WTGW 4/3/19: County Line Bar & Grille (yep, the OTHER one), Rittman

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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?

Stay tuned.

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”?

I’m not sure about the nickname, but that list seems solid

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.

We’d like to start with all things fried please. And then bring more fried things.

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.

Well this part at least looks like every other Wednesday around here

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.

Chicken nuggets or vegetable fried in grease? Its hard to say

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.

Prime location, two spots above the one with the band-aid. Nice.

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

Cassi

Jason

Ted

Shane
Side note, remember the curtains I mentioned?

Steph

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WTGW 3/26/19: Hillside Tavern, Mogodore

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THE WHERE (we went)

Hey we’re back on the east side again! At another place that’s literally a house in the middle of some farmlands. Cool.

Word of warning: beware of typing the address into Google Maps, as it will first drop you off on Waterloo Road and tell you to make a u-turn straight into the parking lot of a shopping center equipped with not much more than a Giant Eagle and a Johnny J’s … neither of which seemed to be places we wished to dine at this evening.

It only took the work of five educated adults on iPhones to realize that you instead have to keep driving east out to nearly Rt 44. We’re still not really sure how we outsmarted Siri, GoogleMaps and Waze to come to this conclusion, but I feel as though it should be deserving of some kind of a medal.

Our reward instead was The Hillside Tavern, which is quite literally a house, only instead of a front yard it’s a parking lot you just kind of turn into and find a spot.

We’ve been to worse places, trust me.

THE WHAT (we ordered)

I think Jason and Shane would actually say that the real reward lay inside the Hillside Tavern, in the form of the largest beer we think we’ve ever been allowed to order on a WTGW outing.

That’s 34oz of Bud Lite for the drinking. When the server asked what size he wanted, Jason jokingly asked if there was anything larger than 16 oz. And I think we all thought she was joking right back when she replied that there was.

Much like Shane’s answer to the great “that must be sweet” question of 2014 … nope.

Ted’s IPA that only came in 16oz looks like a baby in comparison.

And to think the one on the left is a “tall” in some establishments

In the world of “everything here is supersized,” Cassi and I each got actual soda glasses of tequila and soda. Barware be damned!

It took Ted about 3.7 seconds to glance at the menu and announce that he’s getting the mini corn dogs. OK then.

Less decisively, Shane and I got nachos, while Cassi and Jason got loaded fries. They also followed Ted’s lead on the mini corn dogs. I mean, he was quickly sold so that must mean something, right?

Apparently that half a keg of Bud Lite went to Jason’s head rather quickly, because when Ted’s order arrives at the table, Jason grabs one, saying they look really good and he just has to try one. Like totally forgot his order would be about about two minutes later.

We’ve never claimed to be patient, folks.

We also never officially claimed to prefer warm cheese on our nachos, but I’d like to make that statement right now. Because we learned firsthand that cold nacho cheese is not preferrable in any sense. Our app was pretty much like a big basket of tortilla chips with some cold cheese and a little bit of sour cream. Oh, and “bacon” that seemed more like chip chopped ham than the crispy bacon pieces I believe we were both envisioning. Like, you do know you need to cook that first before serving it, right?

It seemed like something drunk Steph might’ve concocted in her college apartment at about 3AM after stupidly passing on a trip to Taco Bell on the way home from the bar.

We chose poorly.

Oh, and the loaded fries? Yeah, samsies, just replace the chips with fries.

Oh the variety. I can hardly stand it.

So they’re big on originality here. Noted.

Next time, mini corn dogs for everyone. They were the clear winner of the appetizer party this evening.

Who would’ve guessed little breaded hot dogs would make us so happy?

Moving on.

Cassi was the odd man out this evening, ordering a steak Philly.

There’s meat under all that cheese. I hope.

The rest of us went with wings.

I got 12 of the garlic parm. They were, um, interesting.

Let’ just say that I’ve never seen a garlic parm sauce to be quite so creamy. Or white.

*insert obvious off-color joke here*

But really, WTF? Part of me wants to ask how this was created, while part of me, well, just tried not to think about it and actually eat my meal.

I also got chips. They were like someone poured them out of a bag but them added seasoning to them so it was like they “made” them in house. Eh, OK.

But if you put seasoning on them, it makes them “fancy”

I mean, at least they could’ve given me a tub of store bought French Onion dip to go along with them.

Shane got 12 of the “dry rub” which, when asked, was explained that it’s kind of a spicy Cajun. Which begs the question, why not just put that on the menu then?

Details.

Ted got hot garlic.

Jason got honey mustard, but only six.

The guys also decided that they needed coney dogs to go along with their wings. Because if it’s not wings and burgers with this group, it may as well be wings and hot dogs covered in chili, right?

I mean clearly it’s been established already that it’s a night for variety.

Shane and Jason each got two, and Ted – full on mini corn dogs, apparently – just decided on one.

So when the wings arrive and they’re quite literally on the jumbo side, Ted announces that he’s really glad he didn’t opt for two coney dogs. And Jason was glad he only got six wings, instead of 12.

