Housed in what once was a Bennigan’s, Broadway 50/50 on I-10 in the Colonnade Shopping Center is as generic as its predecessor. Despite the presence of the life-size Elvis, Broadway 50/50 did not take the charisma of its original location and translate it to its second. Maybe that would have been an impossible task given the original’s history and legend. Perhaps the original (opened for decades before a couple of year hiatus for remodeling and now reopened) is like that funky piece of furniture which no one in the family completely understands the appeal but is treasured and passed on from generation to generation, carrying forward with it stories and secrets, myth and magic.
At night, the original 50/50 is fun like crazy family. It is cool, but slightly irritating; familiar, but a little dysfunctional. It is all part of the attraction. Take that away, and you are left with Broadway 50/50 food, which is merely mediocre. At I-10 I had the club sandwich. To give them some credit this choice is generally a bad decision at any restaurant, but their version was really on the low of end of good, dry and bland, unmemorable like a mousy member of the family whose name always alludes you. The tator tots on the other hand were good, crispy and hot. I do appreciate a place that serves tots.
I have to point out that the wait staff was terrific, all were congenial and attentive. But ultimately that is not enough for a return visit. It really comes down to food or atmosphere, at the best places both, and Broadway 50/50 in the Colonnade has neither (although not surprisingly it feels and looks a lot cleaner than the original). Essentially, it is trying to recycle someone else’s throw away and pass it off as a prized family heirloom. Pass on the fake imitation and go to the 50/50 on Broadway with its authentic neighborhood bar vibe and eclectic eccentricity (but only at night for drinks – see below).
The original location of the 50/50 is located in the center of Alamo Heights. Even in daylight, the place is a dark dive; it’s definitely a bar first, food coming in a distant second. The service is not nearly as friendly, or as fast, as the I-10 location. This place comes with an attitude, like a crazy cousin with bad habits, which I don’t really mind if I’m having a couple beers hanging with my friends playing shuffleboard. You just don’t want him cooking or serving your food.
On this occasion, my Mr. ordered the fajita plate, which was just sad. Half the plate was covered in refried beans, a quarter with rice, leaving the remaining for the chicken and toppings. Perhaps that is why the dish only came with one tortilla. The taste…poor.
I ordered the burger the El Jefe Burger. Rectangular shaped like the French roll on which it is served, this unique burger is topped with pico de gallo and blue cheese, which was a combination I had never tried before and the taste worked really well together. The burger was also seasoned well. But ultimately the burger failed on two counts: the pico was not very fresh and the burger not properly prepared, significantly undercooked.
If you decide to try Broadway 50/50, the I-10 location is more kid friendly, but stick to lunch or early dinner. The Broadway 50/50 in Alamo Heights is not kid friendly at all, in my opinion, even at lunch. Set your expectations low – the food at both, despite the big portions and reasonable prices, is nothing to write home about, although it is better at the I-10 location.
Go to Broadway 50/50 in Alamo Heights for a night out with friends. The crowd is energetic, the drinks specials good, the beer selections numerous and the fun flows freely.