VIDEO: Dining Divas journey to Tickets in Fairborn

Insanely delicious chops and gyros at Tickets in Fairborn

What kind of food does a sports bar named Tickets serve?

The not-so-obvious answer: Greek!

The Dining Divas journeyed to one of the best examples of merging different cultures to create a truly unique dining experience.

Tickets Pub and Eatery is located on Main Street in downtown Fairborn. It’s a sports bar serving Greek and American food in a fun, inviting atmosphere.

The place was borne of the love of Greek food from the Zavakos family and has welcomed faithful Fairborn locals and military families since 1990.

Tickets is down the street from Foy’s (the greatest Halloween store in the world) and only minutes from Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Wright State University, the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force, the Ervin J. Nutter Center, Fifth Third Field and Calamityville.

What we had:

• Boneless Pork chops, one of the nightly specials, $13.95

• Gyro and fries, $7 with an upgrade to spicy fries for an extra $1.95

While waiting for our meals, we took time to observe the ambience. This looks like an American sports bar with eight large TVs strategically placed throughout the large layout. A beautiful, 40-foot wooden-topped bar dominates the room. It’s fully stocked with liquor, wine, bottled and draft beer.

Connie couldn’t wait to try Bitburger again, a German brew she enjoyed while hanging out in Deutschland for a while back in the day. Sandy conversed with Alexys, our bartender/server, and educated herself on the changing beer menu. She settled on the seasonal Sam Adams “Oktoberfest.”

We asked for an appetizer, jalapeno poppers, $6.95. They come six to a basket with your choice of sauce. Tickets makes their own ranch dressing, so we went with that. These little spicy hand-grenades did not disappoint. Filled with cream cheese and a slice of the pepper, perfectly deep-fried to a golden brown, they are a delight to the tongue as long as you are patient enough to let them cool down for a minute or two — they come to the table piping hot right out of the oven.

The menu is what sets Tickets apart from every other sports bar in the Miami Valley. Featuring true Greek cuisine and American favorites, a diner can enjoy the comforts of friendly faces in a fine setting with feta cheese.

Sandy sent for the Gyro (pronounced YEAR-oh), pita bread tightly wrapped around perfectly-prepared lamb and beef with tomato, sauce and onions.

For our Texas gal Connie, this isn’t her first rodeo at Tickets. As a long-time former Fairborn local, she’s been a frequent visitor and knows the menu well. When her eyes lit upon the pork chop dinner, she squinted ever-so-slightly and instantly began her now-familiar pre-ordering-cajoling.

Connie: So what do you want?

Sandy: It all looks good.

Connie: You wanna try the pork chops?

Sandy: Actually, I wanna try the gyro.

Connie: Oh, OK. Not the pork chops?

Sandy: Not really, I’m not a big pork chop eater (usually because they’re dry, overcooked and flavorless.)

Connie. Oh.

Sandy: You can order it.

Connie: I can?

Sandy: Yes, Connie. You’re a grown-up. You can have aaaaanything you want.

Our meals came right on the heels of the appetizer. Connie’s pork chops looked like they’d been seared on a western grill to feed John Wayne. They were perfectly tender, fully cooked and packed with amazing flavor. And if that’s not enough, the hash browned potatoes and onions were almost enough to make you want to move in the kitchen and give up your day job, just to be near them. They were nearly swimming in flavor and juices, but not too much, either. Browned, crunchy, soft, perfect. No salt even needed.

Connie’s chops come with a corner-stack of pita bread and for her side dish, she asked for Greek potato salad. It came in its own two-inch-tall bowl. The flavor is a bit understated, not an overpowering rush of mustard or mayo or gooey creaminess. A nice variation on typical ‘tato salad. “These chops are so insanely delicious I can’t hardly see straight!” Connie said. “They’re as good as bacon!”

Sandy’s gyro came wrapped in aluminum foil with a side of fries. The lamb and beef was served on a pita with tomato, onion and tzatziki sauce, $7. Tzatziki is made of strained yogurt (usually from sheep or goat milk) mixed with cucumbers, garlic, salt, olive oil, and sometimes lemon juice, and dill or mint or parsley. It’s a little messy, but nothing a few extra napkins can’t handle. The fries looked hand-cut and were perfectly seasoned with a special salt that brought out the flavor. There was more than enough and Sandy took half of them home. (Tip from Sandy: The best way to reheat fries is to put them in a toaster oven on the toast setting! Microwaving fries turns them to mush, but toasting them, not broiling or baking, brings back the crispiness. This technique works great for left-over pizza, too.)

We sat at the corner of the bar and enjoyed the view from the center of the room. Tickets is a great place to take the kids, as we saw lots of families having dinner. There are also several dining rooms to choose from, and those can be used for parties and special occasions.

Along with the other Greek specialties in salads, dinners and sandwiches, there is plenty of the usual sports bar choices. On the appetizer menu, there’s everything from onion rings, $6.95, chicken tenders; French, spicy and waffle fries; and even breaded clams, mushrooms or cauliflower, all under $8.

For salad lovers, there are Greek and American choices: Greek chicken salad with a charbroiled chicken breast and Tickets’ own Greek dressing, $8; a Spartan salad (Greek potato salad with Greek salad and homemade Greek dressing, $7.50; and a Gryo salad. The chef salad is for those who love ham, turkey, cheeses, egg, cucumber, tomato and green pepper, $8.

Some of the more unique dinner choices include Turkey and Feta, it’s thinly sliced turkey breast, served hot or cold on a pita with lettuce, tomato, onion, tzatziki sauce and Greek dressing, $7.

For the adventurous foodie, Tickets is one place to put on your list. Opa!

Hours: Monday-Thursday 11 a.m. - 11 p.m., Friday and Saturday 11 a.m.- 11:30 p.m., and Sunday from noon -9:30 p.m.

Final musings: Sandy Collins and Connie Post have joined forces to give you and your peeps lots of ideas of where to eat. Got recommendations? Shoot us an email. life@coxinc.com.

Online exclusive: See a video of our adventure at Tickets at MyDaytonDailyNews.com

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