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Fire American Tavern: fresh ingredients, relaxed environment

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The combo slider plate comes with three miniature burgers and your choice of fries, onion rings or sweet potato fries.

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Christina Ruotolo

Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Fire American Tavern has been serving up family fun and food since September 2016. The owners are East Carolina University graduates, and Front House Manager Shawn Grazier has been at the helm since the beginning. He describes the restaurant as an experience for the whole family. “We are a family-oriented sports bar where everyone is welcome,” Grazier says.

Located in the middle of uptown Greenville, the restaurant is an easy walk from campus and offers wide and welcoming space with ample seating for up to 297 people. It has 32 flat-screen TVs with the ability to show eight channels at a time with dual sound. It also is a corporate sponsor for ECU baseball and basketball games. So grab a seat at one of the high-top tables, booths or at the bar and enjoy March Madness.

I asked Shawn how the restaurant got its name, and he said, “We wanted something based on our mission to serve fresh, never frozen, off the grill foods. The name is also an acronym. It means Fresh Ingredients, Relaxed Environment.”

Fire offers a diverse menu with appetizers, salads, soups, sliders, flatbreads, bone-in and boneless wings and burgers. Prices range from $2-$19. Fire has 24 different sauces and rubs for chicken wings, with all the sauces made in-house including Dragon’s Breath, ECU Gold, jalapeno cheddar, cannon fire, Jamaican jerk and other flavors from sweet to raging heat.

The restaurant also has an Ultimate Build-Your Own Burger Experience. Choose your meat, bun, cheese and toppings. You can add egg, chili or ham for added flavor, a dipping sauce plus a side item like steak or sweet potato fries. Burger prices start at $6.99.

For today’s food tour, let’s start with a unique dip worthy of any chip. The Sausage and Cheese Dip is a crowd favorite and the most popular item on the menu. Its cream-cheese base is mixed with sweet onions, banana peppers, hot sausage and topped with cheddar and Monterey Jack cheese. The ramekin comes out oozing a thick cheese top coat and is surrounded by hot, multicolored corn chips. The dip was creamy and sweet from the onions, a slight brine from the peppers, heat from the savory sausage and cheesy. This dish costs $8.25 and is enough for two people.

Next, let’s move on to burgers. I selected the combo slider plate, which comes with three miniature burgers of your choice and a choice of fries, onion rings or sweet potato fries. I chose the cheeseburger, Chicken Cordon Bleu and the Pork Rib-eye Cuban and beer-battered onion rings. The cheeseburger has classic flavor with a salty pickle bite and rich, robust cheese. The Chicken Cordon Bleu has a great mustard flavor mixed with the ham and chicken. The Pork Rib-eye Cuban was tender and flavorful with the sweet honey mustard sauce. The onion rings were crispy and satisfying, dipped in the house-made ranch sauce or Boom Boom sauce, which is a sweet dipping sauce. This dish costs $12.75.

The last dish on my pub-inspired adventure was the Fully Involved Flatbread. A large, soft flatbread is topped with homemade marinara sauce, pepperoni, sausage, sauteed mushrooms, peppers, banana peppers, spinach, onion and mozzarella cheese. It is baked and comes out picture perfect. The pizza is cut into nine large slices, so it’s perfect for sharing with the family. The cost is $16.25.

For those looking for drink specials, Thursday is mug night. Order a 12-ounce mug for $1; 24 ounces for $1.25; or 32 ounces for $2. Then there’s the Beer Tower — 100 ounces of draft beer. Prices start at $10 and go up based on the beer you choose, and you must have at least two people sharing to order this drink.

Fire also offers mimosas on weekends using Brut or Rose with fresh orange juice for $5. The massive Absolut Bloody Mary is made with Absolut pepper vodka, Bloody Mary mix, Worcestershire sauce, pepper and signature fire sauce. It’s garnished with red pepper flakes and topped with a skewer of crispy bacon, pickled okra, celery stalk, pickles and a green olive. It was intense, and, with its rich veggie flavor and heat, it could be an excellent hangover cure. Cost is $11. If you want to add a small burger slider on top, the cost is $13.50.

For fun, take the kids over to the games section and play a few games of skee ball, throw some basketballs in the youth-sized basket game, shoot some pool, play a little air hockey, Foosball or cornhole. Try your hand at the grab machine to snag some stuffed animals. The games give you tickets just like the arcade. You can turn them in for gifts like hats, T-shirts and promotional gear.

Fire American Tavern is at 113 E. Fifth St. Hours are from 11 a.m.-10 p.m. Mondays, 11 a.m.-midnight Tuesdays and Thursdays, 11 a.m.-2 a.m. Wednesdays and Fridays, 10 a.m.-2 a.m. Saturdays and 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Sundays. Brunch is served all day Saturday and Sunday.

There are weekly special events, including trivia night at 7:30 p.m. Tuesdays, karaoke at 9 p.m. Wednesdays and musical bingo with a DJ at 7:30 p.m. Thursdays.

There is an outdoor patio area between the parking garage and restaurant, and both spaces are available to rent for parties and bands. Takeout can be ordered through Grubhub, Eat Street, Orange Crate or Takeout Pros. For more information, call 565-7333 or visit www.fireamericantavern.com.

Simply Natural

Simply Natural Creamery has announced plans to open a Greenville store in late spring or early summer. It will be located at 317 E. Arlington Blvd., near Publix and Office Depot. Visit www.simplynaturalcreamery.com.

Bone Appetit

The Humane Society of Eastern Carolina (HSEC) will host a Bone Appetit fundraising event at Famiglia, 740 W. Fire Tower Road, from 11 a.m.-9 p.m. Friday-Saturday. A percentage of all food and drink sales will be donated to HSEC. Write “for HSEC” on the receipt and alert the server. Visit www.hsecarolina.org/​bone-appetit.

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