So, yeah, we skipped WTGW last week because Mother Nature is a giant whore who graced us with a late afternoon snowstorm that tripled my commute time home and made it treacherous to even think about leaving the house again once I finally got there. Thanks for that. But because we’re
alcoholics with no food in the house not about to let the weather get the best of us, we did venture out … only we kept it close to home and and just ended up at the semi-new Panini’s in Stow. But we didn’t think we should write about it because, well, it’s Panini’s. And everyone has been to a Panini’s before. So there’s that.
I stumbled upon Happy Moose the same way I find quite a few of my picks, in a random Google search for new places. Pretty high tech, I know. There’s a Mentor location that has been open for a little bit now, but the Streetsboro location is still fairly new. I read somewhere that it’s an old Eat n’Park. So even before we got there we knew it was an upgrade. And that we would have fun, because, let’s face it, “The Happy Moose” is just fun to say. I mean, come on. How can you not smile just saying it? Who can be grumpy when you ask them if they want to go to a place called the Happy Moose? It’s Happy for Pete’s sake. The first thing that comes to mind is a giant, grinning Bullwinkle greeting you at the door when you walk in.
Which, let me be clear, doesn’t happen. Yet. But you’re welcome for the idea, owners.
Right away we were impressed when we walked in. The place is huge inside, basically just one big space – but I like that it’s not jam packed with tables in every available inch. I hate when you practically have to crawl over a neighboring table full of strangers just to go use the restroom. There’s a giant bar in the middle of the space, and plenty of high top tables and booths. Also lots of TV screens, which immediately made me think we will be coming back to check out a sporting event of some sort there at some point. We asked our server later in the night what the atmosphere is like for games, and he said that unfortunately they really haven’t been open through any major sporting seasons yet to be able to judge. But I definitely think it has potential.
HM (for those of you scratching your heads right now, that stands for Happy Moose. Yes, I’m getting lazy) has an array of daily specials: Wing Night, Rib Night, Bucket Specials, Appetizer Specials … you get the idea. Wednesdays happen to be $3.50 tall domestic beer nights, so score for us. Although I have to admit we were intrigued by the Thursday “Buy your burger and we’ll buy your beer” special. I think we may need a “Throwback Thursday” visit back to HM just to see how that works exactly.
Beers all around for our drinks. Coors Light for Shane, Miller Lite for Amanda, Fat Tire for me and Irish Setter for Ted. For the second week in a row, Ted was surprised and impressed with the color of my beer. Hey, I’m not ready to go to the dark side with him yet, but I have graduated past the “see thru beer” stage.
It took us a hot minute to decide what to order for our meals, since the menu was full of delicious sounding options. And we actually didn’t jump right to appetizers this week, either. Say what? Who are we? Yep, the holidays are definitely over folks. It’s time to start thinking about those beach abs. You know, as we order burgers, fries and lots of beer. Good call.
As has become customary on WTGW, we asked our server what his favorite thing was on the menu. He recommended the burgers and the wings – which honestly didn’t help us, really, since both of those options sounded equally delicious. We all seemed to be torn between two choices on the menu.
I was torn between a burger and the steak philly. The bread on the steak philly almost won me over, because, well, I’m a sucker for anything different than a regular old bun, and the words “French baguette” are like a love song when it comes to my choice of carbohydrates. But once our server started talking about how good the burgers are I caved and went that route. And I’m happy to say I was not disappointed. I had the Moosey Burger, which aside from being fun to say, was downright delicious. It was messy as all hell, but so, so good. Bacon. Garlic aioli sauce. Cheese. Sauteed onions. Yum, yum, yum and yum.
I also opted for the sweet potato fries, which were good as well. Hey, say what you will, that’s my attempt at healthy when paired with a giant burger.
Ted was pretty solid on his decision to get the Tsunami burger – even though he was perplexed by the pineapple and claimed “that’s a lot going on on one burger.” (PS – let’s just remember this is coming from the guy who ate that giant heart attack on a plate at The Game.) But then, after hearing a story from our server about how the Big Foot burger sounds like something you wouldn’t possibly considering eating but is actually really good, Ted flipped his game and went with that option instead.
For the record, the Big Foot burger includes all of the following: a burger, 2 fried eggs, fries, bacon, cheese, peanut butter … oh, and it’s on French Toast instead of a bun. As Shane said, it’s essentially all three of your daily meals in one (eggs, bacon and french toast = breakfast, peanut butter – lunch, burger = dinner). It’s kind of like the McGriddle. Only on steroids.
Ted is most certainly going to die an early death.