Shane: Me too. Oh … wait.

Let’s just say that the size of the wings may have been their best quality. The taste was just OK. Shane and I – who had already decided to split our wing orders because we were both indecisive on the same flavors – kind of ended up with a Goldilocks situation, as my wings didn’t seem to have enough flavor, while Shane’s had too much seasoning.

We finally determined that if we just took them home and mixed them together we’d probably get the best result. I think I ate five wings total between the two flavors, and Shane maybe had about the same amount, as did Ted. If not less – because, well, coney dogs.

And did we mention the size of the wings?

THE WHO (we saw)

Our server wasn’t exactly winning our hearts and friendships this evening with her briskness and – well – non-masked annoyance to our questions. She seemed irritated that we didn’t know our order five minutes after we sat down in a place we’ve never been to before. Sorry, our bad. Forgive us for being new and not harnessing our telepathic abilities to pre-read the menu that you don’t have available on a website anywhere. I mean, it’s only 2019. No need to put yourself out there on a platform that most people use to advertise their businesses these days. Cool.

It didn’t help that the food was delivered in batches as it was cooked – so she was probably none too thrilled to have to continue returning to our table when the little “food’s up” bell rang every two minutes for a good stretch of time. Again, sorry. We like food.

But her demeanor was contradicted by a group of guys standing outside who greeted us with a hello and welcome, as well as a guy behind the bar (an owner, perhaps? he seemed to know everyone there) who gave us the same greeting as we were choosing our table, and also yelled a goodbye and thanks for coming in when we left. So that’s a bit of a confusing vibe for a newbie.

I mean, lets all understand – Hillside Tavern is definitely a locals kind of place. The crowd dress code was almost exclusively hoodies and work boots, and I can imagine it being the type of place that boasts a parking lot full of snowmobiles rather than shutting the doors when we get hit with a foot of northeast Ohio snow. But part of that is due to location. I mean, it’s almost like your neighbor throwing a big party. And charging you for food and drinks.

Which brings me to …

THE HOW (much we paid)

Seems a little pricey for essentially wings and beer, no? Well, and the coney dogs, and the college frat party nacho app. But still.

I think we can all agree that the best deal of the night was the giant 34oz beers for only … wait, what’s that? $5 each?!? OK, that’s a steal.

I mean, knowing now the size of the wings and the deliciousness of the mini corn dogs, I bet we could come back and just get those two things, plus about six giant beers, and walk out spending less than we did this evening.

THE WHY (they may not see us again)

So the food was OK, the atmosphere the same (minus the crabby waitress) – but to go that far again for food that we had to take home to doctor up may not be in our cards. Plus GoogleMaps may be on to us now and never let us find the place again.

But, I mean, those $5 giant beers.

The best solution may be to make this a stop for a last call drink whenever we end up out this way for another pick. It’s like a reward for our travels.

Picked by: Shane
Next pick: Cassi

When your table is near the men’s room and we start doing photos while you’re inside. Sorry.

Steph

Ted

Jason

Cassi

WTGW 2/27/19: County Line Bar & Grille, Hartville

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THE WHERE (we went)

If you google County Line Bar & Grille, you’ll actually come up with two options within our usual WTGW driving radius. One of them, to the east, is in Hartville. And the other one, to the west, is in Rittman.

Hey, remember Rittman?

Yeah, we passed the latter of those options last week on our way to BG’s Main Event. And let’s just say that after that drive I can now see why the place has the nickname “the shack by the tracks.”

See also: why that County Line was not the one we ended up at this evening. Even Shane admitted to that one being far to the side of his sketch meter. Which says probably more than I can ever attempt to here.

Instead we ventured out to Hartville, a few miles to the south of my previous pick of 44Sharp. The drive was far more enjoyable this week without being inundated by blinding snow.

When we finally came up on the place – which is aptly named since it quite literally sits right on the county line – we found the parking lot to be packed. It was like an oasis of parked cars amidst the farm fields.

THE WHAT (we ordered)

Who would’ve thought that a little dive bar in the middle of nowhere has the newest trend in hard sparkling waters, Truly? No us, that’s for sure. And even the newest line of tropical flavors. Color us surprised.

Ted asked about dark beer and was found to be drinking this.

Um?

Yeah, exactly. If Sam Adams Cold Snap is a dark beer then Guinness must be like a black hole of liquid death. But Ted said it was either stick with that or go to a Jack and Coke … and since he’s our driver we all agreed to just trust this decision.

Our first observation upon looking at the food menu was that it was super cheap. I mean, burgers for $5.50? Sold.

Shane tried to make the claim that “this may be the cheapest pick ever.” Uh, no. The place with that title is about 10 miles directly north of here. And their burgers come with a generous topping of chiclet onions and a free side of “I can’t believe you’re making me do my job” attitude.

Not taking any chances, though, Shane and I ordered first. You know, just in case this place was in any way a distant cousin of that place to the north.

