WTGW 10/16/19: DeLuca’s Pizza Pub, Green

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Friends, if you will, indulge us for a moment for a story.

Once upon a time a group of food testing friends came across a bar that had everything they were looking for. There were drinks. There was food. And there was a lot of fun with some new friends, which culminated in a far later night out than folks of their age should likely indulge in, but that’s neither here nor there.

And they rejoiced.

I mean, doesn’t that look like fun?

It should also be noted that we only really know about four people in all of those photos.

The name of this magical place was Howie’s. It was situated next to a lake, the likes of which they didn’t see that evening because it was a chilly spring evening, and, well, occasionally this group makes smart choices.

But they vowed to return.

And they did, once or twice, on a few weekends and one particular 4th of a July.

But then the place closed. And they were sad for taking its existence for granted.

But wait! Thanks to the power of social media, it was learned that the owners opened a new place! A pizza pub, in nearby Green, called Deluca’s Pizza Pub.

An anxious wait followed, carefully watching social media for the eventual opening and the rave reviews that followed.

And so the group finally went to check it out. And discovered … well … first and foremost, that it was really difficult to find. Because the plaza lacks signage and lighting and, well, basically the look of actually being a habitat for real human life of any sort. Maybe we should work on making the theme more “great place to come eat” and less “we’re suffering from a permanent power outage,” no?

But beyond that observation, the next thing that became blatantly obvious was, well, it’s not Howie’s. Which is not to say it’s bad … but, well, it’s not Howies.

Read on …

WHAT WE ORDERED

Uh, pizza? Duh.

But first, ALL THE BREAD AND OIL. Like seriously, entire wheat fields were sacrificed to bring this spread to our table this evening.

Yes, that’s three orders of bread and oil on one table. Because who needs variety? And also:

Ok, now that we’re past that, let’s move on to the pizzas, since that is the specialty here after all. They have all sorts of specialty flavored pizza, but they for the most part are all NY style. So it you’re looking for deep dish, this is probably not your scene.

Shane got his own pizza – the Wise Guy – because, well, see the photo above.

For clarity’s sake, this is a 10 inch pizza. Which we all took one look at upon arrival and knew would barely be enough for Shane alone, so fortunately I was wise enough to order my own meal.

Cassi and Jason got the much larger Meatball pizza to share.

That’s more like it.

Cassi also got a side salad.

Ted got a pizza he made himself with toppings, not a specialty one. Well, by “made himself” I mean he picked out the toppings, not that he actually went back into the kitchen and cooked it himself – which I would think is obvious, but just clarifying. I mean, could you imagine the outrage? We got bent out of shape when we had to go up and order our own food last week, let’s not even talk about what kind of world it would be if they expected us to enter the kitchen and cook something.

Anyway.

He chose sausage, pepperoni and meatballs. It had minimal cheese, by the server’s admission because of all the meats covering it. To which we all replied in a resounding chorus that that’s exactly how Ted likes it.

I got a calzone with mushrooms and sausage, and a side salad

THE VERDICT

So overall, taste-wise, everything was good. The flavors in the pizza and the calzone were both delicious. The dough especially was amazing, and you could tell it’s all fresh made – even without the note in the menu mentioning the lack of freezers or fryers in the back kitchen. In fact, if all four pieces could’ve been as doughy as the end two slices I might not have been able to hold myself back from eating the whole thing and getting rolled out the back door to the parking lot.

Which, fortunately is shrouded in darkness so at least no one would’ve seen. Maybe we’ve cracked the code on this while lighting situation after all.

Admittedly Shane was somewhat disappointed that the pizzas were thin crust, because he would’ve rather enjoyed the doughier version. Or at least probably been less hungry when we left.

Our bounty of bread and oil was arguably the best part of the meal. Props to the server who told us to smash the garlic cloves into the oil rather than out previous method of attempting to eat them an entire clove at a time. And the bread was really flavorful. While it didn’t soak up the oil entirely, the taste of the bread alone made up for that. It was like those pita crisp crackers turned into a full piece of bread.

Cassi liked her salad so much that she claimed she wanted them to pack her a salad for tomorrow’s lunch. Oh, hey, thank you to-go menu. That worked out well.

But in particular the cheese on the salad was amazing. You could tell it was fresh, not packaged from the Market District grocery down the street.

And the homemade sausage in my calzone was to die for.

So, if you’re following along here, so far on taste one we’re giving DeLucas a five-thumbs-up rating.

But here are our biggest issues with the place, and the reason for us saying it’s not Howie’s – and it won’t get the stellar overall rating that we gave that place. For one, the atmosphere. Look, I get the reasoning behind wanting to make the move from rowdy “let’s all do shots at 7PM” waterfront bar to classier pizza pub where mixed drinks are called “handcrafted cocktails” and seasonal pumpkin cider is served on draft.

But, well, this leap may just be a little too much for this particular area. I mean, let’s look around … by 7:30PM, we were literally the only people in the place that couldn’t walk into the kitchen without being told we didn’t belong there.

Which may dovetail into our second issue … price. I mean, we get the whole fresh-made thing. And we both enjoy and appreciate that. But, well, paying $14 for a just a step above personal pan pizza and $6 for a draft cider was a little bit disheartening. Maybe in NYC that flies, but not in Green, Ohio.

