Brady’s pleases diners since 1980

As we enjoyed a late lunch at Brady’s Restaurant last Saturday afternoon, I realized Brady’s and I have sort of come full circle. I’ve been going there since it opened in 1980 when I was a teen and working part-time at the daily newspaper down the street. Now, I sat across from my two teenage daughters, munching on an appetizer of cheese fries, one of our Brady’s favorites.

The downtown building is a circa 1920 structure initially remodeled with the atmosphere of a New Orleans oyster bar in mind. With its brick walls, copper ceiling, slow-turning ceiling fans, and soft rock music, it’s inviting and relaxing, whether sitting at a table or booth, or on one of the stools at the long, ornately-carved wood bar to the right of the entrance. It’s been remodeled since then, adding more dining space inside and out. On another recent visit, a friend and I sat on the patio, enjoying the mild weather, lush plants and trickling fountain as we ate.

Just as the eatery has expanded over the years, so has its menu. Always known for making a great sandwich, Brady’s menu now includes seafood, steaks and fajitas, along with gourmet hamburgers, house specialties, appetizers, soups, salads and desserts. There’s also a kids’ menu.

The previously mentioned cheese fries ($3.75, regular; $5, plate) never disappoint. The long, thin, slightly crisp fries were covered in melted cheddar cheese and arrived with two containers of ranch dressing for dipping. Delicious.

The Caesar salad with fried oysters, bacon and eggs ($10) was nicely presented in a large white bowl filled with romaine lettuce, topped with eight plump fried oysters, sprinkled with bacon pieces and circled with boiled egg wedges. The Caesar dressing was light and accented with black pepper. The salad was a bit skimpy on dressing, but when we asked, the waitress quickly brought more to the table. This salad offered a pleasing combination of flavors, bringing a plain Caesar salad to another level.

The 8-ounce prime filet steak ($21) was grilled to medium as requested, tender, and with a nice, robust chargrilled flavor. The menu said Brady’s steaks are aged and hand cut, and the result is a flavorful cut of beef with no need for steak sauce. Accompanying it were a side Caesar salad and a steaming baked potato with butter, sour cream and chives.

The bacon cheddar burger with French fries ($10.50) was a thick, char-grilled burger topped with slices of applewood smoked bacon and shredded Cheddar cheese, mayo, lettuce, tomato, onion and pickles on a sesame bun. We ordered the burger well done, but think we’ll go for medium next time because it was a tad dry, but otherwise satisfying.

We can also recommend the tuna salad stuffed tomato, and the Reuben, vegetable, most any of the sandwiches really, which we’ve tried on previous trips, and there have been many ... since 1980.