We started off with the sampler platter, in which you get to choose three items from the appetizer menu, for the bargain price of $9. We chose the breaded mushrooms, onion rings and cheese sticks. None of those items should be a surprise to anyone.

I’ll take an order of everything fried, please

For meals, I got the steak Philly with fries.

Shane got the burger with sautéed mushrooms.

And also 12 wings, because we all know a meal isn’t complete for the guys in this group unless you order two things. When he asked about the type of ranch sauce (dressing vs dry rub) that was on the wings, the server recommended a special concoction that she often orders for herself: something called “spicy ranch,” which included the ranch dressing with a spicy dry rub sprinkled on over top.

Sold.

Onion rings were the only thing in that whole mix that I wasn’t crazy about. The other items on the app platter were good, as was my sandwich – although I did eventually just eat all of the steak and cheese off of the bun, but at least it was just because it was too much food and not because it didn’t taste good. And I used a fork, I’m not a complete heathen.

Shane was a big fan of the server’s special wing concoction. It was just the right amount of spicy.

Cassi, however, didn’t share the same enthusiasm about her wings – six of the spicy garlic boneless wings. She said they had a strange texture, and the flavor wasn’t that great.

Maybe because they look more like chicken nuggets than wings? Just a thought.

Fortunately she also got a regular burger with lettuce, tomato and cheese – which she enjoyed.

There’s definitely lettuce on that one

Jason got the same order as Shane. Because, well, them. He and Cassi also got the fried pickles as an app, and then a little later – after realizing the pickles only came a few to the order – the breaded mushrooms.Which also arrived seemingly a little on the skimpy side portion-wise, but I guess for under $5 you really can’t complain all that much.

I mean, unless you’re us anyway.

There’s a lot of empty space in that basket

Can we all just agree spears of any kind (pickle, Brittany, large throwing objects) are not good?

The other order of fried pickles in the group belonged to Ted. It’s like Dilly D’s all over again up in here. Well, I mean, except that these pickles were actually edible.

Ouch.

Ted also got the strip steak with fries. And a little side car of cole slaw that showed up after the pickles like a second course of the meal.

There’s meat under there somewhere

Our server came back a little while into our meals and asked if we were missing another side of wings. Because three baskets of them on the table along with five actual meals didn’t seem like enough, I guess.

Uh, no room at the inn, sorry.

We told her no, they weren’t ours … but in true us fashion we of course offered to give them a good home. Because, I mean, when do you know this group to refuse food?

So she brought them over. Chalk up some more points, server lady. We already thought you were great, but this sealed the deal.

And of course we ate them. When there was one left in the basket we all played the “who’s the least full” game until Jason took one for the team and consumed it – but not before cursing us all loudly.

THE WHO (we saw)

This is maybe best answered by putting myself into the shoes of a regular at the County Line Bar & Grille on this Wednesday evening, who, if they were writing a similar blog post about the place, would say this:

So this group of people obviously new to the bar showed up at what quite possibly is the busiest time of the evening. They opened the door and spilled into the unexpectedly small-ish room, then had no idea where to go after the door closed behind them. Seeing all the tables full and fewer spots than needed open at the bar, they all just kind of spun around each other like human planets in orbit trying to determine the next move. 

So that was fun.

Fortunately two guys at a table – actual regulars, if I had to guess – took pity on us and offered up their table as they were leaving. Or, as they were done eating and opted to just move to the bar to keep drinking, as I think was more likely the case.

Regardless, we were very appreciative.

We were also appreciative of the server, who was super nice and not at all judgmental that we were not only new to the place but also never seemed to run out of questions. She gets the credit for recommending the “secret” off-menu wing flavor that the guys enjoyed, as well as recognizing when it wasn’t done correctly and sending it back for the kitchen to fix.

Bonus points for the time she showed up carrying an entire round for five people in one trip. Without a serving tray.

Shane was willing to go on record saying if that things kept up in that fashion then she may vault to the top of the list of best servers ever. And we all know we don’t throw those words around lightly in this group.

THE HOW (much we spent)

So that’s $55, for an app platter, two sandwiches, an order of wings, and three rounds of drinks each. I consider that a win.

Another win: Truly for $3.25 a can. In a small dive bar in the middle of nowhere, that seems like a good deal. Also we now judge these drinks on the high $5 price tag we encountered a few weeks ago, so anything below that will get a thumbs up in this group.

THE WHY (they may see us again)

I’d venture to say we would return. The food was decent, the prices cheap, and the service great … so really what more can we ask for? Well, I mean besides the obvious and impossible task of making it closer to home, but you’ll have that.

We also noticed they seem to have a decent sized patio out back, so I would be interested in returning in the summer months to check that out.

Picked by: Steph
Next pick: Jason

Steph

Shane

Ted, under my curse of bad lighting

Cassi

Jason

 

WTGW 2/20/19: BG’s Main Event, Rittman

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THE WHERE (we went)

Rittman. Raise your hand if you know where that is.

Yeah, I don’t think any of us really did either. And come to think of it, maybe still don’t?