So chances are that as much as we may have enjoyed the pizzas and other bread and cheese products here … we won’t be sitting here a few years from now retelling the story of how much we love Deluca’s. At least not in the same way we loved Howie’s, anyway.

*sigh*

Picked by: Steph
Next pick: Ted

WTGW 9/11/19: REVISIT – Retz’s Laconi, Cuyahoga Falls

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So we’re down a person this week, with Cassi out on a work trip. Which means it’s revisit time for the rest of the group.

A feat which was slightly more difficult than you would think. We were trying to stay close to home, so once we filed through some of our nearby favs, we opted for the Noisy Oyster. But forgot that Wednesdays are trivia nights, and apparently ALL OF CUYAHOGA FALLS shows up to vie for the 20 tables available on this place.

So, yeah, that didn’t work out.

Special shout out to the non-helpful man sitting outside who told us on our way back to the car that next time we should try arriving before 5:30 if we want to get a table on trivia night. Thanks, mister. I’ll be sure to pass that along to my boss as an excuse as to why I need to leave my job early the next time we want to go there on a Wednesday night.

Back to the drawing board. Our usual revisit go-to, R. Shea’s, looked packed, and even though I’m sure we could get a table at The Getaway, we likely wouldn’t be served our food until about 10pm. Hmm, where else haven’t we been for a while?

Ah, Retz Laconi. It’s been almost three years since our last visit to this little tucked away neighborhood bar and restaurant, so we were well overdue for a revisit.

WHAT WE ORDERED

Of course Shane demanded a storytime presentation of the blog post from the last visit so he knew what to order this time around. I’m glad my phone is the only one that seems to work for these ventures?

But we did learn that Shane chose the eggplant parm in that last visit, partially for the intriguing aspect of the eggplant being rolled in cheese and deep fried.

Because that sounds nothing like anything any of our total health but selves would ever order, right?

And Ted of course bypassed the Italian menu completely and ordered our group staple of a burger (served Ted-stye, minus the cheese) with wings.

Shocking, I know.

This time around, the guys all opted for their own personal pizzas, combined with orders of wings. So clearly Shane learned his lesson from last time when he ordered an entree and wings but then couldn’t eat the wings because he was too full.

We truly are creatures of habit in this group.

Anyway.

Back to 2019, where, as mentioned, we have a theme for tonight of pizza and wings. No burgers this time around. Surprisingly.

Ted got 12 hot wings and a medium meat lovers pizza.

Jason got six garlic parm wings, six honey mustard wings, and a medium sweet BBQ chicken pizza.

Shane got 12 garlic parm wings, and a small meat lovers pizza.

I kept with the wing night theme, but decided on a side salad instead of a full pizza to go along with them. One of these things is not like the other in this group.

And that unlike thing is also something I seemingly forgot to take a photo of, so you’ll just have to use your imagination on my order. Just picture the wings from those photos above, and replace the large circle of carbs, gluten and meat covered in melted cheese with a small bowl of something green covered in non-melted cheese. Done.

THE VERDICT

The guys gave the pizzas a thumbs up. Although Ted took half of his home – because, well, if you haven’t noticed there was a crapload of food on our table. And he also ordered a medium pizza all for himself.

Shane said he would eat the pizza first next time so he’s not as full by the time he gets to that portion of the meal. So if you’re keeping track here, note that he didn’t say he would order less food, just that he would change the order in which he consumed it so as to make sure he got to try everything.

Also we all know how Shane needs to let his food cool to the temperature of a hardwood floor in winter, so Im also noting that if we have to wait for him to eat his pizza first then maybe we should call ahead and have them prepare it before we arrive so we aren’t still there at midnight waiting for it to cool down.

Mine and Shane’s bill was $46 before tip. Jason’s and Ted’s bills were each around $35 before tip. That damn medium pizza was definitely the kicker.

Also my mixed drinks were the same price as Shane’s beers ($4) … and being that all I tasted was cherry I can only assume that there was definitely more rum than coke involved with those. For once I may have actually won the drink lottery and chosen wisely.

Side note – we’re on hiatus from new picks for most of this month, as every week we seem to have at least one member of the group with a work or vacation conflict. So check back for more revisits, and we’ll see you in October for the next new pick.

WTGW 7/31/19: Mark & Philly’s Pizza, Cuyahoga Falls

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Hey, anyone remember the WTGW rules of choosing a place?

No?

Well here they are:

  • Must have food
  • Must have alcohol
  • Must be fun (or at least have potential)

Pretty simple, I know.

But that whole middle rule about alcohol actually leaves quite a few places out of our spectrum, since there are several restaurants in our area that (we’ve heard) have great take out or just a small eat-in area but just don’t cater to alcoholics such as ourselves.

Probably with good reason. But whatevs.

Enter WTGW Take Out Edition! OK, so I just made that up, it wasn’t something we necessarily planned on doing … but when your dog has to have some minor dental surgery on a Wednesday and you go full-out nervous dog mom on the situation after she gets home from the vet, this seems like a good option. Because we all still need to eat (and drink), just minus the guilt of leaving your still-somewhat-drugged-up-and-not-quite-forgiven-you-yet-for-leaving-her-at-her-most-hated-place-on-earth-for-the-day furchild at home in a kennel after a strenuous day.

See also: take notes, because chances are this situation will present itself again. We have three dogs, people.

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The patient. I don’t think we paid extra for the weird wonky stand-up ear.

