Islands scores a touchdown with NFL Happy Hour menu specials

Phillip Brents

Fri December 5, 2014 12:04pm

Buffalo wings, nachos, sliders and beer. Perfect bar food while watching an NFL telecast.
For football fans, the party is happening at the Islands’ Eastlake restaurant (2255 Otay Lakes Road, Chula Vista) throughout the remainder of the NFL regular season.
The eatery’s NFL Happy Hour menu promotion is in its second season, according to Paolo Paiva, general manager, and continues to score touchdowns with fans.
“It’s popular,” Paiva explained. “We run it Monday and Thursday and on Sunday. We run the NFL Happy Hour specials from 4 p.m. to close on Monday and Thursday. Our normal happy hours are 4 to 7 p.m. We run it all day on Sunday.”
While NFL games are shown on monitors throughout the restaurant, the NFL Happy Hour menu specials are reserved for the bar area. Guests can view the games from either tables or seats at the bar.
The emphasis on the NFL Happy Hour menu is having fun. The restaurant’s bartenders and servers are friendly and courteous — and know how to keep a party going with raffles and giveaways during the games.
Popular drink specials include the mai tai ($4.35), hand-shaken strawberry daiquiri ($5.49), mojito ($4.35), bloody Mary ($3.95), Coors Light ($2.99) and featured IPA beers ($4.59).
During our recent visit to watch the Miami Dolphins defeat the visiting Buffalo Bills on a Thursday Night Football telecast, we had a choice of two beer specials. The featured IPA beer that night was from Stone Brewing Co., a brewery headquartered in Escondido, while another featured special was the Samuel Adams OctoberFest.
IPA stands for India pale ale. It has a slightly more bitter aftertaste than the smoother OctoberFest due to higher hops and alcohol content.
Regardless, it’s hard to argue with the bar specials. The Sam Adams brew goes for $3.50 for a 15-oz. fill-up and $5.50 for a 25-oz. serving.
“Those are smashing deals,” Paiva noted. Other drink specials (some half-off) include margaritas as well as wines (Woodbridge chardonnay and cabernet sauvignon, both for $4.25) and well drinks ($3.35).
As for munchies, NFL Happy Hour menu specials include fresh cut Islands potatoes ($2.49), cheddar fries ($4.85), beachside sliders ($4.69), Hawaiian sliders ($5.99), chips and salsa ($1.25), quesadillas ($3.79), Buffalo wings ($8.25) and nachos ($6.75). We were surprised at the amount of food served.
The beachside sliders (four) come with Swiss cheese and grilled onions. The Hawaiian sliders include grilled pineapple and teriyaki sauce on the side. Very tasty — if we say so ourselves.
The wings are another winner. We received 10 in our order (more than enough to share) and they seemed to get better (more tangy) with each bite. They’re soft, surprisingly meaty and go well with beer to “cool down” the spiciness. They’ve received the seal of approval from East Coast visitors, according to staff.
The salsa served with the nachos is a bit spicy. The nachos are light, thin and covered with sliced jalapeño peppers and a pleasant-tasting mix of cheeses. They’re best eaten while warm, so don’t let them sit while watching a long pass play or interception return.
Fries remain a popular item and tend to go fast. Diners can also order off the regular menu while seated in the bar section, desserts included. Nothing we sampled warranted a penalty flag.
The NFL regular season extends through Dec. 28. Paiva said Islands is offering the NFL Happy Hour menu at all its San Diego County locations, not just at the Eastlake restaurant.
That’s a first down in our playbook.