Mt. Pleasant Eatery Upping The Game For Sports Bar
By: Jeff Walker, Business Review
From the food and beverage creative team that brought you Sol Southwestern Kitchen comes Eleven 81, a laid back family friendly sports bar located at Oakland Market in Mount Pleasant. Their current paper menu as well as their website says ‘you’ve been here before’, and if you live or work north of the IOP Connector east of the Cooper River you probably have.
For more than a decade Eleven 81 (the physical address in Oakland Market) was home to Wild Wing Cafe. David Clark, Andy Palmer, and Joe Sciortino were former partners in the franchise, but when WWC’s lease ended, the trio opted to make a clean break, rebranding the location as Eleven 81 a neighborhood eatery where folks are welcome to eat, drink, and gather.
A little thing like Covid 19 didn’t deter the partners from opening Eleven 81 this past August. And although initial business might be curtailed by the virus, all indicators point to a very successful run over the past three months, with regulars flocking to Eleven 81 for signature light bites, sandwiches, burgers, wings, salads, sweet treats, and more.
You can get their signature House Burger smothered in cheddar with their secret Eleven sauce, or a BBQ Burger blanketed in apple-wood smoked bacon, but if you have a craving for something with a bit more panache, than I recommend the Shitake (heart healthy East Asian mushrooms) Swiss Burger. Bolder appetites might prefer the Jalapeno Bacon Burger, sure to set your taste buds ablaze.
No matter what adult sized burger you decide on, they all begin with two four ounce patties, for a full and fresh half pound of USDA prime beef, complemented ideally with seasoned fries (salt & paprika for color). I hear they make a mean Philly Cheesesteak, and I’m quite certain their Buffalo Chicken Wrap complete with hot sauce in a jalapeno cheese wrap will titillate the palate.
The appetizer portion of the menu is a plethora of lite bites, with several of the eight offerings easily a meal unto itself. The Loaded Taco Nachos comes piled high with shredded beef, jalapenos, lettuce, and black beans, blanketed under house-made creamy queso, sour cream, and pico de gallo. Order up a couple of Coronas and it’s a meal for two, or easily a beginning snack for three or more.
Have a hankering for something salty, well you’re in luck. The Jumbo Pretzel makes New York street pretzels look under-nourished. Imagine a pretzel on steroids, and you have the Jumbo Pretzel. Served with zesty queso and spicy mustard to further cater to your salty yearning. Another two person lite bite, and of course a ‘gotta have a cold beer’ to accompany this oversized snack.
Maybe you’re a bit more sophisticated, not that there’s anything wrong with that. If you are, than the Spinach Artichoke Dip, or the flash-fried rare Black & White Tuna with a glass of cabernet or pinot noir will fit the bill. Straight up beer lovers can find comfort in the Loaded Social Fries, ie thin cut seasoned fries, insanely drooling with bacon, cheddar, and buttermilk ranch. Awesome!
And what would a sports bar be without a selection of wings. A variety boneless or traditional coated to your fancy, including lemon pepper, garlic parmesan, or the five alarm ‘inferno’. As expected they all come with celery and your choice of bleu cheese or ranch dressing. Gotta love comfort food.
Vegans and non beef eaters have a few options at Eleven 81. The plant based Impossible Burger is all the rage, and a 1/4 pound option is on the menu, as are a trio of salads you can get with or without bacon and or chicken.
But if poultry is still on your list, than I recommend the Asian Chicken Salad. Definitely a meal, and teeming with glazed hoison (a soybean based sweet & spicy, dark red sauce, made with vinegar, sugar, garlic, and various spices) chicken, strewn alongside red cabbage, toasted almonds, edamame, green onions, mandarin orange slices, and wonton strips. Glowing in sesame vinaigrette, it’s as zesty as it is colorful.
What’s a sports bar offering good food, without a strong selection of cold brews and cocktails? The obvious answer if squat. Thankfully Eleven 81 serves up a bevy of lagers, ales, porters, and IPA’s from local and regional breweries. You might discover some of your favorites drafts from Palmetto, Holy City, Rusty Bull, Westbrook, and Hilton Head Brewing Company, all nestled beside American mainstays.
The ladies might prefer a nice glass of pinot grigio or a chardonnay, unless they opt for a more cosmopolitan cocktail, which leads them to the Blueberry Mojito, a Strawberry Jalapeno Margarita, or the Bourbon Strawberry Iced Tea. Of course all the fruits of the vine and house cocktails are available to the men as well, as long as diners are 21 and older.
Should you visit with the little ones 10 and under, Eleven 81 has five options for a measly $6. Understanding kids are picky they offer up a cheese burger, two chicken meals, a beef taco, or a cheese quesadilla. Hell yes they come with a choice of side and a drink. Sweet deal!
If you’re wondering about the prices for the older crowd, well just about every item on the menu is $14 or less, with lite bites $6-$12, and adult beverages including mixed drinks under $9. Coming in to watch the game with your buddies, how about 25 wings for $24.50. Mix and match with your favorite cold beer.
For those who visited when it was WWC, you might recall it was known for being a sports bar, and that hasn’t changed. Whether you fancy college or pro sports, Eleven 81 will have your favorite games on an abundance of big screen TVs, located in the main dining room, the bar, or the more sunlit patio area.
Let’s break it down, Eleven 81 took a former sports bar with a decent following, in a well trafficked shopping center (Oakland Market), and literally ‘raised the bar’ (pun intended). Eleven 81 checks all the right food and beverage boxes, ie good food, fair prices, clean comfortable decor, and exceptional customer service. Put them all together and you have a recipe for success.
A side bar note: If you happen to pop in on Tuesday or Thursday during lunch, make sure you meet Andy’s wife Elizabeth, who by all accounts is the official spokesperson for Eleven 81. Her over the top enthusiasm combined with her personality, easily make diners welcome.
If the success of the community sports bar is tied to her spunk, than Eleven 81 is going to be around for a long time. She’s quick to add, the owners, their wives, and the staff at Eleven 81 are one big happy family. Come eat, drink, and gather at Eleven 81. For more on them check out their website at https://www.eatateleven81.com/eat
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