WTGW 3/14/18: Stowaway Pub, Stow

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There’s just something about that bar/restaurant wedged into a strip plaza between a flower shop and a “checks cashed here” storefront, tucked back from the main road behind a couple of chain fast food joints, that screams “welcome on in, random stranger, I’m sure you’re going to love it here.”

No? Really? Oh, well … OK then. Carry on.

As Shane announced the name of this week’s destination, Ted and I both nodded our heads, since I think this has been on everyone’s list of “maybe” places since about the beginning of Fun Wednesdays. We’ve driven past it approximately 1,000 times, and I think we’ve all uttered the sentence “well I was going to pick the Stowaway Pub, but then I saw this place instead …” at some point in time or another. And somehow we just never made it inside.

Well now is finally your time, Stowaway Pub.

The first thing we noticed on entry was that the place is super small on the inside. Which, I mean, it’s in a strip plaza so it’s not like we expected the place to open into a room the size of a Costco or anything, but still. There were a few high tops near the door, and about 4-5 booths along the wall, and then seats at the bar.

So, good thing we aren’t claustrophobic.

We at first veered toward a high top at the front of the bar, but then collectively realized that it probably wouldn’t hold all of our food. Because, well, us. I mean, come on. At least we heed our lessons and learn from them.

Another lesson we’ve learned … it makes total sense to order ALL. THE. APPS. as soon as we sit down, and before ordering a full meal.

I know, we just ooze brilliance in this group.

Shane had heard/read somewhere that the onion rings were the bomb, so he definitely wanted those. Cassi followed suit and also got an order for herself. And then add to that an order of J-Bombs (which is really just a fancy way to say “jalepeno popper,” it seems) for me and Shane. Who needs healthy cholesterol levels and good, strong arteries?

The onion rings were definitely a good choice. They were lightly breaded, which I believe is onion ring code for not retaining pockets of grease and cake-like pieces of batter as onion rings can often be known to do. Our biggest gripe seemed to be that they only give you like 5-6 rings in the basket. For like $5. Um. OK. I mean, I realize I’m no math wizard or anything, but when you’re looking at about $1 an onion ring I kind of start to scrutinize a tad more.

Too bad these don’t spontaneously multiply on their own

Cassi – well, I finished my first basket, now what am i going to do?

Sadly the J-Bombs were a dull consolation prize. But we did offer.

It looks like the one on the bottom is trying to hatch

Ted ordered calamari – because after Shane’s perpetual year of research in how different places prepare the dish (and by that I really mean ordering it everywhere just because it was on the menu), Ted pointed out that we actually haven’t had it for a while.

And guess what? We’ll have to wait a little longer, because the server returned to the table a few minutes after we put in the order to let us know that they were all out. Bummer.

Ted was so upset that he ended up passing on the appetizer course of the evening altogether. Well, and also because he already decided that he was getting an order of wings with his meal.

If you’ve read this blog before, you’ll recognize this move as what we’d like to call moderation.

The economical nonsense of the onion rings carried over into our burger selection, as Cassi speculated aloud whether to get the 1/4 lb burger or the 1/2 lb. I reasoned that for $1.50 more you’re better to off to just get the larger one. I mean, really. Double the size for $1.50 more? That seems to be a no-brainer.

Ted: Impressive sales pitch.

I mean, I am in marketing after all.

But it worked, as I got the half pound mushroom Swiss burger, while Cassi got the half pound Stowaway burger.

There’s a burger under there somewhere. Honest.

It looks like it’s wearing a hat

They aren’t playing around

The burgers ended up being really good. They use fresh, large patties, that seemed to be well seasoned and not over-loaded on toppings. Well, unless you consider grease a topping, in which case they kind of out did themselves on that front. We’re not talking Shane’s wings creating an oil slick on the table kind of greasy, but let’s just say it was enough that Cassi had the unfortunate luck of another week dealing with a mushy bottom.

We really should trademark these things.

While us girls were over here enjoying our giant burgers, the guys decided to get all dainty on us and order mini-burgers. Or, as places now like to call them, sliders. Which I’ve always thought just makes them sound somewhat gross, but whatever, clearly it’s only me that feels this way because it now seems to be industry standard to speak about a meal as if it’s taking a joyride right down your throat.