But he did say it was good, so at least I guess he’ll die happy. He said it was definitely interesting – every bite was something different, he never once got all of the flavors together. One bite would be peanut butter and french toast, the next would be burger and egg, the next would be peanut butter and egg (which, um, ew? But whatever). Maybe he finished it all just to see how many flavor combinations he could come up with? You know, kind of like a high-calorie version of the “how many licks to get to the center of the lollipop” game.
Amanda was the only one of us that didn’t waiver from her choice. She stuck with the Cuban – her “safety net of sandwiches” as she calls it. I have to admit I was slightly jealous of that damn French baguette that it came out on, and it did have me doubting my choice until I took a bite of my burger. Amanda said she thought the Cuban was outstanding. It was very filling, with great flavor. And since she’s tried them at a lot of places, her stamp of approval definitely carries weight.
(BTW, those last few sentences really, really shouldn’t be taken out of context, lest they become a giant “that’s what she said” joke)
Shane was stuck in the age-old conundrum of burger vs. wings – and hearing the server say they were both good didn’t help him in the least. Shane also threw a rib option in there, too, but I think he was just trying to mix things up a bit. And hence began the intensive pre-meal interrogation of the server: “How are the ribs?” “How hot is the wing sauce?” And the age-old and ever popular, “How thick are your burgers?” Good times for sure.
He finally landed on the Inferno Burger, which has jalepenos, pepper jack cheese, and a fiery mango habenero sauce. So, the name is definitely appropriate. Shane said the sauce definitely had some heat to it. Actually, a lot of heat. About five minnutes after he finished his burger he said his lips were still burning. Thinking back, that could explain how his second beer was gone before any of us barely drank our way a quarter into ours.
He also really liked the burger, as evidenced by the fact that 1.) he cleaned his plate before any of the rest of us even touched our second half of our sandwiches and 2.) for about the second time in WTGW history, his burger was actually done exactly as he wanted. Rare enough to not be burnt and dry, but done enough to not still be half alive. Praise Jesus.
And finally, we have a reference point for all of Shane’s future burger orders. Behold: the perfect rare burger.
Actually, quick sidebar: even if you have no intention of ever going to HM, the burger menu is worth looking at online just for fun. We commented that it’s like the “Melt” of burger places. I’m not sure what kind of high-level chef meetings go on behind the scenes to come up with this stuff, but some of those combinations are interesting and truly ah-maz-ing.
Our server (whose name, we later discovered, was Steve – thanks to the random, non-regular patron seated near us who managed to achieve first name basis with him after about two hours and eight beers) was great. He was professional but still super friendly, and we all truly appreciate someone with a sense of humor. Especially one that matches ours. Case in point: when Shane inhaled his burger before the rest of us made it through half our meals, Steve stopped over and quipped “So you hated it then.” I ask for more napkins, he just says “no” and walks away. He comes over to ask about a third round and gives Amanda crap when she tries to wuss out – I believe his exact words were “Oh come on, it’s MILLER LITE.”
BTW, Ted was thrilled that for once he wasn’t the one being called a pansy for not drinking enough.
So you can always tell we really like a place when it’s past 9:00 and we’re still there. And when the words “let’s do shots” start getting thrown around. By 10:00 we were three round of shots deep and had befriended the random, non-regular patron mentioned above who told us Steve’s name. He was visiting the area for work, and his buddy/co-worker had abandoned him at the bar right about the time we ordered our first round of shots. In fact, I think he paid for our first round of shots. Which, by the way, were the tasitest. We were going to order Pumpkin Pie, but Steve talked us into Apple Pie, which is a house made special. And by far the better choice. Steve does not lie.
And we either should’ve just kept doing those, or stopped doing shots all together, because they just went downhill from there. The flowchart goes something like this: Apple Pie>pumpkin pie> White gummy bear > Russian Fruit Basket. Learn from our mistakes.
Unfortunately the night ended on a bit of a sour note, after conversations with our new random transient friend crossed into highly opinionated and loaded subject matter not intended to be discussed after four rounds of shots. Its like breaking one of the cardinal rules of new bar friendships. By 11:00 we had broken up with him and left the bar – but we’re not letting the ending of the night influence our overall thoughts on the place. We will definitely be back.
Picked by: Steph
Drinks: Apple. Pie Shots. And $3.50 tall domestic drafts on Wednesdays. Enough said.
Food: Outstanding. The server wasn’t lying when he said the burgers were out of this world.
Service: You have to appreciate a server who is serious enough to memorize your order without screwing it up but also witty enough to tastefully bust your chops when it comes to ordering another round. And although we think Steve whispered a “they’re going to write a review” in his manager’s ear, having said manager stop by a few times to check on us didn’t hurt our feelings at all.
Overall: This is the first place in a while to earn a high thumbs up all across the board, including a double from Shane. We’ll definitely be back. We just may not be as talkative to strangers after the second round of shots.
Next Pick: Amanda