Monday, February 16, 2009

Second Chance Saloon in Columbia

The Second Chance Saloon has been open for several months now, but I haven't made my way there yet. If you're curious for a review, check out BillZ's report on Live in Howard County or the wonderful comment below from "Mister John."

Mister John commented on a prior post about Second Chance's opening. It's just one guy's opinion, but then this whole blog is just one guy's opinion. Mister John knows the joint so I thought that I'd re-post his report where it would be easier to find. (Thanks to everyone for comments, which I really do enjoy.)

feedback for Second Chance...

Bear in mind this is coming from a Last Chance veteran; one whom haunted the ol pub on a weekly basis for nearly ten years straight. First-name basis with the staff. One of two guys to nail every beer at the final beer tasting. The other guy was my pal sitting across from me every week too. That kinda patron... and yeah, I'm missing the "You must be this smart" measuring line painted on the old front door... ;)

There were a few items on the menu that really 'made' Last Chance. The extensive beer selection was one and it may grow to it's former all-Maryland glory if the new proprietors choose. The chicken wings and the burgers were two others and I am delighted to say they're back.

Nice meaty wings come well cooked without any fluffy breading or rubbery underdone skin like some places. Buffalo style are nice and warm on the edges of your lips while the Stupid Hot wings reminded me a great deal of Gator Hammock; a Florida hotsauce those in the know may have tried. Twists on the old favs include teriyaki and Old Bay.And then your burger arrives, and I dare say it's one of the best I've had... in the state. Plainly fresh and a little less done than you may have ordered (you can't uncook it!) the fresh lettuce and tomato are the perfect compliments. You can option up yours with bleu cheese or mushrooms, Chilli, bacon, etc, but for a simple hot sandwich, Second Chance's kitchen starts with an excellent foundation. And the usual fries on the side are crisp without the need for a lot of salt to cover up grease that's just not there.

One thing that is missing though is my old standby; Shephard's Pie. I miss it dearly and have occasionally tried to make one at home. While I won't hold my breath, I'd really be pleased to see a good 'Pie find its way back to my table at Second Chance. I'll be the goofy guy with the other goofs enjoying wings and a burger on Tuesday nights.Last Chance is dead! Long live Second Chance!

(Update: For Jessie X's post about Second Chance, check out her blog here.)

From the Web site and other chatter, I think that Second Chance has a pretty standard American/bar menu and some interesting beer options. If you're looking for a place for a beer in Howard County, consider Frisco Grille & Bar or the bar at Victoria Gastropub.

Second Chance Saloon
5888 Robert Oliver Place
Columbia, MD 21045

NEAR: Second Chance is in the Oakland Mills village center. It's just east of Rte 29 between Broken Land Parkway and Rte 175. From Broken Land, you go north on Stevens Forest Road. From Rte 175, you go south on Thunder Hill Road.


Alex said...

Second Chance is worth the visit. A few of my friends and I started going to Fire Rock when it opened (I never had to chance to visit as Last Chance) and were a little bummed when it closed even if it felt a little too fancy for us. The atmosphere of Second Chance is much more approachable than Fire Rock, though the pricing is about the small. Small and warm, the dining room has been replaced with a pool table and shuffleboard, and a small stage for karaoke or live bands.

BeerGuy said...

Hmmm ...

I still need to get over there and scope their beer selection.

Anonymous said...

Hello all. Thanks so much for your kind words. I assure you we are just getting started. We are very new to the business and are struggling but are doing great under the circumstances. Better food, better atmosphere and better service are our goals. Please keep coming back and introduce yourselves to Wendy and I (Declan) when you do. And Mister John. Starting March 13th we will be serving Shephards Pie and I think it will be the same cook who made it for you in the past.

Anonymous said...

Aww, I'm coming in tonight, after reading Declan's comment! I don't even eat Shepard's pie, but what a humble owner. Sounds like great people and great times. We'll still miss The Last Chance, but will be glad to try out a new neighborhood spot :) -Kim

Anonymous said...

The Second Chance Saloon is where local workers/residents go to relax for usually affordable food and drink.

This 'good enough' establishment is enhanced by the friendly staff and camaraderie with the fellow patrons.

Unfortunately, both of the owner/managers make the place unpleasant. They are not food service professionals. Instead, they are 2 people who thought it would be cool to buy a bar.

Their staff knows how to run a bar. The bar survives despite what are well-meant but ill-conceived ideas from management.

The two managers are often insulting and abusive to their staff and customers.

This a fun place if the managers are not present. If Wendy or Declan introduce themselves to you behind the bar, then ask for a check asap because the best that you are going to get from them is a lefthanded compliment or them grabbing your drink before its empty.

Robin said...

On Sunday morning my wife and I were heading up to Victoria Gastro Pub for brunch, and heard from a couple friends that they were heading over to do brunch at 2nd Chance. While this meant missing out on a good beer sampler and things cooked in duck fat, we go to Second Chance at least once a week and had been wanting to try their brunch anyway. I was so happy we did.

Second Chance brunch isn't Victoria brunch... but they never claim it is. They actually didn't even have a printed menu, instead just giving us a slightly vague list of what they "could make." Everyone else with me played it safe and ordered burgers. I ordered an omelette with onions, peppers, sausage, bacon, and american cheese. My wife and I asked for mimosas, while our friends chose to visit the great looking bloody mary bar.

A few minutes later we saw the cook walking back from the liquor store with a bottle of champagne for our mimosas. Although it gave us a good laugh, I'm also impressed by the fact that this is the second time the people at Second Chance have gone out to get ingredients for something I ordered, rather than just saying "we don't have it."

I'll admit the food took a bit longer than we expected, but it was worth it. Obviously the burgers were good... in fact much better than the more expensive burger I had ordered the previous night at Rustico down in Virginia. As soon as I saw my food I knew why it had taken longer. The ingredients of the omelette seemed to have all been grilled together before being put inside the eggs, making it one of the most flavorful omelettes I've ever had at a restaurant. The toast had been grilled rather than toasted, making every bite a buttery treat, even before I dipped it in the ample dish of butter sitting beside it. The hash browns, though some might find them too greasy, were very finely chopped and fried in such a way that every part was the crispy part. Usually I don't even finish my hash browns, but these might have been my favorite part of the meal, and I was kicking myself a bit for not ordering the corned beef hash that they had mentioned as a possibility. Guess that just means I have to go back!