WTGW 10/30/19: Tailgator’s, Wadsworth

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If only I had $1.00 for all the times one of us asked if we were going to someone’s house as a WTGW pick.

But, I mean, let’s be real here, restaurant owners. Can we stop putting places so far out of the way that we have to ask ourselves these things? I mean, seriously, we shouldn’t have to get off the highway and traverse across an entire town of ranch houses before we find your sports pub. And even then it’s like an oasis of fun and beer waiting for us on a dark fall evening.

But I guess at least it’s easy to know we’ve arrived. Because, let’s face it, where this particular place is located it was either Tailgator’s, the Salvation Army (which may or may not be serving food) or something called the Minit Mart (not Mini Mart, mind you – Minit Mart) across the street … which if I had to guess likely had some sort of hot dog special.

I think we chose wisely.

In fact, this was a place that had been on my neverending list of eventual choices. It can be either a blessing or a curse when someone else picks a place you have your eye on, folks. The bullet you dodge can be full of regret of many forms.

The jury is still kind of out on which instance this falls under.

So the inside of Tailgater’s is like what if you put a sports bar in the middle of a hunting lodge in the heart of Minnesota. There’s a lot of wood paneling and brick juxtaposed by posters for sports teams and beer specials.

There also must’ve been some sort of a berry air freshener plugged in nearby to our table, because I got a good whiff of it every time I turned my head.

I mean, there are worse things, I suppose?

We also noticed a patio out back – well, OK, really just part of the parking lot that was fenced in and provided tables to make it an outdoor seating/dining area … but hey, you can hang lights over anything and it immediately makes it fancy, right?

Regardless, it was raining – because we’ve already established that Mother Nature is a whore on Wednesdays (see also why it took me over an hour to get home before heading out to Wadsworth for this venture) so we couldn’t sit out there. But good to know it exists.

WHAT WE ORDERED

So, the theme of Tailgator’s is, appropriately, alligator. Clever. Which means that they do have actual alligator meat cooked into various apps and meals. But then part of the theme is also just the names of some of the meals and drinks. Like, for instance, something called Gator Juice, which from the description sounds kind of like it might just be a fancy themed name for a midori sour.

Asked if he would rather drink that or a PBR out of a can, Ted chose the Gator Juice. I’m not really sure what to make of that exactly, but just something to note.

Hey, remember those times when we ask the server what to order and then actually take their recommendations? Well, if not, then you’re in for a treat, because this is one of those times.

The server raved about the wings (kind of a given) and also the Reuben.

Ask and you shall receive.

In particular Shane, who went all in on that suggestion. He already knew he would be ordering the Erie Island wings, since that’s his most favorite seasoning, like, in the entire world. But he changed up his patented “burger and wings” order to a Reuben and wings.

Shane and I also split the pepper cheese balls for our app. Because for all the times Ted shuns cheese, you can pretty much guarantee that Shane and I will order it in some form or another.

While he did pass on the Gator Juice, Ted couldn’t get away without ordering something on theme, and so he got the gator bites as an app.

So if you’ve ever wondered what fried alligator looks like … well … kind of like a cross between clam strips and chicken fingers.

Mmmmmm.

Cassi and Jason got something called Gator Tots, which may or may not have had actually fried alligator on them or just been named for the theme. I forgot to ask. But they did include beans, a little fact that Cassi missed in the description and was not entirely thrilled about. But fortunately they also got the buffalo cheese dip, which definitely did not include alligator or beans.

I got six of the Erie Island wings and 6 of the Hot Garlic Parm wings, plus a side salad

Admittedly I should’ve stuck with just six wings and a salad, but when you can’t decide between flavors and you’re also about to eat your arm off out of hunger, this is what happens.

Fair warning.

Jason got onion rings and three orders of six wings – the honey mustard, the honey bbq and the honey bourbon

Cassi got 12 of the Hot Garlic Parm boneless wings

Ted got fries and six of the Six Pepper wings, plus six of the Honey Hot wings.

THE VERDICT

Our apps came out quickly and all at the same time, so that’s a plus. At least it wouldn’t be another of those instances where the unlucky last person to order has to wait about half an evening watching others cure their stomach grumbles.

