Second Helpings

Second Helping

Hanson's has always been one of the easy ones -- a restaurant I can't help but like. It's the sort of place you find one night when every other table in the neighborhood is booked, then return to whenever you have an open Friday night and no reservations. For families, for couples, for big, rowdy gangs of college kids looking for their own rathskellar, for solo drinkers after a place where everyone knows their name -- Hanson's is good on all those counts. And while the food falls far short of memorable -- I've had burned crabcakes, wilted salads and ugly, flaccid fries served by a kitchen that's fallen off considerably since I reviewed Hanson's last year -- it still serves a decent burger, as well as dinner specials that are sometimes truly special. There are other charms, too -- like the pool tables upstairs, which are free every day except Friday and generally go unused. And the bartenders, who seem to honestly like working at the kind of locals-only, regular hangout that Hanson's has become. Bottom line, Hanson's is a proper bar and grill with strong drinks, comfortable booths, a good happy hour, plenty of cheap diversions and a welcoming attitude that makes it the perfect option when you don't want to stay home, but don't want to leave the casual comforts of home, either.