Restaurant of the Week: 2nd Avenue Saloon

2nd Avenue Saloon, 271 N. 2nd Ave. (at 9th St.), Upland; open daily, 4 p.m. to 2 a.m.

Note: This post, about a meal in late February, was prepared prior to the pandemic. The restaurant is now offering outdoor dining on Second Avenue.

A friend messaged me recently with a photo of a flier in the window of 2nd Avenue Saloon for $5.99 Steak Night, which is each Wednesday. We made a plan to meet (meat?) up.

The bar and restaurant, formerly Old Baldy Brewing Co. and the Sea Cove, opened in 2008, and I realized I’d never been inside, only to neighboring JD Allison’s. The layout inside 2nd Avenue Saloon seems completely different than Old Baldy, but then it’s been more than a decade and perhaps my memory is off. A couple of pool tables greet you when you walk in, then there’s a classic-looking bar, plus tables and booths, and a second “VIP” room for parties, karaoke and live music.

I’d enjoyed Steak Night at nearby Charlie’s Stars and Stripes, which began at $5, included a steak, baked potato and salad, and supposedly required a drink purchase, although the staff didn’t enforce that (once or twice, not knowing the requirement, I ordered water). The price rose to $7 and the day of the week changed from Monday, which had made it a good place to eat before a council meeting, to Wednesday, and I got out of the habit. (It’s still taking place and now costs $8.)

There’s a special every night at 2nd Avenue Saloon. We each ordered the steak, which comes with two sides. Options included fries and onion rings, but not baked potato. I got a salad and mixed vegetables, as did my friend. The salads were served on individual plates and were substantial.

The steaks came out soon, grilled green and yellow zucchini and onions on the side (see above). The server told us she thought our veggie servings were undersized and had instructed the kitchen to make more. That extra serving came out in a couple of minutes on a separate plate and we split it up.

My sirloin, medium rare, was great. I ate half and took home half, along with some veggies. My friend ate all of hers but wished she’d followed my sterling example of restraint. I’ve always thought more people should emulate me but they rarely agree.

Also, we only ordered waters, so the total bill for both of us with tax was around $14. Thanks, 2nd Avenue Saloon.

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