It's Friday, the weekend is almost here, and we received an invitation to dine at Rye Bar & Grill.

We arrived just before 6pm and were warmly greeted by our waitress, Mackenna. We were shown to our table and offered a pre-dinner drink.

You can't beat a good beer at the end of the week, so I chose a 300ml glass of Asahi which they have on tap. (If you're really thirsty there's is a 500ml option.)

She chose a glass of Bird Pinot Gris. At $9 a glass that is good value.

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One item on the drinks menu that caught my eye was Whisky Tasting Paddles. There were five tasting paddles to choose from, from a Jack Daniel's selection to Scotch and Rye whiskies. Each paddle offers three varieties for $18.

As we chilled out on our drinks enjoying the relaxed atmosphere, the restaurant began to fill, helped by the NZ Māori All Blacks having a farewell get together before departing for Chicago.

It's a popular place and by 7pm it was buzzing with family groups, after-work catch-ups and couples all enjoying the relaxed ambience and the cool 80s music.

On the menu
Rye Bar & Grill brings a taste of the Southern States of the US to Eat St in Downtown Tauranga. Whether you are after a hearty burger, hot wings, a 300g sirloin steak or ribs, this casual restaurant has all and that and so much more.

There are also a number of sharing and tasting board options which are ideal for a couple of people.
We spend some time reading the menu ... so many tasty offerings which led us to ordering the Sharing Board.

The board offered a lot that was on the main menu: Pulled Pork with Wholegrain Mustard, Mac n' Cheese Bites with Thousand Island Dressing, Fried Chicken Pieces with Ranch Dressing, Artichoke Dip, Creole Seasoned Fries, Pulled Brisket Bites, Onion Jam and Chipotle Slaw. What a feast and I have to say incredibly tasty and at $55, good value. The portions were very generous.

We did leave a little room for desert. We went for Hot Apple and Cinnamon Pie with Vanilla Bean Ice Cream. As it says at the bottom of the dessert menu, the best things in life are sweet, and the pie sure was delicious!

Rye Bar & Grill has a daily Happy Hour and a Half from 4.30pm to 6pm with selected drinks and bites for $7 each.

Tuesday is Big Bad Burger night, there's Wing Wednesday, Thursday is Two for One night and Friday is Fried Chicken day. On Sunday there is a $5 kids' menu.
There are also gluten-free and vegetarian choices on the menu.

The verdict
We will leave that to the saying over the entrance way of the American-themed restaurant, which says it all — 'Ya'll come back now, ya hear', and we definitely will. It's a great casual restaurant with great hospitality and the bonus — it's good value.


The details
Rye Bar & Grill
19 Wharf St, Tauranga
Phone: (07) 571 4138 | www.ryekitchen.co.nz
Hours: Tuesday-Thursday, 4.30pm-late, Friday, 12pm-late. Saturday and Sunday Bubbly Brunch, 11-3pm, and dinner, 3pm-late. (Closed Mondays).