WTGW 5/29/19: PICK’S at PLX, Portage Lakes

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THE WHERE (we went)

Hey kids, it’s patio season again!

And this week’s pick is certainly the poster child for an evening of outdoor dining and drinks. PICK’S is a newer addition to Portage Lakes, and being that it’s located right on the waterfront of course it’s a natural crowd draw. Formerly Nicolette’s Park Place Restaurant and also the catchily named Hook, Line and Drinkers, PICK’s has new owners who remodeled and turned the building into a couple of separate-but-maybe-the-same-but-they-have-different-names-but-share-a-kitchen-but-one-is-trying-to-be-classier-than-the-other venues all under one roof and patio space.

Yet another place that probably should’ve just claimed the name Identity Crisis and been done with it. Seriously, One day we’re going to find a place that takes us up on that concept, whether by our suggestion or not.

Bet you won’t be surprised then that we had a bit of a difficult time trying to figure out just how and where to go to get ourselves a seat in this land of patios and a million names. We walked into the upstairs restaurant first (I believe that one goes by the name Table 530) – but it seemed a little fancy for the patio bar we had heard about and expected to partake in.

So we walked out and followed the noise to the back of the building, where we located a (fully seated) side bar, as well as several layers of decks over the water. And a live band.

About this point we realized we were in the right place, but needed to enlist help in order to ensure a seat. So Jason stopped a girl wearing what looked to be the same shirt that every other worker was wearing, and inquired how we go about getting a table. Her reply? “Yeah, I don’t work over here.” Hmmm. That seems highly unlikely, and more like the answer you give when you just don’t want to be bothered having to find out the real one. Awesome.

We finally flagged down another worker (wearing the same shirt, shocker) – only to have her tell us that we could just basically sit anywhere. Oh. Fabulous. Might want to share that tidbit with the girl who’s raiding your t-shirt stock. Or maybe just make a sign with that information. Just a thought.

All that to say that we ended up with a table inside and not on the patio, since we clearly weren’t the only ones with this idea tonight and we were also late to the literal party.  But at least with the garage doors rolled up it was similar to being outside. And it’s only May peeps, hopefully we still have several months ahead of us to stake out that coveted patio table. Chill.

THE WHAT (we ordered)

Hey, look, all the servers are wearing t-shirts advertising White Claw, so at least we know they have it! Yay!

Yeah, just kidding. They’re sold out. Apparently that’s all anyone was drinking over the recent Memorial Day weekend? I mean, guess there’s no sense in restocking or anything.

Oh, wait, the holiday crowd also enjoys Summer Shandy, because they were all out of that also.

Ted ended up with a Guinness. Because nothing says light, summery, patio/beachy drink like a heavy dark Irish beer usually reserved for a winter holiday.

Beer twins Shane and Jason opted for draft Bud Light.

I picked some Michelob Ultra Lime thing, pretty much only because after the two strikes with White Claw and Summer Shandy, it was the most likely option not to be sold out. Well, other than Guinness.

Cassi waited to put a drink order in on that first round, since the White Claw debacle left her unsure of a Plan B. This turned out to be a bad move on her part, since it was at least an hour before the next opportunity arose for her to ask the server to put in a drink order for her.

More on that later.

The Wednesday special is a pepperoni flatbread for $7.99. So why not order that as an app to share?

And by share I mean just for two people to share, not five – so we ended up with two giant pizzas on our table just for appetizers, as well as one order of fried pickles for Ted.

Nothing new there, I know.

Cassi and I both got the Italian Grinder with chips and dip.

Jason got a burger.

Shane got garlic parm wings.

Ted got the perch sandwich and a crock of chili. I seriously think his internal calendar is a little off. I’m not even sure why chili is on a menu in late May, but I would be a little wary. Clearly Ted is a man who takes chances.

The guys also switched to buckets of beer after Ted told them he “saw a sign” stating that they were $12 each. Yeah, he forgot to read the fine print on the sign that says during UFC fights. Whoops.

Also, you’ll notice they didn’t share a bucket. They each got their own. So five beers each, on top of the ones they had ordered in the first round.

I told you Wednesdays were the new Fridays.

Ted’s disappointment was obvious when the fried pickles arrived in the form of spears instead of chips. Note to restaurant owners: stop trying to make this a thing. If we wanted to eat pickles that look like breadsticks we would just go back to Dilly D’s. We do have an unused gift card, after all.

The flatbread was probably the best part of the meal. The crust was good, it had decent flavor, and it was served nice and hot with melted cheese – which may have been the one and only reason Ted was happy he had those fried pickles, in whatever iteration they were served.

Shane liked his wings, said they were tasty.

Cassi was not a fan of the Italian sub, claiming it fell victim to the dreaded curse of the mushy bottom. It’s not just for pizza, kids. Meanwhile, I thought mine was OK. I took half home, just because when you order a meal as an appetizer you kind of end up with a lot of food.

Or at least I tried to take it home anyway. More on that shortly.

THE WHO (we saw)

Dear server,

We miss you. We shouldn’t have to order six buckets of beer at a time just to stay hydrated until we see you again.

Oh and we like food. I mean, we kinda wanted to put that appetizer order in when you arrived with the first round of drinks, but I guess we just didn’t look hungry enough. Our bad.

Also, I’m not sure what kind of commission you get on not handing out boxes, but it must be lucrative. For the record, “I’d love a box” – or, the less friendly derivative, “Still waiting on that box” – isn’t exactly a warm and welcoming reaction to the question “how are you guys doing here?” Staring at plates of half eaten food that we already know we aren’t planning on finishing that evening wasn’t exactly the way we had planned to spend the final hour of our time with you, but I guess you had other ideas for us.

If you want to be mad at someone for the time you bounced up all proud of yourself for bringing the box I had asked for at least four times, only to arrive at our table and see that I already had one … well, you may want to speak with your manager, who knew exactly the correct translation of my mentioned-above answer when he stopped at our table. In fact, I would wager a bet that he spoke with you after we left, so hopefully that’s all clear now.

