After many months, Hoops Bar & Grill is now open in Davie at the SW corner of Griffin Road and University. The site has been home to several restaurants over the years using the same building, but Hoops is brand new from the ground up. Hoops has a seating capacity of 202 people and houses 150+ flat-screen televisions. If you like wandering around hhgregg because of the walls of TV’s, you’ll love Hoops. Every table and booth other than center-floor seats has its own TV, although you cannot control the sound and you must ask the wait staff to change the channel.
If you were expecting a basketball-themed restaurant (and with a name like Hoops, why wouldn’t you) you are in for a severe disappointment. Nothing on the inside save the round menu even hints at a basketball theme. You will find mostly (presumably) vendor-provided liquor posters and metal signs, and we spotted a Major League Baseball sign, a Miami Dolphins football sign, and that was about it. There is a large basketball jersey with the name SHACK (not SHAQ?) on it and the number 23 but that’s it for basketball memorabilia.
The outside is bright and inviting. Once inside, it’s all dark, and I mean all of it. From the dark brown tile floors to the dark wood-like paneling, to the dark tables, dark chairs, dark high-back booth seats, dark ceiling… the only thing that’s not dark is the 150+ blazing televisions. Virtually any unoccupied space has been fitted with a TV. So, sitting in your dark booth surrounded by dark fixtures (even the ceiling fans) what stands out is the endless walls of televisions. If that was the plan, it worked.
On to the food. We went for lunch at 1:30 during opening week and were promptly seated and attended to. My lunch partner and I ordered from the short lunch menu and our food arrived within 20 minutes. I had a properly done and very tasty burger and crispy fries and my partner had a beef scaloppini dish. My burger came with Havarti cheese (you can have Cheddar, Swiss or Havarti; there is no American cheese at Hoops, I was told), crunchy lettuce, ripe tomato and red onion slices on a toasted bun. Everything tasted fresh but I was not asked how I wanted the burger cooked nor asked what I wanted on it. In spite of that, it was one of the better burgers I’ve had locally.
The scaloppini dish came with a tasty creamy sauce with tri-color pepper bits. The side salad was just the right size and had an interesting mix of fresh greens, tomato, cucumber and red onion. Nicely done but delivered with the wrong dressing. For lunch, we just had lemonade and water. Based on our small sample, thumbs up on the food so far.
Here’s a bit of surprise, there are no condiments on any table. None. No salt, no pepper, no ketchup or mustard, no sugar packets. You can ask for them but you’re apparently not trusted to have them on the table. Besides, they would disrupt viewing your table side TV, the one you can see but cannot hear. What you do hear is typical bar and grill thumping music constantly playing in the background.
The female wait staff wore uniforms of a dark top, tan shorts or tan skirt and knee-high socks that were topped in horizontal black and white stripes, a hint to referee stripes. We’ll reserve comment on service capabilities for a restaurant that’s only been open a few days, but the word sufficient comes to mind. All requests were immediately handled and we were checked on a couple of times during the meal.
Back to the décor. Hoops = basketball, right? Not here. The odd, round menus are printed with a basketball graphic but handling the menu is a bit unwieldy due to the shape. As for interior design, I would have expected possibly a parquet wood floor reminiscent of a basketball court, wouldn’t you? Maybe a basketball backboard and hoop somewhere? Some basketball graphics, maybe a player image or two? Was Fathead not open? Was it too costly to license anything from the NBA? Just makes you shrug.
The food was good enough to make me want to go back plus the location is handy. Could be a great bar hangout with a long inside bar framed by a huge TV and an airy outside bar to complement it. If you like a restaurant with at least 20 TVs in your field of view at any given time, Hoops is for you.