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The Sand Bar wasn’t where I planned to wind up for my next dining adventure. I went somewhere else; walked in; a group of guys, yes all men, turned and looked at me, as if they were having a private meeting. There was no food on their table. Just drinks. No one greeted me. I could not even identify a staff person. So I left.

In stark contrast, I was warmly greeted as I walked through the door of the Sand Bar. There were many friendly, smiling places. It was a Sunday and sports was on every TV. And greasy, delicious smells filled the air. Much better, I thought.

Things got off to an appetizing start with the buffalo chicken dip – a Sand Bar favorite, as indicated by the blue star next to the dish on the menu; which described the dish as “chicken and cheese blended with our own buffalo sauce, broiled and served with Cajun chips.” The dip was an oohey goohey delight, with a great ratio of cheese to chicken to buffalo sauce. I’m not sure what made the chips Cajun. Actually, I’m not even sure the chips were made in house. It looks like someone took a bag of Trader Joe Ridge Cuts and toasted them. Not that that’s a complaint; they were a great compliment to the dip.

For my main course, I got the grilled chicken sandwich, blackened. I was thisclose to getting Cajun or buffalo, but I had appetizer flashbacks and decided to move forward. The plate comes with either fries or pasta salad. Having already ingested more than my fair share of chips, I went with the pasta salad.

The chicken was sufficiently blackened and grilled to near perfection – which means there was no pink. It came with fresh lettuce, tomato and onions and a side of mayo. The pasta salad was tangy – with olives and peppers and gourmet seasoning -- and seemed like a refreshing healthy choice (it’s not; still pasta) but on the grand scale, much better for you than more deep-fried potatoes.

My partner in dine order the fried oyster basket, which also comes with your choice of sides. Oddly, the oysters did not arrive in a basket, but were eagerly consumed just the same. A quick glance around neighboring tables indicated that oysters are a popular menu item, fried or otherwise.

Both dishes came with a deliciously soupy cole slaw cup.    

So if you’re looking for friendly welcoming faces – our server was sooo nice – a welcoming attitude,  comfort food and a local flavor both in food and decor, Sand Bar is the place. You can also shoot some pool, if you’re so inclined.

This newspaper pays for all meals related to dining reviews. We do not solicit or accept free food.

If you go

Sand Bar     

826 E. Elkcam Cirle, Marco Island

239-642-3625

www.sandbarmarco.com

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