WTGW 3/23/16: Memories Fine Food & Spirits, Richfield

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“Mem-ries … light the corners of my mind … Misty water-colored mem-ries … of the way we were …”

Yeah, just try to get that out of your head for the next day or so. And join the club.

And I think the memories of this restaurant will fade far sooner than that song takes to leave any of our minds. “Not Memorable” woud’ve been a better name for the place.

Oh wait, did I give away the ending of this review too soon? Rats.

So none of us are really sure how we missed picking Memories until now, because it didn’t seem like we recently missed a grand opening, and the building itself clearly isn’t new. In fact, as we drove through the parking lot I believe Shane’s words were “oh look, it’s an old Arby’s.” Because we know how comfortable he is in converted fast food joints. We could only hope they would have booster seats … but alas, we were disappointed.

It wouldn’t be the last time of the evening, just FYI.

Because this is, in fact, an old fast food establishment, it translates into a strange set up for a bar & grille. You walk in on the side of the place – like you do for most fast food places – which means you immediately face the giant horseshoe bar with seats all around and a few small tables to the sides. So basically if you’re like us and have anything over a group of four, you’re out of luck for seating in the bar area and get stuck over in the “dining room.”

I mean, unless you want to be really mean and make one person from your group sit my themselves at another table. Or are lucky enough to score five or six seats together at the bar. We clearly are not that cruel or resourceful. *sigh*

And let’s face it, the dining room is just not so fun. Just calling it the dining room, instead of the bar, is like telling us we’re sitting at the kid’s table with plastic silverware while all the cool adults get to have fun with sharp knives in the other room. In this case, the fine amenities in Memories dining room include small TVs with no sound, and servers who apparently aren’t happy to be there.

Yay us!

The next thing we noticed about Memories is that the menu is all over the place. Like there are no specialties here, or one particular type of food that they feature prominently. They’ve got a few burgers and sandwiches. Ok. And then there was probably the largest selection of salads I think I’ve ever seen in any of our WTGW picks … not to mention an actual salad bar. There’s a first. Then you’ve got your pizza and pasta (so the Italian section), seafood, Mexican (including an insert to the menu touting new Chipotle-esque rice bowls and burritos), and what’s a good bar and grille without a fine selection of German food?

Right.

So since we were all a bit confused, of course Shane does his customary “what’s good here?” ask of the server, to get a feel for what people usually order, or what she recommends.

Her response: “Yeah, the food’s good.”

Um, OK. Points for being super helpful, thanks.

When pressed she finally admitted that the German stuff was good. And all of the new Mexican dishes. Oh, and the burgers.

So, wait … what did we leave out exactly?

Also, as she noticed me looking at the beer list on the back of the menu trying to figure out what to order she announced “Oh, yeah, that’s outdated. They’re printing new ones soon.” Which you would think would be followed up with a helpful “But let me just tell you what we do have instead.”

But you would be wrong.

So naturally Shane and I went the easy route and just blurted out Miller Lites as our drink. Ted asked for dark beer and ordered one she said they had … but then she came back and said they didn’t have it anymore. And of course didn’t offer an alternative … because, well, her. So Ted basically just told her to bring him the darkest beer she could find.

Are you picking up on the fact that really our server wasn’t exactly the highlight of our evening? Not the most personable, that one. It’s like someone forgot to tell her that being a server does in fact involve actually talking to the customers.

Jerrid and Amanda were late to the party since Amanda started a new job and works later hours now. So Shane, Ted and I went ahead and started with apps. Which included a veggie basket for Shane and I – which sounds way healthier than it is since they leave the “fried” out of the title (but it was in the description so don’t think we were horribly surprised – please, do you really you think Shane would actually order a huge plate of plain vegetables?) and also six of the cajun wings for each of the boys.

Ted’s first comment upon trying the wing was that they tasted like breadcrumbs mixed with cayenne pepper. Because that sounds appealing. They didn’t have a lot of flavor at all. I mean, the guys still ate them anyway (please) – but they definitely weren’t the best ever.

Mmm, breadcrumbs. Delicious.

Mmm, breadcrumbs. Delicious.

Meanwhile I picked up a fried veggie and lost about 10 layers of skin on the roof of my mouth when I bit in. Were these cooked on the surface of the sun? For real. Also interesting – the fried veggies come served on a bed of french fries. Because why leave out potatoes? Or more things fried? Seriously. But the fries were actually really, really good. Like so good that I would’ve traded some of the breadcrumb-laden-and-deep-fried veggies for more fries.

