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Student Friendly Restaurants Heat Up “The Feve”

Jess Lee | Friday, February 6, 2009

The former best-kept secret of the Thursday night student Mecca, Club Fever, is the fact that you can get in for free…or almost.

Owned by the same proprietor as Club Fever, the Backstage Grill and its downstairs addition, the Green Room, have the potential to be as valuable to the late-night scene as the better-known Taco Bell, Nick’s Patio and Reckers. Both the Green Room and the Backstage Grill, however, have something for its patrons that the aforementioned do not – direct access to Club Fever.

As per the Web site, the Backstage Grill got its name because it is located directly behind the stage at Fever (you do the math for how the Green Room got its name), but more importantly, this means you can bypass the line and the four dollar cover to the club simply by eating at either economical venue and showing your receipt at the door. In short, you could potentially dine at the Backstage Grill before it closes at 10 p.m. Thursday-Saturday, or eat at The Green Room until it closes at 2 pm Wednesday-Saturday and enter the club for some post-dining entertainment.

The Green Room, a dark pool lounge (offering shuffleboard as an added bonus), is actually the basement of Club Fever. The Backstage Grill is a roomy and unexpectedly clean venue with tables and more intimate retro high-backed leather booths. The open view of the kitchen complements, rather than distracts from, the sports bar atmosphere complete with four flat-screen TVs. The service is excellent with a staff that is conversational and welcoming to Notre Dame students. Given the fact that $5 all-inclusive meal specials (cheeseburger and fries or a calzone and side-salad with a soft drink) are available exclusively to students on Thursdays, the managers of the grill know good business when they see it.

Both restaurants offer standard bar items such as domestic drafts at reasonable prices ($2-4) and variations on the burger ($6-8), but the Backstage Grill offers a more international smorgasbord of entrees. For those interested in lighter fare, the grill offers entrees such as the sesame-encrusted yellow-fin, the “Bistro Filet,” and a chili-lime tilapia.

For those 21 and older, the bar has a standard full bar with twelve different beers on draft and thirty bottled beers. Of the draft beers, Shinerbock is exclusive in the state of Indiana to the Backstage Grill/Green Room, as it is not sold north of the Mason-Dixon Line (unless you’re friends with the owner of the microbrewery).

The Backstage Grill specializes in its handmade pizzas and calzones. Ranging between the very carnivore-friendly “The Big Pig,” composed of pulled pork, pepperoni, ham, sausage and cheese enveloped with marinara sauce in a handmade crust, and the “Granny Smith,” which sounds more like a dessert than an entree, the calzones are all similar in that they are all delicious and reasonably priced at $7. Similarly, the pizzas are all hand-made daily with fresh ingredients.

However, an added bonus for the pizza purists in the world is the fact that pizzas are available at The Backstage Grill until 4 a.m. on Thursdays.

In short, the Backstage Grill/Green Room is the best find for the Thursday night student clubber’s budget since tax returns.