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ISSUE 121 VOL 7 PUBLISHED 11/9/2007

Quarterback Club not worth joining

By Mark Legler
Contributing Writer

Friday, November 9, 2007

The Quarterback Club does not enjoy a huge college patronage. It's the only place in Northfield where there's more hunting apparel than North Face jackets. Maybe it's the location, stuck in the middle of Highway 3, the multitude of already well-frequented restaurants in the area or the exclusivity of its name. But most likely, it's the bizarreness of its culinary mission. The name leads you to believe it's a sports bar, but it is, in fact, a "family restaurant." Thus, there are no televisions and not a drop of liquor inside. But there's also almost no table service and the atmosphere isn't relaxing like a genuine sit-down place. And since it's not a chain, it's not really identified as a fast food restaurant.

The Q.B. Club's menu has the variety of a family restaurant, but the setup is more like a fast food joint. Orders are taken at the front counter for either takeout or eat-in. Their menu includes burgers, sandwiches, pitas, ribs, chicken and shakes.

Unless you're craving some solid fried chicken, there's little reason to cough up above average prices for their bland fare. The country kitchen décor, complete with house plants, wood paneling and framed Little League photos, suggests that the restaurant should feature well-cooked home-style food, but the home line at the Caf is probably closer to what you'd get at Mom's than the low quality grub at the Q.B. Club.

The Q.B. Burger is absolutely nondescript. The patty tasted pre-cooked and flavorless. I struggled to find what was unique about the burger that earned it the Q.B. moniker, but the only fixings were pickles, onions, ketchup and mustard. For $3.29 this was a complete disappointment.

Their hot turkey-club sandwich was slightly better. The melted cheddar cheese wasn't gourmet, but it added some succulence. Combined with the mayo, it helped to overcome the chewy, cheap bun. The pita sandwich, with its dry and flaky bread, is a lame attempt at an updating of their menu. In reality, the food at the Q.B. club has progressed as much as their 1950s interior design. I ordered the crab pita sandwich, and while it's understandable that the crab meat was imitation and rubbery, the sandwich needs something other than lettuce, tomatoes and mayo. Seasoning in any of the dishes would be a start.

The Q.B. Club's chicken dinners are the one redeeming feature of this otherwise mediocre establishment. The chicken was juicy and flavorful and the moderate amount of breading meant that the flavor was not overwhelmed. To make it a dinner, they give you cole slaw, a bun and a choice of potato wedges or french fries. The cole slaw was runny, but flavorful. The potato wedges were slightly overcooked. The bun is a poor choice for a chicken side. Fried chicken needs a good buttermilk biscuit, not a cafeteria-quality, over-refined puff.

Try the Quarterback Club if you want chicken or if you're sick of the chain restaurants and your taste buds haven't developed since you were three. Its small-town charm is endearing (there's no pretension, no foreign entrée names, and they call it "pop"), but with so many better options for an $8 meal in Northfield, it's hard to justify becoming a member of this unexceptional fast-food club.

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