Oregon sports bar scores with its smoked meats

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By Bill Livick, Special to The Gazette
Wednesday, April 9, 2014

OREGON—Shiny-new, bright, beautiful, and spacious—those are some of the words I've heard people use to describe a new sports bar and restaurant in Oregon.

Headquarters Bar and Restaurant is a 6,500-square-foot sports bar on the village's south side, near the highways 14/138 interchange.

Owner/operator Jamie Bush opened the business in February after a two-year effort. He said the kitchen is just starting to turn out dinner specials such as New York strip steak, but its smoker has been operating since day one, and smoked meats are a house specialty. Beef brisket, pork shoulder and chicken wings are transformed in the smoker and take on a tasty new life when treated with one of the kitchen's four homemade sauces.

Bush also owns Deak's Pub and Grill in Stoughton and in the past has managed sports bar/restaurant combos in Madison and Verona.

While construction of the building was completed in late January, contractors have yet to finish a large patio and two outdoor sand-volleyball courts. Headquarters plans to offer volleyball leagues in spring and summer.

The bar and dining room have more high-definition TV screens than we could easily count. The bar room itself features a 20-foot ceiling and lots of seating, along with about 20 craft beers on tap and a well-stocked wine and liquor selection.

The separate dining room has booths, tables and chairs, and another room with a bar offers walls that can open in warm weather. Even when those walls are closed, you still have the feeling of being outside because you're surrounded by glass on three sides.

Headquarters' menu is divided into several categories: appetizers, burgers, meats and deli, pizza, salads and wraps, sandwiches and the smokehouse. It also features a kids menu.

We ordered first from the smokehouse, which offers four sandwiches, barbecue plates and a ribs plate with a choice of sides. The Headquarters sandwich ($9) is a combination of house-smoked beef brisket and pulled pork, topped with homemade cole slaw and served on a Telera roll (the bread traditionally used in a Mexican torta).

The meat was tender and smoky, and depending on which sauce you choose, also tastes like sweet barbecue, spicy and sweet when you opt for the jerk sauce, or slightly sour if you go with Headquarters' vinegar-based sauce.

The kitchen's cole slaw was fresh and crunchy, not too sweet and a tad spicy with little bits of black pepper.

A pulled pork sandwich ($8.50) piled a generous half-pound of smoked pork shoulder onto a split top bun. I ordered the jerk sauce with it and broke out in a mild sweat.

From the meats and deli section, we ordered the Black Forest ($9.50): shaved roast beef, thick-cut applewood-smoked bacon, cheddar cheese and tomato on grilled sourdough, served with a side of au jus.

Bush said the kitchen makes everything it can from scratch, including smoked buffalo wings, battered cheese curds, jalapeno poppers, hand-battered onion rings, sweet potato fries, waffle fries and garlic Parmesan chips.

A rib plate ($14 for a half rack, $19 for a full rack) combined the slow-smoked ribs with baked beans, cole slaw, cornbread and a side salad. The meat was so sweet and tender it literally fell off the bone.

From the salads and wraps category, we enjoyed the Moroccan wrap ($6.50): romaine lettuce blended with curried wild rice, tomatoes, grilled zucchini and green olives. It comes with a choice of blackened tuna or grilled salmon.

A Southwest wrap ($6.50) is a sautéed mix of black beans, corn, red peppers, jalapenos, lime and cilantro on a crisp romaine lettuce blend with tomatoes and Cajun bacon, with a drizzle of ancho chipotle sauce. It was a favorite in our group of four.

The kitchen is still developing its dessert menu. Our server mentioned the restaurant had bought an ice cream bar from a local business that recently folded and soon would offer locally made ice cream.

Service at Headquarters was outstanding, with various people checking quickly and often to make sure water glasses were full and everything else was to our liking.

Sports fans and craft beer lovers are sure to go for the place, and it also exudes a family friendly atmosphere.

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