I’ve wanted to eat a meal at Armor Inn Tap Room since I was a little kid. Back then it was a different restaurant with different owners but they had an old metro train car dining room and I thought it was the coolest thing ever (if you grew up in the southtowns you probably know what I’m talking about). Years ago, the restaurant closed up, the next owners got rid of the train car dining room and then the building sat vacant for 10+ years. When Alli and I heard the restaurant was completely re-built, we were excited and looking forward to checking it out.
The interior of the restaurant clearly had a lot of money put into it and has a very cool dining room with exposed air vents and large wooden pillars. The restaurant has a very nice, long main bar with an impressive selection of taps. That bar was packed (it was a Friday night) but fortunately they have a smaller second bar on the other end of the dining room. We stood there while we waited about 20 minutes for a table. The beer selection at the second bar wasn’t exciting (which was sort of odd) but it was still nice to have some room to sit/stand while waiting.
- Restaurant Type: Casual Bar & Restaurant
- Cuisine: BBQ/Southern, Pub Food
- Location: Hamburg
- Prices: Appetizers $8-11, BBQ $10-25
The menu has a wide variety of American and Pub Food classics, but what caught my attention was their BBQ selections. We started our meal with a couple appetizers, including bowls of Gumbo ($5, gallery) and French Onion Soup ($5, gallery) and and order of their ‘famous’ Smoked Chicken Wings ($10, below). Alli’s parents had mixed feelings on their French Onion soup (her Mom thought it was too salty). Alli and I thought their Gumbo was just alright; the broth didn’t have a great flavor and the texture was a little too watery but the large pieces of chicken and sausage held us over until diner.
Their Smoked Chicken Wings apparently have been featured on the Travel Channel (tried to find video but couldn’t), so we immediately realized that we had to order them. The wings that were not fried at all but instead cooked and charred on a grill. The chicken fell right off the bone and they had an amazing smokey flavor; I was a big fan.
For the main course, Alli and I split a large (Big Bad Wolf) BBQ Combination ($24.99, pictured above). The order included a half chicken and half rack of ribs with some mac n cheese and french fries. Like the wings, the chicken was awesome; a large bird with juicy meat, a nice smokey flavor and well seasoned, crispy skin. The ribs unfortunately were quite dry and very tough which made them difficult to cut apart. Not surprisingly, neither Alli nor I really liked the ribs and we barely touched them. The sides were pretty lackluster, the french fries were pretty blah and the ‘scoop’ of mac and cheese didn’t look nor taste very good. Alli’s Dad ordered the pork chops ($18, gallery) which he really liked, the bite I tried was very juicy but not outstanding.
As we finished our meal we noticed that the bar was getting busier and that a band was getting ready to start playing. Armor Inn has a nice small stage in the corner of the dining room, complete with lighting and a nice sound system. The crowd was definitely a little older and everyone seemed to be enjoying having a a few drinks while listening to some old blues standards from the band on stage. Sitting in the dining room, the music was a little overwhelming and made it nearly impossible to have a conversation with anyone at our table. If you’d like a more relaxed, calm dinner then I suggest getting there well before the 9pm live show.
It’s nice to see this location finally come alive after being empty for so many years, the food was very hit or miss (more on the ‘miss’ side unfortunately) but the hits (anything chicken) were really good. With a great beer selection, a very large patio and entertaining live music, this place could be a fun bar to just to hang out at with some friends, but you probably won’t find me eating anything there again. It’s not exactly the type of crowd that Alli and I normally look for, but if you’ll love this place if you live in the southtowns and enjoy a more mature crowd with live music.