WTGW 9/30/15: Beer & Belly Sports Bar, Northfield

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Hey, we’re not in Canton this week!?! What?

But we did still visit a place located in a strip plaza, if that makes you feel any better. Redemption.

Amanda had noticed this place while driving by with Jerrid one day, and apparently immediately exclaimed that she was picking it for WTGW. Unfortunately Jerrid is still relatively new to the “rules” of WTGW – like how it’s perfectly acceptable to yell out “I’m picking it!” when you see a random dive bar or new restaurant in passing – so she was kind of jumping the gun a bit on that one. It’s like when you’re on a long, boring car ride and suddenly decide to play “slug bug” with someone who clearly didn’t know they were part of the game.

We seemed to show up in shifts for this week’s adventure, with Amanda and Jerrid arriving first, Ted and I next in line, and then my over-achieving and workaholic husband arriving last. That being said, Shane had some catching up to do on drinking when he got there, and went straight for the Long Islands. Well played.

Meanwhile it was Harvest Patch shandy for the rest of us (hey, it’s only available through October, we have to take advantage while we can!) and Jerrid went with a Jack & Coke.

Our server was honestly one of the best parts of our visit to Beer & Belly. Her personality had just the right mix of sass and sarcasm (which is a true compliment from someone who strives to achieve that balance pretty much every day of her life), without going overboard and making you feel like you just sat down to dinner with the Plastics from Mean Girls.

Case in point, when we ordered our beers:

Server: Do you want talls?
Entire table: Of course.
Server: I would hope so, our motto around her is go big or go home … and I’d hate to ask you to leave so soon.

Or, when Shane was grilling her on the specials and asking her opinion on the best food on the menu:

Server, looking directly at Ted: The Cowboy Burger is delicious. It has this pepper jack cheese on it that really gives it a good, spicy kick, really amazing.
Entire table: Um, yeah, you’re telling the wrong person. Ted hates cheese.
Server: What the hell is wrong with you? Who doesn’t like cheese? That’s insane. I don’t even know what to think about you.

If we were 10 years old and back in the 5th grade, at that moment I think we all would’ve been fighting over who got to claim her as their BFF.

Although it should be noted that her sass didn’t sway Ted from actually ordering that very burger, so I guess there’s a twist of irony there. Actually, he had had his order all picked out, but then once Shane began the interrogation process and our server started listing all kinds of other yummy things he hadn’t bothered to take the time to consider … Ted got befuddled and just picked the cowboy burger. Minus cheese. On a pretzel bun. With tater tots.

That's a lot of tots

That’s a lot of tots

Whew. Close one.

He also ordered wings, because, well, not only are Wednesdays 50 cent wing days – but if you’ve been paying attention these last few weeks you’ll notice that the boys in our group seem to consider them the ideal “first course” for a meal. You know, some people do side salads or soup to start off, these guys do wings. Whatevs.

This group's version of a "dinner salad."

This group’s version of a “dinner salad.”

In any case. Ted got the Hot Garlic, which was apparently really, really good because he nearly licked the plate clean once he finished the actual wings. Maybe we really are 10 year olds.

Shane ordered the ribs (twist his arm yet again), after hearing from our server that they were “very good, not fatty at all, very meaty.” You could practically see Shane’s face light up when he heard that. He got onion rings as a side. And for his wing option, he chose the garlic parm. Which, once again, if you’re following along here at home, you probably realize is nearly an exact clone of his order last week. Well, except swap the “parm” on the wings with “honey.” Which would of course make them disgusting in the process, so no thanks.

I have a feeling “honey garlic” is going to become the new “tarter toast” within our group. Just sayin’.

I think some restaurant somewhere should just start calling this the "Shane Special"

I think some restaurant somewhere should just start calling this the “Shane Special”

Rounding out the guys orders, Jerrid went with the Belly Boy burger, which the server likened it to a Big Mac – right down to the special sauce. And tater tots instead of fries. Clearly we’re exercising all of our side dish options at the table this evening. He also chose the garlic parm wings. And mozzarella planks – which, if you’re wondering, are really just mozzarella sticks that look like they were run over by a steamroller.

Flattened fried cheese

Flattened fried cheese

The secret sauce is what makes it

The secret sauce is what makes it

Clearly his appetite alone causes him to fit in well with this group.

Us girls went the burger and no wings route for our orders this time around. Although I actually have to credit my choice – the Sicilian Burger – to Ted, who had questioned it during the server interrogation portion of the evening. His question was something along the lines of “does all that stuff come on top of the burger? Because it kind of seems to have a lot going on on it’s own without even throwing a burger underneath all those toppings.” So out of sheer curiousity it ended up as my meal. I mean, as a kid I used to love Roman Burgers at Mr. Hero – and this sounded pretty similar. And since we’re apparently reverting back to our 10-year-old selves with this week’s adventure, I guess it was only fair to choose that as my meal.