See? You’re thinking about it now, and I’m not all that crazy.

Anyway, sliders are on special at Stowaway Pub on Wednesday nights, $1.00 each with seemingly no limit. Of course Shane interrogated the server with his usual 20 questions about the size and shape and texture and color and toppings and how many should he order … because, well, Shane. He was pretty well decided on ordering five, until the server (a small blonde girl) claimed she could eat that many, so Shane upped it to 7. And then proceeded to pick about 17 different cheeses for them.

It’s like a small army of hamburgers

Ted also got four of the sliders, and made up for Shane’s complicated cheese order by ordering his with no cheese at all.

Sparing so expense on the condiments obviously

The sliders turned out to be pretty good. I mean, you don’t expect much for $1.00, but compared to the burgers that Cassi and I had ordered, these were pretty much kind of like cute little replicas. They were made fresh just like the larger burgers, and cooked just right. Shane’s one complaint was that he said there seemed to be too much bread, given the smaller patties. But I guess if you really care that much you could just take all the patties off of the bread, mush them together into one big burger and eat them that way. It wouldn’t be pretty – and in Shane’s case you’d be mixing cheese like a boss – but it solves that whole bread conundrum.

Ted also got the Spicy Garlic Cajun wings – which inspired a convo about that combination and whether it’s the perfect combination of seasonings, or really just too much going on in one wing order.

Please, share your thoughts with us.

I’ll start …  according to Ted, it may have been the perfect combination, if only they had actually used all three parts of it. Needless to say, he was somewhat disappointed. The wings were big, but they had no spice to them. (that’s what she said … I know, these things just write themselves sometimes, don’t they?) The Garlic and Cajun flavors were there, but the “spicy” part of the combination seemed to somehow skip town before the plate hit the table. He thought it would’ve been better if they would’ve added hot sauce or something at the end to make them spicier. Or maybe just take that part out of the title and call them Garlic Cajun wings. Whatevs.

I’ll take the personality crisis wings, please

When we finished the onion rings earlier, Shane had claimed we should’ve gotten another basket, since they were so good. As much as I balked about the $1/ring scam they were running, my response was that really we could get another basket, since he only ordered sliders and that meant that his meal was only a grand total of $7.00.

Shane – anyone remember my last great meal for $7?

Hint – it’s the infamous steak dinner at The Dougout. How could you possibly forget? He only brings it up every time someone talks about a bargain meal.

And in return, the rest of the group takes any opportunity possible to bring up Shane’s pick where the menu consisted of two simple items: wings and burgers. I think we’re on about a two-month streak now of mentioning that every time we all get together. That quite possibly beats the old Gus’s Chalet beating we gave Ted for many consecutive months.

Although this time I had to laugh, as I looked around our table, and realized that, given an entire menu of options, what did we gravitate to? Burgers and wings. Huh.

Keeping on the economical theme of the evening, Shane switched from his first round of Jameson and ginger ale to the Long Islands that were on special on Wednesdays for $3.50. Which was a bad move. They turned out to definitely only be worth $3.50, and Shane definitely only had one of them.

You win some, you lose some, I guess.

We noticed at some point in the evening that the high top tables we had almost seated ourselves at earlier in the night had been taken over by people playing in a dart league. Which spurred a conversation about our affinity for finding places where dart leagues meet on Wednesday evenings, and how we may or may not eventually get hit by a sharp object as we attempt to walk in the door. Who’s up for a revisit to Franks Place?

Picked by: Shane

Ted

Cassi

Steph

Pirate Shane

Happy Shane

Stop Taking Pictures of Me Shane

Stowaway Pub Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

 

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WTGW 2/28/18: River City Grille, Cuyahoga Falls – REVISIT

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With Cassi in Texas for a conference this week we decided it was a good time for a revisit to someplace we haven’t been for some time. Which is how we ended up back at River City Grille. I honestly think this place was one of Ted’s first official WTGW outings with us. So that had to of been at least, like, 4 years ago now? Maybe longer?

Well, because that was pre-blog, there’s no real way to fact-check, so you’re just going to have to take my word for it.