And when you finally took our credit cards and we felt like the end of this evening may finally be in sight … nope, you marched off to the patio and collected like six more checks. Forgive our mistrust in thinking we were probably going to be paying for Shirley’s PBRs or receiving back Bearded Tom’s Mastercard in place of our own.

Sorry not sorry,
Us.

So that pretty much covers the service issue.

Aside from the fun game of rationing out our drinks and taking bets on when we thought we might actually see our server the next time, our entertainment for the evening was a guy singing beach music in the opposite corner of the patio. Well, at least we think that’s what he was singing anyway. It was probably the only time ever that the music volume was more like background noise and less like something we had to scream over to be heard at our own table.

Speaking of screaming, we heard quite of bit of that from several other tables in the vicinity. Usually when he next platter of shots arrived. Seems like vodka may be the next item on the menu to go temporarily unavailable. Just an observation.

THE HOW (much we paid)

Hey, remember those beer buckets? Looks like they were only $15. I mean, still more than the sign Ted saw, but I guess paying only $3 more than anticipated isn’t so bad. We’ll file that under the “could’ve been worse” tab.

THE WHY (we may or may not return)

We all know that service can kill a place for us. And this place definitely tops the list of worst of the worst. I think by the end of the night we had dubbed it the place for which beer buckets were invented – so you can order several beers at once and then never have to see your server again in the course of your stay.

But we also noticed that several other servers seemed to be busting their butts taking care of their patrons. There was one in particular who was mixing up drinks behind the bar as well as hustling out to tables. So I guess if we could guarantee that we were to get one of those servers, we would be more likely to put this place at the top of the return column. Because honestly the food was OK – I mean, we may order some different things, but we all agreed that we would eat there again. And the atmosphere was great, it’s definitely a place to spend a summer evening or weekend afternoon, especially with a good band that you could actually hear, and nice weather.

I happened across this little gem from about a year ago in which the new owner raves about how they are “trying hard to tackle customer service … we want to be customer service friendly.”

Yeah, keep trying there, Donnie. We may just come back again before this summer is over to see how you’re doing.

Picked by: Shane
Next pick: Cassi

Shane

Ted

Steph

Jason

Cassi

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WTGW 4/10/19: Gamble’s Vintage Sports Pub and Grille, Doylestown

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THE WHERE (we went)

Raise your hand if you’ve heard of Doylestown?!

Yeah, well, I sure hadn’t. I’m not sure where this magical land of shockingly more than one bar & grill appeared like an oasis suddenly in my Google Maps search, but OK. We’ll start at Gamble’s, and leave the others up my sleeve for future picks.

But I can’t guarantee I won’t think of this scene in Billy Madison every time we visit.

Shane hit the nail on the head when he said this place immediately reminded him of the Green Diamond Grille in Barberton. Can places have dopplegangers like people? Asking for a friend.

Just like Green Diamond, the walls at Gamble’s are full of sports memorabilia. But its more of a “man cave basement” feel than a local frat house motif. Which is always more desirable, in every sense of the comparison.

And we all know the best furniture compliment to sports memorabilia is a nice granite-looking tabletop and giant comfy office/lounge chairs that you literally have to climb into, no?

Uh.

Sure.

There was also one giant table at the very front of the place that I have to assume is reserved for some sort of royalty. Or mafia meetings. Because, really, how well do we know you, Doylestown?

Exactly.

It definitely wasn’t set aside for the local fantasy football group, whose meeting on this Wednesday had the unfortunate luck of being designated to the back of the bar. And if those guys can’t get the royalty table in a sports bar, of all places, then what is wrong with the world?

THE WHAT (we ordered)

Hey guess what’s on special on Wednesdays? Wings!

I bet you’ll be shocked to hear that that’s what we ordered. Special shout out to places for making specials on the things we eat the most on the nights when we go out. You’re the best.

Although, I mean, admittedly it’s not the best special we’ve ever encountered: wings are 75 cents each, ordered in increments of six. Just a note, Gamble’s, at some places we’ve been, that 75 cents will get you 7.5 wings. Just sayin’.

(And mental note made to put The Big Dog Wing Night on our list of summer patio revisits for this summer.)

Ted admitted, though, that he was a bit conflicted … because it was wing night and so he felt compelled to try the wings … but he also wanted a burger.

Please don’t fall out of your uncomfortably high swivel chair and hit your head on the granite tabletop as you read that. I know it’s a bit of a shock. Who likes burgers and wings in this group? Please.

(And mental note made to check back in on our friends at the Springfield Tavern to see how that two-option menu revision is coming along.)

But jokes aside, we really were a little torn about just opting for the wing special – since, as Jason pointed out, the menu, while small, actually had quite a bit of variety, and sandwiches/meals that sounded pretty appealing.

And if you were hoping I would give you an example of that variety … well, you’d be out of luck, unfortunately, since I can’t seem to remember anything in particular and of course the menu isn’t found anywhere online. But just trust us on this one. I mean, how often have we failed you in the past?

Don’t answer that.

Our apps came in the form of all things loaded: pub chips for Cassi and Jason, and nachos for me and Shane.

Anyone else feel like you’re seeing double? Or playing one of those bar games where you have to spot the differences between two photos?

Yeah, not much variety here. It seems the only difference we noticed was that one has a base of homemade potato chips while the other rests on store bought tortilla chips. And neither option is particularly appealing, TBH.

So if you’re looking to share a few apps with the table then you probably want to only pick one of these, and then pretty much anything else on the app menu that doesn’t begin with the word “loaded.” Just a tip.

Cassi got a salad, and 12 of the hot boneless wings. Which came in two separate order baskets, because apparently they didn’t realize the breadth of our order and think space would be at a premium on our table.

Jason got two orders of wings – six honey mustard and six teriyaki – and the Jeep Davis burger. Which, if I was doing my job correctly, I would be able to give you some detail about what was included with that (since I realize “Jeep Davis” really doesn’t seem to offer a lot in the descriptive category) – but since I didn’t we’ll just say that judging by the photo it has cheese and some onions. Close enough.

Ted got two orders of wings – mango habenero and sweet chili. And the BLT burger – because when you can’t decide in this group, you order both. Duh.

If you can’t tell from the photo, Ted’s was probably the one burger on the menu that didn’t feature cheese as a condiment. Another shocker for the evening, I know.