Although we did discover a giant Morton’s Salt processing facility on our route into town, which given this week was Cassi’s pick we considered for half a second we might just be dining there.

But alas we ended up at BG’s Main Event, which is your typical “just on the right side of divey” bar and grill in a typical small town atmosphere. It’s also aptly named, as, well, there’s not much else on what I assume was the main road we arrived on.

THE WHAT (we ordered)

You know what sounded super appetizing? The meatball splash.

… said no one in the history of the world, ever.

Are you kidding me? What marketing genius came up with this extremely unappealing name for something you’re supposed to want to put in your mouth? It sounds like the name of a person or maneuver you try your damndest to avoid at the community pool in the summer.

Also on the non-order list for this evening: the steak. Not because of some hideous attempt at a cute name like “seared cow flank” or “farm animal surprise” or anything like that, but because they were trying to sell us a 10oz steak for $12.99. I mean, really. Have you not seen what Shane considers to be a deal when it comes to meat products?

I think he outright scoffed at the menu when he saw this supposedly economically feasible option.

But they got us on Wednesdays being wing nights, and the price of 50 cents per wing was right up our alley. Spoiler alert: I was the only one of the group to not be sucked into that deal.

Shane also pointed out the other, far less tempting Wednesday special, which is the Hangover Burger … at a whopping 40 cents off of its original price. That’s right, folks. Quite a bargain. Start your savings funds tonight by dining here.

We prefaced our order by telling the server that we liked food, and that we would probably order a lot of it. She retorted that we were in the right place for that.

And so an agreement was forged.

I got the Rhinoburger sub, which everyone said sounded delicious (from the description, of course, not the actual name. I’m sensing a theme with this place). It’s kind of like a Mr. Hero Romanburger – a burger, plus lunch meats like ham, salami and pepperoni, plus lettuce and tomato, on a sub bun.

FYI, that’s not chip dip. I mean, not that I tried it or anything

Ted was personally offended that I chose this, because he had kind of wanted to order that same thing … but then he also felt like he had to get something different just for the sake of variety.

He ended up with the brisket, after the server said that the restaurant is known for BBQ.

He was much happier with that than I was with the Rhino sub, let’s just say that much. I mean, don’t get me wrong, my sub was OK … but it was nothing overly exciting. I haven’t had a Romanburger from Mr. Hero in some time, but if memory serves me correctly, I venture to say I would prefer that over what I ate here this evening.

So next week we’ll be at Mr. Hero then?

I kid.

Ted also got the hot garlic wings. Because, well, they were on special.

Yeah, those just look hot

Shane got the All American burger, which is basically a bacon cheeseburger with fried pickles on it. Um, OK. So where’s the fancy name for this one? Green Machine Burger? Fried Former Cucumber Burger? Instead they go with All-American? Interesting.

Also, that one pickle looks a lot like a French fry

And wings, although I neglected to take note of the flavor, so you’ll have to use your imagination there. Or, I mean, this is Shane, you can probably go back about four posts here and figure out his type.

It’s a dry rub, we can say that much

Cassi got 12 boneless wings – six of the Teriaki, and six of the hot garlic.

One set, looks just like Ted’s

Plus a side salad

You know how much we love our veggies

Jason got the bacon cheeseburger, which when given the choice of a half or third pound, he responded he would “just” take the half pound  … like he was conceding to the lesser of the two options there. I believe we all hinged onto the end of his order like a broken screen door in a windstorm trying to figure out where that was headed with that statement. Or why he seemed to think that a half was less than a third.

He then proceeded to ask the server what came on the burger. And was told, shockingly, that it’s condiments included bacon … and cheese. On a bacon cheeseburger.

Appalling, I know.

Jason also got six of the honey mustard wings, because, well, he knew he couldn’t not when the rest of the guys had also ordered them.

Honey mustard in the front, plus Cassi’s teriyaki in the back

Oh, and Cassi and Jason split an order of onion rings.

And Shane and I got breaded mushrooms.

Is that all? I mean, is that enough? It hardly covered the table. That seems disappointing.

THE WHO (we saw)

Lots of people with plastic pointy things that they kept trying to throw at the wall.

Also known as dart league. Which explains why we didn’t sit at the bigger table that would’ve required us to walk directly  through the path of the throwers.

And judging from this, they take it pretty serious.

Who knew so many colorful accessories could go into a game of darts? 

Our server was decent at first – very personable and attentive, coming over to the table shortly after we sat down to get our drink orders and introduce us to the menus. But when we didn’t know our orders approximately 5.2 minutes after being handed the menu it seemed like she took that opportunity to run out back for a lengthy smoke break. Or maybe a run down the street to the corner store. Who knows. I mean, the good news is that she did come back eventually, and that our drinks never went empty for entirely too long throughout the night. So we won’t judge too harshly.

The place also got fairly busy later in the evening. I mean, it’s also super small in there, so adding about 10 people to our group of five and the league of darters was about all if took to fill the place up – but the point is that you can tell it’s for sure a town favorite.

