ABINGDON, Va. — I was immediately overwhelmed by a big sign in the lobby.
It was like a shield, saying, “Tackle Your Hunger — Feast Your Eyes.”
And then I stepped into the dining hall of the new Beef ‘O’ Brady’s, the latest restaurant to come to Abingdon, with an opening on July 29, next door to the Abingdon Cinemall.
Established in 1985 and based in Tampa, Florida, Beef ‘O’ Brady’s is a franchise of family-themed sports pubs that feature a menu of wings, fresh Angus burgers, crisp salads, pizza and flatbreads, along with a kids’ menu and a full bar.
The Abingdon outlet arrived right on time for the Virginia Highlands Festival and pre-empted the impending buzz to come on the nearby Abingdon High School campus.
Inside this Abingdon restaurant, you’ll find photos of sports champions.
And you’ll see rows of football helmets while enjoying the smells and sights of soups, salads, sandwiches, sirloins, spinach and shrimp.
“There’s nothing like it around this area,” said co-manager Kathy Davis, 58. “Everything about it is exciting.”
This 193-seat restaurant, 735 E. Main St., features a custom bar with taps of local beers coming from breweries in Damascus, Bristol, Johnson City and Abingdon.
“It’s a family sports restaurant,” said Davis. “We’re connected with the Cinemall, so we have to do everything family-oriented.”
Another manager, 26-year-old Patrick Henry High School graduate Peyton Hubble, bragged about the “phenomenal” lettuce wraps and the sheer variety of the restaurant menu.
And it’s not just the menu that will make you want to come back, Davis said.
“It’s just so beautiful in here,” Davis bragged.
“And every time you come in here, you see different things.”
Like the photos on the wall — from NASCAR drivers to knockout kings and baseball champs. There’s a few pretty girls, too.
This is all the dream of Abingdon’s Steve Weston, 69, the restaurant owner who moved to Abingdon in 1996 and opened the Abingdon Cinemall a couple of years later.
Another thing: Beef ‘O’ Brady’s features a whopping 117 TV screens.
“When you see them all on, you’re going to feel like you’re in some sort of hyper space,” Weston said with a grin.
“I’m trying to get people to really focus on two of their senses when they come in — obviously, taste, but the other one being visual,” Weston said. “I want to entertain their eyes and their stomach at the same time. And that’s kind of a big challenge in today’s world.”