From Press Row:

It’s time for final exams and final papers, final issues and final columns, so I’ve decided to tie up a couple of loose ends. My first restaurant review I’ve been meaning to give a plug

It’s time for final exams and final papers, final issues and final columns, so I’ve decided to tie up a couple of loose ends.

My first restaurant review

I’ve been meaning to give a plug to my favorite out-of-the-way sports bar, Sacca’s Pourhouse Pub, for weeks and weeks now, and to thank the ownership and staff for creating such a cool place to hang out, as well as for free bubble boy hockey tournaments.

The Pourhouse – located in Pennsauken, N.J. on Westfield Avenue (off of Route 130) – has all that a good sports bar should have, including several televisions, relatively inexpensive drinks, excellent bar food and plenty of traditional bar games.

Plus, former Penn State all-American quarterback Tony Sacca is the cook!

I know of nowhere else where you can regularly get yourself a cheesesteak made by somebody who played QB in the NFL. Personally, though, I’d recommend the barbecue chicken cheesesteak, with the mozzarella sticks on the side.

On any given night, the Pourhouse probably won’t be too crowded. There is plenty of room in front of the big-screen, and the waitstaff is friendly and competent.

In addition to legendary bar games like bubble boy hockey, darts, trivia and shuffleboard bowling, Sacca’s has just recently added a pool table (at the unfortunate expense of foozball). Unlimited games of darts are free, while the other games are priced at or below the going rates in city bars.

They serve discounted Bud Light bottles during Flyers games, and they also run a Monday Night Football special during the NFL regular season, so keep the Pourhouse in mind when you’re faced with an open evening.

If I write like I spend far too much time in sports bars… well, I can’t really argue with that.

Khannouchi update

Last week I bemoaned the bureaucratic treatment suffered by Moroccan-born marathon world record holder Khalid Khannouchi.

Perhaps somebody actually listened.

On Tuesday in Houston, Khannouchi was sworn in as a citizen of the United States. He and his INS officials were able to exploit a loophole in immigration law which states that spouses of U.S. citizens who work for U.S. firms abroad can get immediate citizenship, regardless of a three-year residency requirement.

Last month, Khannouchi’s wife Sandra accepted a job in Europe with a U.S. company.

The marathoner then passed a few tests, including one of U.S. history, and was sworn in as a brand new American in time to be eligible to compete in Sunday’s marathon Olympic Trials in Pittsburgh.

But the story doesn’t end there.

Because the citizenship prospects were looking so dim for Khannouchi just a month ago, the athlete known as “the Velvet hammer” went ahead and ran in the London Marathon on April 16, finishing third despite being bothered by hamstring and ankle injuries.

In now appears that the lingering fatigue from that marathon, in additon to the injuries, will prevent Khannouchi from running in Pittsburgh.

In fact, the marathoner announced that very decision just Wednesday, saying, with tears in his eyes, that he couldn’t risk his career to qualify in the marathon, no matter how badly he wanted it.

If Khannouchi were to run, even if her were to take it easy, he would still be a mortal lock to qualify, the state of American distance running being as woeful as it is.

Once again, however, the story does not end there.

Khannouchi will likely shift his focus from the road to the track, a place where it has not been in several year, in order to make a qualifying run at the U.S. Olympic Track Trials in July. His injuries should be healed by then, but it remains to be seen whether he can make the necessary gear shift to the 10K distance.

He will probably spend much of the next couple of months working on his speed and getting re-acquainted with running in an extremely tight pack, like track runners are made to do.

Again, the extreme weakness of American distance running should help Khannouchi out here, as he hardly needs to turn in a world class performance in order to take one of the three Olympic slots in the event.

But, one last time, the story does not end there.

There is one most diplomatic hurdle for Khannouchi to climb on his way to a berth on the U.S. Olympic team, and it is even more slippery than his first few.

Because Khannouchi hasn’t been an American for three years or more, he need the approval of the Moroccan athletic federation in order to be able to compete for the U.S. The rumors say Moroccan officials are thus far reluctant to yield.

If Khannouchi does run in the Olympic Trials and/or the Olympic, be sure to tune in because he really is a beautiful runner to watch.

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