Just dump a bunch of stuff in the fryer and cook it at 1,000 degrees

Just dump a bunch of stuff in the fryer and cook it at 1,000 degrees

We ordered before the other two arrived, and our food got there just as they showed up. Which proved slightly helpful for them when the annoyed-because-two-more-people-just-showed-up-that-she-now-had-to-converse-with server came by about two seconds after they sat down to ask what they wanted.

Shane ordered the eggplant parm, one of his usual favorites at Italian places so he thought why not try it at this non-descript bar & grille. Good plan. And it looked promising when it arrived, as a giant plate of food appeared in front of him. So of course he was super excited … until he tasted it. And then he was extremely sad that he had this much food sitting in front of him that, while he was hungry, he wasn’t excited at all to eat. He said the noodles were very greasy, and overall just not good. Now, I’m not sure how you make noodles greasy, but apparently somehow they managed.

Lots of food. Not a lot of taste.

Lots of food. Not a lot of taste.

He actually even had to switch to diet coke (without rum, gasp!) because the beer was not mixing well with the giant plate of grease noodles.

Ted got the German sampler platter, which is goulash, spitzel, wiener schnitzel, cabbage, and probably a few other really German sounding things – because it also was a huge plate of food. Ted said the best thing on his plate was the red cabbage, which should tell you something.

The view from the German side of the table. Prost!

The view from the German side of the table. Prost!

Ted: As goulash these noodles are terrible. But as beef stroganoff it’s actually pretty good.

Take that as you will.

Rounding out the ethnicity of our table, I got the taco salad. Which my had far too little cheese. Did they think I was Ted and take it all out? I also think I discovered a carrot in there. Because nothing says Mexican food like carrots. So basically to sum up my meal, they just put some bagged salad in the fried shell, topped it with some grade E meat, some super spicy salsa and just a tiny pinch of cheese. Ole!

Maybe they just made this at the salad bar before bringing it over

Maybe they just made this at the salad bar before bringing it over

As mentioned, Jerrid and Amanda arrived just as we were being served our food – as Jerrid laid eyes on Shane’s huge plate of food he was like, yes, that’s what I want, looks great. But fortunately Shane warned him of the greasy noodles … so Jerrid ordered the chicken parm instead. OK. Um, didn’t really avoid the noodles, but way to be different.

Taken with the "extra greasy" photo filter

Taken with the “extra greasy” photo filter

You’ll be glad to know it wasn’t any better. Jerrid rated it mediocre at best.

Amanda got the buffalo chicken sandwich with fries. She agreed that the fries were good. And she said that the sandwich wasn’t awful, but it wasn’t particularly memorable either. Which, when the name of your place is Memories, maybe you need to rethink your menu just a tad. Or hire a new cook. Whatever.

Just eat the fries. Trust us here.

Just eat the fries. Trust us here.

So, yeah, as you can probably already tell, this was definitely not high on our list of best places ever. From the weird atmosphere (who has TVs with no sound when there’s not even a jukebox or other music playing overtop to help drown out the silence?), to the brisk and unhelpful service (just order something, who cares if it’s good?). to the not so great food … well, let’s just say this is one memory we won’t be reliving any time soon.

Steph

Steph

Shane

Shane

Ted

Ted

Unabomber ... I mean Jerrid

Unabomber … I mean Jerrid

Amanda

Amanda

CAPSULE

Picked by:  Steph

Drinks: They have some, but good luck figuring out what they are if you’re stuck sitting in the dining room. Back to the old college “go basic” rule, I guess.
Food: They have that, too, but I really wouldn’t recommend ordering any of it.
Service: Strike three.
Overall: I think what we’ve learned here is that the whole “fine food and spirits” line on the sign is severely misleading. Perhaps “Unmemorable in all ways” might be a better tagline?

Next Pick: Amanda

Memories Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

WTGW 11/19/14: Teschner’s Tavern, Richfield

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I know, I know, we’ve been gone for a few weeks. Did you miss us? You can thank my work for an event the first Wednesday, and then one of our dogs for an impromptu visit to the emergency vet the following week. He’s fine, and I think faked his way through that visit just to be an “only dog” and have an evening alone with mom and dad. Because he’s awesome like that.

