Watching March Madness basketball games at Islands Restaurant
Watching March Madness basketball games at Islands Restaurant

Today may be Easter, but most of the country has been celebrating all month long for March Madness. That’s right – NCAA basketball is the current focus of office conversations, sports fans and gamblers. My alma mater lost in the first round against Duke, so now I’m rooting for UNC to make it all the way to the championship game. But the thing about sports (for me anyway) is that they’re a lot more fun to watch when you can cheer on your team alongside friends, while ribbing your rival fans. The best place to do that? Not your own couch, alone.

That’s why you should head over to Islands Restaurant for a burger, brewskies and basketball. Islands has nine locations throughout San Diego, but the Mission Valley restaurant is closest to me. They have several large TVs (watch surf videos if you’re not into basketball), a weekday happy hour from 4 to 7 p.m., and a tasty menu of burgers, sandwiches, tacos, bowls and salads, among others. I like to drink Liquid Aloha on tap (Kona Longboard Lager) and sit in the bar area for optimal TV viewing.

For food, you can’t go wrong with the standard Big Wave burger, but if you’re feeling more adventurous, try the Kilauea that’s a jalapeno & black pepper crusted burger topped with pepperjack cheese, chipotle aioli, lettuce, tomato and shoestring onions. It has so much flavor and a touch of heat. Any of their burgers can also be substituted with a chicken breast or turkey instead of beef. For a couple extra bucks, you can substitute regular fries for onion rings or sweet potato fries.

Kilauea Burger (with chicken) at Islands Restaurant
Kilauea Burger (with chicken) at Islands Restaurant

Available now through the championship game on April 4, Islands is offering special hot dog and beer pairings. Choose between the Nalu Nalu dog (roasted garlic aioli, sauteed onions, peppers and Swiss cheese) and the Pipeline Dog (chili, onions and American cheese), paired with a 16-ounce Coors Light for only $8.95. Both dogs come with fries. Or, try their new Sriracha Smack burger that has Sriracha cream cheese, lettuce, onions, pickled peppers, pepperjack cheese, bacon and a soy-Sriracha glaze (available for a limited time).

Pipeline dog at Islands Restaurant on special for March Madness
Pipeline dog at Islands Restaurant on special for March Madness

If your team wins, celebrate with a slice of Kona Pie for dessert. The menu favorite has mocha almond fudge ice cream on top of a cookie crust, with chocolate fudge, whipped cream, roasted almonds and a cherry.

Now that you’ve got the food and drink situation figured out… you’re ready for tip off!

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