Summer is upon us--and with it comes more ideas about where to dine during those late-afternoon thunderstorms.
Soon there will be plenty more to choose from near the mall, especially when Newk's, Keke's and Oak & Stone open after a long build-out process. But recently Rusty Bucket opened on Cattlemen Road near Benderson Park, and I decided to check it out.
Rusty Bucket is a sports bar--but I didn't expect that it would have a cool rustic vibe with a big selection of craft beers, martinis, whiskeys and lots of shared plates. The food is good and so is the service--and there are no blaring TVs or people dressed as referees.
We opted for a mix of menu items. I wouldn't order the sweet chili wings again, but the mini-cheeseburgers on potato buns were tasty and cooked to the requested medium rare.
The patty melt is also a hit here, and for good reason--it's juicy and crispy on the outside, with buttery grilled bread and lots of melted cheese.
The barbecue chopped chicken salad was good, too, but it needed more flavor. However, we loved the mac and cheese, and the meatloaf dinner was a solid dish that came with fresh carrots and mashed potatoes.
If you're from Boston, then you know the term "pub pizza"--it's flat pizza with a no-edge crust topped with good quality ingredients. Rusty Bucket's Sicilian pizza fit the bill and seemed to be popular at many other tables, too.
All in all, I'd go back--while some local sports bars have been cutting down on their portion, Rusty Bucket's are generous and filling, especially after a UTC power walk. That means I can have the cinnamon bun bread pudding, right?
Rusty Bucket | 257 N. Cattlemen Road, Sarasota (941) 355-6666