WTGW 12/7/16: Tim’s Pizzeria & Pub, Cuyahoga Falls

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Wait, what’s this, two places in a row in our own backyard we haven’t been to yet? It’s like Christmas.

Also, we seem to be on an Italian kick now. First two weeks of Irish, now our second week of Italian. We seem to like themes all of a sudden.

Truth be told, unlike last week’s pick, we’ve probably driven past Tim’s Pizzeria about 4 billion times, and Shane has usually been the one to exclaim that eventually he was going to pick it. But it also looks just a tad on the sketchy side from the outside, so he was a little wary. I mean, it kind of looks like a house.

Although if you’ve been reading this blog then you know that’s actually right up Shane’s alley. And you also know that that’s burned us in the past (*ahem* that place in Solon *ahem*) so he has to be careful not to become labeled as the guy who picks crappy house diners.

Good thing this pick was nothing like that.

Our group was back to a threesome this week, as Amanda wasn’t feeling well and Jerrid decided to sit this week out. Welcome to winter and cold season in NEOhio.

We started out with dark beers for Shane and Ted – Guinness and Breckenridge Vanilla Porter – and Angry Orchard for me. There’s not a huge beer selection at Tim’s. But Shane loved the glasses, which seemed to spin on the table, so I guess that makes up for it?

Yes, he’s 12.

The place is known for its pizza. Bet you couldn’t guess that from the name, right? So of course pizza connoisseur Shane had to try that. But only after quizzing the server on the eggplant parm and if it was better than the specialty pizza he had in mind to order – the stuffed banana pepper pizza. She said both choices were good, but the pizza was one of their unique specialties.

Sold.

He also got calamari as an app. Because, Shane.

if it's on the menu, it will likely be on our table.

if it’s on the menu, it will likely be on our table.

I stuck to the same pattern as last week, rigatoni. But this time it was baked, which is really just code for “loaded with cheese.”

You’re speaking my language, Tim’s.

Plus I just like to gross Ted.

It also came with a bowl-of-cheese-they-call-a-salad (I’m pretty sure I could get used to these Italian places and their definition of healthy foods) and bread.

Another delicious salad made the way they should be made

Another delicious salad made the way they should be made

And I ordered an app of fried mushrooms. Because, me. And also because they were $2.95. I mean, how can you not?

Meanwhile, on the other side of the table, Ted got a little smorgasbord all for himself. He said he wanted to try a bunch of different things and couldn’t decide between them.

A small 3-course meal just for Ted

A small 3-course meal just for Ted

So he got a 4-cut pizza with pepperoni, sausage and mushrooms. And the ravioli. And to his credit, he originally only wanted to order six of the garlic hot wings (because we’ve already established that someone has to order wings – I mean, why stop the streak now?) but the server told him that they only come in orders of 10. So he was like what the hell, go with it.

Such a team player.

Oh look, wings. What a surprise.

Oh look, wings. What a surprise.

Our server also got huge props, as we were doing our usual joking with Ted about his dislike of cheese, and the server piped in and offered to make his pizza without it. Wait, what? You can do that? Is it still technically a pizza without cheese?

So that's what a cheese-less pizza looks like. It's so ... naked.

So that’s what a cheese-less pizza looks like. It’s so … naked.

I’m so confused.

But Ted was super happy, so that’s all that matters.

The calamari was good, just not very flavorful. The mushrooms ended up being the big hit of the appetizer portion of the meal, though. I mean, Shane even really liked them – and he normally likes mushrooms the least of any fried veggie.

Deep fried deliciousness

Deep fried deliciousness

Ted said his pizza was good. And so were the wings. But the ravioli as just OK, he said it kinda tasted store bought. Probably could’ve done without that part of his meal, if he had to pick one thing on his whole side of the table to get rid of.

These seem naked, too. Poor pasta.

These seem naked, too. Poor pasta.

Shane was in love with his stuffed banana pepper pizza. Like so in love that I almost got jealous. He said it was a great concept, definitely unique and super tasty. The crust was good, light but crispy. And the peppers were spicy … so, you know it’s a good thing he added more crushed red pepper before he even tasted it.

Watch it pizza, I can totally take you.

Watch it pizza, I can totally take you.

The extra red peppers were actually Ted’s suggestion. Clearly he cares a lot about Shane.

The baked rigatoni was delicious. Worlds above last week’s pasta dish. It had good sauce and flavor, wasn’t over cooked – and the crap-ton of cheese certainly didn’t suck either. In fact, word of warning, I burned my tongue on the very first bite, as I couldn’t wait to dig in and forgot about all the heat that lives under that layer of cheese. But honestly I didn’t care. It was too delicious to wait.

