The Buffalo chicken wrap is one of many new items featured on Peabody's new, expanded menu.
The Buffalo chicken wrap is one of many new items featured on Peabody’s new, expanded menu.

By Gary Nager

It’s been about a year since we told you about the new menu and equally new smokeless environment at Peabody’s Billiards & Games in the Shoppes at Amberly plaza in Tampa Palms. The new menu, the still-decreasing number of other sit-down dining options in the area, the opportunity to enjoy smoke-free billiards and other games and of course, all of the eye candy servers and bartenders have helped bring new crowds of adult New Tampa residents to join all those USF students at the new Peabody’s.

But, not just resting on their successful transition to a smokeless restaurant, Peabody’s continues to upgrade its menu, recently adding 27 new starters, soups, salads, sandwiches, burgers and even a new chimichanga to its already-renowned wings, New York-style pizzas, and a signature New York strip steak that a certain newspaper editor really enjoys.

Let’s Get It Started

Yes, Peabody’s still has its famous wings, available with 15 premier sauces, from nuclear to honey garlic, but also has so many other great ways to start a great meal. The menu is so new I haven’t yet sampled too many of these, but I can vouch for the bistro onion soup (loaded with vidalia onions, French bread and tasty provolone, rather than traditional gruyere cheese) filling spinach artichoke dip, the homemade mozzarella sticks with zesty marinara and the house-cut fries tossed in Kosher salt and parmesan cheese (although I still order them extra crispy and without parmesan).

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Other starters at Peabody’s I plan to sample soon are the loaded potato skins, the garlic knots, and even the Spanish nachos, which tops fresh tostada chips with Peabody’s homemade chili (the chili also is available as a starter alone), sweet corn, queso cheese sauce, jalapenos, tomatoes, onions and a lime sour cream. The nachos cost $9.39 (add $3 to add grilled chicken), but the plate is so huge, it could easily serve 3-4 adults.

Peabody’s also is the place to enjoy huge, “shareable salads.” In addition to standard house, Caesar and blackened chicken salads, Peabody’s now offers a great Greek salad served with a properly tangy Greek dressing that I also enjoyed on the massive new Cobb salad. This bad boy features rows of crispy diced chicken, crisp real bacon bits, black olives, bleu cheese, sweet corn, diced tomatoes, cheddar cheese, avocado and egg atop fresh greens. The crisp diced chicken really rocks, but if you can eat the whole salad by yourself, you’re a better man than me.

Wrap It Up!

Peabody’s continues to expand its sandwich offerings, too. In addition to some of the sandwiches we already enjoyed — from the roast beef panini, New Tampa Cuban (Black Forest ham, Cuban-style pulled pork, Boar’s Head® Genoa salami, dill pickles, Swiss cheese, mustard and mayo), an Italian sub and “heart-healthy” chicken Caesar wrap, Peabody’s now also offers a healthy (if you replace the fries it comes with, anyway) West Coast turkey wrap (with Boar’s Head® oven-roasted turkey, fresh avocado, red onions, crisp Romaine lettuce, applewood-smoked bacon, sharp cheddar and mayo in a spinach wrap), a veggie spinach wrap, assistant editor Matt Wiley’s favorite Buffalo chicken wrap and a totally tasty new Peabody’s club. I really enjoyed the combination of Boar’s Head® Black Forest ham and oven-roasted turkey, applewood bacon, avocado, tomato and lettuce, I just think I would order it on a pressed panini instead of the thick toasted ciabatta roll.

Peabody’s also has some new burgers, of which the most interesting to me is the “breakfast burger,” which features the same 1/2-pound Peabody’s burger topped with applewood bacon, cheddar cheese and a perfect over-easy fried egg. There also are heart-healthy veggie burgers, less-heart-healthy Bulls (topped with Peabody’s homemade chili and cheddar cheese) and Cowboy (topped with bacon, onion rings and BBQ sauce) burgers.

Pizza, Steak &…Chimis?

I’ve always been a fan of Peabody’s true NY-style pizzas, whether cheese, pepperoni or meat lover’s, but now the restaurant/bar located next to the New Tampa Neighborhood News office has one option I’m stoked to try — the traditional Margherita (with olive oil, fresh garlic, fresh tomato and basil, but no sauce) — and a TexMex option (with Bullseye® BBQ sauce, red onion and diced chicken breast) I’m not as excited about, even though you may be. These specialty pizzas are not available by the slice, however.

Peabody’s also has an excellent”signature” NY strip, a thick, 10-oz. house-cut steak grilled to perfection and served with char-grilled local corn on the cob, homemade fries, caramelized onions and served with a roasted garlic aioli.

New Tampa Neighborhood News general manager Nikki Bennett and senior graphic artist Porsha Lemos both raved about the HUGE new chimichanga, a made-for-sharing monster stuffed with melted cheese, onions, peppers and chicken (or substitute steak for $1 more). Garnished with cheese, tomatoes, black olives, corn, red onion, scallions and sour cream, as well as sides of sour cream and homemade salsa, the chimi is a meal for at least two people.

The menu also tells you which items are available for late-night dining. Be sure to check out the coupon in the ad.

Desserts include a huge, decadent brownie a la mode, homemade zeppole (Italian-style donuts) and a creamy cheesecake with strawberry sauce.

Although you can’t smoke inside anymore and no one under 21 is allowed in after 9 p.m., Peabody’s is a 15,000-sq.-ft. entertainment complex with lots of outdoor seating areas for smokers and fun games inside, including lots of beautiful pool tables and electronic dart boards to foosball, electronic bowling, golf and basketball games, tabletop computer games, a variety of entertainment specials (everything from live music, beer pong and foosball tournaments to food and drink specials and more.

For more info about Peabody’s (15333 Amberly Dr.), which is open until 3 a.m. every night, call 972-1725 or visit Mention this story to receive your choice of a great Buy One, Get One Free menu item special or buy an entrée and get a free order of garlic knots.

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