American, BiteClub, Clubs + Sportsbars, Santa Rosa

Pub Grub a Cut Above at Santa Rosa Sportsbar

Epicenter's Victory House is a Santa Rosa sportsbar with more than just the usual pub grub. This is serious food.

Mac and cheese at Victory House restaurant at Epicenter in santa rosa. Heather Irwin/PD
Mac and cheese at Victory House restaurant at Epicenter in santa rosa. Heather Irwin/PD

Victory House at Epicenter

3215 Coffey Lane, Santa Rosa, 707-708-3742

Open 11 a.m. to midnight Monday through Thursday; open until 2 a.m. Friday and Saturday; 10 a.m. to midnight Sunday

visitepicenter.com.

UPDATE May 2017:  After two return visits, the food has really suffered in quality and service is spotty at best. We hope future visits to this restaurant will see improvement. 
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I don’t usually like sports bars. In general, they are unnecessarily raucous places where people stare at television sets and erupt into screams between attempts to dip their fried mozzarella sticks into a thimble of canned marina sauce.

Suffice it to say, food is not usually the focus at places where sticky peanut shells take the place of carpet.

But what if that changed and you could get a solid steak, an order of fried Brussels sprouts or a mushroom and Brie flatbread with your Warriors game? Victory House at Santa Rosa’s new Epicenter is that place.

Part of a massive new athletic complex that includes a gym, indoor soccer fields, trampoline park, arcade, bowling lanes and a Starbucks, Victory House is a 7,000-square-foot sports bar and “scratch kitchen” that was exactly what it should be — comforting, approachable with family-friendly dishes. This isn’t fine dining, but it’s also not cardboard pizza and frozen cheese sticks.

BBQ chicken pizza at Victory House restaurant at Epicenter in santa rosa. Heather Irwin/PD
BBQ chicken pizza at Victory House restaurant at Epicenter in santa rosa. Heather Irwin/PD

Instead, Executive Chef Charles Roseneau’s “scratch kitchen” features great burgers, grown-up entrées and kid-friendly sandwiches and starters that make Victory House a destination rather than just a convenience for hungry sports fans. Roseaneu, a former casino chef, and GM Colin Knight came up with the menu together, focusing on pub grub dishes that go out of their way to be delicious. Despite the massive industrial kitchen that serves the entire complex, Victory House’s food feels more like restaurant food than a bank of microwaves churning out snacks. Even at 1 a.m.

The winning formula involves making many menu items in-house, from salad dressings and an impressive demi-glace to comforting desserts, pizzas and other sauces. That was the plan all along, an ambitious menu that could be executed for large crowds without tasting industrial.

Fried Brussels Sprouts at Victory House restaurant at Epicenter in santa rosa. Heather Irwin/PD
Fried Brussels Sprouts at Victory House restaurant at Epicenter in santa rosa. Heather Irwin/PD

Not every dish is a home run, and there will likely be some rejiggering of dishes that prove more or less popular, but at least for now it’s impressive.

Elote at Victory House restaurant at Epicenter in santa rosa. Heather Irwin/PD
Elote at Victory House restaurant at Epicenter in santa rosa. Heather Irwin/PD

Fair warning, however. It’s important to know before you go that the restaurant can be deafeningly loud and crowded with families, partiers and game-watchers on game nights and weekends. Service also can be harried, because, well, It’s a sports bar with 200 people eating while they watch TV. For a quieter experience, drop in for weekday lunches and early evening dinners.

That said, I think I like this sports bar. Even on a game night.

Interior at Victory House restaurant at Epicenter in santa rosa. Heather Irwin/PD
Interior at Victory House restaurant at Epicenter in santa rosa. Heather Irwin/PD

Best Bets at Victory House Santa Rosa SportsBar and Restaurant

Chicken chicharrones ($8) were the first positive sign. You will scoff at buffalo wings after nibbling on fried bits of chicken skin with honey mustard sauce for dipping. To keep things healthy, try beer-battered Brussels sprouts ($8) made husband-friendly when submerged in bacon ranch dip.

Chicken Chicharrones at Victory House restaurant at Epicenter in santa rosa. Heather Irwin/PD
Chicken Chicharrones at Victory House restaurant at Epicenter in santa rosa. Heather Irwin/PD

Elote ($5): I’m a sucker for the sweet summer corn on the cob with mayo, cojita and lime usually found at taco trucks. This version isn’t perfect, but it’s darn flavorful, even in winter.

Mac & Cheese ($5 side or $12 full order): American cheese is the base of this comforting, old school mac, which is purposefully unfussy. No truffle oil, no crab, no bread crumbs. Just noodles and cheese. The grilled cheese sandwich also is made with white and yellow American cheese, though bacon, spinach and chives class it up.

Burger at Victory House restaurant at Epicenter in santa rosa. Heather Irwin/PD
Burger at Victory House restaurant at Epicenter in santa rosa. Heather Irwin/PD

Burger: Angus chuck and short rib make for a beefy half-pound burger ($14), straight up or with sauteed mushrooms and Brie.

BBQ Pulled Chicken Flatbread ($13): A hefty slab that’s somewhere between pizza and open-faced sandwich. Housemade BBQ bourbon sauce, crispy onions, cheese.

Roasted Duck at Victory House restaurant at Epicenter in santa rosa. Heather Irwin/PD
Roasted Duck at Victory House restaurant at Epicenter in santa rosa. Heather Irwin/PD

Roasted Duck ($30): Hard to do right, this moist little bird gets an impressive pool of solid demi-glace with seasonal veggies. The bed of fries was a little weird, but hey, fries.

