Sunday, July 30, 2017

Big Al's (Beaverton)

Big Al's has one location in four different states. This blog post just covers the spot in Beaverton, Oregon. The other locations are in Meridian, ID; Ontario, CA; and Vancouver, WA.

Big Al's is a bowling alley, restaurant and bar, and an arcade rolled into one. The bowling games are around $5.75 a game in the evenings (early bowling sessions are $4). That doesn't even cover shoe rental ($3.50). It's gotten so much pricier from my junior bowling days in Hawaii (15-20+ years ago already?!), when I remember getting three games and virtually unlimited practice time for $7 or $8. I still enjoyed practice sessions at my home lane on non-league days; maybe $5.50 for three games. Even after ending my bowling career, the games I paid were around the $3.50 mark (granted, this was over 10 years ago). I had my own shoes at the time, at least.

At least there are bowling specials/discounts for seniors, kids, and military. Go to the Saturday or Sunday morning special bowling because it's just $2 a game until noon. You should be able to complete a few games in those two hours, especially if going alone or with a couple others. The $10/person late night unlimited bowling (Sun-Thu from 9 PM to 11 PM closing) is also a good deal.

There's actually a lot to do here, whether you want to make it a family outing or a night out with friends. The restaurant and bar here is a popular sports gathering, especially for UFC PPVs.

The Beaverton menu has typical bar food. It includes several burgers, nachos, pizza, salads, and sandwiches. Big Al's will have a full bar, with various beers on tap.

I got the Peanut Butter Bacon Burger ($14): NW beef, American cheese, bacon, peanut butter, pickle chips, and tomato (I 86'd the mayo here). It may sound strange to some people, but it's a great combination. The savory, hearty peanut butter works with the beef, smoky crisp bacon, gooey cheese, and tangy pickles. The peanut butter here is warmed up so it's more runny than usual. It leads to a messy burger, but a delicious one. Assuming no allergies, I highly recommend that people give this a shot.

Burgers here come with choice of fries, tater tots, or salad. I chose the tater tots to be different. Standard, good tots here. My friends got fries, which appeared crispy, sturdy, and cooked properly.

Apparently the "smallest" size of nachos is still labeled "big," and can feed a number of people. The picture won't really do it justice, but it should be worth the $17 you shell out. The larger size, labeled "famous," is $24 and probably should just be a food challenge.

"Big" nachos (their smaller size)

I ended up putting some of the nachos inside my Peanut Butter Bacon Burger. Because science.

I asked for a side of their Near Death sauce, after seeing they put it on their burgers and wings. Unfortunately, I didn't care for the sauce. It briefly started as a regular Buffalo wing sauce for me, but too much extract flavor (more artificial and chemical-like). It left no real pepper flavor that I could enjoy.

As for my beer thirty beverage? Boneyard RPM IPA, a solid, local Oregon brew.

Big Al's is a great place to hang out, get some beer and food, and perhaps get a few games of bowling in! 7.75/10

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