Features

Lunch with Legends


Sports and food. The two are as American as baseball and apple pie. Who can forget munching on salty sunflower seeds at a ball game or catching a whiff of barbecue-scented smoke wafting from football tailgate parties? Paying homage to these two time-honored traditions, Legends Grille provides worldwide sports and first-class food in the Cougar-blue heart of BYU’s bustling new Student Athlete Building.

The night of the men’s volleyball national-championship match between BYU and Long Beach State proves to be the perfect showcase for Legends. Fans pack the restaurant, hungry for good grub and the national crown that slipped away last year. Walking into the two-story restaurant, grill-goers are greeted by glistening glass cases brimming with market-style side dishes. The Euro-style kitchen is manned by pro chef Wayne D. Griffin, who stands by ready to tackle appetites of any size. While offering the typical sports-grill fare of burgers and fries, Legends Grille also caters to the calorie-conscious crowd. The diverse menu boasts specialty salads, hearth-baked pizzas, made-to-order sandwiches, and grilled salmon, chicken, and steak.

Blasting athletics from 11 plasma TVs for up to 200 patrons, Legends is ESPN Sports Zone meets the Food Network. Fans stand transfixed in the lingering line, eyes glued to TVs broadcasting volleyball feats in vivid high definition while overhead a sports ticker longer than a vaulting pole relays the latest scores from across the globe. The Cougars are down—but it’s only the first game.

A glance at the menu reveals tantalizing options, which carry sports-themed monikers like the Honey Dijon Swish sandwich or the 100 Spinach Dash salad. For those in a more adventurous mood, the pizza selection presents a field of dreams, especially the exotic flavors of the Half Time pizza. Straddling the borders between little Italy and Chinatown, the Half Time’s eclectic visual assemblage of cilantro, shredded carrots, water chestnuts, and peanut sauce combine with a hearty crust to create a substantive pie.

For fans feeling like traditionalists in this sporting atmosphere, the Pop Fly Boneless Hot Wings come with generous side helpings, from a creamy potato salad to cucumbers drenched in a zesty dressing. As customers watch, Griffin’s team quickly assembles each meal, and in a matter of minutes fans settle in at their tables. Across from nearly every seat a perfectly positioned TV provides diners with a front-row view of the action.

Fans eat in awe as spikes fly on screen in an amazing display of athletic prowess. As the night progresses it’s hard to tell whether patrons’ appetites have diminished from the massive amounts of food consumed or from the tense match, which goes to five tight games. But overworked forks hit their plates about the same time the last spike hits the floor, and the Cougars pull it out, capturing a third national title in six years and offering a restaurant full of satiated, high-fiving fans a legendary experience.