This is like heaven

This is like heaven

Overall, Tim’s is a great spot. It had a really good atmosphere, they were playing fun older music – and it seemed like the crowd were a mix of a lot of regulars and a few newbies like us, but yet no one made us feel like we didn’t belong there. We also saw lots of carry out orders being picked up, so that’s something I think we all filed away for later use. We also noticed a sign on the wall that they’ll be having a Christmas party in a few weeks – on a Wednesday, no less, so that seems like it was made for us. We might have to hijack that WTGW pick and come back in for that one. But even if not then, we’ll definitely be back.

I mean, you can only keep Shane away from his new love for so long, right?

Steph

Steph

Ted

Ted

Shane

Shane

Picked by: Shane
Next pick: Steph

Tim's Pizzeria & Pub Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

WTGW 11/30/16: Retz’s Laconis, Cuyahoga Falls

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Watch out, after two weeks of Irish food we’re breaking our streak and moving on to a different ethnicity … Italian.

And we all laugh as we watch Ted’s face as he attempts to avoid cheese pitfalls. Oh the fun!

So I have to ask, for real, where has this place been these past three years? I mean, I thought we’d exhausted pretty much every bar/restaurant in our own little town – hence why we sometimes travel up to 40 minutes away for a new pick. Meanwhile little did we know Retz’s Laconis was lurking on some side street we’ve apparently never ventured down before. It’s like the Bermuda Triangle of WTGW.

Hmm.

Adding to that theory, Shane and I parked outside in the back lot, next to a particularly shady Suburban that both of us were fairly certain someone was living in. But it was gone when we came out later in the evening, so I guess not. Unless it was swallowed by the Triangle?

You never know.

Also seemingly lost: the front door. When a building is on a corner, it’s helpful to label the appropriate front side so you know which door to enter. We chose the first door we saw, a not very well labeled one which fortunately for us led directly into the bar where Jerrid, Amanda and Ted were waiting. We chose wisely. Had we picked door #2 around the corner we would’ve ended up in the dining room. I only know this because several people entered through the bar door looking to do the opposite of what we did. They were not as wise.

Amanda and Jerrid were there way early (surprise!) and had ordered the bacon ranch pizza as an app. They left us a few pieces to try, and we all agreed it was OK. The crust seemed like a frozen crust, not fresh made. And it was also a little too ranch-y – and, yes, smartasses, we know the name of the dish – but let’s just say the ranch overpowered the bacon. And bacon should never be second fiddle, am I right?

This appetizer didn't look like this by the time Shane and I arrived

This appetizer didn’t look like this by the time Shane and I arrived

But when you’re hungry, it did the trick, so there’s that.

Salads came with mine, Shane and Amanda’s meals, so naturally those arrived at our table first. Although let’s be clear, by “salad” we really just mean a pile of cheese with some lettuce underneath.

This has to be the most nutritious salad ever

This has to be the most nutritious salad ever

See also: Ted’s nightmare.

I got the rigatoni with meat sauce and meatballs.

Pasta, take one

Pasta, take one

Amanda got the baked cheese ravioli.

Pasta, take two

Pasta, take two

Shane got the eggplant parm, after his interrogation of the server revealed that it’s actually rolled in ricotta cheese and deep fried. Bingo! That’s like saying the secret password to Shane. Because deep frying anything can only make it better, right?

Exactly.

This is probably even healthier than that salad, no?

This is probably even healthier than that salad, no?

He also got an order of the garlic parm wings, because we can’t seem to go a week without someone ordering wings at our table.

Wings. What a surprise.

Wings. What a surprise.

He then also tried to order another app until I made fun of him.

Me: “And I’ll also take the whole left hand side of the menu please.”
Shane: “Never mind, I’m good.”

Ted got the acid wings. Because that sounds appetizing, no? And also a burger with no cheese. Because who cares that we’re at an Italian place. You know when you see items like that on the menu and think “who comes to an Italian place and orders a burger and wings?”

Ted. Ted does.

That's the most Italian looking hamburger I've ever seen.

That’s the most Italian looking hamburger I’ve ever seen.

Non-acidic wings

Non-acidic wings

Along those same lines, Jerrid got the dark chicken meal. Pasta is clearly overrated. See also: why all of our meals took forever to arrive. It’s like New Era all over again.

Where are we again?

Where are we again?

About this time when we were ordering we also noticed our server’s t-shirt, that boasted the place has the “best balls in the Falls.” Clever.

Unfortunately, though, I have to disagree. I thought my meatballs had absolutely zero taste. Same for my rigatoni. Maybe my taste buds took the night off, although the cheese on the salad and the bread tasted OK to me. As did the crap-ton of crushed red pepper and parm cheese that I added to the pasta. But the pasta and meat, no flavor whatsoever. Boo.

