Side dish: We check out brunch and more at the new Sports & Social
When it comes to brunch, some restaurants have a version of chicken and waffles on the menu.
And while the dish may seem easy to execute — big waffle, fried chicken, some type of syrup — it’s more often than not a disappointing waste of calories.
But there are some delicious exceptions, including the “chicken & bliss” at Sports & Social, downtown Allentown’s newest restaurant.
We stopped in recently to have a taste and get a closer look at the fresh spot which opened last month in what was once The Hamilton Kitchen (at 645 Hamilton St.).
Sports & Social is the first Lehigh Valley location of the chain, which is a division of Live! Dining & Entertainment that also operates Xfinity Live! and Live! Casino & Hotel in the South Philadelphia Sports Complex.
Menu-wise, the dishes are what you would expect to find at a sports-focused restaurant. The difference is that the food is really delicious.
Before we dive into the food, let’s quickly go over what the space looks like. If you were ever in The Hamilton Kitchen, you’ll find that Sports & Social feels much more open (because it is) and a lot less stuffy.
The 8,000-square-foot restaurant seats 288 people (inside and out) and is an ideal spot to watch the game or get something to eat before a show or event at PPL Center. Along with what seems like dozens of big-screen TVs, the restaurant is filled with activities including arcade games and beer pong — so it’s also a fun hangout spot.
OK, now onto the food.
Sports & Social offers brunch from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays. Of course, brunch is that happy spot between traditional breakfast foods and lunch items so you’ll find dishes that deliciously straddle both. Here are two dishes to try:
Sports & Social takes a breakfast spin on a classic quesadilla with breakfast sausage, chopped bacon, shredded potatoes, a blend of cheese, pico de gallo, and flour tortillas served with salsa and sour cream. Despite all the ingredients, it’s very light with a crispy texture and balanced flavor for $12.99.
The chicken & bliss (mentioned earlier) is a must-try. It’s a perfectly constructed fluffy waffle, fried chicken strips, maple syrup, sliced strawberries, and honey lemon butter for $15.99.
Regular menu highlights
If you’re going with friends, you’ll want to get the loaded nachos. They are served on a long, flat platter that allows each nacho to be topped and stay crispy. Typically, nachos at the bottom of the dish get soggy. The Sports & Social plating allows for all the nachos to be evenly topped and keep their structural integrity.
You get house-made tortilla chips, Tex-Mex cheese blend, pico de gallo, fresh jalapeños, black beans, cheese sauce, pico de gallo, sour cream and fresh guacamole for $14.99. Add chicken and it’s an additional $5.
You can also get them Korean style with braised short rib, gochujang and pickled red onions for 19.99.
Two tasty main-course option recommendations include the Nashville hot chicken sandwich, featuring a fried, buttermilk-marinated chicken breast, spices, coleslaw, pickles, Southern “comeback sauce” on a brioche bun for 14.99 and the caramelized onion & bacon cheeseburger, featuring American and Cheddar cheeses, caramelized onions, applewood smoked bacon on a brioche bun for $15.99.
One of the highlights of our visit to Sports & Social was the friendly service at the bar.
If you’re into unique cocktails, one to consider is the cinnamon-smoked old-fashioned. This drink is smoked right before your eyes and features Old Granddad 100 proof bourbon, orange bitters and cinnamon for $14.
Sports & Social also offers a variety of beers on draft and wine.
For more menu info and hours
Hungry for more?
Side Dish looks at new menus, restaurant trends and more. If there’s a dish you’ve had at a Lehigh Valley restaurant you think we should know about, email email@example.com and tell us about it.
Morning Call features reporter Jennifer Sheehan can be reached at 610-820-6628 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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