And bonus: we know that we won’t have to scour coolers or wait for servers to check back 14 times just to tell us that there’s only one White Claw in the entire place and they have no idea what flavor it is.

Score.

Tonight’s take-out pick is Mark & Philly’s Pizza, which is a little family owned pizza/sub/chicken shop here in Cuyahoga Falls. Shane got a little history lesson when he picked up our order (side note, the do also deliver, we just chose to go pick it up, because, well, we were super hungry and didn’t want to take a chance that that option would take longer), as both Mark and Philly were working in the restaurant that evening. He learned that the place has been in business for over 30 years, and that Mark is in the kitchen pretty much every day helping with the cooking while Philly cashes orders out. They have a support staff, of course, but they also seem to pretty much not miss a day of work.

And they’re doing a killer job. There’s a reason why they’ve been a city staple for this many years. We placed our order via phone, and everything we ordered – three pizzas (including two deep dish), an order of fried chicken, two orders of jojo potatoes, and two salads – so, you know, enough to feed about double the amount than were in our house – was all ready in 25 minutes.

Let’s just think back to the sheer number of places recently who hadn’t gotten us so much as an appetizer, much less our entire order, by this point in our dining experience. County Line on $1 burger nights, anyone? The disaster that was Mac’s Cabana? WADSWORTH TAVERN?

Exactly.

I vote Mark and Philly to helm the next restaurant makeover reality show.

WHAT WE ORDERED:

Shane had read online that the Sicilian pizza was the way to go, with pretty much 99.9% amazingly good reviews. So that made his decision easy. He got a small.

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FYI, if you’re unaware – as I was – that Sicilian essentially translates to a type of deep dish pizza, then I’m providing that knowledge to you now. You’re welcome.

Cassi also ordered a large Sicilian for her and Jason to split, and then a side salad with cheese for her.

Mark & Philly's, Cuyahoga Falls

The same, just bigger. 

Meanwhile, Ted opted against the deep dish and just went for a regular pizza with pepperoni, sausage and mushrooms. He got a large, because, well, why not.

It made Shane’s look like a baby pizza.

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Yes, this establishment also serves Truly. Carry on. 

But what you don’t see in that picture is the sheer depth of the Sicilian versus Ted’s regular pizza. The Sicilian is like a true PIE – so crust, then toppings and cheese, then another crust, then more cheese.

Translation: Ted chose wisely for himself.

On the non-pizza side of the table, I got the two chicken breast dinner, which comes with a breadstick and two sides – I chose Jojo’s and a side salad with cheese.

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AND THE VERDICT IS:

Thumbs up all around. The Sicilian stole the show, with everyone who ordered it (or, even, in my case, tried a bite of it) voting it a top favorite.

In fact, Shane went so far as to claim that he had a new favorite. Like after pretty much one bite he was ready to de-throne his previous regional fave, Farinaccis. As was Cassi to Tim’s Pizzeria.

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Shane eventually revised his statement to claim that he still liked both pizzas, but for different reasons.

Still, that’s high praise, coming from the pizza guru himself.

I was a fan of my non-pizza meal also. The chicken was good and hot, and the jojos – while not entirely my favorite out of every place I’ve had them – were still tasty. I ended up putting half the meal away for another time.

And even the price wasn’t too bad, considering all we got. Around $65 for the whole order, which really isn’t awful considering we’ve paid way more than that for just two of us on some weeks.

And to be perfectly honest, those Sicilian pizzas are worth every penny. I mean there’s probably $20 worth of cheese on those alone.

I can almost hear Ted gagging while reading that sentence.

Next pick: Steph

WTGW 7/24/19: El Tren Mexican Restaurant, Tallmadge

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This week’s adventure begs the question: if there’s a national holiday for a beverage but yet the place you’re eating at doesn’t offer a special on it, is it really a holiday?

Technically El Tren is a revisit for 3/5 of this group, but let’s take a moment to break down the numbers: two of us have never been here before at all, three of us have been before but it was when the place was called Nuevo Acapulco (we think? there was some issue on that visit discerning exactly what website was used to find this magical place that supposedly had towers of margaritas but then no one knew what the hell we were talking about when we inquired about them), and out of those three, two have been back since it changed over to El Tren.

Confused yet?

Admittedly the two of us who had returned after the name change didn’t have the best luck, but we pretty much just crossed our fingers and hoped for the best this time around.

Because … National Tequila Day. And it was nice enough to sit on the patio.

So in the broad spectrum I guess we can consider this a win? I mean, even though … well … I’ll let you decide.

The What (we ordered)

So as I mentioned, it’s National Tequila Day, which means it’s just a tad sacrilegious to choose anything other than Mexican food, no? I mean even Ted gets a margarita on this holy day.

We’ll take all the tequila, please

Meanwhile Shane gets a rum and coke. OK.

For meals, we can break this down again into fractions, as 3/5 of the table chose the fajita quesadilla. Shane and Jason opted for steak, while Cassi chose chicken.

There seems to be a lot of math so far this week. Sorry about that. I’ll just leave you with one more little equation: 0% of those who ordered this dish got what they were expecting once the meals came out.

Like, what is that? Did they hear “appetizer quesadilla” and not “fajita quesadilla”? That looks like something you order at Applebee’s. I mean, being married to Shane for as long as I have been now, I can attest that this dish is his go-to order at any Mexican restaurant. And never once has it looked like this.

