Are you looking for a great place to relax, enjoy the company of friends, watch a sporting event, drink some beer, and enjoy great food? There aren't many sports bars in California's gold country, but if you happen to live in Sonora, or visiting, you're in luck, as downtown Sonora is the home of Intake Grill.
As with all of reviews that I publish, I have no affiliation with the restaurant reviewed, and there is no monetary gain on my part, as I am simply a person who likes to eat, and I love to write-up, and publish my dining experiences.
Photo: Intake Grill is located in downtown Sonora, CA, in the heart of California's "mother lode," and is a historic mining town that traces it's roots back to the gold rush days. Parking can be a little tight on South Washington Street, but there's plenty of free parking at a city lot, a short block away.
It's early Monday evening, July 01, 2019, and I'm ready to enjoy a cold beer, and a delicious dinner at Intake Grill.
Photo: As you enter the restaurant, you'll notice the tall tables, the television monitors, the full-service bar, and the sports photos, football jerseys, and sports memorabilia that decorate the restaurant. On this early morning, most of the television monitors were tuned to ESPN, which was broadcasting a baseball game between the Chicago Cubs and the Pittsburgh Pirates. I didn't stick around to see who won the ball game.
Photo: View from the rear of the dining room, looking toward the entrance, and South Washington street outside the front door.
Intake Grill is definitely a sports bar, and it caters to Sonora locals, and many of the area motorcycle crowd, and is described by some as a "biker bar." Nothing wrong with that, as "bikers" are good people, and are folks who know all about fine dining. If you like '60's rock, and vintage country music, you'll enjoy the atmosphere, as that seems to be the music of choice. This is the kind of restaurant that I absolutely adore...
Photo: I was treated to the friendly company of this evening hostesses, Lorraine on the left, and Rachael on the right. Rachael had just poured a Coors Light beer for me, and placed it on the bar, and was gathering up her things, as her shift had just ended.
Photo: If you're driving, it's good to know the alcohol content of the beer you're enjoying, as if you got arrested for DUI, it would ruin your evening, and your life for a long time. Since I was driving, I limited myself to one draught Coors Light, on tap, which only has 4.2% alcohol. This board is placed at the rear of the restaurant, and definitely aides in promoting a responsible evening.
Photo: "Mr. Skeleton Dog," who lives on a shelf above, and near the bar, lets you know that "tweakers" aren't allowed in the bar or restaurant.
Photo: One page of the menu. The "Burgers" section of the menu was calling to me, but I ended up with "Alaskan Beer Battered Cod," along with the included coleslaw. Note the "Side Options" section of the menu, so you make your deep fried cod, "fish and chips."
Photo: Today was a first for me, as I've never seen a "Texas style" cow skull painted like this. Many Sonora-area motorcycle enthusiasts dine at Intake Grill, so I imagine this cow skull makes them feel at home.
Photo: Tonight's friendly hostess/bartender, Lorraine, pours a beer for a local customer. Intake Grill is a "hangout" for the Sonora locals, and definitely is the "place to be" for all who enjoy great company, good times, cold beer, and delicious food.
Photo: Meet my amazingly friendly server, Lorraine G., who delivers my food with her charming smile, in only about 15 minutes after I placed my order.
As I sat at the bar, I enjoyed chatting with Lorraine, and found out that she have many interests in common, but the major interest is FOOD. She's been employed in the restaurant industry for many years, has lived in the area for quite some time, and knows all the local restaurants. Like me, she's a dedicated "foodie," and loves to eat.
As I enjoyed my delicious meal, I enjoyed chatting with Lorraine, when her time permitted.
Photo: Thanks, Lorraine, for snapping my photo, as I'm ready to enjoy my delicious meal. If you look at the background of the photo, you'll notice many jerseys of famous NFL pro football players are pinned to the wall, which enhances the "sports bar" theme of the restaurant
Photo: From the "Seafood" section of the menu, I went with beer-battered fish, chips and coleslaw, which sounded wonderful for this Monday evening. The menu actually advertises this fine dish as "Beer battered Alaskan Cod, served with coleslaw," with one side offered; how could I resist fries, or "chips?" Side choices include French fries, side salad, side Caesar salad, potato salad or coleslaw... and I went with fries.
The delicious meal features one very large piece of beer battered, deep fried Alaskan cod, placed on a small mountain of fries. The large cod fillet was beer battered, and deep fried to a delicious, golden brown on the outside, and added "crunch" and amazing taste to the tasty white meat inside the batter. When you bit into the fish, it would "crunch," and you'd taste the delicious deep fried batter, which complimented the white, perfectly cooked white meat of the cod fillet. The fries were deep fried to a golden brown on the outside, and chewy inside, just like fries should be. Unlike fries served at lesser restaurants, these fries not oily, nor were they over salted. They were perfect, and went well with the fish.
Oh do I ever LOVE tartar sauce, and a small cup of it was provided for dipping. After I had devoured about half of my fish, I asked for a second cup of tartar sauce, and it was quickly brought to me. Thanks, Lorraine for your great service! The lemon slices worked well to squeeze on the coleslaw.
Speaking of coleslaw, it featured two different varieties of shredded cabbage, shredded carrot, and the 'slaw was placed on a bed of Romaine lettuce, which really made for a stunning presentation. The mayonnaise/sour cream mixture really held things together, added creamy goodness, and help to make Intake Grill's coleslaw some of the best that you can enjoy, while dining in Tuolumne County.
All components worked together to make this a simply OUTSTANDING dinner! The fish was so good, that you'd hardly know that Sonora is located many hours away from a fishing port. The chef knows how to cook, the ingredients are fresh, and the dinner is delicious!
Intake Grill is a great place to relax, enjoy a cold beer, watch sports action on one of the many monitors, chat with friendly staff and fellow diners, and enjoy a delicious meal. For great food and fun times, check out Intake Grill, located in downtown Sonora, CA.
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