When I announced TD’s Tailgate Grille as my pick, everyone on the crew audibly groaned … not because they had heard it was awful, but conversely because it was on their list of possible picks, too. Ha ha, beat ya to it.
(I guess after two years of doing this, we’re all starting to get the eye for potential good picks. We’ve learned from you, dear old Gus’s Chalet.)
Anyway, I chose the North Canton location for this week – which I guess then technically leaves the actual Canton restaurant for another pick down the road. I’m looking at you, Ted. I’m sure you’ll claim it eventually. (*ahem* Ray’s Place *ahem* Bricco)
The place itself is rather unassuming as you walk up, tucked into a small strip plaza next to some juice bar. The website had boasted about their patio, which we were all looking forward to checking out.
Shane: is this the “great patio” you’re referring to? (as we approach the front of the restaurant and there’s like three small wrought iron tables and chairs positioned more as decoration than actual seating options).
Turns out the real patio, located at the back of the restaurant, actually is pretty darn nice. So naturally that meant all of the tables were full – shocker, being that it was a gorgeous evening out. Thank you for playing nice, Mother Nature. We should do this more often. Really.
We opted for some open seats at the outdoor bar on the edge of the patio facing into the restaurant – and that ended up being perfect. Well … except for the bartender, who clearly missed the day in bartending school where they teach customer interaction. I bet he skated into this job thinking it would be all just preparing drinks for the servers, and they would do all the talking to the actual customers. Whoops. Sorry, buddy. Shane joked that up until a few days ago this guy had probably been like a banker or night shift worker in a back warehouse somewhere – anything that he could do solitarily and without talking. Or using a cash register, apparently, as he seemed a little lost on that end as well.
It would’ve been comical, if we weren’t often irritated by empty glasses.
Anyway, when we actually did have drinks, it was Summer Shandy for us girls (we’re drinking outside near a patio, after all). Shane was thrilled to find the Shock Top summer beer on draft, and Ted went for the Founders.
Because we were sitting at the bar, of course Ted made friends right away. Because that’s apparently how this group rolls. We’re like new people magnets when we sit in a row at a bar. I guess there could be worse things, right?
This time our new friend was some guy who is a regular at TD’s and also works next door – so that actually proved to be helpful as we were trying to decide what to order. Shane kept attempting to inconspicuously whisper to Ted (who was sitting all the way at the other end of the row of us) to ask his new friend about items on the menu. Eventually the guy was like, “you know I can hear you, right?” Yes, but he prefers to use Ted as his translator, thanks.
Ted ordered the zucchini planks for an app, which he said was good. The dipping sauce was particularly good, although we couldn’t agree on what exactly it was made of. That’s always a good sign, no? Ted likened it to the sauce you get with a bloomin’ onion at Outback. Shane thought it was more like tarter sauce. Which of course brought up Gus’s for the 1,846, 904th time of our WTGW existence, as we throught wistfully of the tarter sauce appetizer we were unknowingly served there.
Ted: if only this sauce was on bread and toasted, then we’d know for sure is it’s tarter or not.
Meanwhile, Shane and I continued our quest for the perfect homemade French onion chip dip by splitting the chips and dip app. It was good, but not really a large portion and definitely not intended to be shareable if you’re as hungry as we were. Shane also commented that the dip was a lot like the kind he concocts at home when we’re out of the “real” stuff. But at least it was better than the time we ordered it at The Lockview in Akron and were given an actual plastic container of Lawson’s chip dip. Like from the store. Like they didn’t even scoop it into a serving bowl and pretend they made it themselves. For real.
I’m still tempted to go back to The Lockview sometime and order it again, just to see if that’s truly how they serve it or if they just ran out of it that night and were sending servers down the street to buy small containers on the fly. The curiousity is killing me.
For meals, I got the mushrooms Swiss burger with fries. It was good, very moist and prepared correctly – although they were a little skimpy with the mushrooms. When it’s in the name of the burger, you might want to include more than two. Just sayin. Also, the French fries were hand dipped in batter and then fried – which, I’m not sure who started this little trend but I have to say I’m not a fan. Or at least wish they would indicate it on the menu somehow before you choose it. I mean, not that it’s not good … but sometimes I like to find ways to shave off a few hundred calories from an already unhealthy dish, thanks.
Shane got one pound of the mango habenero wings – which, FYI (or if you’re just curious), one pound works out to about 6-8 wings. Our extremely unpersonable bartender/server was not at all thrilled to have to answer when we asked about this, so I share this here so that it might save you from actually having to ask him and force him to communicate with you. You’re welcome.
My lovely husband also ordered the Philly mac & cheese – because, well, if case you haven’t noticed, boys eat two meals in this group. They have several flavors of mac & cheese at TD’s – all of which looked really delicious. He picked the Philly over the Reuben after Ted’s new friend heard his loud whispers about “ask him which is better” and recommended that one. And he was happy with the choice. Although – and I agree with him just from seeing the dish – the portions seemed really small, especially for that being one of their specialties there.
Ted also took the word of the new guy and chose another specialty of the place, the fish tacos. This is, I guess, what TD’s is “famous” for … which seems an odd thing for a sports bar, but whatevs. He also joined the wing parade and went with a pound of hot wings. He was happy with his meals. He said the tacos were good – “but not as good as Hooter’s.”
There’s a joke in there somewhere.
Amanda opted for her usual staple, the Cuban sandwich. Which required some confusing assembly when it first arrived, but once that was over she said it was delicious and actually up there at the top of her list. It was served on garlic toast, which was a nice change. It was also very moist, unlike the last Cuban she had.
Again, there’s another joke in there somewhere. I’ll let you all work these out for yourselves.
Unfortunately, even with apps and double meals, the guys were still hungry at the end of the night. Us girls, not so much. I’m not sure what that says about this group or our ordering capabilities.
In light of that, and the fact that Ted had just celebrated a birthday, we made it a WTGW first by adding a dessert course to our meal this evening. Well, OK, technically you could count the funnel cake fries we’ve ordered a few times now as desserts – but I don’t, and it’s my blog, so there you go. Ted requested the bread pudding as his birthday dessert of choice, although he immediately realized his mistake when we shared with him the order of fried cookie dough bites that we picked.
Let me say that again, slowly, in case you missed it.
Fried. Cookie. Dough. Bites.
That alone was the staple of the evening. I mean, everything else was great, too (well, except for Grumpy Gus the Bartender) – but that dish alone is enough to make me want to make the drive back to North Canton again, like, tomorrow. And the next day. And the one after that. Do you think we can get them to start a delivery service?
Ted: I could come back here and just get like five orders of that as my dinner.
Picked by: Steph
Drinks: Quite a bit on draft, especially seasonals. They had a few mixed drinks on the menu that sounded good as well.
Food: Good, although portion sizes seemed a bit small. But then again tha means you can save room for dessert – which, trust us, you’ll want to do. Just don’t be Ted and pick something that isn’t fried cookie dough bites.
Service: I’m not sure our bartender got the memo that you actually do need to talk to people in this career path. Ignored our empty glasses for a bit, and wasn’t at all personable. It was like the bouncer was filling in for the bartending staff for the night.
Overall: Great patio, good drinks and food – we’ll definitely be back. Can you open a Cuyahoga Falls location that looks exactly like this one?
Next Pick: Amanda