BRAINTREE – In Braintree you can find a brother-sister team living out their culinary dreams at Bates Bar & Grill.
"We're just two kids living our dream in a restaurant," Liz Sarras said.
"Most of the time it's great working with her, but there's been occasions where I want to throw things at her," Bob Sarras said of his sister.
Bates Bar & Grill is a casual spot serving elevated pub grub, pizzas, and Greek specialties. Since the Sarras siblings grew up working in their parents' Greek pizza place, they have always had a passion for hospitality.
"My dad was always in the restaurant industry and I remember going into the kitchen to see my dad and I would see all these chefs and it would always wow me," Bob reminisced.
So the siblings set up a space that is cozy yet classy, and their menu is lined with all of the good stuff.
"It's comfort food. It's finger food that you want to eat with a fork, but then you just dig right in with your hands," Liz said.
While French Fries usually are a finger food, you will probably want to use a fork on these sidewinder spuds, especially if you order the Chowder Fries.
"Homemade clam chowder that we put on top of our crispy fries, top them with mozzarella and cheddar cheese, some crispy fresh cut bacon, bake them in the oven, and when they come out we just drizzle a little bit of greenery on top," Liz described.
There is a pileup of fries topped with Pulled Pork, slathered with caramelized onions, melted mozzarella and cheddar, and there are fries loaded up with housemade chili.
"It takes us a couple of hours to make our chili, with some shredded mozzarella and cheddar cheese on top. Top them with jalapenos, tomatoes," explained Liz. "Like I said, you want to eat them with a fork and knife but at the end of the day you just pick them up with your fingers and devour them."
Other handheld ways to kick off your meal include Bates' Chicken Wings, available with the bone and boneless, and their handmade Cheesesteak Egg Rolls served with sriracha ketchup.
Given their family's pizzeria background, you know their pie is gonna be on point.
"We've had this recipe for quite some time. We make our own dough in-house and it's kind of a mix between a Greek style pizza and a pub pizza," Bob described.
While the dough is a classic, the topping combinations are most definitely modern. There is the Clam Chowder Pizza, which uses their creamy chowder in place of marinara, and a pie that has all the flavor of a burger on top of a pizza.
"It's ground up hamburger meat topped with bacon, baked in the oven, and then when it comes out we top it with your traditional cheeseburger toppings: lettuce, diced pickles, red onion, ketchup, and mustard," listed Liz. "It tastes like a pizza and a burger. You can have both in one world."
If you ask these two Greeks what their favorite pizza is, they will direct you to the Grecian.
"Eating pizza you always feel guilty, but with our Grecian pizza, it's topped with pretty much a Greek salad," Bob said.
"You're getting that delicious piece of chicken, the greasiness of a pizza, a Greek style pizza, but with a little bit of healthiness on top with the salad. I can't even explain to you in words how good that pizza is," Liz added.
Other traditional specialties include their Greek Pita stuffed with grilled chicken, lettuce, tomatoes, cucumber, red onion, and feta, and something called Souvlaki Sticks, which are tender pork skewers marinated, grilled and drizzled with fresh lemon.
"It's fresh. It's tasty. We give you a couple of skewers. It's exactly how you get it in Greece," Bob said.
The Barbecue Steak Tips are exactly how you remember them if you visited the Sarras' old restaurant.
"Our steak tips are actually pretty, pretty famous," Bob pointed out. "We've had our recipe for over 20 years. We have people from all over the place driving in just to get them. Super tender. We marinate them for a minimum of two days before we serve them. So the flavor's there, the tenderness is there, you just can't get enough of them."
When it comes to sandwiches the Bates kitchen really shines, whether you go for the Sweet n Sticky Burger topped with bacon, grilled pineapple and Swiss, or try their crispy Buttermilk Chicken Sandwich topped with spicy slaw.
"When you first bite in you get that chicken flavor and then the sweetness and the spiciness of this coleslaw just comes in. It all blends together and there's not one word that can really describe it. It's just amazing," Bob said.
For an open-faced option, you have got to try the Pulled Pork.
"We oven roast our pulled pork for about 10 hours and then top it with our own homemade sauce. Top it with some caramelized onions and our spicy coleslaw right on top of that. It comes open-faced for you, but a lot of people just take the two pieces of bread and just smoosh them together for a mountain of meat and coleslaw," Liz described.
Whether you slam back a sandwich, go for some Greek, or wolf down some wings, you are going to have a lot of clean plates when you eat at Bates.
You can find Bates Bar & Grill at 2 Commercial Street in Braintree, and online at batesbarandgrill.com.
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