Shane got three orders of wings – honey mustard, sweet chili and garlic parm.

I got two orders of wings – mango habenero and garlic parm. And a side order of steak fries.

Ted: I feel like this is one of those nights when we might need a picture of the whole table with all the food on it.

At least I didn’t fail on that one. Ta Da!

So, yeah, there’s that. I have to wonder if they ran out of wing baskets after serving our table.

Perhaps the best summary on our meals is this: the steak fries were the best part of my meal.

Ouch.

While that kind of says everything you need to know, I’m obviously not one to ever be at a loss for words, so I’ll explain.

First off, the wings were small. I mean, I get that it’s a wing special night … but given the price I think we were all still kinda surprised at just how small they were.

That’s what she said.

Sorry, I couldn’t resist.

Anyway.

I’m just gonna put it out there that the wings we’ve had for ten cents each at some other places (*ahem* The Big Dog *ahem*) have been considerably larger than these.

The mango habanero, which you expect from the name to be somewhat spicy, just – well – weren’t. They honestly didn’t have much flavor to them. Ted said the sweet chili was his favorite. Shane said he liked the garlic parm the best … but I tried one and thought they also lacked flavor. Maybe my taste buds were broken?

On the burger side of things, Jason thought his was a little dry, and Ted’s was missing any sort of seasoning.

Sounds delicious.

Cassi was not a fan of her salad, which she said had mushy cucumbers. Not to be confused with mushy pizza bottoms. She also pushed her water glass to the side after just one sip, and Jason agreed it did not taste good. Sorry, Doylestown, we’ll take bottled when we visit the next time.

Speaking of glasses, apparently Gamble’s needs to do an inventory of their barware at some point, as it seems they only have two tall beer glasses available. What?

We found this out when Shane and Jason ordered the kind and size of beer, but Shane’s arrived in a tall glass while Jason was served a considerably smaller one. I also was the lucky winner of a tall glass, but mine was full of a different kind of beer. The server explained that it was because I ordered the Summer Shandy, which is what the glasses are actually for.

But wait, Shane ordered Bud Light. How did he get a special glass?

*insert shrugging emoji here*

Well once we discovered we were the proud owners of the only two true tall glasses in the bar, of course we didn’t want to give them up. It’s like when you get grandfathered in with a real glass on a patio full of people forced to use plastic cups, and you do everything you can to make sure the bartender doesn’t find out. I’m an adult, dammit. I can be trusted with real barware.

Anyway, the moral of the story is that if you’re strategic about your alcohol consumption, you too can have the special glass.

Yeah, Shane gave up on that strategy after a few rounds, when it became obvious that timing his drink to run out when the server came over to take the order for the next round also meant he was then without alcohol for, well, a really long time until she returned with a full glass. That’s like playing a drinking game with the goal of who can get the soberist the fastest. No thanks.

THE WHO (we saw)

I bet you won’t be surprised when I tell you that our server was also the only bartender working this evening also. Seems to be a trend these days.

It’s also a trend that places seems to be a little too busy for that. Owners, please take note.

Getting our menus after we were told to “sit anywhere” took about a few seconds shy of forever. And then our first round of drinks eventually arrived but refills were slow – oh, and then we had to wait to put our orders in because she had to check on all of the other tables before she could come back over to us.

When we first walked in I remember thinking there weren’t many tables in this place. But then when it came time for her to check on every. single. one. of. them. it suddenly seemed like there were about 1,000.

So that’s fun.

The entertainment showed up about halfway through our meals, in the form of some random drunk girl who placed herself at the end of the bar near the door and was for some god-forsaken reason given control of the remote to the jukebox. About five songs later we were suddenly surrounded by dance club level decibels of country music, which I assure you isn’t necessary in any form while you’re trying to eat dinner.

THE HOW (much we paid)

$60 bill, so $72 with tip.

Seems a little pricey for wings and beer – especially when they’re supposedly on special. And you have to continuously reuse your beer glass.

THE WHY (they may not see us again)

Well, first off, the wings weren’t really stellar enough for a return visit, especially given the length of drive we have to get us here. The atmosphere – other than the drunken wannabe and apparently deaf DJ – was OK. I mean, the tables and the look of the place seemed promising when we arrived, but we all know that decor and furniture don’t exactly carry a place in our circles.

Plus – seriously – how do you only have two tall beer glasses?? That mafia idea is becoming even more realistic.

But don’t forget the name of the town. We will definitely be back in this general vicinity.

Picked by: Steph
Next pick: Cassi

Steph (with a special appearance by Shane’s side eye)

Shane

Ted

Jason

Cassi

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 3/13/19: REVISIT – Wil’s Grille and Pub, Portage Lakes

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THE WHERE (we went)

Poor Jason.

So on his last pick Jason realized the importance of checking addresses on maps to verify exact locations, lest he try to take us damn near to the furthest state line to enjoy a weeknight meal.

Fast forward to this week, and a lesson in calling ahead to make sure a place in the area that seems too good to be true is actually, well, open.

It’s like the Goldilocks and the Three Bears of WTGW picks. So next time will surely be just right.

But anyway.

Let’s talk first about where we didn’t go … The Harbor Inn, in Portage Lakes, which was Jason’s first pick that he was all super proud of until we pulled up in front to find the parking area overtaken by a giant dumpster, and no sign of life anywhere near the place. Hmmm.

Shane: Maybe they’re all parked in the lake?

Considering it’s March, I’m going to assume that’s a no.

But wait, Jason has a backup plan! The Smokin’ Claw! Located just around the lake near our old friend The Upper Deck that we visited back when sitting outside wouldn’t give you frostbite. And the website said it was open. Let’s go!

Just kidding. That’s closed, too. Or at least that’s all we could assume when we pulled up to where we thought the place was supposed to be and found zero cars and again no signs of human involvement anywhere.

To say we were confused was an understatement.