Let’s just say that it’s been long enough that we completely forgot how small the menu is. I mean, it’s your typical small bar food menu – burgers, wings, a few sandwich/wrap options, random fried apps … but that’s it. Not a lot of creativity or things that don’t involve cooking via a fryer or grill top. Which as you all know doesn’t really bother us – except that in this case we seemed to remember the menu being a bit more extensive at one time. Shane seemed to remember getting ribs, and that maybe Ted had a pork chop? But maybe it was just a random weekly special. Or we could totally be thinking of someplace else – because, you know, it’s not like we see the insides of a lot of places that seem eerily similar in a lot of ways or anything

Or, you know, maybe after four years things change. I guess that’s allowed.

Also, Ted and I were quick to point out that at least the menu wasn’t “we only serve two things here so I hope you like one of them” small. Because not many places can have that honorable distinction. Thankfully.

Anyway.

Because we gravitate to all things fried, even if they are vegetables, Shane and I ordered the fried veggie sampler as an app. He tried to say that was my idea, but I also know he’s the one who makes a beeline for that particular food stand at any county fair or festival that we go to.

Always eat your vegetables. Especially if they’re fried.

Of course they arrive at our table straight from the furnace of hell … and of course we still reached into the basket two seconds later and tried to eat them straight away. Remember the old thing about making kids learn about the stove being hot by letting them go ahead and touch it, because “they’ll only do THAT once”? Yeah, clearly we skipped that day of life lesson training.

Ted just laughed at us. Some days I think he’s the brains of this operation.

I thought they were pretty good – even going so far as to state that they were county fair quality. Shane quickly disagreed. Because obviously he’s the expert there.

Wednesdays are 50 cent wing nights, so of course Ted and Shane both jumped on that special. Because who are they to let a good wing night pass them by, especially when who knows how long it will be before we see another one?

A quick search of “wings” under the “stuff we’ve tried” tab on this blog will probably totally bring out the sarcasm in that last sentence quicker than any further explaining I might be able to type here. Just FYI.

Anyway, Ted ended up with 12 of the hot garlic wings, while Shane ordered 12 of the Cajun.

Vampires beware

The wings were big, especially for being on special. Bonus that they were also tasty. Because that’s helpful. And don’t forget being edible – because, after last week and Ted’s epic four hour chewing exercise, that’s apparently a new category by which we need to be giving judgement.

Edible wings

The guys also got burgers. Because, well, them. Come on, don’t act surprised.

Ted asked what the “Fuzzbuster” burger was. At least I think that’s the name of it. I should really start paying better attention. Anyway … whatever the name was, the server said it’s basically their version of the Big Mac. OK. So that means it’s a burger, with special sauce and an extra piece of a bun in the middle? Sure.

Low and behold, it arrives and we’ll all be damned if it doesn’t look just like a Big Mac. Only like the promotional pictures of a Big Mac and not what you actually get when you order one. Or at least one without any cheese on it. So there’s that.

Look at how the burger just slides off the bun without any cheese

Ted said basically if you don’t like pickles you shouldn’t get this burger. Or grease. Because that’s about all it consists of. I mean, not that that’s necessarily a bad thing. Unless you don’t like those flavors.

I feel like this is a circular conversation.

Shane got the River City burger. Which I think is their fancy way of saying “here’s a cheeseburger with some pickles on it.” Or, here’s the fancy burger Ted ordered but without the extra piece of bread in the middle. But whatever, to each his own I guess.

Dripping with melted cheese

I got the mushroom Swiss burger, and a side of waffle fries with cheese sauce. It’s like the most unhealthy things on the menu just jump in front of me.

Bun close up

We all liked the burgers. They were definitely fresh made, big for the price ($6-$7 a burger) and had good flavor for them. The waffle fries were enough to share with the whole table, and maybe the table next to us. Clearly I couldn’t eat all of those myself. But they were good, so I gave it a valiant effort.

More fried vegetables. And cheese. Really the only food groups one needs, am I right?

All in all River City isn’t a bad place. My indifference in the vote was with the small menu – but now that I remember the burgers are super good I’ll at least know to stick to that option when ordering and not flip the menu back to front 8 billion times in the universal sign of “I can’t figure out what I want even though there are only like 10 things to choose from” like we all did tonight. Ted liked the wings and also was also surprisingly happy with the dark beer selection, which he thought had grown since the last time we’d been there. The place was fairly busy for a Wednesday night, with a lot of the clientele seemingly regulars. I’m not sure that we’ll ever achieve that status there – I mean, I guess we’d have to come back more than once every four years, right? – but I could see us coming back when we’re in a pinch for a relatively close place to get a good burger.

