WTGW 10/1/14: The Game Bar & Grille, Akron

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So, full disclosure here, we’re been trying to get to The Game all summer long. You know, just like we intended to get back to a minor league Aeros … sorry, Rubber Ducks … game all summer and celebrate the place where WTGW was born a year ago. But sadly, that never happened. Well, I use the word sadly really just to reference one of those two situations. A few more paragraphs into this post and you’ll probably have a good idea which one that is.

Where it all started. This place always holds a little piece of our WTGW hearts.

Where it all started. This place always holds a little piece of our WTGW hearts.

Part of the reason we put off going to The Game all summer was that we specifically didn’t want to go on a night when there was a … well, game … because, being connected to the stadium and all, we figured the place would be insanely crowded. Which may or may not be true. Because on this visit, a month after the end of the minor league baseball season, there seemed to be more crickets heard inside the establishment than what you’d hear outside on a summer night.

At least we won't forget where we are

At least we won’t forget where we are

Seriously, I think there were more workers than actual patrons in the place. Someone was cleaning the underside of chairs. While I can totally respect restaurant cleanliness, I think that’s about the bottom of the barrel in terms of finding jobs for people who have nothing to do.

Which is why we kind of set our own bar for the type of service we expected to receive there. But sadly, it was never met. (there’s that word again – are you figuring out which was this is going yet?)

And look, I’m all for training a new person during the slow nights. I get it. Not that our waitress told us she was new, but that was kind of our inference when not only did she forget Shane’s water that he asked for … twice … but she also only asked one of the three of us who ordered burgers how we wanted them cooked, put extra cheese on Ted’s burger instead of removing it (and if you’ve ever read this blog in the past you know just how much he enjoyed that), was slow to check back in on us … you get the idea. She also had zero clue if the bar stocked Miller Lite in bottles. Miller Lite. For real? She looked like a deer in headlights at just the mention of the brand. Hmmm.

Anyway.

The menu isn’t that big. You’d think for a sport oriented place that’s located at an actual ball park there would be a bit more to choose from, but it’s a lot fancier-sounding than you’d expect.  Who wouldn’t want to celebrate that last homer with a wrap made of chicken, kale, avocado, sprouts and carrots? Or how about a burger with crispy confit duck, red onion marmalade, brie cheese and arugala?

And I’m not even sure I want to know what a “veggie muffalletta” is. It sounds dirty.

But OK, so it’s not our style, I get it. But the smaller menu kind of gives the impression that maybe this means they’ve had opportunity to perfect the items they have. But honestly the food wasn’t all that good either. Or maybe it’s just not described correctly. Case in point, we ordered “house made chips with beer queso dip” as appetizer. We were expecting potato chips …  but they were tortilla chips. Now maybe we glossed over that in the description – but still, anytime I see “house made” I guess I just automatically go to potato. Because really, who makes their own tortilla chips? And if you’re going to do that, shouldn’t there be something a bit special about them – like a seasoning, or a particular taste? Yeah, not here. May as well just save yourselves the time and open a bag instead.

The newly christened “healthy, moderately fun Shane” (as I’ve taken to calling him lately, since he’s on a big workout and healthier food kick) ordered chicken nachos. Which were essentially the chips we just had as a app, only with the cheese sauce on top instead on on the side, and some chicken, lettuce and peppers piled on top of that. As you can imagine, Shane was not thrilled. Evidence: this is only the second time in WTGW history that Shane left a considerable amount of food on his plate at the end of the meal … and the only time he didn’t take a box for what was left. Ouch. Even for “healthy, moderately fun Shane” that’s a real stretch.

This is what Shane considers "healthy"

This is what Shane considers “healthy”

Amanda and I each got burgers. She’s been tempted to order any version of a burger with an egg on it at several burger places we’ve gone to, so she took the plunge this time around. But maybe this wasn’t the best place to actually go through with that. She ended up offering half of it to Shane, who turned it down. I’m not sure which part of that sentence is more surprising.

Which is bigger, the egg or the waffle fry?

Which is bigger, the egg or the waffle fry?

I had the burger with bacon, bleu cheese and buffalo sauce – which might’ve been OK if not for the sauce, which was too sweet to be hot and just not good on a burger. I also subbed in the sweet potato fries for $1 more and immediately wished I’d gone with my first gut instinct to just get a side salad. The fries were too crispy and not enough sweetness. You know, being sweet potatoes and all, one might expect that from them, but whateves. And I’m still not sure what the dipping sauce was that came with them, but let’s just say it definitely didn’t add anything to the flavor.

I think the only one who might’ve been happy with his meal was Ted, who went off the “extreme menu” and got the biggest burger I’ve ever seen in my life. Maybe part of the reason healthy Shane didn’t like his meal was because he was sitting opposite very much non-healthy Ted, thus staring down the river of grease dripping from Ted’s fingers as he plowed his way through this burger. Holy crap.

It's like a normal burger on steroids

It’s like a normal burger on steroids

Although I guess in comparison to this, nachos are basically a salad

Although I guess in comparison to this, nachos are basically a salad

(PS, other items on the extreme menu include a hot dog encased in a bratwurst encased in a kielbasa – which must be some strange ballpark rendition of the Turducken. And a 2.5 pound ice cream sundae, which Ted admitted almost sounds good … until you’ve watched a pack of small children attempt to drag their spoons through it and share it. Ick.)

Extreme Menu. Alternate title: Cheating Death With Every Bite.

Extreme Menu. Alternate title: Cheating Death With Every Bite.

All in all this just wasn’t the best experience. Maybe we caught them on an off night, but honestly I’m not sure I would sacrifice another evening to try again and see if that’s the case. Especially when the food just wasn’t the greatest, and it wasn’t like I had a list of items I’d be dying to come back for. Now maybe I could be enticed to come back and sit outside at the nearby Tiki Bar off the patio and just have drinks during a game … but that’s about as close as I think I want to get. Good concept, but just kind of seemed to have missed the mark.

Oh Tiki Bar, I don't even really know you but I miss you already

Oh Tiki Bar, I don’t even really know you but I miss you already

CAPSULE

Picked by:  Steph
Drinks: Not a very impressive draft list, and they may or may not have Miller Lite in bottles.  So, you know, there’s that.
Food:
 Not your typical bar & grille menu, which I think may be a deterrent. The “extreme menu” is a fun add-on, though.
Service: Well, I mean, there were like two other tables in the whole place, so I can understand why she was flustered? No. And what is it with servers not wanting Shane to have a glass of water lately? Hydrate, people. Hydrate.
Overall: I think I’d rather pay top dollar for a seat in the stadium during a game than come here to eat again. It has potential … but it’s just not there.

Next Pick: Amanda

The Game Grill + Bar on Urbanspoon

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4 thoughts on “WTGW 10/1/14: The Game Bar & Grille, Akron

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