Short lived attempt #3 was Howie’s, which we’ve always loved but fully admit that we never visited enough. I think our grand total was three visits before we heard it was sold last fall. Gleaming a small bit of knowledge from the past 20 minutes of our evening, we took a few moments in the maybe-Smokin-Claw-parking-lot to try to find the place online before we drove in that direction … at which time we learned that apparently either it hasn’t yet or will never reopen, as a google search brought up the dreaded “permanently closed” banner where the hours should be, and a quick phone call served us an unwelcome “this number does not exist” message.

Lovely.

So that’s the story of how we ended up at Wil’s. Our last visit wasn’t too long ago – last summer, July 2018 – which we fully admit is a little early for a revisit, but I think at this point we were about ready to knock on a door of any house that looked inhabited by somewhat normal people and ask to join them at their dinner table, so going instead to a place that might not call the cops on us for entering was indeed a much better plan.

And hey, look, Jason dressed appropriately!

Looks like this is the official shirt of Jason’s visits to Wil’s Grille & Pub

THE WHAT (we ordered)

Another blast from the not-so-distant past – potato skins. A quick check back on our post from the last visit affirmed that they were what made mouths water when Cassi and Jason ordered them the first time around. OK, well, I guess mine and Shane’s anyway, since I have to believe that in Ted’s mind this is pretty much the picture of what hell would be filled with.

LOOK AT ALL THE CHEESE

The sheer amount of cheese involved here almost made Ted move to another table once two full orders arrived on the table in front of him during this visit.

Meanwhile the rest of us found them to be little cups of heaven. Enough said.

For drinks, it was tequila and soda for the girls, bottled bud light for the guys and dark draft beer for Ted – which, unlike last week, actually wasn’t the color of a bright sunny day.

Beyond those items, we all were on the struggle bus when it came to choosing our meals for the evening. I think part of it was that no one had a real taste for anything in particular, and the other part was that we remembered all of the food here as being decent, so other than the potato skins there wasn’t a clear standout on something we absolutely had to order.

Two separate times we asked the server about what she recommended, or the whole “if you had to choose between this or this” scenerio. And two separate times we weren’t really given clear answers, so I feel like we just kind of closed our eyes and pointed at something on the menu that seemed like it would be a decent choice.

Russian roulette of dining experiences. We live on the edge.

I think Ted was the first of us to set his menu aside and finally make an unwavering decision on a meal. He chose the crab cake dinner, with sides of jojos and cole slaw.

That looks very … brown

Hey, color!

The jojos were the star of Ted’s meal here. He said the crab cakes were just OK, claiming that they tasted more like a pre-packaged item from the frozen food section of the supermarket than something that should be on a restaurant dinner menu. Not exactly a stellar review … although let’s be clear, he did still finish them, so there’s that.

Jason had inquired about what was better – the steak sandwich special or the fish sandwich. Our friendly but not-too-helpful-in-the-decision-making-department server answered that by way of explaining that the fish sandwich was two large pieces of fish on a giant bun. Which I’m sure she didn’t believe would truly be helpful, but it definitely was. I mean, if you can’t recommend the best tasting item, always go with the option of which delivers the most food for your money.

At least with this group anyway. Maybe she reads this blog.

As advertised

And he liked it. So bonus, when the item you were just served a giant portion of actually turns out to be something you really want to eat.

Cassi decided on the chicken tender dinner with a baked potato and side salad.

The potato arrived with a giant slab of butter on the top which seemed better suited to creating cake batter than as a condiment for a vegetable. It took a bit of surgery but she was able to extract it without much harm to the taste or the meal.

And she really liked the chicken, claiming it was “just what she was hoping for.” She said it was perfectly breaded and very tasty – even with no sauces or dips of any kind (which she was offered, but refused) to go along with it.

I got the fish and chips with jojos and side salad.

A tad bit difficult to tell which of these things are the fish and which are the chips, no?

 

And don’t forget the giant basket of bread. Totally completes the salad.

It was very good. The breading on the fish was very light, which made it extra tasty without feeling like you were eating a bag of flour as part of the meal. And the fish itself was light and flaky.

Unlike Ted, I wasn’t as much a fan of the jojos though. I thought they were too dry. Maybe I should’ve taken Cassi’s butter extraction and used it as a dipping sauce? Because that’s good for the arteries. 

Shane got the roasted chicken dinner, after seeing  delivered to another table and asking the server what it was because it looked delicious.

Brown is definitely the theme of our meals this evening.

Our server asked Shane as he was ordering this dish if he was OK with the sides that come with it – which are cole slaw, hot rice and fries. Shane just nodded. Sounds good.

And then when this appeared he just tried to push it over toward Ted like it was supposed to be part of Ted’s meal.

Oh look, a side of “I-didn’t-know-before-today-what-hot-rice-really-looks-like”

I was like, uh, you know that’s yours right?

Yeah, he didn’t.

But Shane ate it anyway, although he said it tasted like salsa. Kinda looks like it, too, so I guess I can kinda see the point there.

But it was quickly forgotten about when the chicken finally arrived, which he immediately not only recognized but was super happy to devour. He agreed with the table on the already stated verdict on the breading, and really liked the overall flavor. And it was so much food that he even took a piece home. Which happens so rarely that I feel like we need to make a special note of it when it does.

THE WHO (we saw)

Well, it’s not really as much who we saw, but what … and that’s decorations.

Lots and lots of St Patrick’s Day flair going on up in this place. We remembered that last time the ceiling and walls were decked out in July 4th decor, so I guess just arrived prepared with the knowledge that it’s going to look like the party store section of whatever holiday is closest just threw up in there.

It also seems that Wil’s wasn’t nearly as busy this time of year – which seems to be a theme in this area, like I get that most of your business is in the summer when those lakes for which the area is named are more useful than when it’s under 30 degrees out, but still. I know there are still people around, and don’t they need to eat? Or do we all just hibernate for the winter in these parts?

Those that were out dining with us this evening were definitely of the older variety, which meant that by the time we left the place after 9pm there were only a few tables remaining, and one lone guy at the bar who was making an evening of playing obscurely old and melodramatic country songs on the jukebox. Fun.

But we’re happy to report that everyone is still as friendly as they were last summer. Once again we had probably four different servers or staff members stop by our table to say hello and see how our evening was going. To which I’d venture the answer was much better than jukebox guy, so maybe they should go entertain him for a bit. But still, we appreciated the check-ins.

