Foodie on a mission: The Tractor Room serves boar, buffalo and elk

The sister restaurant to Hash House A Go Go goes easy on the portions.

By Katelyn McCullough

It’s always five o’clock somewhere. When it strikes this hour in Hillcrest, it’s happy hour at The Tractor Room.

The Tractor Room is the sister restaurant to Hash House A Go Go, a restaurant with a twisted farm food concept and humongous portions. While The Tractor Room still retains the large, hearty portions, it puts an upscale spin on them. Hash House’s twisted farm food concept also translates to the restaurant’s atmosphere, which can be quite overwhelming. Whereas at The Tractor Room, one can sit down, enjoy a drink and a meal without feeling rushed to make way for other guests.

In a manner of speaking, The Tractor Room is the Hash House of night time. The restaurant offers brunches on Saturday and Sunday as a way of handling the overflow at Hash House, but nighttime is its mainstay. When the owners Johnny Rivera and Craig “Andy” Beardslee decided to open a second location, they wanted a place where people could order an entrée and an honest cocktail. And to divert from the concept of Hash House, The Tractor Room was created to be without an air of competition as to who can eat more of the gargantuan portions. They also incorporated a 1920s theme to the restaurant with a black curtain as the entrance, dimmed lighting, antlers and trains adorning the ceilings and walls. When entering the room, another era pervades the space. The vintage-style room is topped off with a high bar to cater to the drinks and intimate seating.

Now, The Tractor Room is not for the faint of heart, especially concerning meat. To put it lightly, it is not very vegetarian friendly. The basis of the menu is meat. The menu leaves out typical meats in favor of game meats such as boar, buffalo and elk. Every dish has some sort of meat component in it or adorning it. The restaurant should sit high atop one’s list of places to try, especially for happy hour. During the designated times, the drinks are all approximately $6 and the dishes for happy hour are each $3 to $4. Two dishes could easily feed one person, although the best part of happy hour is savoring many. The two most popular dishes, on the normal menu and happy hour menu, are the Wild Boar and Potato Spring Roll, as well as the Crispy Elk Sausage Ravioli. Both are toasted to perfection and decadent in flavor, a perfect blend between comfort and innovation. Some of the other notable dishes on the happy hour menu are the salmon and shrimp cake, the pork ribs with a soy teriyaki sauce and the tomato salad with pesto. The simplicity explodes in each of these dishes. There are no frivolous sides or garnishes to distract the patron from what should be the main focus of the plate. At most there are a few potatoes with each plate to remind the patron of the era in which they are immersed.

A key thing to remember about The Tractor Room is that it is refined casual with wholesome meals made a bit more upscale. The Tractor Room provides the customer with a calendar of deals, such as Taco Tuesdays and 35 percent off cocktails on Wednesdays. The calendar changes every month so boredom is not an option.

The next time five o’clock rolls around and the beach seems a tad too distant, look to Hillcrest, as there is always a party there.