`Scratch kitchen' brings pride

Restaurant profile

January 03, 2002|By Jody K. Vilschick | Jody K. Vilschick,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

Of the 101 menu items at Champps Americana, all but six are made from scratch by chefs.

"Our pride is our scratch kitchen," says Robert Glen, general manager of Champps Americana, one of the new restaurants that opened recently adjacent to The Mall in Columbia.

Champps' menu features American cuisine, and the restaurant offers "upscale casual dining," according to Glen.

Appetizers include Crab Bread (French bread layered with spicy crab salad and a blend of cheeses, baked and served with a side of marinara) and Italian Bruschetta (toasted French bread smothered with fresh Roma tomatoes, garlic, herbs and balsamic vinegar), as well as standards such as potato skins, buffalo wings and mozzarella sticks.

Salads range from Grilled Cobb (mixed greens, grilled chicken, bacon, tomato, avocado, egg, black olives and bleu and cheddar cheeses) and Barbecue Ranch Chicken to Alex's Greek Salad, which the menu lists as "Champp's specialty salad with 15 fresh ingredients."

Sandwiches and burgers include the Mile High Turkey Sandwich, Mediterranean Tuna Melt, BBQ Pulled Pork Sandwich and traditional gyros. Or you can try the Brazilian Barbecue Burger, Shroom Burger or Champps City Burger.

Champps' "traditional entrees" include American Cowboy Steak (grilled 16-ounce bone-in ribeye steak served cowboy style), Bourbon Glazed Pork Chops (two 10-ounce chops marinated in a bourbon sauce and then grilled), Neptune Fillets (two grilled and seasoned beef filets topped with lump crabmeat, bearnaise sauce and diced tomatoes) and Parmesan-Crusted Chicken (three large chicken breasts seasoned with an Italian blend of herbs and freshly shredded Parmesan cheese).

The menu also features pasta dishes, such as Tortellini Sylvina (tricolor cheese-filled tortellini tossed with sauteed chicken, fresh spinach, basil and a sun-dried tomato cream sauce), Angel Hair Pomodoro (angel hair pasta tossed in a tomato sauce) and Cajun Chicken Fettuccine (chicken breast with Cajun seasonings, tossed in a spicy tomato sauce and topped with lime sour cream, red pepper and green onions).

In addition to televisions placed around the dining area, two plasma screens (high-definition flat screens) and two video walls, which can be split into nine or 12 sets, are available. During the day, if there aren't major sports events being broadcast, Champps shows CNN News and the Bloomberg stock reports.

"We have the ability to show 11 different events at any given time," Glen says.

With three-quarters of a million dollars invested in media equipment, that's the least you can expect.

But don't dismiss Champps as "just a sports bar."

"I consider us a restaurant that just happens to feature sports," Glen says.

He emphasizes that Champps is also a place to bring the family.

"Tons of kids come in here - you can see the balloons dotted around the dining room," he says.

"But there're also always 50 or so singles around our bar and, of course, lots of couples and people in between. We cater to the 6 to 60 crowd."

Champps Americana

Where: 10300 Little Patuxent Parkway, Suite 3040, (The Mall in Columbia); 443-367-0333.

Hours: 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Sunday; 11 a.m. to midnight Monday through Wednesday; 11 a.m. to 1 a.m. Thursday through Saturday.

Prices: $4.50 to $19.95.

Credit cards: Visa, MasterCard, American Express and Discover

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