The Endzone Sports Pub is a place dear to my heart and belly. It represents the perfect marriage of the best that American and Portuguese cuisine has to offer. Improving upon that, it accompanies these mouth-watering dishes with what is hands-down one of the best atmospheres in the South Coast in an affordable way.
From the first time you arrive, the Demelo family and End Zone staff will make you feel like you know them from somewhere. Spend five minutes at the Endzone and you will discover a restaurant whose servers effortlessly and consistently convey warmth and professionalism. This isn’t something you can enforce or regulate. You can’t make people be warm and friendly.
As I’ve mentioned in the past – these are things that trickle down from the top. Servers treated well, will be enthusiastic and relaxed. Servers trained well, will be attentive and focused – meaning you get your fare exactly as you ordered it. Chefs and cooks treated well, will demonstrate consistency and that special TLC that gives the food the extra “umph.” Treat people well and they will stay. That means I don’t get three variations of cacoila, because of turnover. This is a product of twenty years of experience and listening to customer’s feedback. An organic product of constant evolution, refinement and improvement.
The End Zone is a creative casual family dining establishment with a sports flair that has all these things in abundance. There’s a lot of pride circulating at one of the city’s best pubs – with darn good reason. The Endzone staff is one happy family. That means happy food. That means happy me. That means happy us. Get in my belly.
“Pregame” (Appetizers) soups, and salad
So what are these American and Portuguese favorites you’ll encounter at the Endzone? One of the aromas you are guaranteed to pick up on when you walk in the door is the “Gold Rush Wings.” In fact, by the time you sit down, you’ll hear a few people order them. “Chicken tenderloins tossed in our own special honey BBQ sauce served with crisp celery.” If you’ve had these, you know. Oh, you know all too well.
There are the classic appetizers like fried mozzarella sticks, a heaping mountain of Cheese Nachos, delectable boneless Buffalo wings, chicken tenders, chicken quesadillas, and the massive combo platter. Stuffed quahogs, cherrystones on the half shell, clam cakes and potato skins round out the standards. But there are less common appetizers to be found here: Shrimp a la Garlic (and Parmesan cheese), Buffalo shrimp – “Twelve tender Gulf shrimp tossed in a Buffalo sauce, served hot or mild with crisp celery,” or the popular favorite Meltdown Fries smothered in cheese and bacon.
In addition to New England clam chowder there is the Soup of the day – a different soup made fresh each morning. There’s tangy chili, and a wide variety of salads – Caesar, tuna, char-grilled chicken, house and antipasto. Can’t decide on soup or salad? Get them both with the Soup and Salad combo for $5.99!
Half-Time and pizza, pizza!
Never mind the pizza chains! Sunday through Thursday you can order a 12 inch pizza with their signature sauce without breaking the bank. They even have specialty pizzas like the out of this world scallop and bacon pizza, a clams casino pizza, even a chicken Mozambique! Their End Zone pizza is jam packed with linguica, pepperoni, sausage, meatball, onion, pepper, mushroom, olive, bacon and ham for only $11.99! Madness!
The Half-Time aspect of the menu is my personal favorite and where I immediately head to when I arrive. Eighteen sandwiches and wraps ($5.99-$8.99) to choose from served with a fresh batch of fries, served on your choice of white, wheat, rye, marble or a Portuguese bun. Again – as is the theme at End Zone – they have the “safe” American classics like char-grilled chicken, BLT, ham and cheese club, or tuna melt, but have non-classics like Ralph’s Reuben – a Reuben with roast beef and turkey, served on marble rye – and plenty of Portuguese favorites like Carne de espito, linguica, and cacoila.
Accompanying these sandwiches is a full array of burgers. Hamburger, cheeseburger and turkey burgers are the stand-bys. Then there’s the French onion burger, a Red Sox burger (with bacon, lettuce, tomato, and American cheese), and a Portuguese style burger which is egg, red peppers, American cheese and a side of Portuguese gravy. A particular favorite of mine is the Big Texan: BBQ sauce, cheese, bacon, onion rings served on an onion roll.
Most of these large beasts are $8.99. Barely a dollar or two more than you would pay at a burger chain!
