We Were Only Halfway Pleased – Half Time Sports Bar and Grill


This restaurant is CLOSED

Susan says…

The former Gratzi location at the Town Center mall has been transformed from cozy Italian villa with virtual fireplace to sparsely decorated sports bar with 137 televisions and is now home to Half Time Sports Bar & Grill.  Ok, it might not be exactly 137 because I did not count them, but I know there were a lot.   The “fireplace room” now has a pool table in it.  There was a cardboard stand-up of a NASCAR driver greeting people as they wait for the hostess to walk you to your seat.  Despite all this, the decor was merely ‘okay’ in my opinion.

Guys may feel their website is more than merely’okay’, though, due to effective use of cleavage and fishnet on female “referees”.  If you hit refresh, you can enjoy the intro all over again.  Your beer won’t be delivered to your table by one of those ladies, however, and that’s not the uniform for the servers.  Instead they wear different team shirts.  If you’re looking for scantily clad waitstaff, go to Hooters

The lighting is weird.  In a bad-weird kind of way.  We were seated in the large room to the right of the hostess desk and the entrance to the patio is through that area.  There was so much bright light coming through the large window, it was hard to see inside.  Severe lights and shadows were created by the natural light.  At first, I thought if they turned a bunch of lights on inside, it would balance out the light from the window.  But then I realized I might go blind if that happened.  I think the best solution to the problem is: window coverings.

I had a difficult time deciding what to order.  I thought I wanted a sandwich, but none of the choices appealed to me.  So then I thought an appetizer would be good and there was a long list of those.  Again, nothing was appealing.  I think I could purchase most of the appetizer choices at Sam’s Club in the freezer cases.  Salad?  no way – I rarely order a salad as an entree.  So I was left with a burger, pasta or an “entree”.  Most everything is priced between $8 and $10, which made my decision easier, I guess, since I wouldn’t really save much by trying to go with the cheaper options. But I feel the prices seemed high at first glance.  I would wait to get the food to make up my mind on that point.


While waiting on my $9.99 Fish basket to arrive, I noticed something bad: Hunt’s ketchup.  Eeeeewwwwww.  I have found that there are two kinds of people in this world: Hunt’s People and Heinz People.  I am a “Heinz People” all the way.  I would rather not eat ketchup at all than to have to choke down some Hunts.  Phil takes an even stricter stance: he doesn’t even recognize the existence of any other ketchup brand.  “There is only one ketchup!” he proudly declares on a regular basis.

Misty and I agreed that one of us would try the chips and one would get the “Fresh Cut Fries” for the $1 upcharge.  I do not understand why there is an upcharge.  You can buy a side order of chips for $2.99.  You can buy a side order of fresh cut fries for $2.99.  Did you notice that the prices are the same???  Yeah, me too.  When I reviewed my receipt again to write this review, I realized I was not charged for the substitution.  It must have been a mistake on their part because MANY of the menu items specify the fries-substitution upcharge.  (It may seem irresponsible of me not to notice that error when I paid my bill. The total was so high without the upcharge, I didn’t question whether it was included. If it had been $1 more, I might have fallen off my chair.)  I will gripe more about the fries later.

I received four small rectangular battered pieces of fish, described in the menu as “four 2-oz Breaded Ale House Fish Planks”.  The count and size appeared accurate.  As for “breaded ale house”, the jury’s still out.  They were a lot like Gorton’s that you can get at Kroger.  I like Gorton’s and I liked these, too.  But for $9.99???  No.   I think they Sandra Lee’d them a bit to make them look more homemade.  See the little green flecks in the photo below?  I think it may have been parsley.  Anyway, they didn’t fool me.  No way was that fish breaded in the back with any kind of Ale.

I don’t eat coleslaw so this didn’t matter to me, but the “signature coleslaw” was very small.  Signature coleslaw is on the list of sides you can order a la carte for $2.99.  I sure hope the a la carte portion is larger.  (As you can see in the photo, it was barely larger than the tartar sauce cup. Tartar sauce is in the rear, left corner of the red plastic basket lined with red checkerboard paper and coleslaw is in the near, right corner.)


A side note about the menu: I really like that they indicate the number of pieces you will receive on each item.  For example: 12 mini corn dogs, 15 pretzel bites, 8 jalapeno poppers.  You get the idea.

