Written by Amber Smith & Jennifer Gleason
This week, the Spectator Tasters headed downtown for a taste of what a local restaurant has to offer.
Amber: The Bleu Pub is one of several “Bleu” establishments in downtown Valdosta. The Pub is located on Hill Avenue, right on the very edge of the downtown area. It’s got a kind of hidden feel. There are no neon signs like the ones that come to mind when you think of a bar. This establishment is much classier than a bar and has the welcoming atmosphere deserving of the connotation that comes with the name of “pub” blended with the classiness implied when an establishment names is named with the French spelling of “blue.” We parked in the public lot behind the shops in the block between Hill Avenue and Central Avenue.
Jennifer: Bleu Pub reminded me of the pub/restaurant atmosphere found in college towns like Athens—rustic interior with somber lighting. The line of sports photos on the walls were interesting to look at with close ups of some players in action on the field. On a busy night, I imagine the place being full of people and a small band or solo act entertaining the crowd on the small, corner stage near the door.
Amber: Coming into the Pub from this side of the building, we stepped into a space that was very long and open. On the walls near this door are several framed photos of sports teams and players past. There is also a stage in the corner of the room. The other door is on the opposite wall near the bar. The restaurant had an outdoor café feel, complete with shutters and awnings on one wall, though the establishment is completely indoors.
Jennifer: The menu was full of several entrees that looked like they would stick to our ribs—primarily sandwiches and burgers. It was hard to decide exactly what we wanted from the menu, but when our food got to us, the portion sizes weren’t overwhelming, although the food was incredibly filling.
Amber: Our server informed us that we came in during happy hour, meaning there were several drink specials and 2-for-1 appetizers. We opted not to try any drinks, but we did take advantage of the appetizer offer. Jennifer suggested nachos. I was torn between a quesadilla and fried mushrooms. Jennifer decided on the mushrooms for me and soon we had two delicious plates placed in front of us. By the time the appetizers arrived, I had decided to try one of what I hear are the “best burgers in town.” The Bleu Pub has one of the most extensive burger menus I have ever seen. All of these burgers are hand-pattied and each variation has the option to substitute a vegetarian-friendly black bean patty option. I chose the Goddess, which comes with feta cheese, cucumbers and black olives as well as the Pub standard trimmings—lettuce, tomato, pickles, onions and Dijon mayo. The Bleu Pub definitely lives up to the hype. This is quite possibly the best burger I’ve ever had. You can taste the freshness that the establishment prides itself on.
Jennifer: I ordered the Braveheart Burger which consisted of everything on a typical burger, plus peanut butter. Naturally the idea of Dijon mayo with peanut butter did not sound appealing so I opted out of it and ended up only eating the burger with the patty, peanut butter and lettuce. The burger was a half-pound, thus it was too much to eat in one sitting, but worth it. When I initially asked for it, our server took a few steps back to the bar to make sure they had all the proper ingredients. When he returned to our booth, he informed me that I would be getting the first batch of freshly made peanut butter. It was my first time receiving homemade peanut butter from a restaurant and the hot, melted, just-made quality of the spread made the burger even more satisfying. It was a risk ordering the Braveheart, but my addiction to peanut butter outweighed my hesitation. I opted in for the macaroni and cheese instead of fries (for an extra cost), and it was not the traditional macaroni and cheese most Kraft lovers have come to know. It tasted as though it was a distinct blend of two different cheeses, but it wasn’t an unappealing take on the side.
“We try to make as much as we can by ourselves, for ourselves,” Joseph Williams, a bartender at Bleu Pub, said.
Along with peanut butter, this includes hummus, the cheeses used, black bean products and falafel.
The Bleu Pub’s menu lists several other items that we will definitely be back to try. Its menu will be changing soon though, so we’re excited to see what new things the staff will bring in.
“We’ll be slicing a lot of our own meats and cheeses, but it won’t be like Subway or anything,” Williams said.