THE HOW (much we spent)

$48 – for an app, a giant sub with side, a burger with side, wings, and several drinks. Not too shabby.

Bonus: the White Claws were only $3.25 each. Considering we paid $5 each last week, I would call this a win.

In the not-a-win column, it appears we got the basket of onion rings on our bill, and Cassi and Jason got our breaded mushrooms.

Eh, close enough. We’re all friends here.

THE WHY (they may see us again)

So I think Cassi summed it up best when she stated that her food wasn’t the greatest, but that she would like to drink at this place.

Everyone pretty much gave the wings a big thumbs down, saying they weren’t the best they had ever had. The sauces were OK, but there was too much breading and that made the flavor “off.”

And the rest of the food was just OK.

But the vibe was great and the drinks were cold, so once again if we could transport a place to about 30 miles closer to where we live then I think they would have regular customers in us.

Or, you know, if we every need to make a run out to get some fresh salt straight from the factory, we’ll plan to stop back in.

Picked by: Cassi
Next pick: Steph

Cassi – thumbs down for wings, thumbs up for atmosphere

Ted also with the dual thumb rating

Jason

Shane

Steph

WTGW 2/13/19: Conestoga Grille, Canton

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THE WHERE (we went)

Conestoga Grille, in the heart of Downtown Canton. Which felt like a million miles away since of course we were all hungry. Shocker, I know. Then we had to warn Ted about a divided highway after last week’s adventure. Because this is definitely the group to be around when it comes to forgetting past mistakes.

See also: Gus’ Chalet, the place with two things on the menu, and a very aptly named but memorable-for-the-wrong-reasons place in Richfield.

The front of the Conestoga Grille pretty much immediately screams dive bar, thanks in part to a dark street and a wildly  flickering sign in the front window. And that was even before we saw they have cans of Hamm’s on special.

Insider tip, once again the window table will look alluring, but unless you want to wear your coat or not feel your nose throughout the meal you may want to rethink that seating option.

THE WHAT (we ordered)

If you don’t like IPAs you’ll want to steer clear of the draft beer options. But they did have White Claw, so there’s that. And of course Hamm’s.

In this week’s edition of let’s interrogate the server about the menu, we learned that the pizza and the wings are good, and the burgers are a top seller. When Jason upped the ante and asked for a further definition of what was better between the burgers and the pizza, she claimed that was a tough call because, well, she personally likes the pizza … but they sell a lot of burgers … but she’s never actually tried one of the burgers there before so she couldn’t really give us an honest opinion.

OK then. If you can make sense of this then you get a medal. Or a burger. We’re not really sure.

Jason ended up getting the Bacon BBQ burger. If that tells you anything.

Looks like a winner

Meanwhile Cassi got the 9 inch pepperoni pizza with a side salad. If that also tells you anything.

Where’s the middle? It’s like they baked this on the smallest pan ever

In what I suppose was an attempt to be helpful, the server turned to Jason after Cassi ordered and basically said “well, there you go, since she ordered a pizza and you got a burger then it seems you can try them both after all.”

Cassi: Uh, nope.

And thus the server learned a very important lesson about how this group doesn’t necessarily share food.

Although it worked out OK, because they each liked their respective orders.

I chose the other on the list of best sellers, the wings. I got 10 of the garlic parm wings.

So far so good

And they didn’t disappoint. They were decent sized, and had good flavor.

I also got a side salad, which was, well, a side salad. There’s not much to say about vegetables in this group.

Shane got the pizza, which he customized with about a billion toppings following an explanation of the menu pricing for such that went a little like the scene at the end of the movie Clue where they’re trying to count the number of bullets left in the gun

He also got 10 wings. And a basket of fries, which supposedly he was only getting because I was sharing with him but I barely got out the first consonant of “yes” before he decided to order.

Which probably confused the hell out of the server when it comes to our stance on that whole food sharing thing, but whatevs.

I’ll take a pizza with all crust pieces and a zillion toppings, please

Ted got the jalepeno wings. Here’s something fun, they were actually jalepeno parm wings, but the menu failed to mention that whole parm thing. Fun, right? I mean, especially for someone who hates cheese. I don’t think I’ve ever seen Ted recoil from a plate of food before, but this certainly warranted that reaction. I think he might’ve reacted less if you’d set down a platter of snakes in front of him.

Which may say something about Ted. Just saying.

But he was a champ and tried them anyway. And admitted that they actually weren’t too horrible. He said the jalepeno was far more evident of a flavor than the cheese, and since the parm was more of a shaving/dusting situation than a giant melted mess, he wasn’t all that disappointed.

Those look … green?

But for future reference, they may want to note that on the menu. Also because the rest of the table was a little jealous when they saw what was served and admitted they may have tried that flavor if they’d known parm was involved.

Ted also got the Dr. Seuss burger. In keeping with the theme of his dinner, it arrived with a giant jalepeno on it, the likes of which had a scent that definitely carried across the table. But for his sake, at least that meal was sans cheese.

And Ted really liked it. He said that the ham on it was super salty, but the flavor of that combined with the egg and the peppers made it all work. He’s never had something with that many flavors going on – well, that still managed to taste good anyway.