Ted said his acid wings were not overly hot. He may be the only person to ever say that. Maybe his taste buds were on strike along with mine.

He only ate his wings and fries, didn’t even touch his burger because he was too full. Which seemed odd until Jerrid pointed out Ted did have two Christmas Ales, so that was kind of like having another meal all in itself.

Point taken.

Jerrid liked the chicken, said it was better than New Era. And Amanda liked her raviloi.

Shane didn’t eat his wings because he was too full. Maybe he and Ted should stop ordering basically two entrees? Just an idea. But he did try one, though – I think mainly to see if he should even bother with the to-go box – and said it was good. He said the eggplant parm was “different, but OK.”

Overall Retz’s is an OK place for a little neighborhood restaurant and bar. The bar area is pretty small, so it’s gets a little crowded – but never so much that you feel like strangers are about to seat themselves at your table and start helping themselves to your food. Our server was good and attentive for the most part, the exception being when Amanda tried about 10 times unsuccessfully to get herself a water. But then Jerrid asked and it was delivered in a second. So I guess the moral is that if you’re female and ordering something non-alcoholic you might want to be prepared to wait a bit. Interesting.

Picked by: Jerrid
Next pick: Shane

Steph

Steph

Amanda

Amanda

Jerrid

Jerrid

Ted

Ted

Shane

Shane

Retz's Laconi's II Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

WTGW 12/17/14: Craft Beer Bar, Cuyahoga Falls

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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.

Exposed brick will get me every time

Exposed brick will get me every time

Beer lists on chalkboards are way cool

Beer lists on chalkboards are way cool

Anyway.

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?

The dish was a lot fuller when it arrived. Bacon and cheese don't last long with us.

The dish was a lot fuller when it arrived. Bacon and cheese don’t last long with us.

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.

"Cheap Crab Cakes"

“Cheap Crab Cakes”

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.

Yes, I believe he did pick all of that cheese off

Yes, I believe he did pick all of that cheese off

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.

She should've put her head next to it for a true comparison

She should’ve put her head next to it for a true comparison

Uneaten fries. A rarity for sure.

Uneaten fries. A rarity for sure.

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.

Fancy tacos

Fancy tacos

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.

Ted

Ted

 

 

Amanda

Amanda

Steph

Steph

Shane

Shane

 

 

 

CAPSULE

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)

Craft Beer Bar on Urbanspoon

 

WTGW 12/3/14: Moe’s, Cuyahoga Falls

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It seems we’ve started a trend here of hitting all the “named” restaurants in the Akron area. First there was Frank’s. Then Larry’s. And now Moe’s. Can someone please open a Curly’s in the next few weeks? For reals.

So, I’m not exactly sure how or why, in the past 17 months of WTGW, we’ve somehow continuously overlooked Moe’s. We may have been under the impression it was too expensive. And honestly, at first glance of the menu, the dinners are a bit on the pricey side. But the sandwiches and salads are definitely reasonable, and no different really from what we’ve paid at other bars/taverns around town.

And it turns out Moe’s is well worth every penny.

Being that this was Ted’s pick, he took the liberty of making a reservation. Which kind of scared us a little, since the last time he made a reservation for a WTGW pick it turned out to be disastrous (*ahem* Gus’s Chalet *ahem*). Turns out reservations are highly recommended at Moe’s, as even on a Wednesday night the place was packed. Particularly on the bar side where we wanted to sit.

That being said, it took a minute for the waiter to come over to greet us. But we quickly forgave him when he very kindly and humorously explained that he had just had about 15 people sit in his section at nearly the exact same time, and he was sorry for not getting to us sooner. We explained that we didn’t even have our drink orders situated yet, and he seemed grateful for the chance to come back.

We liked him immediately. More on that later.

The drink menu was pretty decent, especially if you like seasonal craft beers and local varieties. And wine or martinis, but we didn’t go down that rabbit hole this evening. Amanda chose Blue Moon, I went with Breckenridge Agave Wheat, and Ted started out with Breckenridge Vanilla Porter and then went to a Christmas Ale by the last round. Not to be outdone by any of us, Shane went with … Miller Lite. He’s a man of routine, what can I say.

When the drinks came up, our server apologized profusely for not having any chilled glasses for them, as apparently they were all in use at the time. Please. We’re not picky, we can drink from bottles. He did get huge props for scrounging one up for Ted’s Christmas Ale in our last round, though.

