The Empire Grill in Swansea, Massachusetts is located inside the Venus de Milo Restaurant and Banquet facility, which is a popular location for wedding receptions, sports banquets, family gatherings, and more. The grand look from the outside invites you to come in. We drove by this restaurant several times before finally deciding to check it out.
We decided to check out The Empire Grill on a Friday night (Tuesday-Friday nights from 4:00-9:00pm they offer 1/2 priced appetizers at the bar) because as a vegetarian this was the best option for me (no point visiting during dinner if I can't eat anything right?) All of the entrees are meat-based, so I was looking forward to trying out soup and a few appetizers.
I ordered Minestrone soup - when it came out it looked like there were meat chunks in it! I proceeded to ask the waiter and it did in fact have meat in it! I have never seen meat in Minestrone soup! My boyfriend on the other hand loved his Clam Chowder soup. The Empire Grill is known for its' soup - the locals love it. I am sure the Minestrone would have been great if not for the meat. It was a huge serving as well, however, I was pretty dissapointed as I was really craving soup on a cold winter night.
We split a few appetizers: mozzarella sticks, Margherta pizza, and salads. The cheese sticks were dried out and you couldn't even taste the cheese, too much breading. The salad was just your basic salad, nothing special - mainly lettuce and too light on vegetables. The Marherita pizza was good, although a bit burnt. My boyfriend ordered a draft beer and it cost $6: kinda expensive for one glass of beer.
We paid $30 for a beer, a salad, and 4 appetizers - and this was during 1/2 priced appetizers. I can't imagine how much our bill would have been during normal business orders. I don't feel like we received a good value in terms of quality of food. The saddest part of the whole night was that my boyfriend said the soup was basically the only item worth trying out and I didn't even get to taste any.
1/2 Priced Appetizers Menu
I wasn't overly impressed with the bartender/server. He was not very personable or friendly -usually bartenders engage in some small talk with you. My boyfriend was trying to start a conversation with him but he didn't seem very interested.
The restaurant had a classy, elegant feel. I liked the Greek mythological themed murals on the walls. I noticed that this restaurant seemed to be very popular with the older crowd - my boyfriend and I both felt in the minority. We felt a bit out of place being the only people sitting at the bar -completely empty on a Friday night? Strange...
The Empire Grill was a major disappointment. From the look of the building outside, you think you are headed in for a grand evening. I was displeased with the food, service, lack of vegetarian options on the menu, and overall downbeat atmosphere.