Photo by Maggie Morris
Pastrami sandwich served with warm German potato salad
805 N. Davis — once semi-upscale and dinner-only— is now home to a new restaurant with a compact menu, seasoned owners and a busy vibe. On game days it’s standing-room only at the bar, where The Betty on Davis’ regulars boo bad plays from behind pickled vodka cocktails and craft drafts.
You’ll recognize the principal servers as members of the Fan Rat restaurant brigade — the spunky crew that’s fed you at Sticky Rice and Bellytimber, among other places. They remember your drink, your name and your team, in that order. They’ve also remembered to make The Betty affordable. Though there aren’t many green servers here, beware if you get one; I’ve waited at the door for 10 minutes, a few feet from a waitress filling out dinner specials, before giving up and leaving unacknowledged. Yes, she saw me.
The real MVP here is the food. Chef Trevor Knotts’ menu reads heavy on Lowcountry and European comfort foods; think blackened chicken, schnitzel, pasta and mussels. A children’s menu (how often do you see one of those in the Fan?) includes saucy linguine, fresh zucchini and an “Ooooo”-eliciting ants-on-a-log appetizer.
The Betty’s daily specials board reigns supreme; an Italian sub towers above a salty thicket of fries; house-made sausage and pastrami, albeit thickly sliced, fill the sailor sandwich; curried eggplant and tomato goat cheese soups yield skillfully blended flavors; and a two-handed burger dressed with sweet barbecue sauce, pineapple, arugula and cheddar is just one of the daily leviathans.
At dinner, buttery shrimp and grits studded with chorizo get freaky with a pickled onion topping. If you’ve tried this dish before and were disappointed with the shrimp, I suggest you give it another go; the kitchen’s using a larger size now, resulting in a firmer texture. For dessert, I recommend the cute-as-Christmas, cast iron country staple: apple brown betty. It’s a beauty.
The Betty on Davis
805 N. Davis Ave.
Hours: Monday to Thursday: 11 a.m. to 11 p.m.; Friday to Saturday: 11 a.m. to midnight