Classy beer

Classy beer

We opted out of ordering appetizers for the table, although the boys went ahead with starter plates for themselves. Shane strangely and for no good reason reverted back to his “moderately healthy” self and started himself off with the half wedge salad. Which was plenty enough for a first course, and he seemed to like it. Ted, meanwhile, went straight for what Amanda or I would’ve considered … well … our actual meal, and ordered the pretzel bun burger sliders. He was impressed. The onion straws (which looked like plain onions from my vantage point, but turns out they were very lightly breaded) were a bit overwhelming, but lucky for him they were easy to remove.

Ted's mini-meal appetizer

Ted’s mini-meal appetizer

See also: how to make a salad unhealthy

See also: how to make a salad unhealthy

Our server brought a basket of bread to the table while we waited for our entrees, and we promptly devoured it. Because, well, we do love our carbs. And also because it came with delicious butter, which our server explained to us was made fresh daily (along with several other condiments and sides). He apparently created that particular butter blend himself, and included lots of garlic and parmesan. Did I mention it delicious? If this guy ever decides he wants to leave Moe’s he should take that recipe with him and start a butter making business on the side.

(Sidenote: he was also kind enough to tell us that “since this looks like date night, there are mints in the foyer on your way out.” And then was even kinder to be genuinely embarrassed when Amanda told him that she and Ted actually weren’t a couple. Whoops.)

Meals were steak Caesar wraps on one side of the table (Ted and Amanda) and Italian subs on the other (me and Shane). All of which was delicious. The steak was what Amanda called “some of the best she’s ever had.” The Italian subs were generously portioned but not overwhelming for a meal.

The view from the wrap side of the table

The view from the wrap side of the table

We all got the fresh made chips as sides for our sandwiches, and when I asked for a special side of the parmesan peppercorn dipping sauce that comes with the chips when ordered as an appetizer, our server said that he would just bring a large dish of it for all of us to share. Let me tell you, that dip in and of itself is reason enough for a return visit to Moe’s. I think we were all secretly reverse rationing our chips so as to make sure we weren’t the ones to end up on the empty side of the dip dish.

Not that the chips alone were a bad thing. To quote Shane: “They’re like potato flavored M&Ms – they melt in my mouth.” Put that on your menu, Moe’s. I mean, really. And is there any way we can somehow match these chips up with the “meat flavored cotton candy” that was Teschner’s steak on a stick from a few weeks ago? (Thank you to Ted for that little gem also. We’re here all week people. *drops mic*)

Another takeaway from Shane’s review, this time on he pickle that accompanied the sandwiches: “It’s an unusually tender pickle.” He’s on fire tonight, folks. (But don’t repeat that little gem out of context.)

Unusually tender pickles. If I ever have a band that will so be the name of it.

Unusually tender pickles. If I ever have a band that will so be the name of it.

We were too full to order desserts at the end of the meal, but we appreciated the server coming over to tell us about them, and for doing so with such enthusiasm that I think we all felt genuinely disappointed that we couldn’t order anything. He started out the pitch with “I’m a no pressure sales guy, but let me just tell you what we have.” And seriously, I don’t even like bread pudding, but by the end of the list I was ready to order the cherry kind that they were featuring.

(We joked that he probably sells cars at the lot outside Moe’s on his lunch break, that’s how good of a “no pressure” sales guy he is. Seriously, between that and the butter thing, if he ever leaves this place he’s certainly got some lines on useful skills for outstanding job prospects.)

Speaking of our server, if we have one regret from the evening, it’s that we didn’t get him name so that we could give him a shout out here. I thought maybe Jim? Amanda said it definitely wasn’t Michael. Matthew maybe? Our recepit just says “server #11.” Clearly we need to learn to pay better attention. Rats.

In any case, he was by far one of the absolute best attributes of our experience at Moe’s. In fact, at one point we had a serious conversation about how we could go about asking him to be our friend outside of this evening, without being the creepy stalker table that’s asked to leave before they finish their last round (“How do you approach someone? Tell them we’re currently accepting applications to be a part of our friend group? Or we’re not trying to pick you up for some weird sex thing, we truly just like you as a friend? See – it’s not like when you’re five years old and meet your BFF just from sharing a box of crayons!”) In all honesty, the guy was knowledgeable without being presumptuous or overbearing, funny without trying too hard, and just all around likable. You can tell he’s not just doing this for extra cash – he truly likes what he does and where he works. Or he’s studying to be an actor on the side, and in which case he’s got a promising future.

(Just like Shane has a promising future in torn bottle label art. But that’s neither here nor there.)

Beer label artwork. Trust me, it's going to catch on

Beer label artwork. Trust me, it’s going to catch on

WILSON!!

WILSON!!

