried college fare which I used to love but now… well ok I confess, I still love it when it’s good. As I wonder off to find the bathroom I stumbled upon a band, a bar, and then another bar, and then the bathrooms. Inside I discover they’ve thoroughly embraced a kitschy interior design that features a scattering of more Harleys and garage- type memorabilia in a gear-head sports bar kind of theme. They’ve extended the theme by taking the Lindy’s menu and giving the entrées cutesy names. Could be cool, but as I’m an adult sitting in a restaurant slash bar, I prefer my hotdogs to be more food and less of a “theme.”
Ultimately, the food was nothing special, fried as advertised and served on a pan. Yes, served on a small shallow baking pan. I thought, hum, interesting. But given the garagy kitschy interior design it sort of made sense. But once you dig in you find the food is a bit haphazard, greasy and I don’t mean the good kind, served as an afterthought and frankly, a big yawn.
I’m just going to lay it out. When I delve into a cheeseburger and fries, I want to feel guilty and satisfied. I want to think, YES, the calories are worth it; and oh my god, I have to come back when no one is looking and get me some more of this. This was just not it, but we came back anyway, hoping this place’s cool factor would make up for the mediocre fried food.
And so flash forward and sadly each returning visit got progressively more mediocre. The primary source of the decline is that the two experienced male bartenders from the first two visits have been replaced with at least two new girls behind the bar that we will hereafter refer to as the “anti-bartenders of the vortex.” As you well know, the thing about a vortex is that they literally suck. These comic book characters are kind of hot looking, but their almost hot looks are blurred by the vortex of attitude that sucks all hopes of service into it.
I want to say that I have a huge amount of respect for experienced bartenders and wait staff that have a well-deserved ‘tude’ – one earned only after working countless nights and busting their ass to earn tips. Bolstered from experience and knowing they deliver great service, these are the bartenders and wait staff I love to run into and reward handsomely. But during our last few visits, try as we might, little Ms. Tude had been practicing her tudness and managed to ignore us almost to the point of insult. And let me tell you, I’ve been ignored by the best. When she finally did take our food order, she somehow how forgot it during the four steps to her register, and proceeded to shout at my wife across the bar to ask her to what it was she wanted. My wife, gotta love her, refused to lower herself to shouting back her dinner order. And so the Lady of the Vortex, rather than walking back over to us, simply guessed on our order and got it totally wrong. And so my message to the bartenders is that you finally got through to me. According to you, 20% in tips every time I walk in the door is not something you are interested in.
This is one of those places that have incredible potential and perhaps they deserve a second chance because it is a local business and we need to take care of our local businesses and jobs. But only if the managers embrace the idea that decent service and food are not arrived at by accident. For now, I’ll pass and you probably should too unless or until we see the tell tale big banner hanging on the outside wall – “Open under new management!” We always include a link. In sum, medium priced, below par food, and an inertia of declining sub-par service rating.