Here is where the End Zone really shines. The “Main Attraction” aspect of the menu sets the End Zone apart from the chains which I won’t mention and at a far more affordable price. The menu starts out standard enough with Baby Back BBQ ribs, grilled chicken dinner and New York Sirloin. There’s an old classic that has virtually disappeared: Liver and Onions served with bacon, potato and a vegetable.
Then come the Portuguese greats Carne Alentejana, Chicken Mozambique, Carne de espeto, and cacoila plate. There are two End Zone specialties that will knock your socks off. The Azorean Chicken and Shrimp is cooked in a spicy saffron sauce with onion, linguica and fried potatoes. The Filet Mignon Bourbon Steak Tips will make you hover over your plate lest someone with makes a bad move on them. One glance or sniff and they will betray you. You may have to fork a reaching hand.
Accompanying these are a few Sirloin Tip Combos which are seasoned tips char-broiled to perfection. You can pair them with grilled chicken, chicken tenders (plain, Buffalo or Gold Rush), or fried shrimp. Same price regardless.
From The Sea
Are you a seafood lover? Whether you want fried or broiled choices or Italian-American classics like linguine a la shrimp and shrimp scampi, you’ll find something to like. Broiled sea scallops, a seafood scampi, and of course, shrimp Mozambique round out the full seafood menu.
The mark of any seafood restaurant is the Seafood Platter and the End Zone bats it out of the park (pardon the pun – couldn’t resist) in terms of price ($17.99) and portion. This heaping plate is loaded with golden brown clams, sea scallops and shrimp on a large serving of cod and fries. Cole slaw and tartar sauce on the side of course. One of my all time favorite dishes in any restaurant ever is the Portuguese Style Littlenecks and Shrimp. Unlike many other restaurants in the area this version comes with linguica.
Pee Wee Menu
The End Zone places an important emphasis on family. The folks there understand that a family of four would have to spend a fortune to go out and eat at a decent establishment – with no guarantee that the kids will eat every bite. You don’t have to sacrifice and head out to a fast food chain to save money.
Everything on the Pee Wee menu is either $2.99 or $4.99. All the things kids just love – hot dogs, cheeseburger sliders, grilled cheese, chicken tenders and mac & cheese. All but the Mac & Cheese are served with fries.
You won’t need to convince the little ones to eat at the End Zone!
Party Platters and private functions
Got a special event or game coming up? Take a load off and order the End Zone’s best offerings by the pound, half-pan or full-pan. Imagine a massive serving of carne alentejana, carne de espeto or shrimp Mozambique to devour while watching the fights? Boneless Buffalo tenders are a must for any game. Have something a little more upscale? Grab some baked lasagna, chicken, broccoli & ziti, a huge antipasto or Bourbon Tenderloin tips. Their version of paella is the Seafood Rice – Portuguese seasoned rice with scallops, shrimp, calamari & mussels. Oh my.
Don’t feel like having that special function or game at your house? Don’t want a mess to deal with? No problem. The End Zone has a private backroom with a full sized bar that seats 20. You can watch the game on the “big, big wide screen TV.”
The End Zone does Portuguese-American in exemplar fashion. You will find great Portuguese and American restaurants in the city, but you won’t find a better Portuguese-American one. A mouth-watering menu alone isn’t enough to succeed. Attentive, friendly servers can’t make food taste better. Having a fast, consistent backhouse won’t do it either. Nor will progressive, efficient management and affordable prices. To be one of the best and survive – nay to thrive – you need to marry all of these elements together and do it day after day without faltering. Some can do well just utilizing two of these factors. Every once in a while comes a diamond in the rough that perfectly assembles all of these factors together.
The End Zone is one of those places. They just get it.
Started twenty years ago by Manuel Demelo and run by his sons today, the End Zone will have no problem doing another twenty years. Sons Troy and Ryan took over in 2010 and have continued a tradition built on the bedrock of principles their father laid down. A formula of excellence passed to another generation who want to respect what their father has accomplished. One experience at End Zone and you’ll feel that they have nothing to worry about.
I’ll see you there!
Endzone Sports Pub
218 Coggeshall St
New Bedford, Massachusetts 02746
Phone: (508) 997-7309
Special Coupons: endzonesportspub.com/specials
Mon – Wed: 11:00 am – 9:00 pm
Thu – Sat: 11:00 am – 10:00 pm
Sun: 11:00 am – 9:00 pm