Overall, Moe’s is a real find, and definitely one of our WTGW favorites. We were thoroughly impressed with everything, from the service to the food to the atmosphere in general. For once Ted gets a certifiable “W” with his pick. We’ll definitely be back.

Thumbs up

Thumbs up

Thumbs up

Thumbs up

Thumbs (or in this case, fingers?) up

Thumbs (or in this case, fingers?) up

Thumbs up

Thumbs up

CAPSULE

Picked by:  Ted
Drinks:  Impressive craft beer, wine and martini list. 
Food:
Moe’s will go down in history as the place that prompted the phrases “potato flavored M&Ms” and “unusually tender pickles.” And those are both good things.
Service: Outstanding. “Server #11” we will definitely ask for you next time.
Overall: Thumbs up all around.

Next Pick: Shane

Moe's Restaurant on Urbanspoon

WTGW 8/27/14: Darby’s on 59, Cuyahoga Falls

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And for once, the heavens smiled down on the WTGW crew, and we were given a nice evening for a patio dinner.

Wait, what? Can that really be true?

Yes, for once Mother Nature decided to not be an absolute whore, and actually saved the torrential downpours and/or 60 degree temperatures for another night of the week. Trust me, we were as shocked as you likely are. And to think it only took until literally the last week of August for that to happen this summer. Believe me when I say with the utmost sarcasm that Ohio summers are awesome.

Darby’s on 59 is one of those places that we’ve driven by since about last summer, always noticing the green awnings on the patio with the cute lights strung across, and for a while honestly just thought it was someone’s house that really, really likes to entertain. Especially since it, well, I think it actually did used to be someone’s house at one time. The brick structure with the front porch and paved walkway doesn’t exactly scream “we cook meals for the public here” – and I think for a while it either didn’t have a sign out front or I completely missed it on several occasions. Either of those scenerios is 100% possible.

Oh, excuse us, can we come in for dinner?

Oh, excuse us, can we come in for dinner?

Anyway, we were a party of three for this week’s WTGW, thanks to Amanda’s late day appointment for a tire replacement – which turned into a brake job – which turned into “it’s 8PM and I’m tired and poor so I’m just going home.” Stupid cars.

Speaking of cars, I have to admit we were a bit worried walking into the place, because the amount of cars in the parking lot seemed to spell trouble in terms of us getting a table. But upon walking in it seemed that pretty much we were the only people who carpooled there, because there were way more available tables for the amount of cars out there. Do people just park there and walk around the block? Are half of those leftover cars from drunken Tuesday adventures? I’m so confused.

We were also slightly confused with the seat yourself vs. wait protocol when we walked in, since there’s no signage to tell you one way or the other. And not even a waitress to yell at you to take any open table, like in a few of the classy establishments we’ve visited. I never thought I would miss that welcoming entrance.

Ted, Shane and I kind of lingered in the doorway for a few minutes with what I can only assume were looks of lost puppy dogs on our faces before one of the bartenders finally walked over and instructed us to sit anywhere. We fessed up that actually we were looking for the door to the back patio, which he pointed out was in the back corner. And when I say corner, I mean that literally. It’s pretty much right behind a server’s station, and three people had to kind of wedge themselves up against the wall for us to pass through. I don’t think any of us were ever so grateful for fresh air.

This is what summer evenings should look like

This is what summer evenings should look like

Luckily the patio wasn’t super busy either (seriously, who do all those cars belong to??) so we grabbed a table in the back corner. Where I think we then became invisible to the staff. Or maybe they were all just stuck in the doorway to the patio. Whatevs.

In any case, when we were finally able to put in our drink order, Shane went with a Stella, and Ted and I both opted for the Fat Head’s Bumbleberry … which we then had to change a few minutes later when the server came back to tell us the keg had just blown. Because of course it did – this is our group after all, and we’d had a fairly good run this summer.

So I instead chose a summer wheat, and Ted went with an IPA … although I guess the server didn’t much care what Ted wanted, because when he returned he instead had two glasses that looked eerily similar. Hmmm. Ted took one sip and – much like the infamous “it has to be sweet” comment at Gus’ Chalet – declared that was definitely not an IPA. Unfortunately it was another hot minute before we saw the server to let him know this – and Ted being Ted, he managed to finish about half the glass in that time (hey, he was thirsty) – but Ted did mention then that his beer “oddly doesn’t taste like an IPA,” and was apologized to and brought the correct beer at that time.  Although Shane noted that Ted may want to check for some extra saliva in it before he took the first sip.

IPA vs Summer Wheat. Definitely not interchangeable.

IPA vs Summer Wheat. Definitely not interchangeable.