THE WHO (we saw)

Let’s just say that having two bartenders/servers on the schedule for the evening may have been a little overzealous on the scheduler’s part. There may have been about five other people in the bar along with us this Wednesday evening, and two of them were getting paid to be there. But the trade off to that was that we got decent service, and our server was super nice.

THE HOW (much we paid)

So remember that whole “this is kind of a dive bar” and “awesome, they serve Hamm’s in cans” feel from the start of the evening. Yeah, not to much after the bill arrived. I’m not sure in what world the 12oz cans of Hamms should be $3 each, because that seems a little pricey. And $5 for a White Claw? Someone please visit the local supermarket and let them know the case of six cans is – well, let’s just say no one would be paying $30 for that.

Oh, and the pic of our receipt is incorrect, since Jason and Cassi got one of our wing orders on their bill, so that final number should be $10 more. All total, we ended up at like $77 after tip. At a dive bar. Seems a little pricey, no?

THE WHY (they will/won’t see us again)

All that being said, if we find ourselves in the downtown Canton area again I believe we would revisit. The food was really good, one of those rare evenings where everyone liked their meals – which is saying something considering Ted’s unwelcome surprise. And being that the place wasn’t busy so we got great service – even before Shane outed us as bloggers. Dude, we’re trying to keep things low key here. I mean, we’re already celebrity judges for food truck events. Before we know it people will start asking to be in our pictures with us. I’m not sure we’re ready for that status yet.

Picked by: Ted

Ted

Steph

Shane

Jason

Cassi

Conestoga Grill Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

WTGW 2/6/19: Fire and Ice, Akron

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THE WHERE (we went)

Fire and Ice, which is located … well, to hell if I really know. With the dense fog and darkness it could’ve honestly been the set of every horror movie, ever.

I do know we encountered an unusual number of roundabouts, and Ted also made a wrong turn onto a divided highway – so for a brief time we were literally that famous scene from the movie  Planes Trains and Automobiles.

And then trying to get to the parking lot was one giant never ending u-turn. You know it’s going to be a good night when you almost get killed getting there, right?

THE WHAT (we ordered)

A whole lot of pretzels to start with, as everyone but Ted enjoyed those as an appetizer.

Double take

They were tasty. And good enough to somewhat distract Cassi from her annoyance that the soda she had mixed with her tequila was flat.

I got the mushroom Swiss burger with onion rings.

Why is my burger wearing a pickle hat?

It was good. The bottom bun was toasted but the top wasn’t so that made it a little interesting. But overall it was a decent burger.

Shane got 12 wings, on recommendation of the bartender. More on that in a minute. She listed the mango habanero and sweet Thai chili as the best flavors for sauces, so he trusted her judgement and selected those, so six and six.

I’m not sure why Shane seems armed to punch someone in this photo. Maybe they stepped too close to his wings.

It should be noted that we all just stared at Shane after this portion of the order, as we expected it to be followed with the order of a burger, or a pizza, or hell at this point even a salad … just something else to accompany his meager 12 wing dinner. When he announced that was all for him and the server could move on to the next person, we all immediately expressed our concern that he might quite literally suffer from starvation with such a light dinner.

You all need friends like this in your lives. Take note.

But he liked all of the wings, so at least his gamble on only getting one meal worked in his favor. He said there wasn’t too much difference between the two flavors, but at least they both tasted good so it didn’t much matter.

Ted got The Godfather, which is this place’s fancy name for an Italian sub.

Colorful

This earned him a coveted “good choice” from the server – which, can we just sidebar here for a minute so we can all agree that hearing these words makes you feel like you just picked the lucky menu item whenever that happens? Like balloons should drop from the ceiling and you should get to pose for a picture holding one of those giant checks that just reads “GOOD CHOICE” on the front of it. No matter what mood you’re in, hearing a server tell you that you picked a winner on the menu is like scratching off the lucky symbol on a lottery ticket that already exposed two identical sums of money.

Anyway.

Because he’s not on the Shane diet this evening, Ted also got six of the Cajun dry rub and six mango habanero wings. The Cajun were the clear winners in his book. He said the others were just OK, and that they didn’t have a lot of flavor to them – especially compared to the Cajun.

He liked the sandwich, too, but maybe not as much as the server did.

Jason got the Fire and Ice burger with fries, which he seemed to like well enough. I think his word was “decent,” so take that as you will.

Another pickle hat. Maybe someone should tell them the condiments belong on the other side of the bun.

Last at the table to order, Cassi got the Chicken Philly, with onion rings.If Ted won the award for best choice at the table, Cassi took home the test of your patience prize, as she watched all of our food get delivered and then suffered through a good awkward pause before the server reappeared and asked us if we needed anything else. Uh, the fifth meal for the table? Just a thought.

They swore it was just taking longer to cook the chicken, but we think they legit just straight up forgot about her order. Although once it arrived she said it was well worth the wait – that the bun was toasted and there was a ton of chicken included on it, so she was more than happy. Definitely a better outcome than waiting all that time for crap.