Once we got to the wings things got a little more complicated, since the kitchen was obviously backed up dealing with the nightly special. So Shane’s Rueben arrived first along with Ted’s fries and Jason’s onion rings – and an apologetic server saying that she just didn’t want to hold those up and let them get cold while the fryers worked overtime.

We barely refrained from telling her we loved her. Barely. She had no idea how much those words mean to us.

The wings were good. The Erie Island was just as good as Shane remembered from the years when we used to order that same seasoning at Cleats. Ted wasn’t so much a fan of the six pepper, but did like the hot honey – which he said was the perfect mix of hot and sweet. And Cassi and I both agreed that the hot garlic parm really has some kick to it.

The chips were also really good. They were crispy without being burnt, a real plus.

Shane ate about half of his wings and then decided to save the rest for a take home bag and start on his sandwich. But then he ended up taking half of that home too. Not because it wasn’t good, but because he said he was just too full.

So if you’re playing along at home, a burger and wings is enough for one meal – but a Reuben and wings is too much. Noted.

In fact, out of the group Ted was the only one who finished his meal on site. Or, more appropriately, the only one who knew their limits on food intake.

And overall it was a pretty cheap night – $51 for me and Shane, which includes an app and basically two meals for him plus my one … and essentially a lunch for each of us for another time, too. The fact that it was wing night also helped – each pack of six wings was just over $4 – and then each of our beers was $4 – and the app was around $4 … hmm, maybe we should’ve stopped and played fours in the lotto at that Minit Mart across the street on the way home?

Picked by: Jason
Next pick: Shane

WTGW 6/19/19: Wadsworth Tavern, Wadsworth

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THE WHERE (we went)

To the place where dreams are crushed.

Not really.

But, well, yeah, kinda.

I’m just going to leave this right here, with the disclaimer that all things are not exactly as they seem at the Wadsworth Tavern.

Looks impressive, right? Specials every day! And not just any specials – super fun things like a $5 taco/nacho buffet, a Bloody Mary Bar, and $2 Long Islands (!!). And what’s that at the bottom about a FREE chili and hot dog buffet? SAY WHAT?!?!? Sign. Us. Up.

Or, well, don’t. I mean … well … more on that in a bit.

Also apparently whatever this is, happens next door.

Um, OK. I’m not sure I want to know.

THE WHAT (we ordered)

Let’s start with drinks, because – spoiler alert – that’s about the only thing that lives up to our expectations at this place. Cassi picked the Wadsworth Tavern this week not only because apparently choosing dive bars is her new forte, but because she saw a picture of some 20-ish taps, and thought that was right up our alley.

Truth.

We asked the bartender about ciders and were recommended some peach one on draft that turned out to be delicious. Three of the four of us chose that.

The other – who I may have mentioned in a previous post seems to be having a bit of an issue with his internal seasonal calendar – chose a maple ale. Because who needs to celebrate those short three months we call summer in Ohio when you can just go straight to the autumnal beverages?

The WT has a larger menu than what we expected to see when we walked in, although I think after viewing the specials board we maybe were already changing our tune a bit from our first impression. We also chatted extensively with the bartender, who gave us a lot of insight into the menu, the specials, the history of the place, what we should order, and so on.

Sounds great, right?

Yeah, let’s just say that if we had left after a few rounds and maybe just the appetizers we ordered, we might be writing a very different review right now. I can say for sure that we would’ve shaved a few hours off of our home arrival time, since the Wadsworth Tavern apparently only has four small ovens in the back room that they call a kitchen. Four. Small. Ovens. No fryers. No large stovetop. It’s like cooking everything college dorm style, with an electric hot plate and a toaster oven.

We discovered this as the bartender was taking our orders – and at least she had the sense to warn us, as we were placing our usual orders large enough to feed the small army we morph into on Wednesdays – that things were going to take a while to come out. Especially wings. Because, no fryer.

But yet we forged on. Because we’re glutton for punishment. And because we were hungry, and the menu looked good, and so far the drinks tasted great, and it’s Wednesday wing special night.