Deep fried ice cream at Victory House restaurant at Epicenter in santa rosa. Heather Irwin/PD
Deep fried ice cream at Victory House restaurant at Epicenter in santa rosa. Heather Irwin/PD

Deep Fried Ice Cream ($5): Everyone’s a kid when it comes to this magically delicious dish. Order one for the children, and another for yourself.

Also Solid:

Shrimp cobb salad at Victory House restaurant at Epicenter in santa rosa. Heather Irwin/PD
Shrimp cobb salad at Victory House restaurant at Epicenter in santa rosa. Heather Irwin/PD

Salads are pretty straightforward, but the Shrimp Cobb ($16) is the giant bowl of vegetables, avocado, roasted corn and other goodies you just crave some days.

Marrow & Crostini ($14): This one’s a deep dive into gastropub grub and a favorite of chefs and gastronauts. Slow-roasted bones are split, and the rich, buttery, beefy marrow is spread on garlic crostini. You love it or you don’t.

Pub grub with panache at Victory House restaurant at Epicenter in santa rosa. Heather Irwin/PD
Pub grub with panache at Victory House restaurant at Epicenter in santa rosa. Heather Irwin/PD

Special Diets: (Veg/Vegan) Garden burger, sautéed veggies, tempura artichoke hearts, classic nachos, beet salad with goat cheese and walnuts; (GF) roasted duck, steak, potato bake, veggie pasta (GF available), pork chop, ribeye steak. Plenty of paleo options.

Victory House at Epicenter, 3215 Coffey Lane, Santa Rosa, 707-708-3742, 11 a.m. to midnight Monday through Thursday; open until 2 a.m. Friday and Saturday; 10 a.m. to midnight Sunday, visitepicenter.com.

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Comments

14 thoughts on “Pub Grub a Cut Above at Santa Rosa Sportsbar

  1. The burger, $14 for a 1/2 pounder, sounds kind of high-priced for a sportsbar.

    Stark’s has a 1/2 pounder for $11 ($13 with cheese).

    Are the burgers comparable in quality?

  2. food doesn’t not look healthy….fry fest…okok I know its a sports bar…but fried chix skins? gross. going for my sons bday party at the complex. food at the bowling ally has gotta be better than Windsor… that said bite club is too kind in review, little more honesty would be refreshing.

    1. Look at the menu online. Judge for yourself it’s a fried food fest. Yes there are fried items, but there seems to be plenty more. My first visit we got a sandwich and pizza.

  3. Both times I have gone the service is horrible. The food was brought out cold. They need new bartenders. If you don’t want a drink mixed with soda they don’t know how to make it.

  4. The place is working out it’s bugs. Our first attempt, a couple weeks ago and the service wasn’t too good. Our appetizer came after our entree was served and the quality wasn’t too good. We gave it another try last night and it was vastly improved. Despite being busy on a Friday night, our food was served rather quickly and it was good. The only hitch of the night, I ordered a second beer, it took a while to get to the table..and when it did, it was a hard cider. I love cider, so it wasn’t a big deal. Small bonus, didn’t like Sonoma Cider in the bottle, on tap is was real good. Wouldn’t have known except for this mistake. My only issue w/ the place is the parking. Good luck trying to find a parking spot in the lot.

  5. “Chicken Chicharrones” ? Sorry, No vuele. Do they have a “Pork wing” to go along with it? Looks really loud and avoidable.

  6. I agree that service is horrible. We went for an early dinner on Wednesday with just a few tables of customers present. There were tons of employees walking around but still it took 15 minutes to get our bar drinks and waitress never returned during our meal to see if we wanted a second round. Food was average, with some items being a hit and some a miss (garlic fries were ew)

  7. Sorry to hear about the service. That’s why I put in the editor’s note about weekend nights.

    I went the first time on a quiet weekday afternoon, and they knew i was there, so the service was excellent. Knowing that’s not quite reality, I went again on a Friday night and no one knew I was there. The service was harried, as I mentioned, but polite. The food was less photogenic, but still good. They were completely out of most of their beers.

    Give ’em a little time. I think they’ll work it out.

  8. I ordered the Nachos and Wings. Wings were 4/10. Nachos 3/10. Service was slow and unorganized. I’ll give them time to work it out because epicenter is so fun.

  9. 8 dollars for fried chicken skins? The skins that Rocky Chicken throw in the garbage, for skinless chicken breasts are not sold for 8 bucks. I noticed a duck leg and thigh for $ 30, both of these are way beyond my comprehension and pay scale.
    Only in the US will someone pay those kind of prices to be fed.

  10. Food is deeeelish! I moved to SR from a larger city so I didn’t notice the service woes that were mentioned in the other comments. I love sports, beer and good food; glad I found Victory House.

  11. I’m really pulling for them to upgrade their service. It feels like they are winging it, and learning by “trial by fire”. We play soccer there weekly, and keep hearing the same things from friends. The standards need to come up a MANY notches. Potential is huge, execution so far has missed the mark.

  12. I’m looking forward to visiting again when they iron out their service woes. We put our name in for dinner and took a seat at the bar. An hour later we’d only been able to get the bartenders’ attention for a single round of drinks (he promptly dropped the check off after he delivered them). We told the hostess we were leaving and found out we had at least another hour before we could be seated. Too bad, because the concept is very cool. We’ll try again… but we won’t try forever.

  13. Absolutely the worst service I have ever experienced.. When it was brought to the managers attention, all she could do was justify the reason for the bad experience by consistently reminding us that the place is new. I could care less how new the place is, figure it out and don’t make excuses.

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