THE HOW (much we paid)

Here’s a fun lesson in bar math: four tequila and soda mixed drinks are only $1 more than the cost of four Bud Lites. Huh. That’s interesting.

Our total was $64 – for an app (that I took home part of), two meals (that Shane also took home part of) and a grand total of 8 drinks.

THE WHY (they may see us again)

Well, if no place else ever opens on Portage Lakes again, then I guess this will always remain in our back pocket as a standby. In all honesty, though, I have to believe Wil’s will always be a crowd favorite. There’s decent food and cold drinks for a reasonable price, as well as friendly people to chat with. Well, other than the jukebox guy, he was kind of questionable – but that’s besides the point. And you always know what holiday is closest on the calendar, just from looking around the place. Bonus.

But I have to believe we can only go back on nights when Jason is wearing this shirt. New rule.

Picked by Jason
Next pick: Ted

Is this 2019 Jason or 2018 Jason? You decide …

Cassi

Steph

Shane

Ted

WTGW 12/26/18: The Crazy Chicken, Green

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So Shane and I literally drive past this place at least once a month, but somehow we missed the moment when it magically changed names from Tommy Li’s to The Crazy Chicken.

I mean, they sound so similar I can see how we missed this.

Anyway.

Seems the new name hasn’t exactly brought in the crowds, though, because despite a combination of being there in time for Happy Hour and also on wing night, we were only one of about a handful of tables in the entire place. I mean, I get that it’s a Wednesday night and it’s also the day after Christmas, so maybe people are still home gorging themselves on leftover ham and not particularly craving chicken?

We’ll go with that.

Given that there weren’t many of us there, it seems logical that they would sit the group of five of us in a booth. Because that’s always super comfortable given the amount of food we order. Guess in this case our reputation definitely did not precede us.

We didn’t complain, though, because as I mentioned we actually made it there in time for Happy Hour – so therefore getting settled in time to order a few rounds of drinks and cheap apps took precedence over everything else. I mean, when you can get a draft domestic beer, a order of egg rolls and an order of crab Rangoon for a grand total of $7.50, you jump on that.

Clearly we have our priorities in proper order.

Also, you may be asking yourself – wait, what’s this with egg rolls and crab Rangoon, at a place called The Crazy Chicken? Yeah, we kind of were, too. The menu reads similar to our amazing sushi and pub pick from almost a year ago with an interesting mix of Asian and American cuisine.

We’re all a bit shocked Ted didn’t discover this place before Shane.

In any case, we ended up with two orders of crab Rangoon – one for me and Shane, and one for Cassi and Jason.

Winner winner chicken dinner. Or something like that.

Wait, make that three orders – Cassi took one bite of theirs and decided they needed another order before the special pricing ran out. Because nothing says “I’m not sharing” like immediately ordering another plate.

Shane and I also got an order of chips and salsa. Because why not throw some Mexican food into the mix, too, right?

Of course we order the most non-Asian thing on the menu

Ted got the edamame. I’m not sure I realized that until it arrived and I asked what the hell was so garlicky that I was smelling. Shane – who was seated right next to it – immediately outed Ted’s food as the reason we would be vampire-free for the evening.

Several cloves of garlic were harmed in the making of these

As mentioned, Wednesdays are wing night, which meant regular wings were 77 cents each. On any other night you can get 5 for $4.99, which works out to about 99 cents each. Or 5 boneless for $3.99. Wait, what? How does that work out? Usually those are more expensive.

Maybe that’s why this place is so “crazy.”

The guys sort of ordered wings as appetizers, since they also got full sandwich meals along with their wing orders. Or at least that was the explanation we gave ourselves when the wings were the first things to show up at the table after the real apps.

Cajun dry rub for Ted

I’m not sure I’ve ever seen garlic parm as a cream sauce before, but OK.

Honey mustard for Jason

Never mind that Cassi and I had ordered side salads. I mean, those must be really complex to put together compared to running a deep fryer? Seems that way, as a full 10 minutes after the wings arrived we finally were served our plates of lettuce and assorted other plain vegetables.

Well this looks like something I could make at home

Cassi declared them the “saddest looking salads ever,” due mostly to the fact that they were missing the cheese. She definitely remembered reading on the menu that there would be cheese.

Jason: I think Ted ordered no cheese for the entire table, sorry.

Dammit, Ted.

At least the wings made up for it. I got 5 of the Cajun dry rub and 5 of the whisky glaze. Cassi had 10 of the boneless Asian. The consensus of the entire table was that the wings were very good. They were decent sized, and the various flavors were all what we were hoping for. Personally I thought that the Cajun dry rub had a bit more spice than I was expecting – not in a bad way, but typically those aren’t overly spicy. Meanwhile Ted, who ordered the same kind, thought otherwise. Clearly our taste buds are not soulmates.

Dry rub and not dry rub

And the chicken minus bones

It wasn’t long after mine and Cassi’s wings came out that they brought the burgers and sandwiches that rounded out our meals.

This included a Black and Blue burger for Shane, which is a burger topped with bleu cheese and bacon.

There seems to be a lot going on there

Jason got the Crazy burger. What makes it crazy, you ask? Well I’m not really sure, because the description just says it includes a fried egg and bacon. See also: the same burger that one or another of us has ordered at other restaurants under the name breakfast burger, sunrise burger, burger with fried egg. But, sure, crazy works, too.

Watch out, it’s getting crazy up in here

And Ted got the Western chicken sandwich, which was chicken topped with onion straws, bbq sauce, yum yum sauce – oh, and bacon, because apparently everything under a bun here includes that as a staple condiment. OK.

This looks easy to eat, no?

When he placed his order, Shane made sure to ask how the burgers were cooked. The server said they always cook the burgers medium well, but could specifically do something different if asked. Seems reasonable. And of course Shane said he’d like his medium rare.

Yeah, it still came out with zero pink in it, so clearly we need a refresher course in the various stages or meat cooking. But good thing he said something or else it probably would’ve been charbroiled.

Even so, it was still deemed good. The only regret Shane had in ordering it was that it was the only item on our bill over $10. If it had tasted bad he really would’ve been sorry about that, but being that it was good he didn’t think about it too much.

