Unwind or Rise Up:

Fox and Hound
920 Town Center Drive
(910) 509-0805
Service: stars
Food: stars
Price point: $$

FOXY FOOD: (top to bottom) The French dip sandwich, Play Action Platter and The Great Cookie Blitz are all filling varieties served at Fox and Hound. Photos by Shea Carver.

To lay claim on being “the best party in town,” a restaurant has to back it up with personality, usually some booze and, of course, satisfying food. The lunch bunch once again set out to test the latter at a favorite Mayfaire hotspot: Fox and Hound.

Admittedly, it’s a name that always makes me think of a similarly titled Disney cartoon movie, featuring the voices of Mickey Rooney and Kurt Russell (I know, I was surprised, too). However, the Fox and Hound restaurant is not animated in this context—maybe in an adult crowd kind of way. The establishment has offered its masses a place to relax, have a drink, play a game of billiards or “Fox Pong” seven days a week. Whether unwinding after a rough work week or gearing up for a boisterous night out, the Fox and Hound’s English pub-style décor offers an atmosphere that allows customers to create their own experiences.

Help is at hand always with Fox’s fave foods and a full bar with 36 taps of interchanging seasonal, craft beers. With more emphasis put on “local” in restaurants these days—meaning local food, beer, wine, etc.—though a national chain, Fox and Hound still holds close ties to the region, especially NC brews. Featuring such crafts as the Port City’s very own Good Vibes “The Experience” or the Outer Banks’ Weeping Radish, bar manager Daren Helms says not only is there something for everyone, but accessing it is optional at practically any time.

“We offer a full [bar and food menu] until 2 a.m. daily,” he says, “as opposed to limited or appetizer-only late night menus like other places.” Plus, Fox has specials constantly, like “Wicked Wheat and Wine Down” Wednesday, with all-day $2.50 Blue Moons and half-priced bottles of wine.

The lunch bunch packs a party punch wherever we go, whenever we go—even in the middle of the afternoon. Of course, we had to check out the action, starting with the “Play-Action Platter.” Our table sampled the “Grand Champion” hot honey sauce wings with traditional sides of celery and ranch, mozzarella cheese sticks with pomodoro sauce, baked Bavarian pretzels with spiced queso cheese, and classic potato skins with cool sour cream. Perhaps the most satisfying part of the appetizer is that a portion of the proceeds benefit St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.

In an attempt to cancel out the sinfully delicious beginnings—Shea was partial to the wings, Jenn to the pretzels—the Napa Valley spinach salad arrived. The salad features fresh spinach, grilled chicken, bacon, Granny Smith apples, red onions, mushrooms (deep breath), Feta, sun-dried cranberries, candied pecans and tomatoes, all dressed in a homemade Pinot Noir shallot vinaigrette. Appealing to those who like a salad with some crunch, sweet or tang, it’s all offered in one biteful here. If I weren’t obliged to share with the rest of the table, this salad could have definitely made my meal. However, as always, there was more to come.

Two sandwiches hovered from plate to plate, as we passed the entrées: their famous French dip au jus and the Black Forest. The French dip came piled high with all-day roasted London broil, which was tender and rich. The in-house roasted flair wafted our noses, as steamy au jus soaked through the toasted Ciabatta roll. A giant Bavarian pretzel roll made up the foundation for the Black Forest sandwich, towering with grilled turkey, Applewood bacon, Monterey Jack cheese, lettuce, tomatoes and honey mustard dressing. The pretzel bread provided a twist to the normal bread offerings around town, something we were all thrilled to see. Better yet, it wasn’t thick and gummy, like mall pretzel kiosks tend to serve—rather light, even airy.

And speaking of pretzels…

Both hearty sandwiches are normally served with crispy fries; however, we opted to substitute an order with the flash-fried pretzel dunkers. These mini-cut knobs have been bathed briefly in a fryer to give them a little extra crisp and come served with horseradish mustard for dipping. With a cold beer, we all concluded it the perfect football-watching snack food. Luckily, Fox and Hound has a large spread of flat-screens, too, perfect for game-day—in any sport.

We ended our midday feast with The Great Cookie Blitz, a six-inch chocolate chip cookie baked to order. It’s … well … magic. It comes straight from the oven—soft, hot and ooey-gooey. Topped with vanilla ice cream and drenched in chocolate syrup, it’s every child’s dream and every adult’s guilty pleasure.

Well, that and obviously cartoon movies.

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