Ted

Shane

Steph

 
River City Bar & Grill Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

WTGW 5/28/14: Pancho & Lefty’s, Stow

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Now that it’s summer, one of our big requirements for WTGW spots becomes patio space. Because after all this is Ohio, and you know we only get about 4.25 days of real summer weather … so we have to make the most of them.

However, it seems that Mother Nature is going to make damn sure that none of those days fall on a Wednesday. Because she’s a whore.

So this means that a couple of places I was thinking about for this week’s WTGW got pushed back to later weeks this summer, since it was threatening rain this week and I didn’t want to chance us getting soaked. Pancho & Lefty’s actually has a decent – albeit small – patio space that we could’ve sat on had the weather cleared up. But since the skies were still iffy when we arrived, we decided to play it safe and sit inside. Let it be noted that it didn’t rain during our meal – but I’m certain that if we’d sat outside there would’ve been a downpour as soon as our meals arrived. Because – you guessed it – Mother Nature is a whore.

Anyway.

Pancho & Lefty's, Stow

The place is tiny inside, but it never felt cramped or overly loud. It was more homey than anything else. Maybe that’s because it wasn’t ever super crazy busy, but still. The server was very pleasant and always quick with drinks and chip refills.

Pancho & Lefty’s menu features traditional Mexican fare but also more “American” things like burgers, steaks, salads, wraps, etc. It’s nice to have options. Part of why I picked this place was because I thought that would help Ted – you know, with his dislike of cheese and all. But he ordered a burrito covered in cheese anyway, then proceeded to try and scrape it all off. You’re welcome, Ted.

We asked about drink specials – since Mexican places always seem to have them – and were told they ended at 6. What working person can enjoy a happy hour that ends at 6:00? Hmmm.

Regardless, we were intrigued by the long list of flavored margaritas – many of which we’d never heard of (pineapple? grape? cherry?) – so of course we made it our mission to try as many as possible. We even convinced Ted to break his “I have to be different” rule after his first beer and come to the dark side with us.

3:1. Guess which is Ted's?

3:1. Guess which is Ted’s?

 

Overall among the group we tried the orange dreamsicle, cherry, strawberry banana, watermelon, peach, mango, pineapple and – after a lengthy debate of what it could actually be – blue moon (FYI, it’s blue raspberry, not blue moon beer flavored. I lost that bet.). The orange one had the majority vote until Ted got the pineapple on the last round, and we were all sorry then that we didn’t get that one. Chalk one up for the guy who usually only drinks beer.

Post Memorial Day patriotism ... at a Mexican restaurant

Post Memorial Day patriotism … at a Mexican restaurant

The food at Panchos was good and portions were large. I had the taco salad with shredded chicken, which was mixed with refried beans and spread onto the outer edge of the bowl instead of just dropped by dallop in the middle. I liked that better. But it was frigging huge, so I couldn’t finish it.

Filed under: "trying to be healthy at a Mexican restaurant"

Filed under: “trying to be healthy at a Mexican restaurant”

Amanda had the shredded beef chimichanga, which was good but also way too much food for her to finish. Ted had the aforementioned cheese covered chicken grande burrito. Shane was disappointed that his usual fajita quesidilla wasn’t on the menu, so he asked the server what he would get the most food by ordering … and ended up with a steak grande burrito. I think there was an actual whole steak on the inside. He obviously wasn’t disappointed.

Action shot of Shane digging in

Action shot of Shane digging in

And this was after he scraped the cheese off.

And this was after he scraped the cheese off.

Chips and salsa were plentiful and quickly refilled. Although word of warning, the chips here are covered in some seasoning, which inspired a lengthy discussion among our group as to what exactly it was. The best we could come up with was that it was “like Doritos but different.” Because I’m sure those are professional culinary terms. In any case, the concensus at the table was that the guys liked them, but the girls didn’t. That’s OK, we saved our calories for margaritas.