For as much as we complained that our server didn’t seem to be moving too fast when we sat down – which of course we thought would be hampering our ability to order as much as we wanted at the happy hour pricing – it all turned out OK. She even put my last martini in at the $5 price, even though I’m sure it was ordered well after the time frame.

All in all, a delicious meal in a very non-presumptuous space. The service was good, there are plenty of TVs around the space if you’re looking to watch a game, and drinks were well poured – and cheap, if you make it for happy hour, anyway. While the menu is an interesting mix of bar food and Asian influence, somehow it works – maybe because everything we tried tasted really good.

Shane was shocked when Cassi admitted she really liked this place, as usually she’s not a fan of his picks. Maybe it was because this one had more than two things on the menu? Just a thought.

Picked by: Shane

Shane

Steph

Cassi

Jason

Ted

WTGW 12/12/18: Block 7 Bar & Grille, Barberton

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OK, here it is – the pick we’ve waited two weeks for. So, I mean, no pressure or anything, but this better be good.

Although in the interim we ended up realizing a place nearby had really good food, and rediscovering that Tim’s is still some of the best pizza around … so I guess those weeks count for something. But still.

So of course we were totally pumped when we walked into Block 7 Bar & Grille … and were greeted with almost total silence. Like we weren’t sure for a moment that the place was even open because we were literally the only people in the entire restaurant. Well, I mean, aside from the bartender, and someone I can only presume to be the cook who was sitting at the end of the bar talking with her until we sat down – because he then disappeared.

Sweet. At least the service should be good?

Sadly, with our group it seems even this isn’t a guarantee.

*sigh*

We were even more surprised to find out that Wednesdays are wing nights – all bone-in wings are 49 cents each – so yeah, still unclear on this whole empty restaurant thing. Does all of Barberton know something we don’t?

Maybe it’s that Block 7’s real name should more appropriately be “Ice Block,” or “7 Degrees from Freezing,” because that’s how we were feeling for the majority of our visit. When even the guys don’t want to take their coats off you know we’ve reached frigid levels. I mean, I get that business isn’t exactly booming – but maybe account for the lack of bodies in the place by turning the heat up just a smidge so we actually want to stay a while, no?

Instead we just started ordering up the alcohol. Which come to think of it may be a solid business tactic for them also, so kudos on that.

The guys went with beers, while I got a spiked peach drink from their cocktail menu that was their own specialty – and it was very tasty. I would definitely get it again.

Meanwhile Cassi asked the server about drink prices and was told that a tequila and soda was “probably around $6.00.” Huh. OK. That’s helpful. I take it no one ever orders those here?

Also helpful, on about our second or third round of re-orders the server finally mentioned that they have “those White Claw spiked selzers, and they’re only $3.25, if that’s of interest to you.” It’s like we said some code word and graduated to some sort of secret level of alcohol allowance. Thanks?

Hey, remember how we were cold? Well, Cassi and Jason’s fried pickle appetizer helped warm things up a little bit, since taking a bite of each of those little spears of fire pretty much raised the body temperature about 15 degrees.

Tiny delicious hand warmers

Ted tried one and had to blow on it for like 10 minutes before he could take a second bite. But at least they were better than the breading disaster that was Dilly D’s, so that made it worth the lost layers of skin.

Shane and I ordered the southwestern egg rolls, which arrived slightly less than a billion degrees – but no less tasty. The chipotle ranch dipping sauce was spicy but not overwhelming, and the rolls themselves were nice and crispy without being burnt. Score.

You could pretty much put anything in an egg roll wrapper and I would call it delicious

Hey, look, another couple has joined us in the bar for dinner. Just when we were getting used to having the whole place as our own personal dining room. Hopefully this means the service won’t diminish?

Spoiler alert: it would. There was a time later in the evening where I was basically slurping my empty drink through my straw in a not-so-subtle just universally recognized attempt to get the bartender to realize I needed another drink … yeah, nothing. Oh well.

So since it was wing night, I bet you can’t guess what we all ordered? Yeah, we aren’t predictable or anything. I mean, I’ll admit, I was torn between a burger and the wings. Because, again, that never happens. We also never go places that only have those two things on the menu, either.

Never. Gets. Old.

So I got both. I mean, if you’ve learned nothing from this group, it’s that anything that can be considered an appetizer, including things that normally are classified as meals.

Trendsetters, we are. I know.

And I wasn’t the only one to be torn on this decision – in fact, Shane was the only one out of the five of us tonight to actually ONLY get wings, and no other food. But he did get 20 wings – 10 mango habanero, 5 Cajun and 5 honey mustard – so I guess that counts for something.

Shane’s side of the table

I got the mushroom Swiss burger and 5 of the lemon pepper wings. Plus the server said I could add “a handful” of fries for only $1.00 – and who would pass up that bargain? Not me.

There are five there, I swear

Um, the burger doesn’t seem to fit the bun. This is a problem.

Although I would later regret that fry option – as would Cassi – when our handful of fries proved to have been sitting under the heat lamps since about the last time a customer was probably in the building, while Jason was served up a nice piping hot fresh batch. Favorites, much?

Can we trade ours in for these, please?

Cassi had wanted to get the Block burger, but said it sounded like a heart attack on a plate so she decided against it. The description actually reminded me of the Romanburger from Mr. Hero – which I’ve always thought to be delicious, back from the times growing up when that particular fast food was considered a special “dining out treat” by my parents. Thanks for the risk of early heart disease, Mom and Dad. No wonder I feel the need to overindulge on salads in my adult years.

But I digress.

Cassi ended up bypassing the heart attack burger (see what I did there?) and ordering the mushroom Swiss burger – with a special addition of carmelized onions – along with 5 of the sweet and spicy wings.

Hey look, more wings! Do they all look the same yet?

Jason decided on the Shirley burger, plus 5 of the teriyaki wings and 5 of the sweet and spicy wings.

Shurely you have some cheddar cheese on your burger

Ted, meanwhile, ordered like four meals, which was apropos considering we’d just had a conversation about his tendency to do so. He got the chicken Caesar wrap, along with three sets of wings – spicy glazed, sweet and spicy, and Cajun.

