In April 2017, Gabriele Toppins’ Cheers Restaurant & Lounge in Valley Park closed after 26 years in operation – but the beloved gathering spot wasn’t gone for long. Less than a year later, Toppins had the opportunity to bring her popular eatery and watering hole to Manchester, opening as Cheers Bar & Grill on St. Patrick’s Day.
“I’m hoping I’ll have the luck of the Irish,” Toppins said with a smile. Her new location is nestled in the National Way Shopping Center, at the southwest corner of Manchester Road and Hwy. 141.
What’s on the menu? “Everything that we used to have. It’s the same menu I’ve had for years, which has worked for me and the people love,” Toppins said.
The menu includes traditional bar food that’s made to order, featuring quality ingredients to create standout burgers, sandwiches and salads. It’s a menu strategy that’s simple, yet provides enough diversity of choice to satisfy anyone’s appetite.
“We keep it simple and we keep it consistent,” Toppins said.
Cheers’ star attraction is its burgers. Each burger is handmade, grilled and dressed to order. For added goodness, customers have the option of adding an extra patty, which is good news for those with hearty appetites who want to build their burgers into a double, triple or larger.
“All our burgers are excellent,” Toppins said. She suggests trying the Blue Bacon Burger or the Cheesy Burger.
Cheers’ Cheesy Burger, ladled with cheese sauce and topped with crisp fried onions, is a combination some burger fans will remember fondly as the John White Burger, a classic served at the late Famous Barr.
Another Cheers favorite is its French Dip – sliced seasoned roast beef piled on a bakery hoagie roll, topped with melted provolone cheese and served with a side of savory, warm au jus. It’s a delightful beef stack that pleases carnivores. No wonder it has become one of Cheers’ top sellers.
Burgers and sandwiches are served with a side of upscale choices including steak fries, waffle fries or onion rings. Recommended by Cheers customers are the waffle fries. They fry up crisp and tender and resemble a chip – a nice departure from the stick-cut fry.
For those looking to eat green, Cheers offers Caesar and Cobb salads – perfect for summertime.
“We make all the salads ourselves,” Toppins said. “We don’t use bag salad.”
Any bar and grill worth its salt will have munchies. At Cheers, expect the usual Mozzarella Cheese Sticks, Wings, Nachos and Toasted Ravioli. All are good, but it’s the unexpected items that will catch your eye: Frog Legs and Chicken Livers. They’re not the typical pub grub fare but, for the barroom connoisseur, they’re well worth ordering.
Cheers is open seven days a week, opening an hour earlier on Saturdays and Sundays when breakfast is served. On the morning menu, offerings include Biscuits and Gravy, French Toast and traditional plates of eggs, bacon/sausage, hash browns and toast.
“I make my own gravy, the French toast and the eggs are all cooked to order. That’s how we do things,” Toppins said.
One of the few things not made in-house are the pizzas, which are from TJ’s Pizzas.
“It’s a good tasting pizza that people love and that we can make all day or after the kitchen closes for the late-night crowd,” Toppins said.
Cheers Bar & Grill is a place where one can relax, eat and indulge; hang out and play a game of pool or take in the occasional scheduled live music. It’s a place, as Toppins says, that everyone can enjoy.
“I have people from age 21 to 90 that come in. I’m looking forward to serving the Manchester community,” Toppins said.