So this week’s pick was a bit out of our immediate area – about a 30-35 minute drive to the west of us – but, hey, after a year of doing this let’s just say we’re running out of decent local options. *ahem* Maybe it’s time for someone to jump on that and open new places. *ahem* I’m just saying. I mean, when Shane is already eagerly awaiting the opening of the new Paninis at Steels Corners and Rt. 8 – and has already called dibs for his pick after it opens – that should really tell you something.

In any case, it was a lovely rainy night for a drive, so off we went to Medina, just off the main square at the center of town. JoJo’s Sports Bar actually shares a building with Dominic’s Italian Restaurant – which I have to admit threw us off a little since the Google Map woman was insisting we had arrived at our destination but yet we didn’t see any sign for the place. Hmmm. Because I guess placing said sign at the back of the building facing only a parking lot is the best way to let people know where you’re located. Must be a new “Reverse Marketing” approach.

However, JoJo’s quickly redeemed themselves with the large sign just inside the lobby reading “SUMMER SHANDY ON TAP.” And all is well with the world.

The other sign in the lobby, however, was a bit less welcoming.

That doesn't really seem that special, now does it?
That doesn’t really seem that special, now does it?

So we did as we were told, and found a booth in the restaurant area (the bar was full, booo). Despite a good number of waitresses and other staff members walking past us, we definitely waited more than a hot minute before some random kid walked past and asked if we’d been helped yet. While he was carrying a pizza box, we actually weren’t sure at first if he really worked there or was just on his way out the door with a to-go order and felt bad for us because we looked thirsty. Regardless, we were grateful for the menus he brought us, and the fact that he also sent over a waitress to help us.

Although I will admit that I wish he’d picked a different person to tell about us, because I think we got the least attentive waitress ever. Yay us!

We started out with drinks, and I’m glad the sign in the lobby had already told me what I wanted because the waitress really wasn’t much help in the “what do you have on tap” department. Because that’s awesome. Shane went with the usual Miller Lite, and Ted ordered whatever IPA that was on draft – which may officially be the lightest colored beer I’ve ever seen him a) drink willingly, and b) for more than one round.

The best part about JoJo’s is the extensive menu. They seriously seem to serve everything there. Burgers, wings and bar food? Check. Salads? You got it. Paninis and subs? Sure. Pasta, pizza and calzones? Why not? I think we all sat at the table in almost complete silence for the better part of our first 20 minutes there, just flipping the menu back and forth as we took in all the options. I guess the one good thing I can say about the slow service was that it gave us plenty of time to make our decision. Although, side note – when we asked the waitress what she recommended, or what the place was known for, she gave us a deer-in-headlights stare and replied “it’s all good.” Wow, thanks Captain Specific, we’re sure glad we asked. Because that was super helpful.

For appetizers we finally settled on the sausage stuffed peppers, the loaded jojos (because you can’t go to a place called JoJos and NOT order them, right?) and fried zucchini. If you can’t tell, it looks like we’re back on the “let’s order enough food for an entire small country and just hoard it at our table of 4” meal plan for WTGW. Because clear arteries and low cholesterol are highly overrated.

If you fry a vegetable it still counts as a vegetable, right?
If you fry a vegetable it still counts as a vegetable, right?

Anyway, all of the appetizers were OK, but nothing great. The chili on the loaded jojos was clearly out of a can, as was the cheese sauce. I had high hopes for better. The stuffed peppers were OK, good portion size – but they really had no flavor, and definitely no spice. I was expecting something more like the ones at Bricco with the spicy chorizo sausage, and this was the complete opposite end of the spectrum.

Nothing says appetizers like cheese out of a can and non-spicy sausage.
Nothing says appetizers like cheese out of a can and non-spicy sausage.

For our dinners, Amanda had the Cuban Panini, which she definitely enjoyed. She took half of it home – whether that was from the portion size of the sandwich and chips, or because of the 8,000 calories worth of appetizers we consumed minutes before, I’m not really sure.

There really were more than four chips on the plate when it arrived.
There really were more than four chips on the plate when it arrived.

I had the Stromboli – because, as I stated to the table, “I’m a sucker for a good Stromboli” (cue “that’s what she said” jokes). And I was not disappointed (ba dum bum). The homemade dough was excellent, and you can tell it was made fresh. My only gripe was that I do wish you could choose the ingredients. The menu only gave one option – which they claimed to be “a local Medina favorite” – but apparently all the local have a penchant for onions and peppers, because the stromboli included a bit too much of that department for my tastes. I’d have gone simpler, with just sausage, mushrooms and cheese. But, hey, I guess maybe that’s why I don’t live in Medina.

You can't see the onions and peppers. They're sneaky like that
You can’t see the onions and peppers. They’re sneaky like that

Shane and Ted both ended up with pizza. Ted got the spicy chicken jalepeno, which was indeed spicy, but not so much that he couldn’t eat it. After a lengthy internal debate over pizza vs. ribs – and of course no help from our non-talkative waitress – Shane got the meat lovers pizza. Both really liked their choices. They also did the infamous trade deal, so they could try a slice of each other’s pies.

That sounded so much dirtier than it really should’ve.

And for the first time in WTGW history, the girls weren’t the only ones leaving the restaurant with to-go containers, as the boys each only finished half of their respective pizzas. What, what?

Ted so wants to be Vanna White
Ted so wants to be Vanna White

So I think our general consensus was that if this place was closer it would be a great go-to for to-go orders – that all purpose place that has a little of something no matter what you’re in the mood for. Shane and I had a place like that down the street from our old house in Howland, and we just haven’t found anything yet that compares. But we aren’t driving a half hour out of the way for a to-go order, and I doubt they deliver that far. Boo.

Also, while the food was good and there are other items on the menu that I would love to try – the service really put a black mark on our experience there. When you have to flag down the waitress to get another beer, or seem to be bothering her by asking her option on menu items, that’s not a very welcoming atmosphere that you want to return to. And it’s not even as if they were off the hook busy, either. By the time we left there were several open tables, and yet the service never got better. Maybe we just got the lady having a bad day, or the one that really should be cutting up potatoes for jojos in the back kitchen as opposed to serving customers – but in any case, I’m not sure our experience this time around equates to making another half hour+ return drive.


Picked by:  Steph
Drinks: Summer Shandy. I realize the days are numbered that we’ll still be able to find this, so it still excites me. 
Good. Very large and diverse menu for a sports bar. And I’m not just saying that because we were all really, really hungry.
Service: Here’s where things fall apart. Our server seemed flustered, rushed and not overly attentive. When you walk past and ignore empty glasses, that’s not a good sign. Nor is ignoring the hands of three people waving at you to get your attention.
Overall: If it were closer, I could definitely see us going back just to try other items on the menu – or at least snagging a menu for to-go orders.

Next Pick: Amanda

Jojo's Sports Bar & Grill on Urbanspoon