Except, well, the last time we came here. Oops. Shane said he forgot about that until the plate arrived in front of him. Like “hey what was that place that serves the child-sized portion of fajita quesadilla? Oh, right, this place.”

I got the chicken fajitas. Not the fajita quesadilla, just the regular fajitas. Otherwise known as that dish that gets delivered to the table basically still cooking on the plate so pretty much the entire restaurant can hear, see and smell it arriving at the correct table.

FYI, that didn’t happen here. But, you know, by the end of the evening that wasn’t exactly a shocker to us, since we were kind of just impressed that we got food of some kind brought out.

More on that later.

The chicken fajitas were ok – there was a lot of chicken with the onions and peppers – but it was a touch on the dry side. I eventually got some extra salsa to help with that, but let’s just say I was too hungry to wait as long as I would’ve needed to if I wanted it for the whole meal.

And then there Ted, getting some type of burrito.  I missed the name of the dish because I was paying too much attention to the special inquisition he was involved in with the server regarding the type of sauce inside the burrito and the possibility of it being cheese-based. Here the server was trying to educate Ted on the level of spiciness involved with the sauce, when really all he truly cared about was “is it made of cheese?”

That’s right, around Ted things can be spicy to the 1000th degree (habenero peppers, anyone?), just for the love of God don’t let it be made with or include any sort of cheese products.

Ted said his burrito was also really dry. And the sauce definitely had cheese in it. So that worked out well for him.

He also thought his meal should’ve come with rice and beans on the side. Because doesn’t pretty much every meal at a Mexican restaurant? Frankly I think we were shorted like three plates of rice and beans, but, again, at some point we just all agreed I think to be happy we were served anything with the rate at which we both saw our server and had things we ordered or asked for brought out to us.

Shane and I also ordered the tableside guacamole, because we remembered that being like the one thing that went well on any of our previous visits to this place. And I will say that once again, that was the best part of the meal. I mean, on one hand, for $9.95 it better be. But who can really complain when it’s made fresh next to your table and it comes in one of these awesome and much heavier than you think it would be bowls?

Cassi and Jason got the churry queso. I think in part to taunt Ted after the great cheese inquisition of 2019 during our orders. Because we all know that the one thing Ted loves more than asking to not have it placed anywhere near his meal is to sit at a table next to a vat of gooey, melted cheese, right?

Ironically, after these appetizers arrived, and after we asked twice, it still took a hot minute to get a few more baskets of chips. Because there’s only five of us at the table and two apps that require chips to be consumed. But sure.

The Who (we saw)

We have to admit we were shocked to arrive and find the patio surprisingly empty. Especially considering it was a beautiful night. And they do have a pretty great space outside. And, did we mention tequila holiday?

I’m going to attribute this to everyone else hearing of a tequila special we didn’t and going there instead. Dammit. Next time shoot us an invitation. I mean, why else do you think we joined social media after all these years?

(shameless plug, find us on Instagram @wheretogowednesdays and on Twitter @where_wednesday)

But at least it made for a nice quiet evening on the patio for us. Oh wait, until the gang of children started running around the patio full tilt. So it doubles as a playground, I guess? Good to know.

Because children running uncontrolled in places where adults are consuming alcohol seems like a splendid plan. I can’t imagine any possible scenario where that might be an issue.

For those of us who have visited El Tren before, our main complaint in the past has been the service. Hey, guess what? That hasn’t changed. Hats off to management for keeping stability in the lousiest of arenas. Kudos.

Drinks take approximately six hours each to arrive, so I can only assume they charter a plane and make a quick trip to Mexico to grab that tequila fresh each time someone orders something from the bar.

And then there was this fun little sitcom that took place with my order … so when meals arrived I was served a plate of chicken and peppers/onions, with no rice, beans or fajitas. Not really what I was expecting, but sure I’m trying to be a bit healthier here so thanks for reading my mind, not trusting me on my own and just removing the carbs from my field of vision.

But then about 10 minutes later some guy who wasn’t our server arrived with a package of fajitas to hand to me. Not wanting to be wasteful, I said thanks anyway but actually I’ll skip the fajitas, and can you just bring over some more salsa instead? He said sure … and then disappeared into the Bermuda Triangle of the restaurant, never to be seen again. Maybe he got called oto that Mexico charter for more tequila? Who knows.

So like 15 minutes later when our server finally made her way over to ask how things were, I asked again about some extra salsa. And that ask put me on the receiving end of not one, but two extra bowls of salsa … and another attempt at being delivered a package of fajitas.

Perhaps what we have is a lapse in communication. And they really, really wanted me to have those damn fajitas after all.

But the worst of it happened even later, when the server committed the epic fail for our group: trying to bring us our bills without asking if we needed anything else and just assuming we were ready to go. Because nothing says “I’ve loved taking care of you, please tip me kindly” like shoving customers out the door.

So we ordered another round just because. And the server was clearly annoyed. But the joke was on her because it took about 20 minutes to get that last round (fill up the plane, boys, we’ve got another round of drinks to get!), during which time all we did was calculate the ways her tip was getting smaller, while she still had to keep coming out to check on us.

Good times.

Ted thinks it all went downhill when we forgot to tip the guacamole guy. I think that may be solid logic.

The How (much we paid)

So, yeah, this was an expensive one, kids. Almost $90 for two people. Hey $5 burger specials from a week ago, we really, really miss you. Now granted about $40 of this week’s tab was alcohol … so, um, what was I saying about no tequila specials?