Now back to griping about the fries: 

They lied to me. 

“Fresh Cut”  means homemade, in my opinion.  Homemade means someone is peeling and cutting real potatoes in the restaurant’s kitchen, also in my opinion.  But I didn’t rely on my personal definitions and assumptions.  The menu states many times that the fries are “homemade”.  But I didn’t just rely on the menu, either. I even asked our server if the fries were homemade and she responded “yes”.   When I first laid eyes on them I knew I had been taken. Bamboozled. Deceived.  There is no way those fries were made in the kitchen beyond opening a bag of frozen seasoned fries and dumping them into hot oil.  I guess next time I will have to ask the question differently.  Perhaps something like: “are there actual raw potatoes in the kitchen that are then peeled and cut in same said kitchen???  Yes, or no????”

Even though Half Time lies about the nature of these fries, I liked them. I like fries in general and the seasoning spiced them up a bit.  I rarely meet a fry I don’t like.  There is also a light batter coating them to increase crispiness.  The chips were better though.  And I think charging an extra dollar for faux homemade fries is ridiculous, especially when they are priced the same if purchased a la carte.

So let’s recap: I got 4 2-0z pre-made frozen fish pieces and a good-sized portion of pre-made frozen fries and a ramekin of coleslaw that I seriously doubt was made in the kitchen, either, even though the term “Signature” would lead one to believe it is indeed homemade, for $9.99 + the $1 substitution upcharge = $10.99.  I could have had lunch at Tidewater for that.  When you add the soda for $2.29, my total bill was $13.02 before tip, but should have been $14.08 had they not made a mistake.  The Fresh Seafood Company at Capitol Market gives you a very large amount of fish and fries for $6.99 AND THEIR FISH IS BREADED IN THEIR KITCHEN.


Half Time is the kind of restaurant someone with no cooking skills could operate.  You buy all the products already made and frozen.  It’s all reheating and assembling.  Half Time is not a dining destination.  You might have a drink after work, meet some friends there, or watch a game – and happen to get hungry and order some food while you’re there.  Oh, and pay too much for it.

TWO FORKS is all I can muster.

P.S.  I called the restaurant two days after my meal there and asked to speak to a manager.  I was on hold for 7 minutes and gave up.  And yes, I made sure to call during midday, in between the lunch and dinner crowds.  I called back and said I had some questions about the menu, could I speak to someone who could help me?  Apparantly, that was the individual who answered the phone.  So I asked if the french fries are homemade.  He said they used to be, but they aren’t anymore.  But they are seasoned and good.  So then I asked about the fish and he said that it was not battered in the restaurant.  Then I inquired about the shrimp – nope, that’s not hand-breaded like the menu claims, either.  He went so far as to say that all the things are received in the store “already made”.  ‘Nuf said, I rest my case.

Misty says…

When we walked into Half Time, I have to say, I was disappointed.  I loved the décor at Gratzi and it is all gone.  No fireplace, no linen table cloths, no curvy booth, no fancy light fixtures to make you think you were dining al fresco in Italy (not that you really felt that way…but you get my point).  Half Time has completely redone the place including painting the walls bright blue and gold and putting up university flags.  It went from Classy like a sophisticated Milan luxury shopping excursion to Classy like a trip to the school gym.

The place was packed when we arrived.  The hostess was very pleasant and quickly cleaned off one of the only tables that were empty and then seated us.  I scanned the menu and just like Susan, I had a hard time figuring out what I wanted.  I did have a few laughs at the clever names that they called some of the dishes (like “Not in Our House Nachos”).  I finally decided on the “Suck it up Shrimp Basket-  8 savory hand breaded butterflied shrimp with Saratoga chips”.


We only waited a short time before our food arrived.  HUMMM…the shrimp looked like the SeaPak butterfly shrimp I buy at Walmart and make at home.  I obviously like them, or I wouldn’t buy them at the store…but it is not what I expected from the description or from a restaurant.  And certainly not for $9.99.  I could buy a whole box of these for about the same price and have them for dinner 2 or 3 nights for my whole family.

They tasted about the same as the SeaPak shrimp, too.  Just like fried shrimp from a box.  They were pretty large, crispy and hot…but, I was not impressed.

