The area surrounding the University of Central Florida is going to need some more sports bars. With the football team having a winning season, capped by winning its first bowl game, and the basketball team currently at 13-0 and playing its first conference game of the season tonight against Marshall, people might actually start to take interest in their hometown teams. And both teams nationally rated. Heck, I go to UCF football and basketball games occasionally, and I went to school in Illinois.
Of course, I like to go to the games so that I can go to a sports bar before or after, or, in some cases, during the match. There’s nothing like the mutual camaraderie of everyone rooting for the same team. And having a few beers.
And it’s all the better if you can have some good food, too, something that too many sports bars shrug off. But the Moat Sports Grille serves some pretty decent fare, and it’s close enough to the campus that you can enjoy a pre-game meal and still be in your seat for kick-off or tip-off or whatever the sport offs.
You’re thinking Moat? What kind of food do they serve, Moatian? You see, that’s what I’m talking about right there. You don’t know enough about your hometown team to know that they’re called the Knights. As in Round Table. As in castles. And what goes surrounds a castle? Well, yes, Huns, I suppose. But what keeps them from scaling the walls? That’s right, a moat. That’s what we’re talking about here.
Figuratively, anyway. The owners of the sports bar may have wanted to put a real moat around it, but I imagine the idea was voted down by the management of the Publix that anchors the strip mall it’s in.
The Moat has your average sort of atmosphere, with plenty of seats around a bar, tall tables and conventional seating, lots of sports paraphernalia on the walls and enough televisions hanging around the place for the customers to have their own monitor. Almost.
I stopped in before a basketball game and tried the mushrooms swiss burger, a thick half-pound patty, cooked to order, topped with sauteed mushrooms and melted swiss cheese. It was served with a big stack of tasty seasoned fries. I was too timid to try the full pound version of the Moat cheeseburger, which is served between two grilled cheese sandwiches. To me it sounds more like something you’d catapult to ward off Huns.
My friend had the pulled pork sandwich, served on a fresh kaiser roll. There was an ample amount of pork, all of which was seasoned with a not-too-spicy sauce. (Truth be told, it could have had a little more kick to it.) The sandwich also came with fries.
The mostly student-aged staff was friendly and as efficient as the kitchen would allow them to be.
The Moat Sports Grille is at 4250 Alafaya Trail, Oviedo, on the corner of McCulloch Road. It’s open for lunch and dinner daily, ‘til midnight weekdays and 2 a.m. on Friday and Saturday. There’s a full liquor bar and outdoor dining. Here’s a link to the Moat Sports Grille Web site. The phone number is 407-542-4983.