If tortilla chips and Doritos had a baby, it would be these chips

If tortilla chips and Doritos had a baby, it would be these chips

While it’s a little further of a drive than some of the other Mexican places we’ve been to, I’m sure we’ll visit Pancho & Lefty’s again (which, side note,  Shane kept trying to call the place Lefty Ponchos. I’m not really sure what to do with that.). If nothing else than for the impressive flavored margarita list, and the excellent service. Case in point, you know you’re in a good place when the server 1) agrees to serve as your group photographer, and 2) even has the good sense to take additional photos when she realized Shane was being stupid. I think she got an extra tip just for that.

"I pledge allegiance to the flag ..."

“I pledge allegiance to the flag …”

Really, Shane?

Really, Shane?

Ted kind of looks like he fits into the mural

Ted kind of looks like he fits into the mural

Oh, those weren't non-alcoholic margaritas? Weird.

Oh, those weren’t non-alcoholic margaritas? Weird.

Since it was 8:30 when we left the Mexican place, we decided to stop in at Chelsea’s down the road for one drink on the way back home … where it became evident very quickly that we were clearly not part of the “regular” crowd. Amanda and I also made fools of ourselves waiting for the restroom when there’s more than one stall. That might’ve pointed us out on the non-regular list. We also tried the charging stations at the tables, which would’ve been a nice gesture if they worked. Oh well.

Hello, is this thing working?

Hello, is this thing working?

CAPSULE

Picked by:  Steph
Drinks: The list of margarita flavors is impressive. And you know that because we even got Ted to give up his beer and try one. Go with the pineapple. Trust us. 
Food: 
Good.Large portions are par for the course at a Mexican restaurant, and Pancho’s didn’t disappoint. My only disappointment was the chips, although the guys raved about them, so I guess you have to try for yourself and give us the verdict in your house.
Service: As I mentioned, any server willing to take extra photos of the group because she realized one of us was being stupid is OK in my book.
Overall: I’m sure we’ll be back – if nothing else to sit on the patio and drink margaritas. Can I bring my own chips?

Next Pick: Amanda

Pancho & Lefty's on Urbanspoon

WTGW 4/30/14: Beef O’Brady’s, Stow

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Poor Ted. He can’t catch a break. His last pick goes down as the worst in WTGW history, so this week he tried to go to the exact opposite end of the spectrum and chose Dante for his pick. But after browsing the website, Shane vetoed that pick since he couldn’t find anything on the menu under $25. High rollers we are not, at least not for WTGW.

So instead we ended up at Beef O’Brady’s – the pick Ted thought about choosing when he audibled and choose Gus’s a few weeks back. How things come full circle. Especially too when we look up Beef O’Brady’s website and it touts “90% of our menu is under $10.” Yeah, that’s more our style.

Anyway, as I think was mentioned on Ted’s last pick, Ted was the only one who hadn’t ever set foot in this place before. Shane and I were there once, right after we moved to the area, and I don’t recall being that impressed. But luckily it seems they’ve revamped the menu a bit since then.

The first thing to get our attention was “Happy Hour til 7:00” – which meant that all drafts were $1.00 off. Horraay! Supposedly the waitress put two rounds in at the happy hour price, but when we got our bill (many hours later) we discovered that wasn’t the case. We weren’t going to come to blows over $1.00, but it was still something to be noted.

When we asked what was on draft, the server handed us her handwritten beer list. Interesting. Amanda and I were happy to find Summer Shandy on the list. You’ll notice this to be a theme for the rest of the summer … or at least until we get sick of it and start craving fall hard ciders, ha. Anyway, I stopped reading once my eyes found that option, so I really can’t speak for what else was on the list. Shane went with Angry Orchard, and Ted ordered something that they ran out of as they were pouring (usually that only happens to me and Amanda), so he got a free something else since they were too busy to change the keg right at that moment.

The real star of this picture is the Summer Shandy

The real star of this picture is the Summer Shandy

(Side note, I obviously need to start writing down the names of the beers he drinks. For the love, Ted, just once pick something normal.)

Anyway.

We ordered the loaded pub chips as an appetizer, and it was quite a large portion. Enough that we didn’t finish all of it, especially once the entrees came. Honestly it could’ve been warmer, as the melted cheese basically congealed as soon as it got to the table. And as much as I love cheese, that’s kind of on the turn-off list.