I can also assure you that no place we will ever visit on a WTGW trip will rival that evening in terms of the bill at the end of the night. And if it does we better be far more hungover the next day.

Anyway, on to this week’s pick …

So I’m kind of hedging in on Shane’s “hole in the wall” category with this one. And he was bummed he missed this place for one of his picks. Well, at least he was before we went, when he thought it might be a diamond in the rough winner for top of the list.

Sorry to ruin the surprise … but yeah, no.

Since Teschner’s falls on the side of town closer to the highway than our house, it was just easier for me to meet the rest of the group there on my way home from work. I pulled into the tiny parking lot next to what I thought was Ted’s car and went inside fairly confident that I was the last to arrive. And then looked stupid when I proclaimed to the bartender that I was meeting people … who weren’t there yet. Oops.

And I definitely wouldn’t have missed them if they were there, because once again I was in a space that rivaled the size of our living room. Apparently between this place and our last adventure (Frank’s) we’re cornering a market on the tiniest dining establishments in the area. Be glad we aren’t claustrophobic.

So once I established that the people seated at any of the six available tables were not my husband and friends, I asked the bartender to go ahead and put us in for a table for four. She then asked me if I was sure I was in the right place. Well, yes, because, well, I could read the sign out front. But clearly I was a) new and b) overdressed in my work clothes. So thanks for that. She also started to tell me about the Long Island and other mixed drinks she could make, and I think was surprised when I chose an uncomplicated bottle of Miller Lite. See also: heels and scarves don’t make a girl high maintenance, thanks.

So I grabbed a bar stool and my Miller Lite and waited for the rest of the group. Meanwhile the bartender snagged the “big table” when that party got up and held it for us. Again, I’m sensing a theme over the last few weeks.

Upon arrival, Shane and Amanda also ordered Miller Lites. Because, well, that’s how we roll. Ted went for the Christmas Ale on round one, and then one of the other two craft beers on draft for round two. Because, well, that’s how Ted rolls. You all should really kind of know this by now.

Mine and Amanda's side of the table. Obviously.

Mine and Amanda’s side of the table. Obviously.

From what I’d seen online, Teschner’s is known for their burgers. And when we saw them coming out of the kitchen we realized why. They looked giant. And delicious. AND they’re $2.00 off on Wednesdays, so score.

So that’s what Shane, Amanda and I all ordered. I had the BLT burger, which doesn’t come with cheese but I added cheddar and was glad I did. It was tasty. I’m not sure what part I actually enjoyed more – the burger or the bacon. I also went with a side of onion rings, which are beer battered and delicious at well. I was not disappointed.

I'm all about the onion rings

I’m all about the onion rings

Amanda, however, had the burger with blue cheese, which she said was a bit overpowering. She also got the fries, because she thought would be fresh cut like fair fries. But when they came out as crinkle cut fries, she realized that was actually how they’re listed on the menu. Oops.

They trust us with large knives

They trust us with large knives

Although in her defense, it’s really, really dark inside Teschner’s. Like if the TV hadn’t been on above us, we might not have been able to see our menus. Because a few candles on the tables, or even some festive-year-round white Christmas lights, would infringe on the “ambiance” too much? Thank God no one tuned the TV to a CSI marathon or we’d really been out of luck.

Shane had the burger with a brandy sauce on it, which he wasn’t crazy about either. The burger patty itself was good, but the sauce made it not so much.

So basically the takeaway here is go simple on the burgers. Skip the fancy sauces and gourmet cheese, and just make a really good cheeseburger. Which they do, but then ruin it with all the elaborate fixins. Boo. 

Because the other special on Wednesdays is 10 wings for $4.50, and, well, Shane likes to eat all his daily meals in one sitting, he also had 10 of the garlic wings as well. And garlic they certainly were. Let’s just say that no vampire was coming within a 50 mile radius of our group once those wings were placed on the table. Or probably anywhere near Shane for the forseeable future, as all that garlic oozes its way out of his pores. So, lucky me.

Can I get some garlic up in here?

Can I get some garlic up in here?

Because it's too hard to wait until after the photo to sneak a bite

Because it’s too hard to wait until after the photo to sneak a bite

Ted also went with the wing special, along with sides of fries and steak-on-a-stick. If only those had been fair fries, he would’ve been reliving a summer day at the county fair over there on his side of the table. He made yummy noises all through eating the steak-on-a-stick, so he was clearly happy with it. And for like $4 how can you not be? He almost ordered another one just because.