But mostly the punishment thing, I think. Because here’s the time when our final dishes of food – the wings – hit the bartop in front of us:

We’re going to be up past our bedtimes, kids.

9:10 people. Past sundown in any other season than summer. Bedtime for small children, and people over 80. The time we usually think about packing it in and trudging the 30-ish minutes home, since, you know, we all have to work in the morning. But sure, let’s get a good portion of our dinner at that time. Sounds great.

So that’s fun.

But, I mean, we’d had several stages of food delivered to us by this point (well, except Cassi, who had only ordered two different kinds of wings and some fries – so she was about to Shane’s stage of “I WILL EAT MY ARM IF THE FOOD DOESN’T COME OUT SOON” hunger), so really at least we could just package those last items up at that point and take them home for another day.

Unfortunately they were the items we were most looking forward to, a new flavor of wings called pickleback – which, when described, sounded pretty much like what it a deep fried pickle and a chicken wing had a baby.

Pickle wings

(Yeah, so, after everyone tried them later on, we can say that really wasn’t the best representation after all. Disappointingly, the flavor wasn’t there. The dill was there, but not the pickle flavor. Jason ate Cassi’s leftovers after drowning them in ranch dressing, if that tells you anything.)

Moving on …

So, as mentioned, the food came out in stages. You know by now this is a trend we are particularly unfond of. But, I mean, apps first is customarily OK in our books, so the arrival of fried green beans for Ted and potato skins for Shane and I was met with some celebration.

The healthier version of French fries

The potato skins came with a just the other side of sketch squeeze packet of sour cream that maybe would cover one potato. Thanks anyway.

Just, no

And both of those items were good. The green beans had a decent flavor to them and were crispy enough, and the potato skins had all the right toppings (well other than the sketchy dairy side product).

Next out were the sandwiches, in a very one at a time fashion.

Kids, it just goes downhill from here.

Ted got the meatball sub.

Shane decided on the chicken parm sandwich, which came highly recommended by the bartender in the usual inquisition of items we should be ordering.

I got the BLT and fries. I was given three bread choices: wrap, rye or texas toast. Looking at the picture below, what would you say I had picked?

Yeah, so, apparently in Wadsworth the definitely of “Texas Toast” is “plain white bread, non-toasted.” Noted.

Also, can we just talk for a minute about fake bacon, and why this should never, ever, be a thing on a sandwich? Especially a sandwich where it’s the main ingredient? The menu description called this sandwich a “bacon lover’s dream.” More like nightmare. I’m not sure what piece of cardboard was sacrificed and sprayed with bacon flavored cooking spray to make this delicacy, but if you’re trying to turn people to vegetarianism this is a poor way to do so.

The moral here is: if you’re going to offer something with bacon, you need a stovetop to cook it on. Not a microwave. Not a toaster oven. Not a candle and a campfire skillet or whatever Frontiersman-esque cooking device we were convinced by the end of our visit was actually back in the kitchen area.

I also traded my fries with Shane, and ate his chips instead. Again, since they are without a fryer, the fries are cooked in an oven – which means they have this odd breading over them and are less crispy and more like a breaded potato. Which worked for the green beans – but not so much the fries in my opinion. Ted also recognized the seasoning on them as Lawry’s Seasoned Salt. Such originality.

Cassi (who ordered a basket of them to go along with her wings, thankfully) and Shane seemed to like them ok, but I would definitely add those to my never-order-again list.

Although, that meant that Shane’s chips really became the highlight of my meal – because, well, compared to fake bacon and white bread and Lawry’s flavored breaded French fries, that was the one thing they really couldn’t screw up. Open bag, pour into tray. Done.

Considering the rest of the evening’s debacle, though, I’m somewhat surprised they didn’t throw a bunch of random but common spices on them – onion salt! garlic powder! oregano! – and try to call them something fancy.

THE WHO (we saw)

Um.

So counting us, there were a grand total of 8 people inside the Wadsworth Tavern this evening.

Eight.

Four of them were our group, two were a couple who roamed in to have a few drinks, one was the bartender, and one was presumably her friend – who was sitting at the bar talking to her when we came in, then left when we got settled at the bar, only to return later on.