Bar food, how I missed you

Bar food, how I missed you

Wings were on special – 10 for $4.99. I think they heard Shane when he looked at the menu and complained that the prices were a bit high (it worked out to about $1/wing). So of course both guys got the wing special AND a full additional meal. I see we’re back on the plan of dying before we hit middle age. Awesome.

A burger and wings. Guess who these plates belong to?

A burger and wings. Guess who these plates belong to?

Ted had the steak burrito, Shane ordered the OMG burger, I had the Roast Beef Garlic Melt and Amanda went with the Philly Cheese Steak. I was not overly impressed with my sandwich – again, the cheese just wasn’t good since it was cold within two seconds of hitting the table, and the Cuban bread wasn’t all that great. We didn’t talk much about everyone else’s food, which I take to mean it was neither awful or fantastic – just your basic bar food. The guys did agree that Ted’s wing flavor – the sweet jalenpeno – was better than the garlic that Shane ordered. This was also obvious in that they were supposed to be sharing, but Ted ate more of the kind he ordered, so clearly he didn’t want Shane’s. At lwast I think that’s how the guy code works anyway?

The broccoli cancels out the melted cheese, right?

The broccoli cancels out the melted cheese, right?

Deliciousness

Deliciousness

This is also how our kitchen looks every time Shane cooks. That boy has a thing with napkins.

This is also how our kitchen looks every time Shane cooks. That boy has a thing with napkins.

It's tough to leave food behind. It'll be OK, Ted.

It’s tough to leave food behind. It’ll be OK, Ted.

The atmosphere was OK – the place was never super packed busy, but stayed steady. It seemed like it would be a good place to catch a game, as – unlike last week – there were plenty of TVs. Noted for next year’s football schedule announcement, Shane.  The specials board also said that Thursdays are $1.00 12oz domestic drafts. Noted.

Also noted – Shane needs to stop trying to “recreate” the turtle picture from the Aeros game last summer. Seriously. Give it up.

Ummm ....

Ummm ….

Well ...

Well …

Maybe we should stop this for tonight ...

Maybe we should stop this for tonight …

In the ongoing new challenge of finding the most interesting thing in the bar and taking pictures with it, Ted walked away from the table at one point and came back with a balloon duck. Um … OK? But needless to say, it definitely spawned some interesting photos. And that he later buckled into the seat of his SUV after he dropped us off and nicknamed it Paddles. We may have a 5th member of our dinner group.

Ted and his new "friend," Paddles.

Ted and his new “friend,” Paddles.

I still don't know where Ted found this thing.

I still don’t know where Ted found this thing.

Just sharing a drink with a balloon duck. Nothing to see here.

Just sharing a drink with a balloon duck. Nothing to see here.

This picture really says so much about our entire night.

This picture really says so much about our entire night.

CAPSULE

Picked by:  Technically Ted. After we all vetoed his first choice, though, so kind of a group decision.
Drinks: Points for having Summer Shandy on the draft list. Points taken away for making us read said list basically off a bar napkin. 
Food:
Eh. Nothing special, but also nothing we sent back to the kitchen. Personally I would order something else next time – and at least the menu is extensive enough to allow for that.
Service: We were super impressed when the server told us that our second round was put in under the time frame of happy hour specials, but not delivered until later since she didn’t want them to get warm. And then we got the bill and were very much not impressed when that wasn’t the case.
Overall: OK. We will probably end up back here at some point, but it’s not high on the list.

Next Pick: Shane

Beef O Bradys on Urbanspoon

WTGW 12/4/13: Tavern of Stow, Stow

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Wow, it’s December already. How the hell did that happen?

Regardless, I think that means we’ve officially hit the six month mark in our Where To Go Wednesday adventures. Yay us!

So this week our travels take us to the Tavern of Stow – another of those places we’ve talked about going for a while now but just never quite made it to the “I definitely have to pick that this week” list. Shane almost pulled an audible and changed up his pick as we were leaving the house – based on the fact that Ted has been to this place more than once – but we all vetoed him. Even Ted, who I’m kind of surprised was so eager to return to this establishment. Oops, I think I gave away our general feeling of the place there …

A little blurry ... like the end of most of our Where to GO Wednesday evenings ...