Classy steak on a stick

Classy steak on a stick

Our server – who was also the bartender, because, well, six tables – was pretty good to start off, but then we kind of lost her after the food was delivered. Sure, I get it, we’re not top priority once the orders are up and the true alcoholics/regulars are racking up tabs at the bar … but it seriously took about 20 minutes to even catch her attention enough to get the check at the end of the night. Which may be another point in the favor of extra lighting in the place. Just sayin.

So all in all, Teschner’s wasn’t exactly the gem of a place that we were hoping for, or that we’ll necessarily go back to. Between the wierdly uncomfortable setup of the place (the restrooms are located in a hallway where I would think a front door would make more sense, and essentially back up to the bar, so you have to shimmy your way through a narrow passageway in order to get from the dining room side to the pool table/open mic night area), the lighting for those with eyes better than bats, and the strangely flavored burgers, we just weren’t overly impressed. Plus it’s just maybe a bit too much of a “regulars” hang out for those of us who can’t commit to that status. Oh well.

Because we never actually remember these, so photos are necessary

Because we never actually remember these, so photos are necessary

CAPSULE

Picked by:  Steph
Drinks:  Only a few beers on draft and they were craft beers. Kind of surprising for a place that also serves PBR in cans, but whatevs.  
Food:
 Keep it simple stupid might be more of a rule to live by here. The burgers themselves were delicious, but the additions were just a bit over the top and not as well thought out flavor wise as they could’ve been.
Service: Good at first, but then we kind of lost her at some point after the food was served. I think the “regulars” got more of her undivided attention.
Overall: Eh. I think I had hopes of a Muskateer’s-esque environment, and this just fell short.

Next Pick: Amanda

Teschner's Tavern on Urbanspoon

Flashback Friday 12/27/13: Muskateer’s

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That’s right, it’s time for a re-review of the hands down best find we’ve come across in all our WTGW adventures.

So I have to admit I was a tiny bit disappointed that we arrived after dark this time and therefore didn’t get a chance to sample some of the stellar entertainment that we witnessed last time at the motel next door. There weren’t even many cars in the motel parking lot this time around. The holidays must be their off season.

Muskateer’s, on the other hand, was hopping. The parking lot was full, and when we walked in we quickly realized 7:00 was apparently well past the prime time to get a seat in the bar area, because the place was packed. There were still tables in the dining area, though, so we were seated there. Full disclosure: despite the fact that really all that separates the dining area and the bar is some air and a bend in the wall, it makes a huge difference. I think all of us realized that the moment we were seated. It just didn’t have the same “fun” feeling in that area. And it’s not like it’s a whole different world – there are still a million TVs with sports on to watch, the walls are just as jam packed with sports and area memorabilia (again with the Applebee’s School of Interior Restaurant Design), the lighting is just as dim … but the atmosphere is just, well, different.

For one thing, the wait staff for the dining room can’t compare to the bartender we had the last time we were there. Hands down, that guy was just “on” – from knowing the extensive draft list from memory to getting our somewhat convaluded orders straight without writing them down to checking in on us at the right times while still managing the patrons at the bar – he was just all over a great server. With a great attitude. And maybe it’s an unfair comparison, and we’re giving this girl we had on Friday too tall of an order to fill, but she just wasn’t what we were expecting. We knew this from the very beginning, when Ted inquired about the draft list, and she looked puzzled before rattling off about half the number of taps we remember them having the last time we were there. Yikes.

That being said, our return trip to Muskateers did provide one thing for which we may forever be grateful: it introduced us to McKenzie’s Hard Cider. And oh my word, we may never be the same again. Amanda, Shane and I ordered it on a whim – after hearing the words “hard cider” in a sea of “seasonal Christmas Ales” during the list of taps our waitress provided. It turns out that this particular one was their Seasonal Reserve, which is like hard cider with a touch of cinnamon and nutmeg. Or in other words, apple pie in a glass. Or in other words, delicious.

Thank you Muskateer’s.

The rest of the meal was relatively uneventful. Since we were having the same drink, Amanda, Shane and I decided to keep the theme and all ordered the garlic parm wings – which were still as filling and delicious as the last time we were there. Shane also ordered a burger – because of course he did – which was very appropriately named the “Hellofvamess.” And that it was, with pretty much everything they cold find in the kitchen included on it (cheese, two or three varieties – check, bacon – check, cole salw – check, mayo and other condiments – check, sunny side up egg – check). I honestly don’t think I’ve ever seen anyone cut a burger into eighths and eat it with a fork, but that’s what my lovely husband did this evening. He’s dainty like that. Ted ordered a burger, which was one of two that had jalepenos and may or may not have been the same one he ordered the last time , but who can tell when you ask them to leave off the cheese? Ha.

