I put on a new dealer in Manitowoc, WI last fall and I had owed them a product training session since then. The winter weather got in the way of our plans a couple times along the way, postponing or cancelling planned sessions. When the weather finally got a little nicer, we were able to get the training session in one evening. As I do with dealers after a night time training, I ask if they want to go out for dinner. The group of five guys were all up for that and I said, "OK, where's a good place to eat? Where do the locals go for a good dinner?"
They all sort of looked at one another and one of them said, "Like what?"
I mentioned steaks or something like that. Once again, they all looked a little dumbfounded.
One of the guys said, "Well, yeah, there's an Applebee's."
"No, no, no, no, no," I replied. "Isn't there like a supper club or a fine dining place that has steak, seafood, stuff like that?"
Another guy said, "Well, there's places like that in Green Bay (30 miles away to the north) or in Sheboygan (25 miles away to the south)."
I said to one of the owners, "OK, when your wife and you go out for dinner - like an anniversary dinner. Where do you guys go in town?"
He sort of hesitated and said, "Applebee's, I guess. I'm tellin' you, man. There's not a lot of choices of places to eat in this town."
Figuring out that this was going to be a losing proposition all the way around, I then switched gears and said, "OK, then. Where's a fun place to eat in town? Like a bar with a good burger or something like that?"
They all sort of looked at one another and one of them said, "Well, there's Timeout, a sports bar that has pretty good burgers and sandwiches. But their kitchen closes at 9. (It was 8:20 pm) So, if we're gonna go, we better go now." Within minutes, I was part of a six car convoy that drove toward Timeout Sports Bar and Grill at the corner of N. Rapids and Waldo Blvd. on the city's northwest side. (see map)
Timeout Sports Bar and Grill has been in business since 2005 and is owned by Tom Peterson. Cassandra Mrozinsky is the general manager of the bar/restaurant that has a spacious bar and dining area that has the requisite memorabilia on the walls. They also have some interesting collages of equipment of sports activities that are found in the Manitowoc area - everything from hockey and baseball to soccer and skateboarding.
The large rectangular bar was the centerpiece of the place. I was told that they'll have bands in the place from time to time and that it's one of the more popular places for all ages in the Manitowoc area. The have a large gaming area off to the side of the main entrance with pool and foosball tables, dart machines and other games for all ages.
We walked in around 8:40 and immediately asked if A) the kitchen still open; and B) if we would be pissing off the kitchen staff by ordering so close to the kitchen closing. The lady who met us at the hostess stand said, "Oh, sure the kitchen is still open. And, no, they won't be upset you're coming in right now." We promised we'd order fast.
The menu at Timeout is your typical sports bar fare - appetizers, burgers and sandwiches. They also have a number of fresh lake fish entrees and pizza at the bar and grill.
They had a number of panini sandwiches at Timeout, but none of them sounded very appealing to me. Actually, none of the sandwiches - save for the reuben - caught my fancy. I took a look at the burger menu and a couple of them caught my attention. The Brat burger was basically a burger with a sliced bratwurst on top of the patty. Hey, we WERE in Wisconsin! And, of course, they had a number of cheese options for burgers - the Olive burger was topped with cheddar cheese with sliced green and black olives; and the California burger was topped with mozzarella and pepperjack cheese, then finished with tomato, lettuce, guacamole and bacon and served on Texas Toast. Actually, that sounded pretty good to me.
When it came time to order, however, I went with the mushroom/Swiss burger. I asked if I could get some bacon put on top of it, as well. One of the guys next to me went with the beef nacho plate, another went with the Rodeo Burger - a burger patty topped with cheddar cheese, barbecue sauce, bacon and onion straws. Another got the chicken wrap, and two others went with the Chicken Jack sandwich - grilled chicken tenders topped with pepperjack cheese and bacon and served on a grilled sourdough bun.
Since we were the only ones ordering food at that hour, our food came out quickly. My burger was piled high with crisp bacon, copious amounts of mushrooms and a slab of Swiss cheese that had melted down the sides of the patty.
The bun was lightly toasted and had a nice spongy feel to it. From the first bite, I found the burger to be very good. It was juicy and not overcooked. The bacon had a great crispy taste and the mushrooms were noticeable, but not over powering. For a sports bar, it was a pretty damn good burger.
Seated across from me, the guy who ordered the Rodeo burger paused for a moment while I got a picture of his burger (below left). It was piled high with crispy onion rings - the kind I like - and slathered with barbecue sauce and topped with the same crisp bacon that I had on mine. He got the sweet potato fries to go along with his burger. He told me, "I've had some of the other burgers here, but this one is my favorite." It did look good.
Above right is a snapshot of the massive nacho plate the guy next to me ordered. It featured seasoned ground beef topped with shredded colby/jack cheese on a bed of red corn tortilla chips. Sour cream and salsa came on the side. I said, "Man, that looks like an appetizer that you'd share with four people. How can you eat all that?"
He said, "Watch me." And he proceeded to dig in and through the whole pile of nachos in front of him. I remember when I was young and could eat like that.
Because there is no fine dining place in Manitowoc, it's the only reason why I ended up at Timeout Sports Bar and Grill. My burger was very good, the service was very good and the people were friendly. Even though we got in late, we didn't feel rushed in any sense. I was happy with my burger and would put it up against any of the ones I've had at any one of the numerous sports bars I've visited in the past. I probably wouldn't drive across Manitowoc or stop in off the interstate from Green Bay just to eat there on my own. But if my dealer says, "Hey, let's go over to Timeout for a burger and a beer," I'd do it.