We ordered the pub chips for appetizer, which turned out to be really good. Crispy without being overcooked, and sprinkled with just the right amount of salt, parmesan and garlic. The dip was a little thin for my taste, but honestly the chips had enough taste for me that I didn’t even need the side dip.

Basket of deliciousness

Basket of deliciousness

I ordered the tequila lime chicken wrap, which was good. The spicy mayo made it. I got roasted fingerling potatoes as my side, which were also good but I did wonder why half of them were yellow and half blue. I ate them regardless … but I at least had the common sense to wonder about it first.

Seriously, should I be worried about the color of the potatoes?

Seriously, should I be worried about the color of the potatoes?

Ted had the swordfish tacos. He also ordered one of the filet mignon sliders, because why not. As he said “I’ve never seen steak offered on a slider before, so I figure I should try it.” He’s kind of like Mikey in that respect. Unfortunately it wasn’t the greatest thing ever. He said everything was OK, but nothing special. Boo. But at least it sounds impressive I guess.

Ted's side of the table

Ted’s side of the table

Shane had the jalepeno burger, which be ordered medium to rare and was served well done. He seems to have this problem a lot, so, again, why even ask. He did say that his favorite things about the meal were his fries, and the appetizer chips. So basically as far as Shane’s review is concerned anything made with salt and potatoes was really, really good here.

Definitely NOT Ted's burger

Definitely NOT Ted’s burger

The atmosphere on the patio was great. Once the sun went down they lit the fire rocks on one of the nearby tables, which was a great touch. While I will admit we got sucked into the conversation of the obvious ladies night group that was throwing back the drinks next to us, it was still a very inviting atmosphere to sit outside and enjoy the evening. I’m not sure that we’d return once the weather turns, though, as just walking through the interior of the restaurant to get to the restroom made me a bit claustrophobic. Maybe they need to take up some of that parking lot space and build an addition. Seriously.

We really need those lights for our patio at home

We really need those lights for our patio at home

Darby's on 59CAPSULE

Picked by:  Steph
Drinks: Nice mix of craft and domestic beers in bottles. The taps are all rotating craft beers, which can be good or bad depending on how you view those. Impressive wine and martini list as well. 
Food:
OK. The menu is about as large as the place, so there aren’t a ton of choices – but enough variety to please a group.
Service: A bit slow, which seemed odd considering there were a lot of people behind the bar when we walked in, and not a lot of tables or patrons in the place.
Overall: Good place for patio drinks and summer evenings hanging with friends. And I saw flyers advertising bands – which I hope to God are outside because I think a drum kit would take up half the restaurant – but that would be a fun vibe outside as well.

Next Pick: Amanda

Darby's on Urbanspoon

WTGW 5/21/14: Treichel’s Grille, Cuyahoga Falls

Standard

Well, hello there! Did you miss us?

After a 2 week hiatus – due to a busy week/weekend out to celebrate the NFL Draft (otherwise known as “Christmas” to my husband) immediately followed by my week-long work trip to NYC – we’re back! I know, I’m sure you’ve been on the edge of your seat with anticipation.

This was Shane’s pick, and you’d think it would be someplace really great being that be had an extra two weeks to think about it. However, every time we asked what places he was contemplating all he gave us was a vague answer like “we’ll see” or “just wait, it’s a surprise!” … which I recall enough from my childhood to know both of those are really just creative ways of saying “I have absolutely no idea and I don’t want to deal with you right now.”

So when I arrived home from work Wednesday evening I still had no idea where we were headed. And then even after Shane said the name, I still didn’t know. I’m not sure where he heard of Treichel’s Grille, but I certainly hadn’t seen the name or been past the location before. Apparently it used to be a Rockne’s at one time, and just recently reopened as Treichel’s – which previously was located in Aurora. It’s six degrees of restaurant musical chairs.

I’m not sure when the official grand opening was, but I’m guessing recently. Like as we were driving up we weren’t sure it was even open because we couldn’t see the signage and there were very few cars in the parking lot. Apparently in some small towns word doesn’t spread as quick as you’d like in some ways.

However, we used this to our advantage, as we had excellent service during our visit. We walked into the restaurant side and started to take a seat there, until we noticed the bar side and thought that to be more our scene (insert joke about being alcoholics here). Over the course of the time we were there we saw about two other tables turn over, so definitely not a huge crowd by any means – although the place is very small on the inside so I will admit it was nice not to fend off a crowd. Our server – who also doubled as the bartender – was excellent. Very attentive, and I like to think that even if the place had been slammed she would still have taken good care of us.