A little blurry … like the end of most of our Where To Go Wednesday evenings …

Don’t get me wrong, it was … well ..  fine. The decor, the food, the staff – all were fine. But just “fine.” Nothing notable, nothing overwhelming, nothing that screamed “we have to stay until closing and then we just can’t wait to walk back in the door again!” Maybe the bar has been raised, maybe we’ve visited too may of the same type of place all in a row … but I think it’s safe to say we definitely were underwhelmed.

The place is small – once again, located in a trip plaza, although the neighboring establishments weren’t of the dollar store variety like we encountered on our visit to The Red Fox, so that was a little more comforting. And we discovered there’s a Bruegger’s Bagels across the street, which answered the question of “someone gave me a coupon for a free dozen bagels from there but I don’t know where the closest one is.” I know, you’d think we’d never heard of the internet or something.

Shane was disappointed from the get-go that we were seated in the restaurant portion of the place and not the little bar area at the front of the Tavern – which, truth be told, were only separated from one another by a few booths and, well, air. I wasn’t even certain they had a table big enough for four people to sit together in the bar area, but I guess they did have one or two. Oh well. Instead we sat behind a large table that when we first arrived had more children dining in the group than adults, and by the time we left had turned over to a group of artsy college students who debated politics. Neither group probably appreciated our group’s topics of conversation, which included things like the best looking actors and actresses (complete with visual aids), how the whole “top 5 people your significant other can’t get mad at you for sleeping with” list works, and how one crosses the line from actress to porn star. Whatevs.

Tavern of Stow 12/4/13We finally stuck to our vow of not ordering enough food for 40 people and just got two appetizers – neither of which surprisingly involved melted cheese of any kind (you’re welcome, Ted). The pretzel bites were small but, well, pretzel-y – kind of like the kind you can buy in the frozen foods section of the grocery store and microwave in a minute. As for the zucchini planks, I think there may have been three full zucchinis used in the basket we got, which was great – although the way they were cut meant that Ted didn’t have as much luck using them as a facial accessory as he did with the ones at Gasoline Alley a few months back.

For dinner we all ordered something different: Amanda and I had different pasta dishes (cajun chicken and shrimp de angelo), while the boys went all carnivore and ordered ribs (Shane) and steak (Ted). Like I said, it was all fine. Nothing overly impressive, but nothing bad enough to send back. I think the overall agreement was that none of the dishes really had enough flavor to them. I mean, it’s hard to screw up noodles tossed in olive oil with shrimp, but mine was pretty much on the bland side. Amanda said she actually preferred her homemade cajun chicken pasta  to what was served, and even Ted salted his steak. Hmm.

Pasta on the girl's side

Pasta on the girl’s side of the table

Meat on the boy's side of the table

Meat on the boy’s side of the table

But I will say that the one thing that I would take a whole basket of in place of the pasta was the breadsticks. Seriously. It wasn’t really even a breadstick, but more of a fried-dough concoction – like someone just took an elephant ear and made it into the shape of a breadstick. Um, yes please. And side note, any restaurant who wants to take that idea on as an appetizer you have your first customer. And then please expect me to be back every day.

Another thing to note: the special at Tavern of Stow on Wednesdays is “Buy one dinner, get the second for half price” – which is why we all went with dinner entrees and not the usual sandwiches, wings or burgers. However, when the bills came, the waitress didn’t take that special into account on either of our checks. She was apologetic and quick to make the change once pointed out to her – but word of warning, just be sure to look over your bill before plopping down your card for payment.

At least they had cool colorful glasses. Yes, we're easily amused.

At least they had cool colorful glasses. Yes, we’re easily amused.

CAPSULE

Picked by: Shane
Drink options:  Not impressive. Aside from a few seasonal offerings, not much in the craft beer selection. And has Miller Lite stopped being offered in keg form? Why can we never seem to find this on draft anymore?
Food:  OK. Just get something with a breadstick. Trust me on this.
Service: Good. Our waitress was friendly and attentive, even given our placement in back of the dining room. A few points deducted for the check mishap, but it was corrected easily and without incident.
Overall: Probably won’t end up in the Flashback Friday basket, but not a horrible place overall.

Next Pick: Steph

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