Wednesday, February 10, 2016
Coaches Burger Bar
Address: 9065 Springfield Road, Poland
Hours: Monday through Thursday, 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.; Friday and Saturday, 11 a.m. to midnight
Menu:Nine burgers, $8.50 to $10.25
Rating: 4.5 Stars
By Anthony M. Fuda
The Champ declares Coaches a real contender, and we agree.
The Champ is Boxing Hall of Famer and Youngstown’s favorite son Ray “Boom Boom” Mancini, and the contender is the burger at Coaches Burger Bar.
This month’s burger review selection came from the Champ himself. He eats there often, and we couldn’t resist an opportunity to sit down with Ray, talk boxing and Youngstown while enjoying a great burger.
Coaches is a sports bar for the entire family. There is local and national sports memorabilia adorning the walls, and when you walk in you first notice the wrap-around wooden bar with TVs positioned all around so you don’t miss any action from the big games.
We found a table to house our rather large group. We let Ray take the lead in ordering from the nine 1/2 pound burger selections: Peppercorn (seared in black and white pepper, sautéed mushrooms, onions, Swiss cheese, sweet pepper corn aioli), Cleveland (topped with kielbasa, fresh cut fries, slaw, BBQ sauce), Pittsburger (provolone cheese, fresh cut fries, slaw), Sideline Fire (pepper jack cheese, house made hots, covered in fire sauce), Big Texan (American cheese, bacon, BBQ sauce, onion tanglers) , Southwestern (cheddar cheese, green onions, fresh salsa, chipolte aioli), Burger and Greens (Italian greens, provolone cheese, garlic aioli), Turkey (roasted red pepper, grilled onions, Swiss, lettuce, tomato, spicy Dijon mustard), Porky (topped with BBQ pulled pork, cole slaw, smoked cheddar), a Build Your Own, and February’s Burger of the Month, Hearts Of Fire! (seared in signature fire sauce, covered in spicy cheddar cheese, loaded with house made hots and finished with a touch of honey).
The burgers were sided with a mountain of fresh cut fries that could have been a meal by them self.
Ray went rogue and ordered the Burger Salad. We agreed this counts as a burger because it has everything but the bun (pita slices instead). We are all about burgers, and when we saw the Burger Salad, it stood out as something different. If it had a bun, that bun would have to be twice the size of a regular bun because of how big the salad is. There is a full chopped burger, in pieces, on top of a huge amount of mixed salad greens, bacon, tomato, onions and a hard cooked egg; and then topped with melted cheddar cheese. Ray chose the fries on the side and the balsamic dressing.
The Burger Salad looked really good, and Ray said “It tasted great, and the freshness of the food is what keeps me comng back.” He wanted a burger, but just came from an event and didn’t want to have to run an extra 10 miles. Ray added, “The Burger Salad is terrific. Having the fresh greens and adding balsamic dressing is important to make this minimum indulgence a great meal. It was really a nice, refreshing burger/salad.”
I chose the Burger and Greens and agreed with Ray’s assessment that the freshness of the greens really added to the taste of the burger. You can tell these were made to order, instead of just pulling them out of a frozen box. The beef was tender and full of flavor. The bun that held this masterpiece together was light and fluffy - and somehow did not fall apart, which was good, because I did not want to put it down because it tasted so good.”
The Big Texan Burger caught JT's eye and he said, "I'm going to use Spatman's wet-nap scale and give this burger a 41/2. It was cooked to perfection, well seasoned, and great toppings - the onion straws are phenomenal!
And the amount of fries - holy cow! Our waitress, Lucille Mazocca, assured me that we weren't getting special treatment and a quick scan around the room confirmed it as other patrons were enjoying the same generous portions.”
Eric walked in ready for a burger battle, “When a establishment calls itself a burger bar, I feel it's in my DNA to eat there. Upon my arrival I was impressed with the great selection of burgers. I was then told about the Burger of the Month, for February it was appropriately named The Hearts Afire Burger, in honor of Valentines Day. In my never ending quest for heat, I was sold at the mere mention of anything that even references the word fire. My first bite let me know the name was on point. After enjoying a few tastes, I amped it up by adding even more of the fire sauce. All this did was just increase how much I enjoyed this burger. My bum itself had a hard time acclimating to all it was trying to keep in place and by the end it showed that it can't handle the heat. With the finishing touch of some of the best French fries I've had in a long time (which I also doused in fire sauce) and I can confidently recommend stopping in before the end of the month to have a crack at this pleasantry. I know I'll be back!”
Chiz remarked about his burger, “This beautiful night, I had a little slice of heaven called "The Peppercorn Burger." In my usual style I also received a side of their "fire" sauce. This sauce was amazing as well with its fiery goodness that received a slight enhancement with a touch of garlic. The ground beef itself was seasoned just right, melty and juicy for a well done burger. My first bite seemed to have lifted me off my seat as I was on some kind of state of euphoria! The way the spiciness and saltiness of the beef played off my toppings were good enough. What really changed the game was this sweet peppercorn aioli. It's like having a nice suit, nice new shirt, and then finally finding the PERFECT tie to bring it all together! I am still in awe over the experience and burger deliciousness bestowed upon us at Coaches Burger Bar! This place gets my "burger-love" seal of approval... Just don't tell my wife I have love for another!”
The only thing that could have made these burgers any better would have been a glass of any of Ray’s Southpaw wines. A good red goes well with a good burger.
Ray is very down to earth and an extremely nice guy. We could have sat all night and listened to Ray tell his tales from the ring. You can tell he is as passionate about his community as he is about his food.
If you are looking for a real knockout of a meal, stop in to Coaches and go toe-to-toe with any of the burgers they have. And you’ll find, like Ray says, this burger IS a real Champion.
In a unanimous decision, the judges scored this burger 4 1/2 stars You can look for Ray at this year’s Battle of the Burgers, where he agreed to judge the burger combatants. You can hear Ray host The Boom Boom Room Thursdays at 6 pm on Radio 570. Keep reading the Valley food section each Wednesday for the best food the Valley has to offer. You can keep in touch with us at BurgerGuyz@hotmail.com, or on our Facebook page BurgerGuyz. Coaches Burger Bar honors a local coach, from any sport, each month to thank them for the time and commitment they give to local youth. The Coach of the Month receives: social media recognition, a coaches burger bar t-shirt and a $50 gift card.