Treichel’s immediately scored points with Amanda and I for having Summer Shandy on draft. Yes, we’re that easy to please. Throwing all rules of “always being the different one” aside, Ted decided to go out on a limb and try a Summer Shandy – although Shane picked up his challenge and went with an Angry Orchard, so we were still at our usual 3:1 ratio on drinks.  And then Ted went and changed it all up by ordering a Vanilla Porter for his second drink, since the Summer Shandy was too citrus-y for his tastes. I’m not sure how that transition makes sense, but, hey, more Summer Shandy for me and Amanda then. Score.

The 3:1 ratio remains in effect

The 3:1 ratio remains in effect

Anyway, in sticking with the “one of these things is not like the other” rule, Amanda, Shane and Ted all got burgers, and I had the Philly steak. My sandwich was dry, and eventually I only ate the meat out of it and left the bread to the side. Even then, it wasn’t something I would order again. Treichel’s also features a car/motorcycle theme, so all of the burgers on the menu are named for cars.  I say that only so you aren’t confused when I mention that Amanda had the Twin Turbo Cobra (basically a mushroom swiss burger – her usual), Ted had the 63 Split (without cheese of course) and Shane – always the show off – ordered the Bobs Fatboy (basically two burgers in one). Shane and Amanda both said as we were leaving that the burgers could’ve used more flavor.

Looks like bar food.

Looks like bar food.

I love that Ted holds his plates up for me Vanna White style

I love that Ted holds his plates up for me Vanna White style

We also ordered the appetizer specials, which were the mac’n’cheese bites and also fried mushrooms. Those were probably the most enjoyable items on our table, even if we did lose a layer of skin by hungrily reaching for the mac’n’cheese bites as soon as they hit the table.

While we really, really wanted to like this place – since the atmosphere was very cool,the staff was excellent, and we definitely liked the space itself – the “eh” food will probably greatly influence our decision to put Treichel’s in the “Flashback Friday” revisit basket (which, side note, when the hell was the last time we did one of those anyway? We’re slacking.) I might be willing to give them another chance after they’re open for a few months, just to see if anything has improved or if new items were added. They also had tons of different drink specials and specialty drinks (like $5 martinis on Mondays, with a fairly impressive looking  flavor list  – and also different flavored sangrias, etc), so that’s an intriguing reason to stop back, especially once Summer Shandy season is over. It’s just too bad they don’t have a patio, or I could definitely see this being a summer drinks-only destination.

Wall 'o' Drink Specials

Wall ‘o’ Drink Specials

For this week’s “fun thing to pose with” photo, we had a bit of a debate as to what to choose, since the decor was interesting and lent itself to a few different options. Ted voted for the motorcycle under one of the tables, but was a bit disheartened when he realized it was encased in glass. So we ended up with a pay phone. And, no, Shane isn’t exceptionally tiny – it’s just placed perfectly on the wall for every seven foot tall person who might stumble into the place.

Hello, 1987? Are you there?

Hello, 1987? Are you there?

Someone get the man a stepstool

Someone get the man a stepstool

CAPSULE

Picked by:  Shane
Drinks: As always, you can win over me and Amanda with the words “summer shandy.” We’ve been on a streak lately. Lots of other drink specials looked intriguing as well. 
Food:
Eh. Bar food without much flavor. My sandwich was dry and the burgers didn’t have much taste.
Service: Awesome. Granted we were only one of a small handful of tables for the whole night, but we definitely had the server’s attention.
Overall: It’s too bad the food wasn’t better, or that the place didn’t have a patio – because either of those things probably would get us back in the door. The atmosphere was great, and we would go back just for drinks … except that once summer hits we want to be outside, not in a place with few windows.

Next Pick: Steph

Treichels Bar N Grille on Urbanspoon

WTGW 2/5/14: The Office Bistro, Cuyahoga Falls

Standard

We almost had to call an audible for this week’s pick, as Ted found out on Monday that he may have to be in another portion of the state on Wednesday afternoon for a meeting and wasn’t sure what time he would be returning. Add to that the fact that another Snowpocalypse was headed our way (Because, no, Mother Nature, we won’t formally invite you to WTGW so just step off and stop trying to invite yourself. Seriously.), and we had to put Shane on standby with a go-to pick in the event that the perfect storm ensued and we would be one man down for this week’s adventure. Fortunately all crises were averted – well, except for the whole snow thing, because, well, as I’ve said before, Mother Nature is a damn whore who just doesn’t get the hint.

Anyway.

With Ted safely back in the home area on Wednesday, we decided to go forward with his pick for this week, which was The Office Bistro in Cuyahoga Falls. This is one of those places that I think all of us have kind of kept in the back of our minds as a choice for some point in our adventures, as it’s close to home, we see the sign on many occasions in our travels down Rt 8, and I think we’ve all known people who have mentioned going there at one point or another. Props to Ted for stepping up and finally being the one to get us through the doors.

