THE WHERE (we went)
No, I’m not kidding.
Yes, you read that title right.
We went THERE.
And I mean that in the literal sense of the word.
THERE being, of course, the place that even Shane – who we all know is a lover of visiting the diveyest of dive bars and bars refurbished from real houses (both items which this place very handily checks off the list) – ranked too high on the sketch meter to ever want to set foot in.
The place that as we passed by it in the dark we all shuddered and muttered to ourselves “thank God we aren’t going there.”
The place that became the brunt of the “well I could pick THAT place” over the ensuing weeks.
Also known as the place that Cassi swore up and down that she was going to pick so we would have to actually go … and the guys kept egging her on, thinking she was bluffing.
And so here we are.
So this means either they will never challenge her again when she says she’s going to do something … or Shane is totally picking The Buzzard’s Roost the next time his choice rolls around.
It’s kind of a scary position to be in, am I right?
In any case, this week’s selection may have uprooted the New Milford Cafe from its short reign as the diveyest bar we’ve encountered in our years of Wednesday dining. As we parked and were able to finally get a full, good look at the place – in the daylight now, mind you – among the first things we noticed were an exhaust fan caked in grease, and a door to the basement that I think all of us for sure agreed we hope to never see what’s on the other side of.
I joked that we might want to park the car with the path of least resistance in case of a quick exit.
And I think Ted, Shane and I spent a moment reminiscing about when we thought The Annex was at the top of our “I survived (insert name of dive bar here)” list. Ah, the good old days.
And that was before we walked inside, where we discovered the interior design genius of using Bud Lite towels for curtains. And zero tables, which is how we ended up sitting in a row at the bar.
Which made it slightly more difficult for Shane to throw shady glances at Cassi for making him have to ingest food in such an establishment, something I’m sure she was thrilled about.
THE WHAT (we ordered)
Well, I mean, this made things sound promising right from the start:
At least there’s booze?
Cassi determined that sign to be inaccurate shortly after our arrival, though, since the bottles of beer were real cold.
More appealingly, they were only $1.50 for domestic bottles.
Although Shane somehow missed that memo – which was delivered in the form of a giant sign behind the bar, so I’m not sure how he overlooked it – and tried to order a draft. To which I immediately cried “why would you do that?” like he had just slammed my hand in a doorjamb for no reason.
But we’ll cut him some slack, as we all knew he was just looking for the path of least touching between the barware and his body. Did I mention he was making no secret of the fact that he was less than thrilled to be actually eating real food at a place nicknamed “The Shack by the Tracks”?
Always one to stir the pot, I asked Shane if he would rather eat here or New Milford, home of the burgers topped with chiclet onions. He never really answered me. Odd.
But at least they had real menus, so that’s something. I think we were fully prepared to choose our destiny from something read off of a sheet of notebook paper pinned to a back wall.
For apps, we opted for all those that came in the bite sized form, or at least those filled with cheese and pretzels anyway.
They were OK. I mean, they at least tasted like pretzels and cheese, so we’ll give it that much anyway.
I got chicken tenders with onion rings.
Shane got wings. Because, you know, frozen chicken thrown in a vat of grease is the path of least resistance to food poisoning.
Cassi got the border burger – which is a fancy name for a mushroom Swiss burger- and fries, after asking the bartender which was better between that and the onion rings.
Jason got six garlic parm wings
And a regular cheeseburger. With ketchup. Which the bartender had kind of a difficult time believing was the only condiment he wanted included on it, but she seemed to get over it.
Ted got a wrap, with a side of fried veggies. Must be prepping for county fair season.
Despite being skeptical about the food, it actually turned out to be not bad. Cassi rated hers as one of the best burgers she’s had. She said that not only was the burger itself tasty, but the bun was also really good. And Shane, who went into the place convinced that he may be claimed by salmonella on site, admitted that the wings were good enough to be something he would order again. You know, should our path ever take us back here.
THE WHO (we saw)
So, a bartender, server and cook walk into a bar …
If you’re at the County Line Bar & Grille, that means only one person graced the doorway.
This seems to be par for the course with us lately, so you’d think we’d be used to it by now. Well, at least the bartender and server part anyway. The cook thing kind of threw us for a loop, though. This is new. And not exactly ideal, but whateves. We just rate them – staffing them is out of our jurisdiction.
We actually gave her props for working overtime just for our group of five alone. Which we honestly did feel really bad about, but she didn’t seem too upset. Actually, she kept apologizing to us about things taking so long – because, you know, they only had like two fryers and of course pretty much everything we ordered had to go in them.
Although the comment we made in the car later was that at least we were the only group eating there tonight. And maybe the only ones that have eaten there for a while. I’m not sure if that’s something to brag about – but I will say with confidence that we’re all still alive as of the time I’m writing this, so I’m not too concerned as of yet.
Probably not much of a surprise to say that The County Line also has lots of regulars. Who were at least somewhat nice to us. One guy must’ve been curious about what brought the newbie group into the place – or maybe he lost a bet and had to come talk to us as a result – but in any case he stopped over and chatted us up for a bit by on his way out the door to smoke. We later bought him a drink, in the universal bar sign of appreciation.
The server/bartender/cook was also very nice, and spent some time chatting with us, too. We probably should’ve bought her a drink, too, but for all we know that would be the one time the morality police show up and try to arrest us for encouraging on-job alcoholism.
So next time, then.
THE HOW (much we paid)
OK, so I forgot to take a picture of the receipt, but I can say with certainty that it was one of our cheaper nights. I think with tip we were out the door around $50. And without chiclet onions or beer can towers.
Thank you $1.50 beers.
We didn’t order any mixed drinks this time, but we noticed that all of the liquor behind the bar has the prices clearly labeled on them. However misproportioned they may be. I mean, $5.50 for patron but $4.25 for Jose? No question on the options there. But for all the times we go places and don’t know the prices until we get the bill, this was sort of welcome.
THE WHY (they may see us again)
OK, so we all had to admit that it wasn’t quite as frightening inside as it had the potential to be. And the food wasn’t awful. The fact that it’s so far away will probably keep us from returning any time in the close future, though.
Although we do have a legacy at this place now.
So I guess gesture this may have tipped our grand total just over the $50 mark, but it’s well worth it.
I mean, I’ll just sit back and watch the site visits roll in. Because, clearly, this is the place to let grassroots marketing work its wonders.
Picked by: Cassi
Next pick: Steph