All in all, even though this visit wasn’t exactly the glowing “ahh-haa” moment of our first time at Muskateer’s – it didn’t completely revolt us for future visits either. We’ll be back, for sure. I think this may become one of those “staples” where we’ll end up on a random night if we can’t think of anywhere else we want to head out to. Maybe we’ll even become regulars. But I still refuse to go to an after party at the scary motel. No sir.

WTGW 10/30/13: Muskateers, Richfield

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If ever there was a place that underscored the premise of Where To Go Wednesdays, it’s Muskateers Bar in Richfield. It’s one of those places everyone seems to know and totally rave about … but then you drive past it and have to do a double take because you’re certain that the unassuming building with no windows positioned next to the skeevy looking must-be-pay-by-the-hour-with-sheets-on-the-windows-as-curtains motel cannot possibly dish up the best burgers and wings in the area.

Does that say Bates Motel? No?

Does that say Bates Motel? No?

Do you use the "good" sheets on the bed or the windows? I'm confused ...

Do you use the “good” sheets on the bed or the windows? I’m confused …

Not that I’m judging, because we totally did that exact same thing. And I’ll admit my image of the place kind of seemed confirmed when, after parking my car, I then spent the next 15 minutes completely entranced with watching a guy mosey over four different times to the dumpster located about 10 steps outside his motel room (did he ask for the end room for that reason? is it more expensive for the “dumpster view?”), each time reaching in and selecting a black, seemingly-not-empty back pack, and carrying it off into his motel room like a bag of groceries. Um, what now? It was like watching my own live episode of CSI. I was just hoping I wasn’t the poor person who gets killed off before the opening song.

But anyway, believe me when I say that even if live-action dumpster diving documentaries don’t intrigue you, if you skip Muskateers just because of what’s next door then YOU’RE. MISSING. OUT. Seriously.

Because, after 4 months of never visiting the same place twice, Muskateers just managed to elevate itself into the coveted position of “place we would gladly visit every single evening.” I wonder how much those rooms next door really rent for?

First of all, the service was fabulous. We sat at a table in the bar area, which meant that the lone bartender was also our server. Sometimes this can be a recipe for disaster, but the young man working that evening as spot on. Not only was he able to rattle off the impressive tap list, he was able to remember our drink and food orders correctly without writing them down, came back often and at the right moments to get our refills, and was pleasant and smiling the whole time. Two thumbs up.

And then the food. Fan-freaking-tastic. Just take a look.

Those are wings underneath all that cheese. Say what?

Those are wings underneath all that cheese. Say what?

A table of appetizers. It's like heaven

A table of appetizers. It’s like heaven

I think we ordered enough food to feed the entire bar – and that was just appetizers. How long can we do this before we all weigh 350 pounds each? Not to mention there was a random pizza sitting out on a table near the bar – which, when we asked our friendly bartender, he said that they put out a couple of pizzas at happy hour, and it’s kind of a free for all until they’re gone. Huh. We didn’t try any of it – because, seriously, have you seen the amount of food we ordered – but it’s nice to know if you get the happy hour munchies and don’t want a full meal, there are options. 

Rueben. Delicious.

Rueben. Delicious.

Ted's expression speaks for itself

Ted’s expression speaks for itself

While Shane enjoyed the food, the decor was more his style

While Shane enjoyed the food, the decor was more his style

We fully intend to come back to this place on another night of the week – or on Browns away game Sundays – to make sure we have the same glowing experience. Hell, we may even become regulars – in which case we’ll have to start a new category on this blog just for all of our evenings there. Muskateers Mondays? It’s got a nice ring to it.

Although if we befriend the dumpster guy from next door and end up getting invited to his holiday party in his motel room please check back here the next week to make sure we make it back for another adventure … 

CAPSULE
Picked by: Shane
Drink selection:
 Impressive. Seriously.
Food: See above.
Service: See above.
Overall: I might not be kidding about that whole living in the motel next door thing. We’ll definitely be back.

Next pick – Steph

Musketeers Bar & Grille on Urbanspoon