OH! I almost forgot about the second bartender, who arrived to relieve the first bartender at the end of her shift … only she couldn’t leave yet, because she was still cooking our food over a half hour after she was supposed to be gone.

So nine.

No, considering how long it took us to get our food, I guess we should be super glad that no one else was there to make the bartender busier and less focused on the task at hand. Or to order more food. I mean could you imagine? Anyone who ordered anything after us would probably still be there waiting for it to be served to them.

Now, we did talk to bartender #1 quite a bit throughout the evening – presumably because we were literally the only ones there, and we’re also not quiet.

So that’s how we found out that she had been a chef at several upscale restaurants before coming here. She’s the kitchen manager at Wadsworth Tavern, but picked up a few bar shifts to help out, which was how she was the only one working there that evening.

And yes, she was very knowledgeable about food. She answered our myriad of questions about the menu, talked a lot about how they are trying to revamp the menu to make more sense for the establishment that they are (her comments about why a small bar in the middle of a small town needs four different salads on the menu were hilarious and spot on), and you could tell she clearly loved working in a kitchen.

Which is why we had such hope after talking to her. Why, when she explained the kitchen situatioin to us and told us it would take at least 30 minutes to get our french fries because of that, we naively thought “well, that’s OK, because it will be worth it.”

Silly us.

THE HOW (much we paid)

I forgot to get a pic of the receipt (sorry, I was half asleep by that point in the night) – but I do remember it was $59 for Shane and I, before tip. That covers an order of wings, two sandwiches, an app, and six draft ciders.

I don’t think this would’ve been too bad if we’d been happy with the quality of the meal. But when the wings are on special and the bacon is made in the microwave, I kind of expect a better bargain.

Now if we’re paying rent on our barstools, though, I’d say we got a great deal. I mean, not that anyone was exactly waiting in line to kick us off of them – but still.

THE WHY (we may or may not return)

You guys. It was such a roller coaster for us this week. Let’s just recap:

– Pull into completely empty parking lot, take in the strange sign next door … and think we might be taking our lives into our own hands walking into this place.
– But it’s nice inside! And daily specials! And lots of different kinds of beer! And HOT DOG BAR ON SUNDAYS!!! WE ARE TOTALLY NEVER LEAVING!!!
– Oh wait, we’re the only ones here. Cue ominous music.
– Hey, I’m your friendly bartender and I have a ton of experience being a chef other places, so you can totally trust that this will be a great night. GUYS, WE SHOULD TOTALLY TAKE A WEEK OF VACATION AND GET A HOUSE IN WADSWORTH AND JUST COME HERE EVERY. SINGLE. NIGHT.
– Just kidding, it turns out said bartender is making all of our food in an Easy Bake Oven circa 1974, so it will be about next Tuesday before she’ll get it all brought out to us. Try not to starve! Oh, and trust her nose to tell her when it’s ready. Because I’m sure that’s taught in chef school.
– Have several more delicious ciders, and enjoy the music selection that’s just slightly younger than the oven.
– But seriously, can we just get those wings to go? Because we actually didn’t rent that house, and do have to work tomorrow.
– Fake bacon on white bread will never be something we can get excited about. Nor should we.

Cassi

Ted

Shane

Steph

Picked by: Cassi
Next pick: Steph

WTGW 7/29/15: Spunkmeyer’s Pub, Wadsworth

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And just like that, two years passes. Saturday marked the two year anniversary of this little adventure we call Where To Go Wednesdays. While we didn’t actually start chronicling our outings here on this blog until a few months later, July 25, 2013, was the first time we uttered the words “Hey, you know what would be fun …” And the rest is history.

Or an alcohol induced blur of fried foods and sometimes sketchy locations. Whatevs.

Anyway, enough patting ourselves on the back … on to this week’s adventure of choice, Spunkmeyer’s Pub. Which is just funny to say. Or dirty. I haven’t really decided which side of that coin my head gravitates to just yet. In any case, it was NOT as much fun to actually find, as we started out our visit by completely walking into the wrong place. Yep. To their credit, the name “Crafted Cocktail Company” was clearly marked on the door we walked in … but to our credit, said door was also conveniently housed very nearly underneath the large sign overhead that read “Spunkmeyer’s Pub,” so we can’t have been the only ones to ever make that mistake. Or maybe we can. Who knows. At least it was dark enough in there that I’m fairly positive no one even realized we had walked in, save for the sliver of light that permeated the place when we opened the door.

