By Keyser Saucey
When I hear the word saloon, I immediately think of old Hollywood flicks where outlaws are king and shootouts are the method of choice to settle any disagreement. Player pianos, cowboy hats and stiff drinks abound. Although from what I hear, the Wild West wasn’t nearly as wild as movies would have us believe. But hey, who doesn’t love stepping back in time and imagining what life was like back then. The Saloon in Estero at Coconut Point Mall provides the perfect backdrop to such wonderings.
A relatively new establishment, The Saloon opened almost exactly one year ago. And let me tell you, not a single detail or dollar was spared in creating the perfect upscale Western atmosphere. Suede booths, dark wood, and images of cowboys and Indians decorate the space beautifully.
The Saloon is a part of a locally owned restaurant group including Yabba Island Grill in Naples and Chop City Grill in Naples and Bonita Springs.
The Saloon just recently started offering lunch Wednesday through Sunday within the last few weeks. Both the lunch and dinner menus are priced moderately, ranging from $11 to over $30. They also have an extensive drink menu, offering something for every taste. For this visit, I went for a weekday lunch with a friend. The menu is varied Americana, offering sandwiches, burgers, tacos, and salads with some simple appetizer choices as well as a handful of mouthwatering pie options. I must admit upfront, I’m a sucker for pie.
The appetizer menu for lunch offers a handful of choices, but features a patron favorite, the bubble bread. The bubble bread is crunchy slices of ciabatta bread spread with 7 different cheeses mixed with garlic and herbs. I wasn’t expecting much from what amounts to cheesy bread, but this is next level cheesy bread. The bread is crispy on the edges while remaining creamy on the inside. Although I couldn’t gather which seven cheeses were on the bubble bread from our friendly newbie server, I easily identified blue cheese as a delicious and surprising addition.
The tacos, now only offered on their lunch menu, have three options; fish, chicken and the standout, barbeque. The Ricky Bobby taco was an obvious choice for me. I love unusual variations on a classic, so the taco with BBQ brisket, pork and chicken surrounded by both a corn and flour tortilla was the winner. Garnished with crispy potato sticks and fried jalapeños, each bite of the Ricky Bobby was a hearty flavor blast. The individual ingredients were skillfully combined, so each flavor complimented the next without overpowering each other.
Most of the burgers on the lunch menu you’ll find at dinner as well, with the notable exception of the Truffle Toss. But when making my selection, I went all in with the Everything Burger.
The Saloon’s burgers generally feature a generous 8 oz patty, but not the Everything Burger. The massive Everything Burger has two 8 oz patties topped with American cheese, brisket, onion rings, tomato bacon jam, sautéed mushrooms, jalapeños, and a sunny side up egg in addition to the standard accompaniments of lettuce and tomato.
This is was a leaning tower of food. Paired with some perfectly crisped French fries, if you can manage the impossible feat of eating the whole thing, you’d probably be set for the week. This thing was so huge it looked like something out of a food competition. There were so many items on this beast that the flavors became a little in-cohesive when having to fork and knife it. You certainly get your money’s worth the nearly $20 price tag, but it seems out of place on a lunch menu. Even with one of the patties removed it still would have been too large for a lunch selection and most of the burgers seem to be in the same boat. The entree salads were also large and a bit pricey. Except for the reasonably priced tacos, most of the entrees on the lunch menu suffer from being a bit too large and a bit too pricey for a midday meal. I’d love to see a smaller portioned and smaller priced lunch menu.
Any place that offers a menu dedicated to pie is doing something right in my book. Their Mississippi Mud had a nontraditional presentation. Layered beautifully in a mason jar, it feels more like a parfait than a pie. Not that I’m complaining; the chocolate, mocha, and toffee flavors topped with whipped cream had me going back in for more long after my stomach was telling me no.
Overall, the food was delicious, and the décor was spot on. It’s a trip to the wild west without having to travel the Oregon Trail. I don’t know about you, but my character always seemed to get dysentery in that game. The portions justify the pricing, but I’d like to see less of both on their new lunch menu. For this reason, I’m giving them 4/5 Sauceys. For some solid Americana food with great ambiance, give The Saloon a try.
23151 Village Shops Way, Suite 103
Coconut Point Mall, Estero, FL 33928
Lunch Hours: Wednesday-Sunday 12:00pm to 4:00pm
Dinner Hours: Daily 5:30pm to Close
Bar Hours: Monday-Tuesday: 4:30pm to Close; Wednesday-Sunday 12:00pm to Close
Phone: (239) 949.2583
Keyser Saucey is a psuedonym for Naples Herald and Lee Herald’s food critic. Keyser’s trips to area restaurants are unannounced and anonymous, and are paid for by the company. Yes, the staff is very jealous.
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