Ted’s wings. I’m not sure I want to know just how many chickens had to die just for our table alone.

I’m also fully aware that I think I missed getting pictures of some of the wings. Sorry. They just kept showing up at our table, it was a little difficult to keep up.

With all this talk of wings, you’re probably wondering what the scale of hotness is, no? Well, we were, and since this is our blog we’re going to talk about it, so you can just scroll along if you don’t care. We actually asked the bartender, because the menu listing and the names didn’t seem to give any clear indications on what order they should fall. Well except the Blazin’ – as expected, that’s the hottest. Then the spicy glazed, then mango habanero to round out the top three. And the spicy sweet is supposed to be more sweet than spicy, so maybe they need to rethink the order of those words in the name there.

End PSA. You’re welcome.

All of the wings came out first, so I guess we were thinking correctly when we said they would be our second course of appetizers.

And yes, that could totally be a thing. Remember, trendsetters.

We were all really happy with the wings. All of the various sauces were delicious, and the wings were pretty large for being on special at only 49 cents each. We’ve paid more for much smaller at other places.

That’s what she said. Sorry, I couldn’t help it.

But definitely, if you go to Block 7, the wings are the way to go. I don’t think any of us had a sauce we didn’t like, and they were definitely filling.

The burgers, on the other hand, were disappointing. Especially in comparison to the wings. I ended up eating mine without the bun because the bread was pretty plain – and there was far more of it than there was burger – but even so, the patty, while seasoned, just didn’t seem to have much taste to it.

Cassi disagreed with me, she thought the burger was good. But she also admitted that she usually only eats boneless wings, so she was less thrilled with the wings than the rest of the table.

On the non-burger front, Ted’s aversion to cheese finally proved problematic in his eyes, as apparently in this restaurant saying “no cheese” also causes the cook to omit the dressing. And when you take the dressing out of a Caesar wrap, you pretty much just have … well … a tortilla filled with chicken.

I’m craving a giant glass of water just writing that.

That looks … plain

Good thing all of his wing orders meant he had about 16 ranch dressing cups sitting on the table that he could use to help him out … but even so, it was a bit of a struggle to get through.

He did it, though – along with 13 of his 15 wings. And then said he pretty much didn’t think he needed to eat again until next Wednesday.

Meanwhile Shane was proud of himself for only ordering wings, after hearing all of us talk about how much we preferred them to the other options on the table. He ended up finishing off 19 of his 20 wings. He tried to do the last one, but was so uncomfortably full that he just couldn’t force himself to do it. Jason ended up finishing that one for him.

That’s friendship, folks.

Picked by: Jason

Jason

Cassi (note the winter attire – obviously it didn’t get any warmer)

Ted

Steph. Thumbs up for wings and down for burgers

Shane

WTGW 11/28/18: The Getaway Pub, Merriman Valley

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This week we have another tale of failed places to start our journey, thanks to an accident on the highway that made me extremely late getting home from work (why is it that people seem to always forget how to drive on Wednesday evenings?) – and since Jason’s pick was going to be in the far-off-land of Barberton we decided to put that one off a week because it was so late and we were all, of course, starving. Shocker, I know.

On to Plan B: Cassi had a pick on deck in the Valley – The Noisy Oyster – so we thought we’d just try there since it was close … but apparently that’s the new hot spot on Wednesday nights, thanks to trivia. Who knew. So since we couldn’t get a table – or even really more than two seats at the bar there – we took a strike on that one and adjourned to the car to try and figure out our next move.

Just as we were about to settle with a revisit to Pub Bricco or The Merchant, we remembered there was actually another little place in the Valley that we’d driven past 1,000 times but never actually set foot in … The Getaway.

Commence “are we sure we really want to try this place” vs “how much longer can we wait for food before we chew our own limbs” debate.

After a brief online search to confirm that yes, they do actually serve food, The Getaway wins. Let’s hear it for Plan C!

Given our past history with menu scavenger hunts, Ted made a beeline for the bar as soon as we walked in, managing to request menus and memorize the draft list before any of us even got ourselves situated at a table. Which means he already worked harder for Jason’s tip than the server we had last week, so score there.

This turned out to be a good move, because Ted also learned on his round-the-bar travels that The Getaway doesn’t have servers – everything is done directly at the bar with the one employee that was on duty for the evening. Good to know. Although on the flip side of things, I have to believe Ted began to regret showing so much initiative once we named him honorary employee and started fielding all of our random menu questions his way.

For drinks, Jason and Ted opted for the Rhinegeist Truth in cans. Which makes them the smart ones, as the rest of us took one sip of our mixed drinks and instantly wished we’d ordered something we might somehow recognize the taste of. Shane was pretty much drinking straight Jameson, while an entire bottle of tequila might’ve died for the combination of mine and Cassi’s drinks. Apparently the bartender here graduated from the Windsor Pub school of mixology?

I also got a lemon with my drink, which I realize starts with the same letter as the lime that was asked for, so points for being somewhat close there.

Jason switched to the (cheaper) Hamm’s tall boy can after the first round. The can arrived pretty dented and scratched, leading us to believe it had lived a life before it got to Jason’s hands. Oh the stories I’m sure it could tell … you know, if only beer cans could talk.

That’s a somewhat terrifying thought.

Anyway.

For a place that we didn’t really realize actually served food, the menu looked pretty promising. I was in favor of the appetizer list actually telling us how many pieces came with each order. Especially since Ted wasn’t really answering Shane’s questions about which order he would get the most food out of.

It’s like a Sesame Street episode

Server-wannabe Ted won him back, though, when he made a point to make Shane aware of the note on the menu that indicated all of the burgers would be cooked to the taste of cardboard.

OK, so really it said “due to food borne illness all burgers are cooked well done – unless otherwise requested by the customer.” But since well done is not how any of us prefer our burgers, we definitely appreciated the warning.

Here’s a fun fact: even though I think we were the only ones in the whole place doing more than drinking, it still took forever to get our food. Jason joked that maybe they just had a small George Foreman Grill in the back and had to cook one burger at a time.