This week’s visit also featured a special guest appearance by Ted’s cousin Kyle, who – if he hadn’t told us they were related, would’ve given it away just by his “I don’t want anything with cheese” ordering process. What is it with this family?

We sat in the dining room area of The Office, which was nice and actually probably would’ve been a lot fuller if not for the aforementioned eight-billionth winter storm of the season. Although I guess we should be glad that there weren’t many other tables sharing the space with us, since we all know the initiation of new people to the group means a few rounds of “Who’s in your Top 5.” Complete with pictures, and louder-than-we-intended comments that families probably don’t appreciate their children overhearing while they try to enjoy their chicken tenders. But whatevs. At least we opted out of the strip club visit this time around.

No, I’m not explaining that.

Moving on.

Another reason to be glad the place wasn’t busier – parking was a bit of a challenge, even on this “stay off the roads, there’s frozen water falling from the sky!” kind of evening. And especially since the city of Cuyahoga Falls apparently needs re-introduced to the likes of a snowplow. I’m not sure where you’re supposed to park normally for this place, as there was no lot in the forseeable landscape and not really all that much street parking to speak of. I mean, I guess on a nice evening people don’t mind walking a few blocks to get to the front door, but on a night like tonight I was just glad I didn’t opt for my usual 4-inch heels. And while they do offer valet, that really didn’t help things much in the “not having to wade through snow” department, for reasons already mentioned.  Props – and apologies – to the poor woman who nearly bit it trying to get into her valeted car and probably wasn’t aware she was being judged by our entire table. Our bad. 

Our waitress was very kind and patient with us, even as Kyle told a story while she was still repeatedly trying to figure out if he wanted fries with his meal. Maybe that’s why she forgot his second beer and failed to offer him a box? Either that or he pulled a Joey from “Friends” and picked up her roommate but never called the next day. Hmmm.

As par for the course with us, the bar promptly ran out of whatever it was we were drinking when we were only two rounds into the evening. Seriously, how do we always pick the one beverage they have like two left of in the whole place? In this case, it was Strongbow, and with no other ciders on list we resorted to the craft beers which made up the draft list. A few words of caution here: “hints of citrus” actually means “here’s a glass of grapefruit juice we somehow managed to make alcoholic and call a beer,” and a beer shake at The Office is NOT AT ALL the same as a beer shake at The Hoppin’ Frog. Learn from our mistakes.

Our sandwiches were quite large, so much so that Amanda and I each only ate half of ours (the Cuban and the turkey mozzarella). Shane had a burger, and announced about halfway through that he thought it had no flavor. Kyle chimed in shortly afterward that his chicken on a pretzel bun was also lacking in the flavor department. Ted had salmon, which he seemed happy with. Again with the fancy.

Fancy glasses. Pinkies up, boys.

Fancy glasses. Pinkies up, boys.

Shane did, however, enjoy the pretzel rods as an appetizer. He claimed they were the “best ever.” Personally, this appetizer has started to become as standard as the “build your own burger” feature on a lot of menus, and they all seem to taste the same to me. But if you’re one that takes Shane’s word for gospel in the food department, I wanted to do my due diligence and pass that along.

After our meal we decided to venture across the side street and into a place called Hunt’s Tavern for a few last drinks of the evening (hey, the snow had stopped by that point, may as well celebrate!), and promptly felt like we had entered a different universe. Or that we discovered a time machine that enables us to change decades simply by walking across the street. I think this place is pretty much the exact polar opposite of the place we had just left. I mean, why have paper or laminated menus that you give to people, when instead you can just yell out “are y’all eating dinner tonight?” when patrons walk in the door? And, further keeping it classy, the “beer list” is in the form of bottles lined up on the ledge above the tiny bar, and includes only things like Miller Lite and Bud Select (but then Smithwick’s and Guiness on tap? Huh?). But our group did double the size of the crowd in the place simply by walking in the door, so maybe they were as overwhelmed as we were.

CAPSULE

Picked by: Ted
Drinks: Not a very extensive beer list, especially on draft. Even the craft beers weren’t ones we really ever heard of or were impressed by. To be fair, they do bill themselves as more of a martini bar, so I guess we need to go back on a Monday when they’re on special for $5 so we can try those. 
Food:
Portions were large, even for sandwiches, although a few at our table complained their selections lacked flavor.
Service: Good. Waitress was attentive, but not overly so. At least to four of the five of us anyway.
Overall: It would be interesting to check out the bar area, or the patio when the weather isn’t freeze-our-eyelashes-off cold out anymore. I think we would go back, but maybe more for drinks and light apps than an actual meal.

Next Pick: Shane