Also our server, in all her helpfulness to get us our bills promptly before we’d asked for them and essentially shove us out the door, of course got the bills all messed up. Seems the queen of assumptions, in her haste to be rid of us, thought she should split split the guacamole amongst the table, when it was clearly Shane and I who had ordered it and wasn’t about to subject the cost to the rest of the group. So we had her change that, but then when we got the bill back after that we also had Cassi and Jason’s meals instead of our own, plus their app. So they paid for one fajita quesadilla and my chicken fajitas instead of two fajita quesadillas, but we got two fajita quesadillas and both apps.

But our alcohol was right, so I guess that counts for something? I mean, usually that’s the part where people get confused, just because of the sheer amount that gets ordered.

What was I saying about the math portion of this post being finished? Oops.

The Why (they probably won’t see us again)

Well, I mean, unless we’re desperate. Or once again forget our past experiences. This one pretty much got an “eh” all around from our group. Well, except Jason, whose thumbs up makes me think perhaps he either wandered off to join another group for a while or maybe his drinks were made with the extra special tequila shipment.

I will admit that the patio atmosphere was perhaps worth the price of admission … or maybe at least the price of the guac and a couple of rounds of drinks. But then factor in the great invasion of the children and the amazingly awful service, and, well, let’s just say it would need to be a perfect storm of being on that side of town, not being very hungry and just wanting to sit on a patio that may or not be peaceful for us to actually consider going back there.

Picked by: Cassi
Next pick:  Steph

Cassi

Jason

Ted

Shane

Steph

WTGW 4/17/19: Romeo’s OT Sports Grille, Medina

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THE WHERE (we went)

Oh hey, Granger Road, we remember you. Well, I mean, it’s difficult to forget you when the GPS continuously tells us to turn onto you, but whatever. How can you turn three different directions and yet still be on the same road?

It’s a mystery we attempt to solve every time our travels take us to the northwest side of Medina.

Which, honestly, it’s been a hot minute since we’ve made our way in that direction. But when Jason’s pick is actually in existence and open – and, yes, he called in advance to make sure – then it’s time to do it.

Romeo’s is a sports bar and grille operated by the same place that runs the – you guessed it – Romeo’s pizza chain. Anyone want to take bets on what they specialize in?

THE WHAT (we ordered)

Yay for Mango White Claw! You can pretty much rest assured anytime they have that someplace then one or both of us girls will order this. And two of the three guys will order Bud Light, as that seems to be Jason and Shane’s drink of choice these days.

Word to the wise: they try to class up the White Claws by pouring them into a glass with ice … but since the entire can doesn’t quite fit into the glass, you end up also getting the can anyway. With like two sips of alcohol left in it. Both Cassi and I thought for a hot minute that the server had just brought us glasses of water and someone else’s nearly empty drinks.

That’s a mean trick, Romeo

I’m sure you can imagine how happy we were to believe that.

Ted asked for a dark beer, and after the server came back and told him sorry, he had actually ordered something that they no longer offered (shocker, I know), Ted decided to take a chance on something aptly called “I’m feeling dangerous” instead.

It arrived looking like a mimosa. Which actually is pretty dangerous if you’re Ted.

Cassi and Jason got the loaded cheesy bread as an app.

Appetizers 101: how NOT to share with Ted

It definitely lived up to its title, being both cheesy and bread-y. Beyond that I don’t have much information, except that they had to stop eating it if they wished to also finish their meals, which would consist of more of the same ingredients.

Meanwhile Shane and I got the tower of onion rings. Which was more like a small bungalow than a tower but whatever.

As already mentioned, Romeo’s specializes in all things Italian. So it makes perfect sense that Ted ordered the Western Chicken Sandwich, with sweet potato fries and a side of chili.

But hey, it was a way to avoid all things associated with cheese, so I guess we can’t fault him there.

He was a big fan of the honey sauce that came with the sweet potato fries, saying it was “interesting … in a good way.” He was expecting a cinnamon sauce, so this was a surprise – but at least not an unwelcome one.

He said the sandwich was surprisingly good, especially considering what some might find to be an odd mix of flavors combined together between two buns. According to Ted, the mix was something like putting Doritos, spicy ranch sauce and jalepenos on top of chicken. And adding bread. So kind of like a taco salad as a sandwich. Or something a drunk college student might put together if they missed out on that Taco Bell stop on the way home.

While Ted was enjoying his own little Mexican meal on a plate, the rest of us definitely took Romeo’s up on their extensive fast-Italian offerings. It was a whole lotta pizza and Stromboli around our end of the table.

Well, and wings. Because if a Wednesday night goes by and at least one person doesn’t order wings, was it really a Wednesday night?

Exactly.

Shane’s Cajun on the left, and Jason’s honey mustard on the right

Jason also ordered the Texas BBQ chicken pizza. Which has exactly what you’d expect as a topping … sausage.

I kid. It’s Texas BBQ chicken. You guys are too smart for me.

Shane opted for the Butcher Block pizza. The alternate name of which could be A Vegetarian’s Nightmare.

They both said it was OK. Like it definitely wasn’t at the head of Shane’s Top (insert number of the week here) List, but it also wasn’t anything they would leave behind if there were leftovers.