We also started having flashbacks to our recent adventure to the dive bar in the middle of nowhere, in that the food arrived at our table order by order based on how they were placed. Hence, I give you a timeline of our dinner:

7:50pm (20 minutes after ordering)

Ted’s Spicy Garlic Wings arrive, along with the “Sean’s Stinger” Burger – which is the unfortunate name for a burger topped with Jalapeños and marinara – and usually also pepper jack cheese, but of course Ted requested that be omitted.

No vampires will be coming near this table

Ted decided this was a 1/3 pound patty. And since he apparently works here, we believe him.

8:05pm

Cassi and Jason’s potato skins arrive. OK, at least they got their app before the meal, this seems promising.

Loaded and baked, just as promised

8:17pm

Cassi and Jason’s meals show up. Denny Burger (grilled onions, mushrooms, and cheese) with bacon for Cassi, and the Andy Boy Burger (cheese, lettuce, pickle and tarter sauce) for Jason. Yes, I said tarter sauce. We all thought it was strange, too – and I think that was part of the reason he ordered it.

There are toppings under that bun, honest

All I see is lettuce

8:18pm

Oh, hey look, here’s Cassi and Jason’s pretzel sticks that they also had ordered as an app. Oops. I take back that promising comment from a few minutes ago. It’s almost like someone forgot the pretzel sticks were part of their order, and brought them out thinking that maybe they were ahead of the game on the next group of orders. Yeah, no, still them.

When they said “2” on the menu they probably should’ve mentioned they were gigantic

Table update: about 50 minutes after ordering, Ted is halfway through his wings, and has finished all of his fries … Cassi and Jason have an app, their meals, and another late-game app … and Shane and I still don’t even have any food, including that onion ring app we ordered.

Just as Shane and I were discussing the extreme similarities to the New Milford Café – no menus, having to go to the bar ourselves, watching the rest of the table devour their meals before even our app arrived – we looked over to the bar and noticed the (male) bartender doing shots with the patrons sitting at the bar. It’s like we stumbled upon the city cousin to that farmtown bar. What weird portal do we need to close in order to get back to normal service?

Meanwhile, a band started up. Let’s just say we wished they hadn’t.

Shane and I eventually followed Jason’s lead and switched to cans of Hamm’s – primarily because we didn’t think consuming entire bottles of liquor was wise on our empty stomachs.

8:27pm

Hey, our onion rings finally showed up! Along with Shane’s Frisco Melt (2 burger patties with cheese on Texas toast with tangy fresco sauce). Cool. I mean, you know, appetizer first would’ve been great, but at this point we’ll take anything that comes to the table with our names on it.

Apparently the deep fryer only works when the George Foreman gets unplugged?

It’s like a burger sandwich

So at this point we’re just missing my food. To catch you up on the rest of the table, Ted has finished his wings and fries, but still had a whole burger to tackle. Cassie was halfway through both her burger and her fries, and Jason has about 1/4 burger and three fries left.

8:33pm

Finally, my ill-cut Steak Sandwich with fries arrives. Good thing I wasn’t sharing with anyone.

Someone failed fractions in school

Please remind me to make Shane tackle everyone else out of the way the next time we have to order at the bar, so we don’t go last. Ever. Again.

To recap, it was pretty much just over a full hour from the moment we sat down until all of the plates finally arrived at the table. And while I’m sure we’ve waited longer for our meals at other places, at least we all had small plates of food to hold us over. I mean, isn’t that really the concept of appetizers? This whole system of an entire order arriving at once before the other parties at the table even get an appetizer maybe could use some refining.

But we had to admit that at least these burgers were worth waiting for, and – unlike our adventure a few weeks ago – we didn’t sit for an hour just to eventually be served burgers smaller than those you can get at McDonald’s, topped with some chicklet onions. Everyone who ordered one said it was delicious. Cassi only took one bite before declaring it one of the better burgers she’s had. She said it was obvious that it was a handmade patty, not frozen, and that it was seasoned well.

Shane rated it in his Top 7. I’m not sure what position it takes, or who exactly that knocks out, since that list rotates about every time he eats a good burger, but I guess putting on the list means something?

Sure.

Ted didn’t give it a place on any list, but did say it was tasty.

My sandwich was also very good. I realize when you order a steak sandwich you could get anything from steak-um’s to an actual slab of meat on a bun, so I was happy to see this arrive as very thinly sliced steak with lots of toppings and flavor.

We also had to give props to the bartender, who – despite his shot rounds at the bar – did manage to bring us over all of our meals and deliver them to the correct people, as well as walking back over after we were finished to collect our plates. And he was really nice – as he was picking up our plates he apologized for how long it took to get our food, saying that he wasn’t sure what the issue was and that it’s usually not like that. Shane made sure to tell him that “if that’s what it takes for something that good then we’re OK.”

Shane mentioned to our group after the bartender walked away that we’re probably the first people to order food there in like two years, so really we should be glad that it all at least came out edible. Also, it’s not like we’re just one or two people ordering a sandwich. There’s five of us, and we all know we order enough food for whoever is cooking back there to probably think that the place just got his with a surprise birthday party.

Also, mine and Shane’s bill totaled up to just $38 before tip. So only $5 more than the much referenced but ill-fated dive bar $1 burger night excursion – and although we do have a few questions (how are the onion rings almost as much as our sandwiches? why is Jose Cuervo so much cheaper than Jameson?) this time we each had strongly poured mixed drinks along with much better food, so I’d say that $5 was well spent.

Two Hamm’s for the price of one Jameson. What were we thinking?

All in all, The Getaway is a nice local neighborhood bar, with good food and a decent atmosphere. We weren’t treated like total outsiders because we were new, which is always a plus on the side of coming back again in the future. Honestly the food delivery timing was about our only complaint with the place. Oh, and the strong pour. Which we realize not everyone will see as a checkmark in the “con” column, so take that as you will.

Picked by: Cassi (we gave her the option and she actually did claim this as her pick, which is an endorsement all in itself)

Cassi – the thumbs up is for the food, the thumbs down is for the drinks

Steph

Shane

Ted, with a Vegas-style background. We’ll have to come back after Christmas to see if those lights are up year round?

Jason