OGDEN — “So Archie’s is better than the grill before it?” asked a friend on a photo I posted of delicious Brussels sprouts and Cajun bacon mac and cheese.
Honestly, I can’t say. I never went to the previous establishment. What I can tell you is that, in my estimation, Archie’s Bar & Grill, at the bottom of the Bigelow Hotel, is woefully unknown.
My first trip to Archie’s was for my monthly book club meeting. I had no idea what to expect. All I knew was that one of my book club ladies was impressed enough to suggest it.
I forget what I ordered that first time, but I remember the recommender insisting that everyone try a bite of her Brussels sprouts.
That’s when I fell in love.
The Brussels sprouts are fried and tossed, then drizzled with jalapeño gastrique. The smoky flavor of the blackened leaves blends and the sweet and spicy gastrique create an explosive fusion of flavor. These are so tasty, they could turn a Brussels sprouts-hater into a Brussels sprouts-sometimes-liker.
If mini cabbages aren’t your bag, there’s plenty of traditional bar fare — at least the types of food you’d expect to see on a bar menu. What you’ll get is gastro pub-style food at bar prices.
All burgers are served on a brioche roll, made with certified Angus beef and cooked to order. We ordered the pioneer burger and were not disappointed. It comes stacked with beer-battered onion rings and jalapeños for another sweet and spicy concoction.
The burgers also come with seasoned spicy fries, which are divine alone. If you’re feeling international, you can have the fries Canadian-style by ordering classic poutine.
Looking for wings? Archie’s will help you fly with house wings—traditional buffalo with the zing of jalapeño. They also have more exotic flavors like spicy plum and orange coconut, plus traditional honey barbecue and buffalo.
Fall will be here before you know it, and Archie’s will warm you up with a zesty roasted red pepper and tomato bisque. This soup is creamy and velvety, perfect for cool autumn nights. It comes with sourdough-style breadsticks.
Twisted bar classics are all the rage. Archie’s incarnation is fully loaded Idaho nachos. Idaho because potatoes, of course. A piled-high plate of tots topped with tomato, bacon, bleu cheese, scallions and a balsamic reduction is a sophisticated Utah spin that’ll take your taste buds for a whirl.
Lest your mouth still isn’t watering, there are specials. When we visited, this was a ribeye with pumpkin spice croquette topped with caulini. The chef surprised us with this melty meat treasure, and it was perfectly cooked and seasoned. The caulini—a blend of riced cauliflower and zucchini—added complexity and a bit of crunch.
What’s a bar and grill without alcohol? The selection at Archie’s raises the bar. Brewtiful local suds, like Talisman Brewing Company’s Uplifted and Udder Chaos, and Kiitos Brewing’s Coffee Cream Ale (three of my favorites), are available on draft and in bottles and cans. If mixed drinks are your style, try a special martini—the orange basil comes with a candied orange peel and basil leaf — or an Old-Fashioned made the old-fashioned way with egg whites and garnished with a bourbon cherry.
If you like your sugar in another form, Archie’s dishes up your just desserts. The crème brûlée is beautifully burnt and will sate your sweet tooth. You can also try non-standard desserts like an ice cream cone, or stick to a diner-style tradition of coffee and donuts.
Are you convinced that this is one of Ogden’s best-kept secrets?
I reluctantly share it with you. One of the draws is that the place is usually serene and quiet. Translation: It’s not packed with people shouting over each other and the music. At the same time, I want Archie’s to be around for a long time, so I’ll suffer through some extra bodies and noise.
I hope you’ll journey over and enjoy this little-known Ogden treasure as much as I do.