Kirby’s is a Sports Bar with a Bistro Menu

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Photograph by Dustin Sparks

I don’t get it. Kirby’s has at least 10 TVs, and every single one was tuned to the game. In my mind, that qualifies it as a sports bar. And sports bars are supposed to have greasy, pre-packaged, freezer-to-microwave eats, right? I mean, after a few beers that mediocre food manages to get five stars on Yelp, so why bother to break the status quo? But Kirby Brakvill apparently did not get that memo. Despite the sports-bar atmosphere, Kirby’s has excellent food. Burgers, sandwiches, baked potato skins, and nachos share valuable menu real estate with upscale items like Ravioli Creole, a five-cheese ravioli dusted with focaccia crumbs and served in a pool of homemade marinara that’s given a stern lesson in Cajun. At first bite you’ll swear you just heard Justin Wilson shouting “I garontee!” from beyond the grave. There’s also Prince Edward Island mussels that have been taken to the spa and steamed in a garlic sherry sauce, and gravy-cheese tater tots smothered in a magical melt of cheddar and brown gravy. But pub patrons need not live on appetizers alone. Kirby’s entrées easily put more tony places to shame. Both the honey-glazed salmon (grilled Alaskan filets painted with a honey-thyme glaze) and the Maker’s Mark chicken grill (a more-than-modern arranged marriage of Kentucky bourbon to Japanese teriyaki) will satisfy even the fussiest diners. Kirby’s reads casual to the untrained eye, but I prefer to consider it a gourmet place with its own private, albeit televised, cheering section. If nothing else, the chef has more than earned an end-zone dance. Touch. Down.

Kirby’s, 378 Bridge St., Loveland, (513) 239-8890, kirbysinloveland.com. Lunch and dinner seven days.

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