RESTAURANT WEEK: Why Bunkers is not your average sports bar

People in Vandalia have been flocking to Bunkers Sports Bar and Grill for years. It seems the place is jumping with activity no matter what day or time you show up.

Sports bars are typically known for three things: cheap domestic beers, standard bar food and, at some point, showing major sports on a few television screens. But Bunkers uses more imagination with their food.

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Take their Poe Anna appetizer, which we started with. It’s made with shredded potatoes covered in melted cheese with chunks of bacon and chives sprinkled throughout. It’s all topped off with a ranch dressing drizzle.

While we were sharing the generous Poe Anna portions, I noticed the myriad of beer options that flickered across the video screen near the taps. Bunkers boasts 42 beers ranging anywhere from your regular domestics to more than enough choices to keep the craft beer fans satisfied.


I had been told Bunkers had arguably the best chicken wings in the area. Naturally, every establishment has chicken wing hubris. So we decided to give their chicken chunks a shot. I like my wings reasonably hot, but sometimes you can’t tell how good the chicken and breading is for all the heat. So we went with the uber-safe spicy garlic.

First of all, great portions again. I almost couldn’t finish the whole basket, but I got over my first-world problem and got the job done. Indeed these chunks are delicious, and not just tiny bits of meat in tasteless breading.

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Another typical trait of most sports-themed establishments is either lame dessert options (thanks for the effort, Chef Sherbet), or none at all. Full disclosure: I’m not much of a dessert guy, but I sacrificed for the greater good and pseudo-heroically jumped on the cheesecake grenade.

We tried slices of both the caramel and the chocolate stout cheesecakes. The caramel cheesecake was good, but not necessarily remarkable. However, the chocolate stout cheesecake was reasonably rich with a robust finish.

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I’ve been to Bunkers a few times and it’s always  busy. Bunkers seemingly appeal to customers of all ages, with young families, teenagers straight up through older adults. Some sports bars can go a little heavy on the testosterone, but Bunkers feels just right for men and women.

Flat screens encircle the entire room.  You like racing? They’ve got it on (auto and horses). Football? Yep. Baseball? Uh huh. Rodeo? That too.

You see where this is going.

Ultimately, with the atmosphere, along with the menu, beer selection and the screen options, I’d be more than happy to make Bunkers Sports Bar and Grill my normal sports watering hole.


You really owe it to yourself to get to Bunkers in time for their breakfast service on Saturdays and Sundays for delicious dishes at ridiculous portions.

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