Walking into Wagers Grill and Bar, I wasnt exactly blown away by the atmosphere. This north Macon establishment located off River Place Drive was dark, smoky and exuded more bar than grill. But dont let that discourage you. If you give it a try, you could hit the jackpot in this casino-gambling-themed eatery (hence its name). But theres also a chance you might come away empty handed, too.
With plenty of big-screen TVs and a decent drink selection, Wagers would be a good place to catch a game with friends or get together after work. For those who cant handle cigarette smoke -- and theres usually plenty of it at Wagers -- ask about the outside deck seating available upstairs (weather permitting, of course). I dropped by a couple of times and enjoyed sitting outside the most.
As for the food, everything has a casino name. From the Ante Up appetizers to the Pit Boss burgers and hot dogs to the Dealers Choice dinners and Roulette pizzas, theres plenty of variety on the menu.
The Quesadillas Teasers include chicken, steak or bacon served on a lightly browned tortilla with cheese. They were tasty and filling. The occasional jalapeño bite gave them a lively spicy kick, as did the salsa served on the side along with sour cream. Although listed as an appetizer, they could easily be a meal by themselves.
The Boss Burger was thick, juicy and flavorful. The kind of burger you have to open wide for when taking that first bite. It came with lettuce, tomato, a thick slice of cheese, and was topped off with sautéed mushrooms and onions. Piping hot fries accompanied it.
While the burger was satisfying, the same could not be said of the Best Bet Steak Sandwich. I found the shredded steak to be a cheaper, imitation-style version of what I was hoping for. It was served up lukewarm, in a bun that had a soggy consistency and was then squashed down in a rather unappealing manner. Kind of felt like my best bet would have been to stay away from this one.
Making up for the sandwich was what Wagers calls its signature grilled chicken wings. Both the mild and hot varieties were delicious, with a nice char-grilled texture to the exterior and sauces that were flavorful but not overwhelming. A honey barbecue version is also available.
There also was the pizza, which I had heard good things about beforehand, but wasnt particularly impressed with once I tried it. Its offered in 8-inch and 14-inch sizes with an array of toppings to choose from (although surprisingly pepperoni was not listed as one of them). At first glance it looked appealing, but after sampling it, the sauce lacked flavor and the crust tasted a bit bland.
Another item listed as a signature dish -- the Steak Medallion Special -- featured three skewered pieces of steak wrapped in bacon and served with a baked potato. Nothing about this dish was particularly noteworthy. The meat was tougher that I had hoped for and even after unwrapping each piece, all I could taste was bacon.
My final verdict: You win some, you lose some when heading to Wagers. But if you hedge your bets carefully, you can come out a winner.
Wagers Grill and Bar
Address: 3914 River Place Drive, Macon
Hours: 11 a.m.-2 p.m. and 5 p.m.-2 a.m. Mondays-Fridays; 11-2 a.m. Saturdays; 11 a.m.-midnight Sundays
Payment: Cash, credit
Kids menu: No
Noise level: Medium (louder at night)
Price range: $1.99-13.99
Health Rating: 98 (A)
Rating: Two and a half stars