Blunders aside, we made it next door to our destination (mental note, it’s the door on the left), and were seated for all of about 2.2 seconds before our server came over to ask if we wanted drinks. Woah, slow down there cowboy. I mean, great service is impressive … but it would be even more so if maybe you don’t take it personal and disappear for like 2,200 seconds after we tell you it’s our first time in and we need a hot minute to decide what we want. Hi, I’m a happy medium, I guess we haven’t met yet?

Especially since the drink list was a tad difficult to navigate. If you’re looking for beers, you’ve basically got the craftiest-of-the-crafts … or Miller Lite. OK. See “happy medium” reference above. I mean, that’s fine if you’re, well, Ted – who’s the king of choosing some high potency craft beer with a crazy name (case in point, this time it was something called the “21st Amendment Hop Crisis.” Exactly.) The rest of us went the mixed drink route, with the July drink special – something called a Wideon Runner. All I remember is that it contained like five different kinds of rum. And they were heavily poured, especially for only being $5.00 each. Enough said.

Oh, hello there beach drink

Oh, hello there beach drink

Our server finally reappeared and took our drink orders (yay!) but then ran away before we could even broach the subject of an appetizer order (boooo!). I guess you gotta be quick in these parts.

The next time we saw her was when she cruised by to deliver Ted’s beer … which he proceeded to nearly finish before our mixed drinks even made it off the bar and over to our table. OK, look, I understand only having one bartender, and that mixed drinks are harder to concoct than a draft beer … but it wasn’t busy. And we’re not talking about getting all Cocktail up in here. Honestly I think it was more the fault of our server than the bartender, since we actually watched our drinks sit at the end of the bar while our she took orders from another table (we hadn’t even put in our app order yet, BTW), then put those orders in the computer – stopping to have a conversation with some girl on who was passing her on her way to the patio – and then finally picked up our drinks to bring them over. I’m half surprised the ice in them wasn’t fully melted yet.

Amanda actually joked that she should just go grab them off the bar herself while our server was talking to her friend. Bonus points if she would’ve “accidentally” elbowed the server on her way through.

Anyway.

So eventually we were able to put in our food order, just a hair shy of Shane actually eating one of the menus out of sheer hunger. For apps, I had my eye on the stuffed mushrooms, but then realized they were stuffed with shrimp, which Shane is allergic to. Oops. I’m an awful wife. So Amanda ordered them – and they ended up belonging to just her and I, since not only were they filled with something that could kill Shane, they were also covered in melted cheese.

Food for girls

Food for girls

Ted: how often is it that you girls find somehthng on the menu that neither of us guys can eat?

But that actually worked out OK, because they were delicious and we didn’t want to share anyway. They had tiny diced up jalepenos inside, which gave them a nice spice. I mean, honestly, if they hadn’t also been made with shrimp and cheese, I’m sure the guys would’ve really liked them. Oh well.

Don’t feel too bad for them, though, because they did OK with their respective app selections. Shane ordered the fried poppers, which were also delicious. He actually talked Ted into trying one (gasp!) – and Ted then actually admitted he couldn’t really even taste the cream cheese, just the fried breading and the jalepenos (double gasp!). So, win. Although maybe he was just being nice since he and Shane were also sharing an order of calamari, and he didn’t want Shane to spit on his side of the plate.

There were more of these. Gotta be quick with Hungry Shane's food.

There were more of these. Gotta be quick with Hungry Shane’s food.

The boy's romantic shared plate. They're so cute.

The boy’s romantic shared plate. They’re so cute.

And here is where we hit our usual calamity, as we’ve discovered in our travels that when we hit the jackpot on appetizers, usually it means that our meals will not be as good. And this was no exception.

