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DINING: Binkley's Kitchen & Bar reclaims former drug store site

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Dining - A&E

Binkley's Drug Store occupied the corner of Kessler and College from 1928 to the early 1970s. Its namesake now occupying the same spot, Binkley's Kitchen & Bar (5902 N. College Ave., 722-8888), seems equally built to last—a friendly neighborhood joint that glances back without wallowing in nostalgia and stays progressive without being trendy.

Twice before I'd been there for lunch meetings, both times feeling comfortable and never rushed. The open dining room isn't overstuffed with seating, the bar not overpowered by TV screens (they are there, just not conversation-squelchingly so) and the deck along College a viable outdoor option.

We stayed inside this time around, starting our meal with Binkley's Mini ($6.95), the name given to the plate of similar slid ers that have slid onto many an appetizer menu. Decked out with cheese, sauteed onions and a mild chipotle sauce, Binkley's version was unremarkable and didn't leave me craving a fuller burger. A simple House Caesar ($3.99 or a $1.99 upgrade from a sandwich side) fared better, although I wouldn't necessarily recommend ordering it to replace either the fries or house-made kettle chips that are piled on most plates.

The dinner menu features an extensive lineup of hand-tossed thin-crust pizzas, seafood entrees and steaks, but we had only lunch appetites. Fortunately, there's a wide range of sandwich and salad offerings on the dinner menu.

There was no shortage of veggies—julienned carrots, big chunks of cucumbers, red and green onion, juicy tomatoes, and more—in the Thai Chicken Salad ($9.99). And it was topped with an ample portion of Thai pepper-sauced chicken strips. It just took a bit of slicing and dicing at the table to make the whole thing fork-able.

The Fish Sandwich ($8.99), described as "grouper-like whitefish," is offered grilled, breaded or blackened. Sometimes the healthiest choice is the least interesting, as we found with the good-enough grilled. A plus was the house-made tarter sauce—and the fact that the sandwich was already cut in half, making it, unlike many fish sandwiches, actually almost edible on a bun.

More satisfying was the the Crab Cake Sandwich ($7.99), the first bite leading us to push aside the lettuce, tomato and onion to better savor the raison d'etre. Next time, perhaps we'll forgo the sandwich and order the two-cake appetizer version ($11.99) for starters then move on to, well, there are still lots of possibilities I'm looking forward to trying.

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Second in our month-long series of reviews of "possessive" restaurants.

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  1. With Pence running the ship good luck with a new government building on the site. He does everything on the cheap except unnecessary roads line a new beltway( like we need that). Things like state of the art office buildings and light rail will never be seen as an asset to these types. They don't get that these are the things that help a city prosper.

  2. Does the $100,000,000,000 include salaries for members of Congress?

  3. "But that doesn't change how the piece plays to most of the people who will see it." If it stands out so little during the day as you seem to suggest maybe most of the people who actually see it will be those present when it is dark enough to experience its full effects.

  4. That's the mentality of most retail marketers. In this case Leo was asked to build the brand. HHG then had a bad sales quarter and rather than stay the course, now want to go back to the schlock that Zimmerman provides (at a considerable cut in price.) And while HHG salesmen are, by far, the pushiest salesmen I have ever experienced, I believe they are NOT paid on commission. But that doesn't mean they aren't trained to be aggressive.

  5. The reason HHG's sales team hits you from the moment you walk through the door is the same reason car salesmen do the same thing: Commission. HHG's folks are paid by commission they and need to hit sales targets or get cut, while BB does not. The sales figures are aggressive, so turnover rate is high. Electronics are the largest commission earners along with non-needed warranties, service plans etc, known in the industry as 'cheese'. The wholesale base price is listed on the cryptic price tag in the string of numbers near the bar code. Know how to decipher it and you get things at cost, with little to no commission to the sales persons. Whether or not this is fair, is more of a moral question than a financial one.

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