Long Wong's isn't dead. It's just grown up and moved to the suburbs.
The legendary Mill Avenue club - bohemian hangout extraordinaire and ground zero for the local music scene for two decades - was leveled in 2004, but not before passing along its comfortable-casual genes to owners Scott and Cheri Magill's other venture, Teakwoods Tavern and Grill.
The Gilbert Teakwoods, in a Fry's strip mall on the southeast corner of Williams Field and Gilbert roads, is typical of Teakwoods' five locations in the Valley: welcoming, laid-back, loud and usually packed.
T-shirts and ball caps are de rigueur, and there are a dozen or so TVs showing sports. Patrons square off in Golden Tee golf and Lucky Strike bowling, but the overall vibe isn't so much sports bar as family-friendly neighborhood grill.
Six-person booths and well-worn wood tables offer metal buckets of free peanuts, whose broken shells are strewn about the floor. A corner jukebox plays classic rock. Occasionally, local musicians perform an acoustic set.
Teakwoods' wide-ranging menu caters to all tastes. Eight to 10 daily specials, running the gamut from Veracruz mussels to New York strip Marsala, are detailed on four blackboards, but you'd be hard-pressed to find anyone not indulging in more basic fare.
Long Wong's was famous for its meaty and juicy buffalo wings, and the tradition lives on at Teakwoods, where a dozen "medium" ($6.99, $5.25 on Tuesdays) still are the equivalent of "hot" at most other places. The only difference is you now can wash down these mouth-scorchers with pitchers of Blue Moon or Eighth Street Ale.
Burgers also are front and center. Half-pound patties are topped in 13 interesting ways, from the spicy Alamo Chipotle (chipotle cream cheese and frizzled onions, $8.99) to the G. Brian Scott (homemade guacamole and Swiss, $8.99), named for the bass player of Dead Hot Workshop, who were frequent performers at Long Wong's.
Teakwoods' menu is dotted with such shout-outs to Magill acquaintances, including the McCurdy's Cajun chicken sandwich ($8.99), named for a buddy in Colorado, and the Turkey Sue-ben ($8.99), named for Cheri's best friend in college.
The former, like all nine chicken sandwiches at Teakwoods, features a butterflied, 8-ounce breast, only about half of which can be covered by a good-sized bun. The latter is a creamy-crunchy masterpiece of shaved turkey, sauteed onions and jalapeño coleslaw on grilled sourdough.
All burgers and sandwiches are accompanied by a choice from seven sides. Steak fries, a longtime favorite at Teakwoods, sadly are no longer offered, but lightly battered fries are a suitable replacement. Tater tots also are popular, and not just with younger diners.
If you stray outside the consistently friendly confines of burgers and chicken sandwiches, Teakwoods' menu can be somewhat uneven. For every shining star, such as the Candlestick Carver (prime beef with chili and horseradish mayo on sourdough, $9.25), there's a ho-hum Philly cheese steak ($8.99) or French dip ($8.99).
Still, there are many more hits than misses at Teakwoods. It would take several dozen visits to explore all 100-plus items on the menu, but it certainly would be an enjoyable adventure.