Amanda ordered the Philly with fries. Which she said must’ve been the first of our meals to be cooked, because it wasn’t really even still warm by the time it came to the table. Heat lamps are not cooking devices, people. If it has to sit there longer than five minutes, you’re best to either bring it to the table first or just start over cooking it. Or rethink your entire kitchen system.

Is that Ted's plate? Oh, wait ...

Is that Ted’s plate? Oh, wait …

Ted got “The Boss,” which is basically an open faced steak sandwich. Or steak on bread. Meat and carbs. He said it was a good cut of meat – very lean, reasonably tender. The server had him cut into the steak to make sure it was done properly, which was a nice touch – especially since that meant she actually had to stand at our table for a minute to make that happen before disappearing again. For shame.

The only thing he said he didn’t care for was the bread, but other than that it was good. So basically he should’ve just gotten a steak, I guess? Hmmm.

It looks pretty

At least it looks pretty

Shane got 10 boneless wings (the Wednesday special) and an order of ribs. I’m still in awe as to where he puts all this food. So was our server, it seems, since she commented as she was delivering the plates, “Do you have enough food?”

Shane: “I’m eating for two.”

Half of Shane's meal

Half of Shane’s meal

Unfortunately, though, he probably should’ve left the ribs off of his order, as he said they were fatty. He ate most of them but then couldn’t finish his fries or eat more than two of his wings. Wait, what now? Shane … with a to-go box?? I think this in only like the third time in WTGW history that has happened.

And the part that came home with us

And the part that came home with us

I got the cheeseburger wrap and onion rings. It was OK, but my eyes were definitely bigger than my stomach. I couldn’t finish the onion rings (hand battered, usually my fave but way too much to handle on this visit) and the 2nd half of the wrap I just ate the meat and cheese out of. Because unless it’s ciabatta bread, I can do without the carbs and just go for the good stuff.

Yum

Yum

Unlike showoff Ted, who was a member of the clean plate club this evening.

Clean Plate Award!

Clean Plate Award!

Sidenote: I had also intended to order the garlic fries with my sandwich – but having learned from the mistake that was Sassy’s butter-and-garlic-sauce-soaked-fries, I asked the server first. She confirmed my fear that these fries would in fact be similar, so I moved on to the steak fries … which she then warned me were dipped in batter before going into the fryer. Right, because French fries need to be made less healthy? Exactly. And that’s the long winded story of how I decided on onion rings. You’re welcome.

Also of note, for the second week in a row we were charged for our requested condiments. 0.35 for a side of mayo? Really? I mean, come on, we all know you buy those giant tubs of the stuff at Sam’s Club or some restaurants wholesale store for like $2.00 each. Is there some sort of shortage we aren’t privy to? Did the National Association of Mayo Makers go on strike?

In any case, remember the above paragraph when you look at Amanda’s “thumbs down” photo below, as that reflected in her scoring of the place.

So all in all, the food was decent, but nothing spectacular. We might think about putting it on the return list if it wasn’t a 30-minute drive for us, and also if we’d felt like we weren’t bothering our server by coming in and asking her to do her job. Actually, I think all of us customers were bothering everyone “working” there that evening. We watched as one server/bartender/maybe manager(?) did nothing but walk around and pretend to work … and if it’s that obvious to us, how must it be for the rest of the staff? Meanwhile our server seemed to have set her watch to “beach time” and assumed everyone was on the same clock, because she took her time on everything. They were staffed well, but no one seemed to work quickly or really care about doing things fast. Because that’s helpful.

We were sorry to have not checked out the patio, as we had heard good things about it – but then when we walked out and noticed it had rained while we were inside we were glad to not have gone that route after all. Us: 1, Mother Nature: 0.

Ted

Ted

Steph

Steph

Tell us how you really feel Amanda

Tell us how you really feel Amanda

Shane

Shane

Shane's new rating system is like deciphering gang signals

Shane’s new rating system is like deciphering gang signals

Or realizing he has arms

Or realizing he has arms

CAPSULE

Picked by:  Shane

Drinks:  Good monthly specials, but the draft list was either uber-crafty or bottom of the barrel domestics. If you go down the mixed drink path, just know that the bartender poured well – which is good or bad depending on your level of alcoholism.
Food:
 The apps were delicious. The meals, not so much. Once again proving our theory that perhaps we should just choose from the first page of the menu and stop there.
Service: Um, no.
Overall: This place sounded great on the website. But what we experienced definitely lacked the same pizzazz. If it was our local neighborhood bar we might be more inclined to visit more often, but we weren’t impressed enough this time around to vote for a second journey.