Cassi and I both started our meals out with a giant pile of pungent onions on some lettuce. Or, as they call it at Romeo’s, a side salad.

How many onions were killed in the making of this salad?

Good thing we’re all friends at this table.

She and I also represented Team Stromboli this week. Cassi got a Veggie, with our favorite form of condiment math: minus the onions but plus the banana peppers.

I got the Pepperoni Feast, which kind of leaves nothing to the imagination as to what is included inside of it. I also added mushrooms, and extra cheese – just to be different. And because I like to add extra assurance that Ted will not steal my food.

Not that you can tell how mine is any different from Cassi’s, but I took the picture so why not post it.

The Stromboli was good. And portion-wise it was just enough: not so big that it left you feeling as stuffed as the turkey on Thanksgiving, but enough that you were definitely no longer wanting to eat anything else.

THE WHO (we saw)

The place is pretty busy on Wednesday nights, thanks to a little thing they do called Music Trivia. Which we figured out after observing a few rounds was like if regular bar trivia and the app Shazam had a baby. And of course we dominated the first game of the night that we were just observing, and kind of fell off the bus a little during the game that actually mattered.

But it’s worth it to once again hear someone with a microphone mention the Moist Towlettes to the entire bar.

And on screen presence even!

We’re singular this week. Think anyone still knew it was us?

At least we apparently DO know Muzak, or at least more than that team does anyway

Hey, we actually got a server who wasn’t also pouring our drinks behind the bar! That’s a welcome development.

Or it would’ve been, if only it had helped getting things out to us quicker. Our server – who, I have to believe, thought we would never stop ordering things when it came time to take our food orders – and you would think take a cue from that to check on us often for drinks … well … didn’t.

Case in point, the time we ordered another round for the table, and she assumed that apparently that meant everyone except Jason, because his beer took about 10 extra minutes to make its way to our table. And did I mention he was drinking the same thing as Shane? Must’ve fresh brewed that Bud Light just for him. Thanks?

THE HOW (much we paid)

Not too bad, considering the amount of very filling food we ordered. Although I do take offense to charging $3.99 for that pile onions and cheese they called a salad. I mean, for $2 more I should’ve just been less healthy and gotten wings.

THE WHY (they may not see us again)

Well, I mean, as much as we love Granger Road … it was kind of a far drive for wings and pizza the same caliber of which we could find closer to home. Would we go there if in Medina and looking for a decent meal? Yeah, probably not – especially given other options nearby that we have rated far higher than this. Ted was the only one who really seemed overly thrilled with his meal. I guess maybe that should tell us something about the items this place is actually known for?

The one thing we might think about returning for would be the music trivia, as that was more fun than the bar trivia – and I say this as a team that didn’t even come close to winning.

Speaking of which … who’s up for that return visit to cash in our winnings at Dilly D’s? That gift card can’t last forever.

Picked by: Jason
Next pick: Ted

Jason

Cassi

Shane. Is that and “O” for OK?

Steph

Ted

WTGW 1/15/19: Craft Cantina, Merriman Valley

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THE WHERE (we went)

That’s a question best answered by first telling you where we didn’t go: Springfield, Ohio. As is 180 miles away from us. Not Springfield Township, where we’ve been frequently. Jason learned an important lesson in checking the directions before thinking the place was too good to be true.

But, you know, if we ever are 180 miles away, the Hickory Inn sounds like an amazing pick. Just sayin’.

So we ended up with a collective vote to check out Craft Cantina in the Valley, after throwing out around 27 other options and driving aimlessly around Cuyahoga Falls for about 15 minutes. But at least that drive was educational, in that we learned the old Barmacy space in the Valley is currently uninhabited, and a sketch place in Akron that Shane has been eyeing doesn’t have food, so that was out as a pick.

Using our time wisely, folks.

Craft Cantina is also the younger and smaller sister to Crave Cantina, which we visited a while back when the then-new downtown Cuyahoga Falls location opened. So this isn’t exactly a revisit, more like just choosing another location of a chain, something some of us in the group are prone to doing every now and again. Not naming any names or anything.

THE WHAT (we ordered)

Drinks of course and foremost … because, well, you should know that about us by now. Plus we had just been driving around for what felt like an eternity so we had to make up for lost time.

Cassi and I went with mixed drinks. I highly recommend the Tiki Mojito. It was delicious.

Meanwhile, Shane ordered a beer, which Ted at least had the courtesy to wait until the server walked away before announcing that Shane would definitely not enjoy drinking.

Newsflash: Ted was right. His prize was Shane’s beer.

For apps Cassi and Jason got the Disco Fries. Which did not arrive with a tiny mirror ball attached to the plate, so I feel a little cheated and like that was a marketing opportunity completely lost.

So. Many. Possibilities.

Regardless, they said they were delicious. I guess that’s more important.

Shane and I got the queso dip with jalepenos. Or Rotel. Or something that gave it some chunkiness without a lot of spice. Which I realize sounds disgusting but trust me it was tasty. The chips were also really good – they had some sort of dusting on them, kind of like Dorito’s in training.

All of us did some fashion of the make your own tacos or bowls – the ordering system of which pretty much confused the hell out of most of us, but somehow we powered through. I mean, I get that this is the new trend for Mexican and Latin American restaurants, but some direction might be helpful. From the server. Or the menu itself. Or, well, anywhere really.

I did the make your own bowl with steak.

