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SIOUX CITY --  Looking at Bar Louie's menu, one question immediately springs to mind.

What the heck is a totcho?

"I had the very same question," general manager Tonya Nelson said, pointing to a photo of the gastropub's popular Buffalo Chicken Totchos appetizer. "Totchos combine tortilla chips and tater tots in a single app. Add some boneless chicken wings and drizzle with queso, ranch and Buffalo sauce, they're delicious together."

Totchos are just one of the imaginative items available at Bar Louie, which opened on Oct. 31 at 701 Gordon Drive.

"It was appropriate that we opened on Halloween," Nelson said. "It really added to the party atmosphere."

With a slogan of "Eat, Drink and Be Happy," Bar Louie, an Addison, Texas-based chain, is certainly aiming for a festive crowd. TV sets, an urban aesthetic and a full-stocked bar dominate the decor, while comfort food faves can be found on its menu.

Among Nelson's favorites is the Bruschetta Pomodoro appetizer, which consists of Parmesan crostini, tomato, basil and garlic served inside a cocktail glass.

She is equally enthusiastic about Bar Louie's Spiked Bulleit Bourbon Burger, which is literally what you think it is.

This burger has been spiked with bourbon and topped with cheddar, cream cheese, Applewood smoked bacon and crispy onion strings.

"Sorry, you must be 21 years old to order this burger," Nelson explained. "We do not cook all of the alcohol out and it is really tasty."

While a burger made with Kentucky whiskey can be considered All-American, much of Bar Louie's menu has international appeal.

For instance, an Ahi Poke appetizer (diced Ahi tuna served with cilantro, mint, green onions, a Kimchi slaw and a house-made Tiger sauce) is inspired by Far Eastern fare while the Luigi sandwich (shaved sirloin, lettuce, tomato and mayo served inside a fresh-baked Hoagie) tip the hat to Tuscany.

Nelson said Bar Louie's drink menu is even more lively than the food.

A fan of zesty drinks, she recommended the Spicy Pineapple Margarita, which is made with Altos Reposado Tequila, Anchos Reyes Liqueur, lime, agave nectar and cut pieces of pineapple.

"This is a cocktail that catches your attention," Nelson said. "It will turn a few heads."

That's exactly what she wants customers to expect from Bar Louie.

"We want to be a destination where you can meet up with some old friends while making new friends along the way," Nelson explained. 

Indeed, she said customer reaction has already been very positive.

"People may think we're a sports bar but we're not," Nelson said. "We're a gastropub that makes made-from-scratch food as well as top notch cocktails, martinis and sangrias."

"We take customer service seriously," she said. "Yet we also like to have a good time."

After all, it is hard to overlook the "Eat, Drink and Be Happy" slogan emblazoned on Bar Louie's wall.

"Whether you're coming in for lunch, dinner or a night out with friends, you'll always find a fun atmosphere here," Nelson said. 

   

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Food and Lifestyles reporter

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