Next Pick:  Steph

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

WTGW 2/18/15: The Galaxy Sports Bar, Wadsworth

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So I have to admit I wasn’t sure what to expect with this week’s adventure. First of all, it’s in Wadsworth, which is new territory for the WTGW crew. And second, when Shane asked one of his co-workers if they had ever been to this place before, they replied yes … after a funeral. Um. Say what? Either this was one of the best funerals of the year, or we had reason to be a little worried about the clientele we were about to encounter.

And when I say worried, I mean like Gus’s Chalet kind of worried. Like we might be the only people there under 60 and be handed complimentary appetizers that taste like feet kind of worried.

But it turns out we didn’t have to be. Apparently The Galaxy is kind of like a three-for-one special – it’s a steakhouse, a sports bar and a banquet center all together. Oh, wait, make that four -for-one … a quick glance at the website also touts a wine room. Hey, overachievers – want to add a hotel, too? Oh, wait, no need – there are two within walking distance. So there’s that.

I have to note that the only similarity we really noted to Gus’ was the older man making conversation with the hostess when we first entered. And that she very clearly was looking for a reason to escape from. I’m not sure if she was more thankful for us coming in and saving her, or if we were just as thankful for the extremely prompt seating.

So of course given all of the options, we chose to visit the sports bar … because, well, us. The place has kind of an interesting atmosphere. It looks small when you first walk in, but after kind of settling in and taking it all in a little, we realized there really were a lot of tables in the space, and no one seemed to be cramped or climbing over one another to move around. The Galaxy definitely fits the sports bar mold, with plenty of TVs. Including ones on the tables. And complete with your own remote. Which basically translates to this place giving you a projectile should you be watching the game and a fan of the opposing team is sitting near you. Noted.

The beer list at The Galaxy was pleasantly surprising – especially the draft list, which featured several craft beers. Unfortunately we missed the laminated list on our table when the server first came over to take our drink orders, so that prolonged our ordering a bit. Well, except for Shane, who, after I said we would probably need a minute since it was likely to be beers all around, promptly ordered a rum and diet. Thanks honey.

We ended up with a Blue Moon for Amanda, Hoegarden for me, and Horny Goat Chocolate PB Porter for Ted. This week I win the lightest beer award.

Dark - light scale. With citrus this week.

Dark – light scale. With citrus this week.

Mustering our bravery, Amanda and I both actually tried Ted’s beer, even though it was roughly the color of a dark roast coffee and smelled immensely like a peanut butter sandwich. But we had to admit it wasn’t bad. I mean, it wasn’t “order me up a tall glass of this deliciousness” good – but it was at least decent. For a dark beer.

Ted was very proud.

I eventually switched to the locally brewed Spider Monkey Orange Barrel Ale, thanks to the sign on the chalkboard specials board across the room that intrigued me. I wish I hadn’t been so damn curious, as it wasn’t as good as my first pick. Oh well.

At least the label was cool

At least the label was cool

We chose the Thai calamari for our appetizer. We had it in our heads even before the server proclaimed it to be the best app on the menu – because, well, Shane loves calamari. It was definitely good. Only complaint was that we needed a side of the sauce in addition to what was drizzled over top, because it was by far what made the dish.

A staple of WTGW apps

A staple of WTGW apps

Once again we had the pre-meal interrogation of our server, asking what she liked best, top sellers, what the restaurant is known for, etc. She was quick to point out the steaks and burgers, and said that they actually raise their own beef about 20 miles from the restaurant, so it’s all fresh. Which basically eliminated that option from my choice list, since as much as I love burgers, I like to pretend they come from a tree somewhere and not hand raised just for us to eat them.

But that didn’t stop the rest of the table, who all ignored mental images of Bessie the cow living peacefully down the road and went the beef route.

