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4

$13 at Big Woodrow's on Chimney Rock

Where

: Big Woodrow's, 3111 Chimney Rock, 713-784-2653

What $13 gets you: Good, greasy bar food.

The menu at Big Woodrow's is vast, going well beyond the standard nachos, wings and burgers. Here you can get everything from state-fair staples such as fried pickles ($3.99), fried alligator ($7.99) and con queso cheese fries ($4.99) to crabmeat stuffed jalapenos ($6.99) and oysters on the half shell ($7.99) - and those are just among the appetizers. N'awlins cuisine is well-represented, with chicken and sausage gumbo ($4.50/$6.99), crab bisque (($4.50/$6.99), jambalaya ($10.99) and crawfish etoufee ($11.99).

But for some reason, I never try any of these. Instead, I always get the blackened shrimp po' boy with onion rings ($7.99, or a "lunch version" for $5.99) and either a pop or a beer to wash it down.

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Recommended? Yes, but...

There's a lot not to like about Big Woodrow's. For one, the bazillion TVs inside are a downer. And the outdoor patio is anything but pleasant due to the super-charged, super-loud, super-filthy metal fans. And then there is the bad FM radio coming from the speakers. I swear I've never been there and not heard Bob Seger and the Silver Bullet Band. Oh, and I almost forgot to mention all the (lame) dick jokes in the form of merchandise, such as the "Shy guy with a Big Woodrow" T-shirts.

But the food is surprisingly good. And the menu makes it so you can always try something new. One day, I'll have to do that.

Bonus point: Free Wi-Fi. - Todd Spivak

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