(After typing this and then reading Susan’s review, the above two paragraphs are very similar in both.  I decided to leave it alone because it adds emphasis to our point.  Two people independantly having the same thought,  Coincidence?  I think not! )

However, I did like the Saratoga chips.  They were very crunchy with some kind of light seasoning on them.  In fact, I decided to eat all my chips and left 3 shrimp on my plate.  And for those who know me…I NEVER leave shrimp or any type of seafood on my plate.

I tried Susan’s fries, too.  They were not very hot and not very crispy.  Kinda Blah.  I can’t believe there was $1.00 up charge for them.  The chips, in my opinion, were much better.

As for the coleslaw, I didn’t try it.  I only like coleslaw on my hot dogs and bar-b-ques.  But it looked just OK, too.

Two other items worth mentioning.  There was a deduction for Hunts Ketchup… But an upgrade for the Pepsi Products!

If I ever go back, I will try one of the sandwiches.  I saw several people eating them and they looked pretty good.  Large soft sub bun loaded with meat, cheese, and toppings.

I give Half Time- TWO FORKS.

Click on the Thumbnails for a full-size version of each menu page.

Half Time Sports Bar and Grillhalf-time-menu-3half-time-menu-2half-time-menu-1
#1119 Charleston Town Center
Half Time Bar and Grill on Urbanspoon

42 responses to “We Were Only Halfway Pleased – Half Time Sports Bar and Grill

  1. We went there last weekend, and although I thought the food was decent for bar food, and it’s nice to have a sports bar in Charleston with televisions from this decade, Yuenglings were FIVE DOLLARS each. FIVE DOLLARS. For one bottle of beer. They are $10 for a 12-pack at Kroger! Craziness.

  2. Ugh, those menu names make me want to gag on the smarm.

  3. “Only a true ‘EEERS fan has the balls to eat this meaty sub.”

    Really. They say that. On their menu. In public. WTF!!!

    And quotation marks around everything?

    Sorry, I’m usually much happier to learn about new and exciting deep fryers in the valley, but this just looks awful.

  4. I’ve developed a pet peeve for restaurants that have stupid names for their food. Just call it what it is. The names don’t make them anymore appealing. And the descriptions that Half Time lists to go along are downright rediculous!

    The prices are rediculous too.

    During the fall and winter for football and basketball season, I’m sure it will get lots of business. It’s a good location and this area loves some greasy food, even if it’s pre-frozen. That is unless the prices scare them off.

  5. The menu states the shrimp are hand breaded. They must be saying they are “hand breaded by somebody, just not us.” But do they really know that for sure??? I doubt it.

  6. I’ve heard nothing but negative remarks about this place. According to a co-teacher, not only is it bad, but bad and expensive. Paying out the wazoo for crap, isn’t my idea of a good time!

  7. Have to agree on all counts. Bad lighting, nothing particularly appealed, but all the prices were about the same (and about 4-5 bucks more than they should be). I mean, $10 for a sandwich at lunch? Not even the epic stupidity of the Power Alley Grill matches that kinda dumb. And yes, the individual shot-glass worth of cole slaw was, in fact $2.99.

  8. demosthenes.or.locke

    Bad and overpriced was what I heard too, which is too bad, because that is a fantastic location with the combination of business people at lunch, mall traffic, and not that far from the capitol street bars at night.

    Billy’s ought to move down there. That is the crowd he can really market to with cheap beer and excellent food.

  9. Hippie Killer

    “Half Time is the kind of restaurant someone with no cooking skills could operate. ”

    I think you hit the nail on the head. And I don’t know why people get in the restaurant business if they’re going to do it this way. I’ll be shocked if this place is open in a year.

  10. demosthenes.or.locke

    It is the wrong way to do a restaurant. Would probably be an OK way to do a bar, but it doesn’t sound like the beer and liquor prices at this place make it a serious bar contender either…

  11. I haven’t tried this place yet but after talking to a friend who tried it out last week, i’ll be skipping it. He ordered the meatball hogie and when the waitress served it, he asked her if they ran upstairs to subway and brought one down!

  12. I’ve only been there once–and it was enough. Ordered the Huntington Pizza Sub, which turned out to consist of three big, COLD slices of pepperoni, with some amalgamation of lukewarm melted cheese and mediocre tomato sauce.

    Decor made me think “sports bar set up in a warehouse”. Service was good, though.

