If you are looking for a pizzeria and sports pub where you can catch a game on a multitude of flat-screen TVs or bring the whole team for a family-style meal, Morrtons in the Larson Creek Shopping Center just might be the place.
Occupying several suites at 980 N. Phoenix Road, the establishment is almost like two places, really. One side is a cozy sports bar decorated with gleaming wood, dark green walls and oh-so-many televisions. The other side features a take-out counter and a family dining area with tables covered in butcher paper and crayons, large canvases of sporting scenes hung on the walls and just a few televisions.
Dining out with
the Mail Tribune
980 N. Phoenix Road
Open 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Sunday through Thursday and from 11 a.m. to midnight on Friday and Saturday.
My husband and I ducked into the pub side, taking a seat at one of the tall tables that line the walls. Each table is mounted to the wall with pipes, creating a groovy industrial look. Low, curving banquettes take up the center of the room, providing neat conversation nooks and unobstructed views to the TVs showing basketball, baseball, golf, some X Games-type adventure sport I didn't understand, and even, I think, the Home Shopping Network.
The appetizer menu is rich with options, many of them covered in cheese. Nachos, bacon-cheese potato wedges and cheesy garlic bread with green onion spread all sounded good, but my husband claimed hot wings make a perfect test of sports bar aptitude. He especially liked that Morrtons bakes them instead of frying. I'm not sure that qualifies wings as health food, but he decided they were a welcome part of his healthy diet.
A half order, priced at $8.50, included six plump wings with a hint of crispy char from their time inside a pizza oven and a slathering of mild sauce. A handful of carrot sticks, a side a ranch dressing (we should have specified blue cheese, as it is also available) and a few handy wet wipes accompanied the order.
To get an overview of the rest of the menu, I decided to try a calzone, and my husband surveyed the sandwich selection.
Morrtons offers three tiers of pizza combinations — classics, specialties and ultimates — with prices climbing a dollar with each level. Each combo has a sports-inspired name, and all of them are available as calzones, too. For $2 more, a 10-inch, gluten-free pizza crust is available.
I settled on "The Faceoff," a true classic featuring Canadian bacon, fresh mushrooms, red onion and a tangy marinara sauce, priced at $9.50. The crust was deeply browned in spots and dusted with dried herbs and Parmesan cheese. It offered a nice interplay of crispy and chewy and held up to the generous amount of fillings.
My husband opted for a pastrami sandwich for $9.50. Half sandwiches are $6.50.
The sandwich's freshly baked baguette was even more perfectly textured than the calzone crust, with a fine crumb and sturdy crust. Melted Swiss cheese oozed temptingly across the bread and the thick-sliced pastrami was moist and tender. Chopped romaine lettuce, sliced tomato, diced red onion and artistic drizzles of grainy mustard and mayonnaise capped this delicious creation. My husband found the handful of tortilla chips on the plate unnecessary, but declared the crisp and zesty pickle spear to be among the best he's had beside a local sandwich.
Looking at the fresh vegetables on the pastrami sandwich, I'm ready to head back to try the salads. I even saw a barbecue blue cheese chicken salad that sounded very similar to a Kaleidoscope Pizzeria favorite.
The pub offers a selection of macro- and microbrews and a handful of wines, some local, by the glass.
Morrtons is open from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Sunday through Thursday and from 11 a.m. until midnight on Friday and Saturday. Food deliveries are available across the 97504 ZIP code and even into Phoenix. Call 541-772-3154.
With good quality food, a welcoming space, and deliveries, Morrtons looks to be a great addition to an east Medford neighborhood. We will definitely be back to watch a game.
— Anita Burke