Restaurant review

Alé Rae’s Gastro Pub warmly recommended

It had been a long time since I had returned to revisit a restaurant I had already reviewed. But The Grub Spouse and I recently visited the physical location of Alé Rae’s Gastro Pub and Coffee Bar on North Broadway. For logistical reasons, we had to drive separately and meet on site.

My previous experience with the brand dates back to 2020, when I tried what was then called the Alé Rae Grill food truck at Central Filling Station. Spouse dined with another vendor on this outing, but I had the Cajun remoulade spidie (whatever a “spidie”) at Alé Rae. It was good enough for me to rate their food 4.5 stars based on my limited sampling of their fare.

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Aesthetically, the new incarnation of Alé Rae made a solid first impression. Outside, there’s plenty of shaded seating for alfresco dining, and the artificially grassed space also includes a fire pit and enough real estate to engage in a cornhole, weather permitting. The rain was falling the night we visited, so we headed inside, where the furniture, light fixtures, and decor give off a strong bohemian vibe. It looks like one of those places that has been around for ages, although it isn’t.

Alé Rae's Gastropub serves pub-style comfort food with a chef's twist.  Pictured, front to back: Rice Pilaf with Mushroom Butter, Gordo Steak & Cheese Roll, Pulled Pork Platter with a side of Mac and Cheese.

Guests are allowed to sit, so spouse and I got a table near the bar in the back of the main room. It took a waiter a few minutes to engage with us, then suddenly two employees attempted to take our drink and food orders. A dedicated drinks and cocktails menu sat on our table, but I ended up going with an IPA on tap.

As for the food, I took note of several of their entrees, although we declined to order any of them. They include spinach-artichoke, hummus and smoked chili dips as well as spicy fried cauliflower, stuffed potato skins and gourmet ravioli. Alé Rae’s also offers several soups and salads.

The menu lists several entree-style entrees, including bacon and bourbon meatloaf, porterhouse steak, and Chicago-style pork steak. There are also several bowl creations as well as a seafood platter with white fish, salmon or crab cake, fried or grilled shrimp, lobster ravioli and more. Spouse ordered the pulled pork plate with maple bourbon barbecue sauce ($12). It comes with a side, so The Spouse chose macaroni and cheese.

The rest of the selections are wide: burgers, dogs, sandwiches, wraps, flatbreads, wings, and tacos. I ruled out several of them outright and found myself torn between a quesadilla and the Gordo Steak n Cheese roll ($14). I ended up with the latter, which is basically the innards of a Philly cheesesteak sandwich stuffed in a piece of Indian naan. Sides are not included, but I added the mushroom butter rice pilaf a la carte for $4. For the record, other sides include Mexican corn, mashed potatoes, California vegetables and fries.

Although I wasn’t quite able to go all the way to 4.5 this time around, Alé Rae still got a good food score based on consistently executing everything. The stuffed Philadelphia naan was delicious, and even the rice pilaf wasn’t disposable – buttered and mushroom as advertised. Spouse’s pulled pork with BBQ sauce was savory satisfying, and kudos to the mac and cheese, which was rich, creamy and covered in a layer of melted cheese.

We packed a lot of leftovers to save room for dessert. The chef’s signature treat—bourbon apple and raisin nachos—didn’t really pique our interest, but we settled for sharing a slice of cheesecake from the vending machine topped with caramel and almonds ($6). The cheesecake filling was light, while the rich caramel was super soft and thick. Other toppings available were berries with tomato compote and wine infused dark chocolate.

Not only do I highly recommend trying Alé Rae’s Gastro Pub, but I hope to visit again in the near future at my own expense. They also feature live music and serve a wide selection of coffee concoctions. And maybe next time it will be nice enough outside to play cornhole.

Alé Rae Gastro Pub and Coffee Bar

Food: 4.25

Service: 3.5

Atmosphere: 4.25

Globally: 4.25

Address: 937 N. Broadway

Call: 865-924-2426

Full bar service

Hours: 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. from Wednesday to Saturday; 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Sunday

This Broadway restaurant has made a successful transition from food truck to brick-and-mortar thanks to well-prepared comfort food, full bar and cafe service, and a fun, relaxed setting.