THE WHO (we saw)

First of all, watch out for this guy.

The bouncer looks a bit … stiff

I can’t speak for the group but I know personally that mannequin was the cause of a few startled moments in my evening.

Our server was also the bartender, and she did a pretty good job considering she was the only person handling the entire floor and bar area. Now granted it’s not as if the place was totally packed … but I’m guessing the crowd was somewhat significant for where and what this place is on a random Wednesday evening.

In any case, she was super nice, although perhaps not exactly overly excited about answering our varied and substantial menu questions. Case in point: when Shane asks her which she prefers, the burgers or wings (because, you know, that’s all we ever order), she says without hesitation that the wings are better. OK. Seems reasonable. But then later as the rest of the group is giving their orders she lets it slip that she’s actually not a burger person. Like that she usually doesn’t even ever eat them. So that kind of negates her instant and definite pick for the wings, now doesn’t it? I mean, because obviously she’s not choosing the burger in that scenerio. It’s like saying “hey, there’s a gun to your head, you can choose the thing you’re horribly allergic to, or the other thing I haven’t said yet but obviously I’ve left you no choice but to select.”

In a perfect world, she could’ve prefaced her recommendation with “well I don’t really like burgers, so obviously I would take the wings … but given the choice between [insert menu item she really likes here] and wings, I would choose …”

So there’s that.

Also, special shout out to the kitchen girl who announced in the exact opposite of a library voice that The Godfather and the wings would be coming out at some point after the burgers. So, you know, at least Shane was prepared when his curse of getting his food after most people at the table continued. But still, probably could’ve done without human megaphone announcing that to the entire bar.

Wednesdays are also pool league nights, or we just happened to pick the night to share the bar with all of the intensely serious pool players who bring their own pool sticks in carrying cases. In any case, we definitely weren’t venturing away from our group with a table full of what could be considered legit weapons sitting nearby.

THE HOW (much we spent)

The $4 mixed drinks were a hit, as were the far cheaper Bud Lights. I think the app was a bit pricey at $6, even if it was delicious I’m not sure it should’ve been basically the same price as six of the wings. But overall still not a bad evening out. Maybe Shane needs to only order one meal for dinner more often.

THE WHY (they may/may not see us again)

Overall the service was good – I mean, other than the whole forgetting one of our meals thing, but at least the sandwich she was eventually served was literally hot off the grill, and wasn’t just lost to the heat lamp in the back corner because they didn’t realize it belonged at our table. But over the course of the evening we found the bartender was quick to make eye contact with one of us at the table to get a feel for who needed drink refills before she walked over, so that she could arrive with the next round when she came to check on us. Keeping us full on alcohol is always a good pitstop on the path to our hearts.

I think we would return. If we could find it again on a map anyway.

Picked by: Shane

Shane

Cassi

Steph

Jason

Ted

WTGW 1/9/19: 44Sharp, Randolph

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THE WHERE (we went)

To a place really far away, with not a whole lot else around. Which is always the best choice for a night wraught with consistent blinding snowstorms, right?

Yeah, we thought so, too.

44Sharp looks to be a relatively newer place over somewhere to the east of Spingfield. Which, of course, brought up Shane’s favorite “let’s head back to the place with only two things on the menu” conversation.

I know you all are on pins and needles for that revisit. Well, OK, maybe everyone except Shane. Unless of course they were serious about that whole reworking the menu thing, in which case he keeps insisting we’ll be sorry for making fun of it then.

Time will tell.

Anyway.

It seems that 44Sharp hosts a lot of bands on the weekends. Or maybe they just like to have people stand around being taller than the rest of the crowd at certain times. But probably more so the band thing.

Hella sponsorship of that stage area there Budweiser

Also, the entire place just has a lot of free space in general. There’s also a room with pinball and other bar games, a bar by the door to what we assumed was probably the outdoor patio, and another room with pool tables. It’s like the middle of nowhere equivalent of a Dave & Buster’s.

Of course it also helped that we were five of about the collective ten people in the place for the evening, so, you know, size is relative when you’re not exactly fighting your way through a crowd to get a table, I guess.

THE WHAT (we ordered)

Hey guess what, we ordered burgers and wings. Shocker. Maybe we should’ve just stopped a half hour sooner back in Springfield after all.

On his first visit to the table, the bartender shared with us that Wednesdays are burger night – which equates to $2 off all burgers. He also made a point to tell us that the best one is the Rodeo burger. Nice to see recommendations before we had to ask. This is definitely something new.

Although we noticed as we put our orders in that they didn’t ask how we wanted the burgers to be cooked, which we all know by now could be the curse that later delivers condiment-laded charcoal briquettes to our table. Oh, the suspense!

Cassi and Jason got breaded mushrooms as their app.

Little hot oil bombs

No one else ordered an app, although the guys all got wings to go with their burgers so I guess that’s kind of the same thing. Ted got Cajun, while Shane and Jason both used their food soulmate powers to pick BBQ.

