OK everyone, it’s time to update your local restaurant location bingo cards. Who had Johnny J’s in the Valley becoming a new location for The Basement? Anyone?

We’re honestly not sure exactly when the changeover happened. Because, well, let’s face it, while Johnny J’s had long served its purpose as our favorite watering hole, we had also just as long since moved on to other, considerably less young and douchey atmospheres. I mean, when you move to a new area code and discover a neighborhood bar based on a search for places opening before sunrise on St Patrick’s Day (priorities, right?), you kind of have to know that eventually you’ll outgrow that space, no?

So, yeah, it’s been a hot minute since we ventured down Weathervane Lane in the Valley for an evening out, even before 2020 put a damper on our ability to dine in.

And when we noticed a posting on social about the new Basement location taking up residence there, naturally we assumed that meant the other location in Cuyahoga Falls – by Shane’s new favorite restaurant, Hibachi Xpress – had closed … but from what we can gather it seems that one is still open as well.

Hey, the more the merrier, right?

It doesn’t seem like much has changed inside in the switch from JJ’s to The Basement, at least from the few minutes I was inside picking up our carryout order anyway. The pool table that was just inside the main door is gone, which does make getting inside a little easier without worrying about getting nailed by a pool cue moments after opening the door. The bar is still open all the way around the space with plenty of seating, the booths and tables seemed to be arranged relatively in the same fashion as our as our last visit years ago. There were a few people seated at the bar as well as a few large groups spaced on opposite sides of the interior enjoying dinner, but the place definitely wasn’t overly busy for a random Wednesday night in the middle of winter.

I’m going to assume then that it was an abundance of carryout orders that forced me to have to call in twice in order to even put my order in – even though when I arrived to pick it up ours was the only one behind the counter and the guy knew my name as soon as I said I was there to get a carryout order. Hmm. The first time I punched in the number to call, and it rang until it went to a message service, but upon calling back directly from the “call” button on the Facebook page it was answered on the third ring by a not-exactly-overly-friendly-guy who then took my order (and I believe was the same one to deliver it to me from behind the bar).

So it seems maybe they kept the same staff from JJ’s? Just an observation.

If you’ve never been to or ordered from any of the Basement locations before, you should be warned that the menu is about the restaurant equivalent of War & Peace. So it helps to have a general idea of what you might want to order before you start down that long and winding road of indecision.

Usually that equates to burgers and wings with us, and this time is only partially an exception, since Shane got a burger, but no wings. Hey, you win some, you lose some.

He chose the kaluger burger – and before you ask, the name has to do with the special sauce that’s on it, not some secret code word for “hamburger” in another language or something. Hey, we’ve recently had the “mystery of the burgers minus the -er at the end,” so I like to explain the things I can. Whatevs.

I got a regular Philly steak sandwich. It would’ve come with fries, but I opted for the tater tots. Yes, they cost more – but in this case it was worth it.

We also got an app of Mac and cheese bites. Which, with carryout orders I guess is less an appetizer and more just extra food to go along with your meal, but hey – when have you ever known us to not order ALL THE FOOD for one meal, right?

And, because no order from The Basement is complete without the famed funnel cake fries, of course we had to order those as well. I mean, how do you pass up fried dough in French fry form?

You don’t. Seriously.

So here’s a genius idea that I’m frankly shocked no one has done for us yet in this little almost year long carryout adventure we’ve been on … separating the burger and condiments from the bun during transit so that the bread doesn’t get soggy before the person has a chance to start eating it.

I mean, kind of brilliant, am I right?

Other than the brief shock of opening the container and thinking he had actually ordered an invisible burger, or that perhaps the restaurant had forgotten the single most important part of the sandwich he ordered anyway. But beyond that, well played.

Shane did say the burger was over cooked though. I guess we should’ve known when it was never asked during the ordering process, but then again we were also dealing with not-so-loving-his-job-at-the-moment guy on the other end of the phone, so it’s hard to say really where the fault lies on this one.

The cheese steak was for sure a thumbs up. The cheese sauce had good flavor, and the meat was well cooked without being overdone and had lots of flavor. The tots were … just OK. I thought they could’ve been a little crispier. Not sure if I would go the extra upcharge amount to get them the next time.

We would also get the mac and cheese bites again. The reason we didn’t finish all of them tonight was less about taste and more about having room in our stomachs for them. Lord knows that’s not the first time that’s happened.

And now that I know funnel cake fries a) travel well and b) are only a 10 minute drive from the house, I may never truly be the same again. Can we set this up on a weekly delivery service or something? I mean, for real.

So yeah it’s good to know we have two locations of The Basement that are each about 10-15 minutes away from our house. Or maybe that’s a bad thing? I mean, how long are we planning on being able to stay home and wear sweatpants instead of real clothes again? That may determine the number of times we are able to order from here in the upcoming months. Just sayin.