  13. everything, and I mean EVERYTHING, about Halftime sucks. Bad beer selection ludicrously priced. Stupid-ass names for the food. Indifferent service. Bad food. High prices. Crumby atmosphere. Out-of-focus tv projectors. Matte-black walls. Jersey-wearing staff. Shitty hip-hop and vocoder-heavy R&B. Weird, “Spinal Tap trying to find the stage in Cleveland” hallway.

    Halftime sucks, and you all gave it one star higher than Gold Dome. I’m aghast.

  14. Food: wings are Tysons’ patented oversalted, out of a bag from Sam’s club then baked, not fried. Fries are limp and greasy. Soda was flat. Beer was stale tasting and, as noted above, wayyyy overpriced. Hamburger was overcooked and dry, and first time out had mayo on it. Mayo. You all know how I feel about that. Music was oppressively loud. My companion’s “I-64” wasn’t what she ordered, since she ORDERED an “I-79”!

    What. The. $uck.

    Just go away, halftime. Just go away.

  15. Rob – I love it when you bash mayonnaise.

  16. demosthenes.or.locke

    Such a good location though… I hope these douches go out of business soon and someone with some sense moves in.

  17. After reading the comments, I HAD to give it a shot. No need to repeat the general consensus…

  18. Hippie Killer

    THIS JUST IN: Steven Keith, the Daily Mail’s Food Guy, loves the burgers at HTG. Surprisingly, the commenter are ripping him up over it.

  19. HK-
    I read that, too. You could tell he didn’t like it but was trying hard to find the “bright side”. I love the comment about the fish being perfectly formed triangles instead of plank-like.

    I am enjoying the comments. Always do.

  20. I ordered a soda to go while I was waiting on a friend.



    • “I ordered a soda to go while I was waiting on a friend.


      WHAAAATTTTT???!!!!! That’s insane!

  21. Pingback: An Oldie But a Goodie – Chris’ « Fork You…

  22. We went with a group of 10 looking for a simple meal where everyone could find something to eat as it was around 8pm. The food was horrible and while the service was friendly, it was not very good. After waiting a while, the server came out and asked if we wanted our salads and soup with the meal or before. By the time we received them the food was minutes behind and he had forgot two orders. Let me also state there was only one other table in the place eating we could see. We had seconds on our beers before my wife received here first wine even though we asked every time the server appeared. The smothered chicken had a strange aftertaste we could not figure out but was just awful. How can you screw up chicken? The BLT soup was another strange dish and we could not even understand where the name even came from. There were many other disappointments but you get the general review from our group. Stay away.

  23. apparently everyone above had terrible experiences in this resaurant. True, the decor is a bit barish…but notice the name is Halftime sports bar and grill…obviously the owners were trying for a theme. Granted, they may have missed a bit. It is still a new restaurant and still working out the glitches. I have heard that they are under new ownership and management…also some new menu items and upgrades on some of the originals. its a great place to watch the game bc there are about a billion tvs in there each with a different reciever…if they tell you otherwise then they dont know what they’re doing…i’ve seen them. they’re running better drink specials now too so the beer and liquor isnt as expensive.

  24. i think it is sickening that the owner ( Mike Hughes) has not paid the employees in this restaruant in a month… for some more than a month…. but he has plenty of money to open 2 additional locations…. and decorate them with all the necessary flat screen tvs.

  25. I think its rude of all you people to down this place i have been in there several times in the past week things have changed in the place since i was there when it first opened true the lighting is bad but hell the tvs and atmosphere is wonderful and they have new management and staff and there is karioke on weds with is cool as hell and for the people talking about the ketchup “REALLY” NO REALLY that is the dumbest thing i have ever heard KETCHUP IS KETCHUP DOUCHE BAGS s

  26. lovemyhagg-

    I must respectfully disagree with your statement concerning ketchup. All ketchups are NOT created equal. I am willing to succomb to a blind taste test to prove that I can pick Heinz out of a lineup. I am sure Phil would offer the same. If it’s not Heinz, I don’t even eat it.

    However, the brand of ketchup was noted merely as an aside and is not a factor in determining the number of forks I gave the restaurant.

