I’m still amazed when we find places in our tiny town of Cuyahoga Falls that we haven’t been to yet. Although Craft Beer Bar kind of gets a pass, since it just opened a few months ago. That’s the idea people. Keep opening new restaurants so we have new places to try without driving far. I like your style.
Craft is located near downtown, over by The Office. I have to admit that this winter excursion was better than our trip to the latter in the snow last year, but the parking situation was eerily similar. Seriously, do we not believe in surface lots in this part of the city? Let’s just open a restaurant and they’ll figure out where to park later. Good plan.
Craft is a relatively small-ish space, but didn’t feel as cramped as some of those we’ve visited recently. To put it in perspective, I think both Frank’s and Larry’s could fit inside this place. (That it not a sentence to be taken out of context, btw.) Loved the exposed brick and the lighting elements, they really made the place feel homey in a trendy sort of way. I think the word for that these days is “hipster,” am I correct? As in, there were also lots of beards, scarves and glasses seated at other tables around us. Also, at one point the Lumineers song “Hey Ho” came on the background music, and Shane commented that he could “totally see this place having this song on a consecutive loop all night long.” For what it’s worth.
The purpose of the place is – you guessed it – craft beers. Shocker, I know. And also keeping with the hipster theme. So obviously they have a pretty impressive – and ever changing – beer list. Although they do also have cans of Bud, Bud Light and Yuelingling for those completely opposed to trying something new. I’m happy to report that we actually were not one of those tables this time around. Another shocker.
Amanda and Shane had the cider (Shane diverted in one round to the Bells Winter White but then went back to his original choice – because, well, he was not a fan). I went with the Bells Winter White at first, later trying the Ommegang Witte. And Ted was all over the board with the things we thought sounded great on the menu but he knew that we wouldn’t want to drink (Obsidian, anyone?). Because, well, Ted. This was kind of his own person mecca in some ways.
Seriously, though, can we just talk for a minute about the person who writes these beer descriptions? Some of these sounded deliciously refreshing on paper … and then when they arrive it’s like a meal in a glass. “Warm and nutty with a hint of caramel and nutmeg” sounds fantastic until it arrives and has a color darker than strong coffee and the consistency of oatmeal.
Props to our server, who was patient with us when we weren’t sure what we wanted, and tried his best to suggest what “I-typically-stick-to-Miller-Lite” Shane might like, as well as bring samples of things we thought sounded good but then were glad we didn’t have to finish an entire glass of afterwards (see above paragraph). To be honest, though, Craft really needs a bigger staff to accommodate for other tables like ours – it’s not a “take your order and bring it over” kind of place, you need more time for questions and dialog, and unfortunately that means other tables get left alone for a bit longer than one would like at times.
Now let’s talk food.
Craft doesn’t have a huge menu, but definitely enough for all different pallets. Shane and I started with the Bacon Queso Dip as an app, which was very tasty. I mean, because bacon. And cheese. How can you go wrong?
Well, unless you’re Ted, who of course hates cheese. He went a different route, and started with the salmon cakes – which he dubbed “like crab cakes but a cheap knock off.” He liked the pineapple tarter sauce, saying it was very unique.
For his meal Ted had the meatball sub that all of us eyed up on the menu at one point or another. He said the sauce was too sweet for him … which meant it actually would’ve been perfect for Shane, ironically. Ted said it was good but just not really his style, he wanted a spicier sauce.
In keeping with their identical drink orders, Shane and Amanda both had the brisket sandwich. It’s huge. Like size of your head huge. So huge that Shane – while he finished the chips that came with it – didn’t finish the side order of parmesan garlic fries he also ordered. Trust me, we were all as shocked as you are.
It should also be noted that sandwiches come with a pickle – but “it can’t compare to Moe’s pickle.” Cue “that’s what she said” jokes.
I had the Barbacoa Tacos, which were very good. The sauce was spicy but not overwhelmingly so (you know right now you’re envisioning that AT&T commerical with the “I like it spicy but not errrrr spicy” guy, am I right? Go ahead, google it, we’ll wait.). I could have done without the Spanish rice that comes with it, though, as that didn’t really add anything to the dish. I mean, I still ate it – but it wasn’t really the best part of the meal or anything.
It should be noted that, for about the 85th consecutive week, we found some way to reference Gus’ Chalet at some point in the meal. It’s just a matter of principle now. That place may be closed, but we definitely keep the memory alive, yo.
Overall Craft is a good place, although the beer prices make it a bit pricier than our last few WTGW stops. But it’s well worth it in my opinion, and would be a great new place to meet up with friends or even just stop for a beer or two. Shane was a little more on the fence, but I think he was just being picky. Maybe if we dress him in full out hipster garb next time he’ll feel change his opinion.
Picked by: Steph
Drinks: If you don’t like craft beers you’re kind of out of luck. But then again you probably already know that. See also: obvious restaurant titles.
Food: Good. The menu is small but mighty.
Service: A little slow, but that might’ve been more the fault of the scheduling than the actual staff. At least our server was patient with us when it came to our beer ignorances.
Overall: Since Ted is a) a craft beer junkie and b) almost in walking distance of the place, I think he’ll be back for sure … but I could see the rest of us stopping back in as well.
Next Pick: Amanda (although we’ll be on hiatus until 2015 – as much as we love you WTGW, Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve are not the best nights for outings)