When I picture a restaurant in the ‘70s, I imagine it coming straight from a rerun of “That ‘70s Show,” with gum-chewing waitresses rollerblading thin greasy burgers and fries to patrons in bell bottoms. I envision black and white checked counters and metallic bar stools. What I don’t think of are white tablecloths with cloth napkins, modern geometric patterns laid into the buildings architecture, prompt service with energetic waiters and live music.
And this is exactly why 77 South defied my expectations of a diner-style restaurant: it’s presented as the opposite, being an upscale ‘70s style lounge in the parking lot of the Church of the Resurrection in the Olathe suburbs. I know it seems like an impossibly cheesy combination — yet, somehow, everything pulls together creating a laid-back atmosphere with quick service and mouth-watering food.
You can expect to hear catchy music from the ‘70s contributing to the restaurant’s casual feel. Miniature disco balls embellish the walls and hanging fixtures, and the booths are in a semi-circle surrounding the bar with two flat screen televisions. Small brightly colored flowers adorn the hanging light fixtures. There is enough detail to recognize the theme, but the ‘70s era isn’t being shoved down your throat.
This restaurant is geared toward middle-aged adults, it has half price wine on Thursdays and it has disc jockey and live ‘70s music on Thursdays and Fridays. Although it is not targeting high school students, it is an inviting place to go to lunch on the weekend or for a classy dinner. The prices range from about $9 (for an appetizer) to $26 (for a steak dinner), but be sure to check their website because they have cheap and delicious specials like $1 crab rangoon Thursdays during happy hour. The menu provides a variety of foods from American to Chinese, making it a sure hit with whoever you bring along.
Burger lovers like myself, expect to pay $10 for a juicy half-a-pound of medium-well ground beef decked with the works. So, naturally, I was shocked when the receipt read $2, and it wasn’t a mistake (and trust me, I checked on that: Tuesdays cheeseburgers are only $2). This was an inch-thick burger dripping with soy-sauce-esque seasonings that comes with cheese AND thick-cut french fries — fries and cheese alone sometimes costs up to two dollars. This is only the tip of the iceberg of reasons why I am in love with 77 South.
For my appetizer, I took the waiters suggestion and ordered crab rangoon. The filling was sweet and creamy, and oozed out of the crunchy outside layer when I cut into it. It came with a sweet chili sauce which added flare to what would have been a comfort food. The crab rangoons were shaped like mini Chinese takeout boxes, making room for more filling which had a tasteful cream-to-crab ratio (in my opinion, the more cream to crab the better).
Somehow by dessert my stomach wasn’t bursting (probably due to their European portion sizes) so I had the waiter rattle off the dessert menu while he was refilling my water glass that was never left empty. I went with their chocolate lava cake. It tasted like a semi-dark chocolate brownie that was baked into the consistency of cake. Hot fudge was drizzled around the cake providing a warm — and delicious — ending to my meal. I suggest sharing the cake with a friend, because after all of your courses, you may leave with a full belly.
This restaurant is an option for all types of people — it caters to everyone. There are gluten free fettuccine pastas, salad and seafood options for vegetarians. I know I’ll be bringing my family back for a $2 cheeseburger on Tuesday.