It was just OK. The steak wasn’t very good, and the bowl overall just didn’t seem to have a ton of flavor. Maybe that goes back to the whole guidance on ordering thing, as I could’ve probably used some in the area of “sauces-that-add-flavor-without-sacrificing-every-one-of-your-taste-buds-or-your-will-to-live.”

Jason made his own giant burrito with brisket and pineapple. Let’s just say that they aren’t kidding about that giant thing.

This photo seems aggressive

This was something Shane probably would’ve preferred to know before he placed his order – which was not only a create-your-own flank steak burrito, but also one of the fried chicken tacos.

One of these things is unnecessary

Shane ate his taco first, something that probably contributed to his later taking half of his burrito home with him. Because we all know how it pains anyone at this table to ask for a to-go box.

Jason ate his entire burrito, but was a bit regretful of that afterwards.

Ted got three tacos – one of the Buttermilk Fried Chicken tacos from the House Specialties section of the menu, and then two tacos that he created himself – a blackened chicken with pineapple, and a fried chicken with Verde sauce.

He liked the fried chicken the best. He said they were all good, bit that was the favorite.

Just to be clear, I’m still not exactly certain how the fried chicken and the buttermilk fried chicken are different from one another. I mean, aside from the absence of buttermilk in one of them and all. Come on now. But like who knew there were two ways to make fried chicken that goes on tacos?

He also got a side of dirty rice. Because there clearly wasn’t enough food already on the table.


Cassi made her own tacos – one with chorizo and one with fish.

She liked one better than the other. I could let you guess, but let’s just say that the one that rhymed with “dish” was the clear winner.

We also got orders of house made fresh guacamole – pico for me and Shane, cotija cheese for Cassi and Jason. And yes I had to consult the menu in order to get the spelling of that cheese correct. Listening to Shane try to pronounce it resulted in several variations that aren’t suitable for print.

It pains me to even have to say this, but the guacamole was a little disappointing. Shane said it had too much lemon. The rest of us thought it didn’t have too much of anything, except maybe avacados.

We also had to order the entire large side order just so that Shane could have guac as a side for his burrito – since this whole fresh-made system means you can’t just get a small portion slapped into a tiny side container like in regular Mexican restaurants. That seems excessive, no?

I mean, I’m only sort of complaining, because you really do’t have to twist my arm to eat guac. Even when it’s not to tasty. And of course there were more of those Dorito-ish chips, because we definitely could’ve eaten our weight in those throughout the course of the evening. And don’t think we didn’t try.

THE WHO (we saw)

No one. Literally no one.

Well, OK, the server like two or three times. And one other group at the bar. But in the dining room, yeah, well, we were kind of it.

We also think Elton John might’ve been there in spirit, as the jukebox literally never stopped playing his songs. So either someone before us played the joke of programming the next five hours of songs on their way out the door, or one of the staff members really, really likes his work. Or maybe they got a deal on the machine since it can only play his music. We may never know.

THE HOW (much we spent)

Well I forgot to note the receipt, so it’s hard to answer that one in this post. It’s a new concept for the blog, it takes some getting used to. Stop badgering me.

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

Well I’m sure they would like for us to come back, since it seemed like they could use the business. And I think we all would go back, just maybe order something slightly different than what we got this time around. Shane and Jason said they would just get the tacos again, but not the burritos. They said they “were too much.” And those are definitely not words that get thrown around lightly in this group. I would get a bowl again, but not the steak and definitely with more spicy sauce of some kind.

Of course, given the ordering system, we might try to order something different and then end up with the exact same thing we got this time without even trying. Hard to say.

Picked by: Jason

Jason

Jason, mid-decision

Cassi

Ted

Shane

Steph

WTGW 12/5/18: REVISIT – Tim’s Pizzeria, Cuyahoga Falls

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We were just a foursome this week since Jason had to work late. And since last week’s last minute changeup means it’s technically his pick this week, we decided to just do a revisit this week.

It wasn’t until we were seated inside Tim’s that we started to ponder exactly how long it had been since our first and only visit to what remains one of our favorite pizza places in the area. Thank you, faithful blog, for being our weekly diary and allowing us to go back in time to … well, almost exactly two years ago -December 7th, 2016. Something about the holidays must scream let’s go out for pizza and pasta? Sounds logical.

Actually, once we realized the date I recalled that at that visit we had been talking about seeing a sign for an upcoming holiday party … and sure enough, fast forward back to present day, and I look up by the bar on the neon signboard to see another notice for this year’s party, taking place in a few weeks on December 17th.

Commence exact same conversation about whether or not we should attend. Welcome to WTGW, deja vu style.

To be honest, we were all pretty surprised to realize it’s been two years and that this was our first time back. I mean, the last line of the blog post from that visit reads “You can only keep Shane away from his new love for so long, right?”

But I guess when he’s also being introduced to new things like sketchy $1 burgers or places that only have two things on the menu or $7 steak specials over the course of the next two years, the fight to be the object of his affection changes weekly.

The struggle is real, folks.

Tim’s was pretty busy when we walked in around 6:45. We lucked out and got the last open table in the main bar, which means yet again we have to only wonder what the “additional seating” area looks like beyond the restroom doors. And also the patio, because, well, it’s December, and we aren’t that desperate.

