Bethany Schram

Editor in Chief

Remember those late Friday night high school football games? Well, maybe you don’t, but for me, I can’t tell you how many times my group of friends frequented our local Beef O’ Brady’s to get a late bite.

We were never there to actually celebrate a win. It was always just a good time with good food and service. Beef’s Express, newly opened in Lakeland, is the younger and cooler sibling of Beef O’ Brady’s that I wish I had in my hometown.

Beef’s Express is exactly what you think – a quick service Beef O’ Brady’s restaurant. Right across from Crispers in Lakeside Village, it really gives Crispers a run for its money.

While the layout of the restaurant is a little confusing at first, the staff is very accommodating, answering any of my questions and even cleaning up my table, which gives the feel of a sit-down restaurant.

According to the Ledger, Beef’s Express is the brainchild of Don Bosko and Joe Bullara, who co-own a Beef’s franchise in Bartow. This is the first Beef’s restaurant of its kind anywhere. The owners stress that it is not a sports bar.

Funny enough, Beef’s Express features a pretty stocked bar and big-screened TVs around the restaurant – just like a sports bar. The prices are very reasonable, so when looking for a quieter spot to catch a game, I’d give Beef’s a try.

While you can’t order martinis and fancy margaritas, which I don’t know if you’d really want to order a Beef O’ Brady’s margarita anyway, you can order several beers on-tap and wine. If you’re not a drinker, the Coca-Cola Freestyle machine will give you plenty of drink options. Even though I have “given up soda,” I will always make an exception for my love of peach Sprite.

The Beef’s Express features a smaller version of a full Beef O’ Brady’s menu. You can get wings, baskets and burgers. The menu itself looks like they borrowed Crispers graphic designer because it’s so similar.

I ordered their “Cheeseburger,” which is available gluten-free, and it tastes great. However, this may be because I hadn’t eaten anything for a good day and a half, and anything I tasted felt like it was actually blessed by Jesus.

If you’re looking for a really good burger, stick with Burger 21 down the street. I have no real complaints about Beef’s burger, especially because it was only $8.49 with fries, It just wasn’t anything life-changing.

The best part of the menu is the pick two options for $6.99. This is significantly cheaper than Crispers and the amount of food you get is insane. If you’re trying to be “healthy” this is a great option. You can order a salad and a sandwich or switch it up for soup and pasta if you’re not. The half sandwich is plenty to fill you up. I don’t think I would even be able to finish a whole sandwich if they gave me one.

The one thing missing from Beef’s Express that really disappoints me is their lack of curly fries on the menu. I may be alone on this, but Beef O’ Brady’s crispy and delicious curly fries are my favorite part of any Beef O’ Brady’s meal. Maybe they fall too much under the “sports-bar menu item,” but I’m sorry, if you’re offering me a wing basket, curly fries should be part of the deal.

If you’re looking for a quick and casual dining experience, I definitely recommend Beef’s Express. This isn’t somewhere I’d like to go on a date, but with a group of friends this place is an excellent choice. With free Wi-Fi, Beef’s is a place you can definitely find me with a sandwich and plenty of peach Sprite.