R. P. Tracks
3547 Walker Ave
Now the first question you are probably asking yourself is, "Isn't RP Tracks a bar?" And well, yes, it is! But it is also a restaurant. Call it a restaurant/bar.
The question I asked myself upon entering was, "How did I forget that people smoke in bars, er, I mean, restaurant/bars?"
I also had to ask myself how we ended up there on a Friday night. I believe it started with a review of the Vegan Nachos by the Memphis Flyer (That I cannot find in cyberspace!) which piqued Warren's interest. Then someone told Warren they had good burritos. I like burritos. And, well, it is close to the kids' school.
As with most of our Friday night dining experiences, we were joined by my twin sister, Tracey, her nine-year-old son, Branch, and her six-year-old daughter, Sutton. When we walked in I was glad to see that they weren't too crowded (it was 6:00pm) and they actually had a childseat. I was not happy about the smoke or the fact that Sutton and Branch were busy running around the pool tables.
I immediately insisted upon putting my coat in the car so it wouldn't reek and then set about acting like an uptight asshole.
Tracey put in an order for drinks in cups with lids and an assortment of fried foods to appease the kids, Warren read the Flyer and ignored me, Satchel (age 3) ran to the pool tables, and Jiro (age 1) set about opening pepper shakers and taking nose dives off of chairs.
After scooping Jiro off of the floor while several people at the bar stared at me, I freaked out on my fellow diners. "We have to leave right now. This is never going to work."
Tracey corralled the kids to the table, Warren put down the Flyer and set about entertaining them, and the waiter brought the fried goods.
I took a deep breath. (I should have ordered a beer upon entering.)
The chicken fingers, french fries, onion rings, and fried mushrooms didn't taste any different than anything you'd find at any other bar, but the kids were happy. We ended up ordering more as they tore right through them. (In an attempt to get something nutritious for them to eat, I asked the waiter what the vegetables were in the "Wild Rice and Vegetable" dish. He replied, "Red bell peppers, green bell peppers, and onions." Not the most kid-friendly vegetables.)
Warren, who had lured me in with burrito talk, ordered a burger. A Santa Fe burger to be exact. He ordered it with wild rice instead of fries so Jiro could eat some and they both seemed quite pleased. Tracey and I each ordered a burrito--hers was a veggie and mine was the Sante Fe. They were nice and big like they make them in California, but they came on a plate smothered with cheese and black olives (instead of in tin foil) with blue corn chips and salsa. I was happy to see the olives and immediately loaded them on jiro's plate. I can't say it was the best burrito I've ever had, but I ate every bite of it.
When we were done eating and I was feeling a bit calmer, Warren offered to show the kids how to play pool while Tracey and I split a beer. I have to say that the staff at RP Tracks was very cool about the kids running wild in the bar and they hardly blinked when they started climbing all over the pool tables. It made me feel less like a freak for bringing them.
I only had a few sips of beer, because I couldn't resist watching Satchel get his first pool lesson. With a little help from Warren, he and Sutton managed to play an entire game and even make a few decent shots. (Branch chose to play against himself at a different table.)
I sat on the side with Jiro and acted as cheerleader/future soccer mom in training. (I can't believe I didn't have my camera!) Whenever one of them made a shot I clapped and cooed like it was the best shot ever. Sutton beamed and acted as if she had been playinga ll of her life. "Oh, I'll get that one," she casually stated as she pranced around the table. (Her dad had clearly given her a few earlier lessons as she had her grip down pat.) Satchel was an eager student and was happy to follow Warren's every instruction. Jiro was ferociously flinging himself from my lap so he could hoist himself up on the table. He wanted to play so badly that Satchel and Sutton graciously let him take a few turns.
When the game was over I realized that I had just had one of the most enjoyable dining experiences ever with my kids...and it had nothing to do with the food. So, uh, hey, take your kids to a bar, er, restaurant/bar, sometime! It's fun!