Speaking of desperate, it seems that’s exactly how some of the residents in the area surrounding Tim’s are getting when it comes to protecting their lawns and driveways from patrons. There really isn’t much of a parking lot for the restaurant, so many people park down the side streets around the place. Beware of the house with the homemade sign warning you to stay 5ft away from the driveway, and the person on lookout from the window to ensure you heed the warning. Just saying.

In any case, the place started to clear out a little after about 7:30. Not completely empty by any means – but a few more tables definitely opened up. So if you want to avoid “I may have a gun or a baseball bat or just be downright cray-cray” parking monitor, maybe just come after that time.

Consider that your PSA. You’re welcome.

So while we were reminiscing about our last visit to Tim’s of course we had to check to see what dishes we liked the last time – other than the pizza of course – so we didn’t miss out on ordering them again. The breaded mushrooms were a big hit, so Shane and I opted for those again. Shane asked the server how many you get in the order and she said it was done by weight, not count.

Translation: you’re probably going to be disappointed, so just order two batches. Plus they’re only $2.50 each, so no brainer.

Ted decided not to get the three. full. meals. he ordered the last time … and instead just went with 10 hot garlic wings and an 8-cut pizza. With no cheese, of course, because that was probably the thing that endeared Ted the most to this place.

Meanwhile, the rest of the world will just be over here thinking about all the things pizza without cheese sounds just as disgusting as. Like pumpkin pie without cool whip. Or well done steak without any sort of steak sauce. Or mashed potatoes without gravy. Or bread without butter. Just, why.

So, remember how I said Ted decided to not order as much this time? Well … so, looking back it seems that last time he got a smaller 4-cut pizza along with his wings and an order of ravioli … and this time he upsized the pizza to an 8-cut but left out the ravioli. Kind of evens things out, no?

I can say it didn’t seem to buy us any more room on the table, if that counts for anything.

Shane barely had to look at the menu to decide that he was getting the same stuffed banana pepper pizza that he ordered the first time we came. It had gotten rave reviews online prior to our last visit, and he definitely added his to the long list.

I asked the server what was better – a pizza (which sounded good and I was afraid I would have food envy once everyone else at the table had one) or baked rigatoni (which I got last time and liked). She immediately responded that the rigatoni was better, so that’s what I got.

It came with a side salad and a giant basket of bread, too, neither of which you can go wrong with.

Cassi got an 8 cut pizza – pepperoni and mushroom, with banana peppers on half – and a side salad. She also got a side of the cheesy garlic bread.

Our salads arrived first, full of cheese just like we like them, along with the basket of bread.

This is more like our version of health food

The giant basket of bread is essentially the Italian restaurant version of chips and salsa

Then the mushrooms.

Smart choice on that whole two orders thing

Then the garlic bread – which smelled great from the moment it arrived at the table. Ted even commented that it smelled delicious. Although once he finally looked at it and noticed the copious amount of cheese it was covered with he changed his tune a little. It’s like walking into a house thinking someone has been baking cookies all day when it reality it’s just a few cleverly placed candles.

They should just call this plate “heaven”

Next came Ted’s wings. Which totally negated the garlic bread smell by just smelling, well, hot.

Those are bigger than some of the “jumbo” wings we’ve seen other places

I joked that it seemed like every 15-20 minutes someone was just going to show up at the table with a new plate of food for us. Like the revolving door of food options.

I know, it sounds magical, right? This is definitely a world I could get used to living in.

And at least this time each new plate was for a different person at the table. After our past experiences of late with one order being delivered in its entirety all at one time, we really weren’t complaining.

The pizzas all arrived next, one by one, as I think the servers were trying to figure out if we had enough room on the table for all of the giant plates.

One giant pizza all for one person. The lack of cheese means none of us will touch it.

Cassi’s split order

Shane’s hot banana pepper pizza. Aren’t the toppings supposed to go on top of the sauce?

And then my rigatoni.

I asked for Ted’s cheese on my dish. OK, I didn’t – but I should’ve.

Everything was so good. Cassi took one bite of her pizza and immediately declared it delicious. Over the course of the evening the rating migrated from an initial spot in her Top 5, to her Top 3 … and by the time we left she was calling it her favorite pizza in the entire Akron area.

Ted mentioned she was stealing Shane’s rating system. Although he was too engrossed in his pizza to really notice. He once again was not disappointed with his choice, which is not only tasty but also served as a great nasal decongestant due to the heat of the peppers.

There’s a commercial in there somewhere. Tim, let’s talk.

My rigatoni was really good. It was definitely straight from the oven – the layer of skin I lost with those first few bites can attest to that – but honestly it was well worth the sacrifice.

Shockingly, all of us needed to-go boxes. I know, this is new – but also keep in mind we had a lot of carbs on our table – plus the beer and other drinks – and despite our weekly training our stomachs can only take so much. And I think we made a good effort. Ted ate his entire pizza and took the wings home. Shane had a few pizza slices he couldn’t manage, and I had about half my rigatoni.

Meanwhile Cassi took home half of her pizza which I think is supposed to be a late meal for Jason after he gets home from work … but we’ll see if she actually even tells him or just hides it in the back of the fridge for her own dinner another evening.

I know what I would do. Just saying.

OK Tim, let’s make a pact not to not let another two years go by before we meet again, ‘k? We’re too good for each other not to be together. Really.

Picked by: Steph (well, kind of. I suggested the revisit. Basically we’re all out of order now, so we may just flip a coin at this point to see who goes next for picks)