In an effort to offer students options for lunch besides the usual dining halls and food court at the Ronald Tutor Campus Center, Traditions has decided to open its doors for lunch.
Traditions, more affectionately known to students as “Traddies,” has garnered the reputation as the campus’ quintessential sports bar, complete with pool tables, high-definition televisions and alluring dinner and snack options such as pulled pork quesadillas and a mean spinach-and-artichoke dip. But with these new hours, students can enjoy Traddies without having to wait until dinner.
Unlike the more creative dinner menu, though, the lunch menu is painfully straightforward. It comes down to three options: burgers, hot dogs and salads. The simple menu makes for faster decision-making, but the lack of variety is dismal.
And admittedly, Traddies’ afternoon vibe seems a bit off-kilter . Though the TVs show football highlights and the overhead lamps are dimly-lit for a cool, sophisticated effect, the chatty nighttime ambiance is replaced with awkward and hushed midday conversations.
Yet it is this relaxed atmosphere that makes Traddies an ideal place to meet with friends over burgers and fries. Traddies serves as an escape from the foot traffic and bedlam at EVK Restaurant and Grill during lunchtime rush hour and the long, winding lines coming out of Lemonade. There is no pushing and shoving during lunch at Traddies. Sit comfortably, enjoy the upbeat music and, on a hot day, escape the heat and relish the air conditioning.
But food, above all else, is the ultimate gauge when it comes to judging a restaurant — and Traddies conjures up mixed feelings.
The Yard Bird ($8.88), a tequila-lime-grilled chicken burger, did not meet expectations. It lacked the promised citrusy-tangy kick and ended up being a little dry.
Alluding to the founding of Trojan football, the 1888 Burger ($6.88), like the Yard Bird Burger, falls a little flat. Though the overall burger is tasty and the ingredients — crispy bacon, cheddar cheese, lettuce, ripe tomatoes and savory grilled onions — are extremely fresh, the 1888 burger is somewhat of a letdown considering how small the patty is for how much it costs.
On the other hand, Traddies knows a thing or two about making decent hot dogs and fries.
The Transplant Dog ($5.85), named because “no one is really from L.A.,” brings together the mild sourness of sauerkraut and the distinct sharpness of brown mustard to create a tasty dog. More toppings would have made this hot dog exceptional, but regardless, the Transplant Dog is still more than agreeable.
And piled high with sweet relish, onions, tomato, hot peppers and celery salt, the Chi-Town Dog ($5.85) packs a tasty punch. The peppers are tame but maintain some heat, the sweet relish and onions create a perfect marriage of flavor and the buns, slightly toasted, add a nice crunch with every bite.
Of course, no bar menu is complete without good fries. Thank goodness Traddies has its own recipe for crispy, piping-hot shoestring fries.
At $2.25 for a large serving, these fries are perfect for sharing. These fries also come in three irresistible flavors of seasoning: Simplicity, BBQ-cuity and Mo-heat spicy. Though the BBQ and spicy seasonings are nearly indistinguishable from each other, these fries are still extremely addicting: Make sure to get at least one order for every two people at the table.
Since Traddies has only had experience serving dinner, it is not surprising that the restaurant still has some more work to do in terms of lunch. But there is a lot of potential: The service ought to be faster, but it will pick up as lunch at Traddies gains momentum.
As for the menu, more appetizers and entrees need to be added. Maybe some baked potato skins topped off with some bacon and garnished with chives? Fried okra and zucchini? Healthy pesto, tomato and mozzarella flatbreads and wraps for vegetarians?
Regardless, Traddies has a lot to offer in terms of good, solid American cuisine. Got a craving for excellent hot dogs and seasoned fries?
Traddies has an available table.
Traditions is open for lunch Monday through Friday from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.