Shane went all-in, and had the ranch hand steak. And he was not disappointed. If you know Shane, you know how much he loves to rank things – which means its a distinct honor to be listed in his “Top 10 of Steaks.” He said the steak was flavorful and seasoned to perfection. I believe the quote of the night was “fireworks in my mouth” – which could be really bad if taken out of context, so we’ll just leave that here.

Fireworks, pre-detonation

Fireworks, pre-detonation

Amanda had the bleu moon burger, which was this month’s special. It had bleu cheese and a portabella mushroom, and she said it was delicious. And that you could tell it was fresh. Although she ordered it medium and it was a bit more on the well side, so Shane should be glad he didn’t go the burger route this time around. Amanda only ate the burger, and gave the fries to Ted since she was too full. Which she said was a shame, because sweet potato fries are always delicious.

Sweet potato fries for the win

Sweet potato fries for the win

Ted had the fire pit burger, which he mistakenly forgot to ask for without cheese, so he had to spend a few minutes scraping that condiment off before he could even begin to eat it. But even regardless of that, he just said it was OK. Not only did the presentation leave something to be desired – Ted likened it to Steak’n’Shake – but the burger itself just looked extremely teeny tiny compared to the last few burgers he’s devoured. Seriously, asking this to follow up a burger served on French toast is like asking your brother’s high school band to play on the same stage after Bon Jovi finishes up a set.

See, there's a lot of open space there

See, there’s a lot of open space there

And I have to say I agree. I mean, there’s definitely something to be said for plain white plates … but if you’re going to serve sandwiches that look a bit on the small side, you need to at least match the serving size to the plate. Normal-sized burger on a tiny plate suddenly makes it look larger. Or spread out the fries so they cover the remainder of the open space. I thought everyone knew this by now.

I had the smokey all-American melt. Which, much like Ted’s sandwich, was just OK. It was way too heavy on the honey mustard. I mean, I’m not a giant fan of mustard to begin with, but in moderation it’s bearable and can give a sandwich a good flavor. This was like they soaked the bun in a vat of honey mustard before grilling it. And speaking of the bun – and knowing my love of carbs – let’s just say I was far from impressed. I guess from the description I thought this sandwich would be more like a large toasted sub, when in reality it’s basically a grilled cheese with meat on a glorified hot dog bun. Which, no.

If I could've had the entire sandwich on that piece of buttered bread I think I would've been happier

If I could’ve had the entire sandwich on that piece of buttered bread I think I would’ve been happier

We noted – and the boys spent a good amount of time discussing – the “Cowboy Challenge” that The Galaxy offers. It’s a 48 oz steak, with potatoes and broccoli (really, we’re concerned with adding a vegetable here?) for $65. And if you finish it all I think you get your name on the wall of fame, and maybe a t-shirt. Make sure you order that shirt a size larger than what you normally wear if you plan to don it the same evening, btw. Because, wow, that seems like a lot of food.

But I think Ted was seriously tempted. And even more so after his disappointing burger.

They also have an AYCE Sunday brunch, which includes crab legs. That got Shane’s attention for sure.

All in all, not sure that we’d go back to The Galaxy. Our table was equally divided on the thumbs up/thumbs middle consensus. I was disappointed in my food, but the service was decent and the atmosphere was OK. I think we all agreed we’d be interested to check out the patio and the Sunday brunch … but this place also isn’t a quick jaunt around the corner, so whether or not we’ll actually make the drive again is kind of a toss up.

Amanda

Amanda

Shane

Shane

Ted

Ted

Steph

Steph

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

CAPSULE

Picked by:  Amanda
Drinks: Surprisingly more craft beers on tap than what I would’ve expected from a place like this. Filed under: looks can be deceiving.   
Food:
I think the lesson we learned is stick to the dinners, not the sandwiches. And don’t come looking for presentation.
Service: Nice enough but nothing out of this world. At the Galaxy. Out of this world. Get it? Oh never mind.
Overall: I think we all agreed that we would be interested to see what the crowd is like at this place on a weekend. Or what the AYCE Sunday Brunch is all about. But are we interested enough to make the 30 minute drive back? That remains to be seen.

Next Pick: Ted

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