It’s like the Sahara desert up in here

The BBQ was a dry rub, which ended up being a bit regretful. Better luck next time.

They also both got the Rodeo Burger. See, I’m not kidding about that soulmate thing. Except Jason got his with cheddar cheese, while Shane kept it with the menu-allotted pepper jack.

When the server delivered Jason’s he made a point to call it the “almost Rodeo burger.”
We appreciate sass from servers. It makes us feel like they’re one of the group.

We also appreciate when they look out for us, as was the case when Ted ordered the Brunch burger, sans cheese (of course) … and it later arrived looking like this:


Yeah, that’s cheese. I mean, it’s a fried egg, too, but the burger was definitely covered in melted cheese. And we all know how thrilled that makes our friend Ted, who immediately started in trying to rid the dish of it before it got cold and congealed to any portion of the sandwich.

The server was quite concerned when he saw Ted furiously scraping cheese from the top of the patty.

Server: Dude, what’s this? I put the order in for no cheese. I can send it back. I’m sorry. Are you allergic?
Ted: No, I just don’t like cheese.
Server: Well fuck then, you’ve got this.

Turns out Shane was all too happy to take the scraped off cheese remnants for part of his own meal.

Well if that doesn’t look appetizing

This is true friendship, people. And they aren’t even the food soulmates.

Meanwhile, on the non-drama side of the table, I got the Firecracker burger with additional mushrooms.
The sauce was spicy. Not a bad spicy, definitely a good spicy, but spicy nonetheless.

I just like saying spicy apparently.

And Cassi got the BLT burger.
So remember when I mentioned the distinct possibility for well-done charcoal briquettes? Yeah, that’s kind of what we ended up with here. The burgers were definitely on the burnt side. Even Cassi – who hardly ever admits to things being well done – couldn’t deny that these were bordering on the edge of left in front of the flame thrower a bit too long.

Especially because her burger had no sauce on it, so it somewhat resembled the consistency of a tumbleweed rolling through the desert. The rest of us agreed that if not for the abundance of condiments on ours, we would probably feel the same way. The sauces were good, the meat not so much.

THE WHO (we saw)

Well, I can tell you who we didn’t see, and that’s many other patrons. As mentioned already, there were probably only five other people in the place throughout the course of the evening. Not five groups, literally five other individuals. I mean, I get that it was a Wednesday night, and a crappy weather one at that. But there’s also not seemingly a whole lot else around the area, so it’s not like there’s an Olive Garden down the road just teaming with people who wanted a hot meal in the middle of the week.

I would definitely be intrigued to see the place on a weekend. And what kind of crowd a band brings in. I’m going to go out on a limb and say that there’s a lot of line dancing that happens when they move these dinner tables out of the dance floor space.

Anyway.

Perhaps the trade off to this is that we did see the bartender/server quite frequently. In fact, I’d go on record to say that this may have been some of the best service we’ve ever had.

Ever.

That’s strong language.

I mean, granted it’s not like he had a ton of other people to keep him busy – but it’s also not like we haven’t been to places before where we’ve been close to the only table there and still gone long stretches between visits from the server.

Jilly’s, I’m looking at you while I say this. Don’t pretend you don’t see the stare.

But at 44Sharp, the bartender came right over to greet us as we walked in, came back with the first round of drinks and menus quickly, and stopped back frequently to check on us. Bonus points for noticing when drinks were almost empty while delivering food to the table, and asking if we wanted refills – as well as not taking the nearly empty drink away when the new one was set down.

Which I didn’t even realize was something I had to be worried about until my half full mixed drink was whisked out of sight and replaced with a new one at another establishment a few weeks ago. Unless you’re planning to magically make half of the cost disappear off my final bill, that’s not cool.

THE HOW (much we paid)

Three tequilas and sodas were $12.75, thanks in part to a Wednesday ladies night special that equated to $1 off mixed drinks. Which we definitely appreciated. Maybe better luck getting the girls out in droves for that one in the summer, though.

But then I think I made the difference back on my meal. So here’s a little restaurant math lesson for you … if burgers are $5 on the Wednesday night special, but then I paid 75 cents for the “extra mushrooms” and another $1.99 for tots that I thought actually came with the meal, am I not just back to the original price again before the Wednesday special?

The answer is almost. A burger with tots or fries is normally $8.99, plus the 75 cents would be 9.74, then take away $2 for the Wednesday special … oh hell, I’m over it by now. Did I mention there was also tequila?
THE WHY (they will/won’t see us again)

They definitely get an A+ for service. I mean, granted for a portion of the evening we were the only people in the place – but honestly given our group’s track record I sometimes think that makes us even more invisible. The bartender/server here was great, though. Also, they have a weekend steak special – a 12 oz for $9.99 – so that obviously intrigued Shane and Ted. I’d put this as a solid maybe. If the right band was playing. And it wasn’t snowing. And we didn’t order burgers.

Did I make that clear enough?

Picked by: Steph

Steph

Shane

Ted

Cassi

Jason