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The Hub Sports Bistro 

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A neighborhood sports bar with plenty of beer offerings and a solid menu – it's a concept that happens a lot more in theory than in execution. But when you take a closer look at The Hub, they really do have all of the elements in place to make their establishment the Cheers-type bar that everyone longs for.

Besides the 20 beers they have on tap, there are plans in place to continue their focus on Michigan craft brews while slowly bringing in a fantastic selection of whiskeys, they're still tweaking and updating their ever-evolving food menu. Staying stagnant is something that will kill a small business very quickly. But with the proper mindset and approach to offering the right kind of food at a place that is primarily a bar is what makes the difference.

Themed menus and restaurants that specialize in a particular culinary category sometimes tend to miss the boat, and The Hub realizes that, which is why they stick to a pretty specific yet general approach with their menu – "whatever tastes good." (The fact that they maintain low food prices helps too.)

Besides changing weekly specials, which are all homemade-style meals (turkey dinners, chicken masala, enchiladas, lasagna, meatloaf, etc.), they make great sandwiches, pizza, an enormous nacho platter and a nice assortment of appetizers. It's all pretty basic, with an emphasis on offering folks food that they like, rather than some crazy outlandish dishes that look cool on the menu but no one actually orders.

The nachos, for instance, are real frickin' nachos. They're not all gussied up and fancy with some otherworldly toppings. There's fresh tomatoes, lettuce and jalapenos. And nacho cheese, which is the key. Rather than just load up tortilla chips with shredded cheese, which results in the platter being stuck together like one giant chip, they use queso cheese (that fantastically runny, delicious cheese that is the heart and soul of real nachos). Plus, this helping is enormous, so plan on having leftovers.

The burgers are great too – particularly the sliders. Hand-rolling the burger patties daily, something they do across the board (the freezer is entirely underutilized, as they'd rather focus on freshness), they're able to provide a flavorful and juicy burger every time. And for a real treat, the slider combo offers you a corned beef slider, pulled pork slider and burger slider – all of which are super impressive and just the right size to throw back three of them after enjoying an appetizer. Also, keep in mind that you can get a 6-oz. burger, beer and fries every day (until 8 p.m.) for only $5.

Every bar offers pizza. It's a staple. A bar without pizza is like not having napkins. But The Hub goes out of their way to put together a real pie for their customers. Very specific mozzarella is used, which makes all the difference when you're talking good pizza versus a basic boring one. The best part, though, is the pepperoni they use. Remember those little slices with the curled corners that look like a little pepperoni cup when you cook them? That's the type of old-school, delicious pizza you get at The Hub.

All in all, let's not sugar-coat things – The Hub is a drinking spot. And their liquor and beer offerings reflect that – in addition to drink specials every day of the week (Monday Mug Night, Tuesday and Thursday beer specials, Whiskey Wednesdays, Friday $5 Long Islands and even great weekend and football specials). But the fact that they offer great-tasting food at more than fair prices makes this place a true winner.

| RDW

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