  27. I proudly stand by my 1 fork deduction for the Hunt’s Ketchup…Heinz is that important to me.

  28. the problem with the owner not paying the employees has nothing to do with the outcome of the service. but actually it does! if people dont come in a spend money then how do expect the restaurant to pay out people for working?? Halftime has been through alot in the past month. Alot of internal problems and now there is new managment, and new employees willing to make sure that you exprience at Halftime is a great one! They are going through some hard times simply because there is now business. In the begining it was rocky but since then they have worked out the kinks. You cant just go off of a one time experience. They were a brand new place that everyone working there had to get a feel for what they were doing. It doesnt just happen over night. Now that everyone is on the same page there it runs a lot smoother. Try it out again this Fall Football Season and if you still dont like it or have anything that might help them out let your server now, im sure they would love to hear about it. They dont know how to fix things if you dont tell them. not everyone gets on the internet.

  29. Pingback: Hibernate Here – Bear’s Den « Fork You…

  30. Cierra(bartender)

    Dude you guys need a life. Really did you ever think about the people who work there? All you can do is bitch about the food and complain and some people are there to make money…thanks.

  31. First dragging Mike into is just petty unless you know him personally because you don’t know shit!! He never owned the other stores he only owned the 2 new ones and that was just a couple weeks ago, and every store sucks at the begining but the one in Point has been amazing since it opened and we love it. Also I don’t see you putting your job up here so we can watch your perfomance and downgrade you. I work hard for my community to try and make them happy so please find something better to do with your time then try and put something down you know nothing about

  32. Frankly, I appreciate the FY reviews. This website offers the opinions of paying customers. Customers expect to eat good quality food that they pay for with their hard-earned money. Customers are not there for the employees. Sorry. But if the employees are good at what they do, that might add to the reasons why people continue to patronize a place.

    And saying that ” every store sucks at the begining” is just a cop out. If it’s expected that “every store” is going to suck when it opens, then nobody would go at all, and “every” place would shut down within a short time.

    It’s the places that do not suck in the beginning that get repeat customers and new customers (largely because of the recommendations of a previous diner who had a good experience) that will thrive.

    I think Halftime will be moderately successful for three reasons. 1) Football season is just around the corner; 2) Location; 3) Basic run-of-the-mill frozen fried food.

  33. So judging from the recent comments, not only is the food bad, but the waitresses are a bunch of hateful little snots. Good to know.

  34. Pingback: Half-Time Ran Out of Time « Fork You…

  35. I stand corrected. The place didn’t even make it a week after my prediction.

  36. Pingback: CALLED IT. « FIFTH COLUMN

  37. hahahhahaha. i dont need to post my job… “so u can down grade me” im a grown up and i dont work in a damn restaurant. How about this…. I do know mike hughes personally… and good luck to you for still working in his joke of a business. “just stick it out with me ill take care of you”… sound familiar? thats what all the bennigans employees were told….. same as the charleston… awwww…. and what happened… pack up and leave… no paychecks. Apparently you love working for free.

  38. 1. The restaurant business is notoriously a difficult one to break into and make successful. I think the owner here sacrificed Bennigan’s to make a go of this one, and both were lost in the process.
    2. I don’t care what kind of ketchup you serve. 3. Nothing on the menu at Half-Time was worth the price, except the salads, which were huge.
    4. This place didn’t have to-go cups after the first week. Just another sign of the lack of service. They lost a lot of money just on my crew not going there because of this.
    5. Their thuggish wait-staff frequently blocked the sidewalk when taking their smoke breaks. Yeah, everyone gets a break and food service personnel are people, too, but if I gotta dodge you, your smoke, and your offensive language, I probably won’t want to be waited on by you or have you handle my food. Snobbish, perhaps, but my choice.
    6. And choice is the theme of this last point: If your waitstaff is ambivalent, your prices are high, and the food is mediocre, your clientele will choose to go elsewhere. And obviously, Half-Time’s has.
    I still miss Bennigan’s, though.

  39. Pingback: News Nugget – Update on Restaurant Closures « Fork You…

  40. I might be a little late(obviously since all the comments are from 2009) but I ate here once and it was awful. Not only did our food not come out for like 30 minutes, but they never refilled our drinks and then they screwed up our ticket. To top it off when I left, some random guy outside said “you ate there? that place sucks!” which made me feel better about my awful experience. I too am a fan of Heinz ketchup, Hunt’s just has a weird taste that I can’t tolerate. But not that crappy “Natural Heinz”, the completely manufactured, horrible for me with ingredient names I can’t pronounce Heinz.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s