FYI, the Sicilian Burger actually wasn’t all that similar to the Roman Burger – other than that whole Italian name thing anyway – but it was still OK. I got it on the Italian garlic bread – you can choose that, a pretzel bun or regular brioche bun – and I mean, I figured if we’re going for a theme here then that just makes sense, no? Plus by now you know how easily I can be swayed by delicious sounding carbs.

Unfortunately, I choose poorly. I imagined this to be like Texas toast, but in reality it was just plain old thin sliced Italian bread with garlic seasoning. Definitely not sturdy enough to even hold the burger in. I ended up eating just the burger (which was good) without the bread and all the meat toppings – which kind of did have “a lot going on there,” to quote Ted.

You deceived me, Italian bread

You deceived me, Italian bread

But the sweet potato waffle fries were good, so there’s that. And I salivated over Amanda’s pretzel bun, which thoroughly contained her Bacon Bleu Shroom Burger that she proclaimed to be delicious. For her side she opted for the cheesy tots. Well played.

I'm jealous of your bun. And I mean that in a totally non-perverse way.

I’m jealous of your bun. And I mean that in a totally non-perverse way.

All in all, Beer & Belly is a pretty cool place with a good atmosphere and great service. We also took note of their daily specials, which include everything from the 50 cent wings (Mondays and Wednesdays), $5.99 burgers (Thursdays), and a decent steak special whose price I don’t remember but it sounded decent (Saturdays). Given those specials and his home’s proximity to this place, I think we may know where to find Jerrid on any given night that he’s not actually at home. And I don’t think you’d have to twist our arms to go join him at all.

Amanda

Amanda

Shane

Shane

Ted

Ted

Steph

Steph

Sometimes you have to zoom out to get the full picture with this group ...

Sometimes you have to zoom out to get the full picture with this group …

CAPSULE

Picked by:  Amanda

Drinks:  Decent options. Just make sure you get the tall beers, lest you be ridiculed for not hanging with the cool crowd.  
Food:
Good bar food, decent specials and portions. Figure out what type of food you like and match it to the day that has that special and you’re golden.
Service: I wish we’d gotten our girl’s name, because I would easily request her every time we go into this place. Anyone who can dole out the sarcasm along with a cold beer is a winner in my book.
Overall: Great little gem tucked into a strip plaza that I’m sure many people have driven past without even taking note of. Which works out well for those of us who have been there and liked it.

Next Pick: Ted

 

 

WTGW 9/2/15: Jerzees Sports Grille, Green

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Did you miss us?

So, yeah, basically we celebrated our two-year WTGW anniversary by taking most of the month of August off. I wish I could say it was some big food-and-drink-holiday collectively sponsored by all of the restaurants we’ve given favorable reviews to (*ahem* hint, hint) – but, alas, no, it was just bad timing of everything in our lives seeming to fall on Wednesday nights for a few weeks. Stupid jobs and responsibilities.

Especially since while we were away it seems summer ended. But, wait, you say … it’s only September, how is that possible? Well, let me tell you: you know summer is over when the fall beers come out on tap at area restaurants. Yep, we’re not even to Labor Day yet, and already the Summer Shandy has stopped flowing.

Let’s take a brief moment of silence for the death of all things citrus and lemony for another year. **sigh**

OK.

The irony here is that while we couldn’t order a summer drink to save our lives, we actually had to sit inside on our visit to Jerzees because it was about 85 degrees with 1397% humidity outside. So, yeah, glad to see all those fall beers on tap now, thanks. We all agreed that the patio looked nice from afar, though. There were lots of TVs over the full bar out there, which of course means it would likely be a great place to check out a game. Or several at once. Whatever.

Wednesdays are steak nights at Jerzees, which equates to spending $8.99 for a steak, side and salad. So needless to say the place was pretty busy. We ended up sitting at a high top just on the other side of the bar area.

Due to the lack of summer beers, Amanda went with the next closest thing, a Blue Moon. I decided to embrace fall (because apparently early September in Ohio now means PUMPKIN EVERYTHING EVERYWHERE ALL THE TIME) and go with the Southern Tier Pumking. Ted – the man who can pretty much find anything on a beer list that he likes regardless of season – went with the 2x IPA. And last but not least, Shane went for the illusive title of “least manly drink possible” with something called the Jerzee cooler.

Real men drink from straws and large punch bowl glasses

Real men drink from straws and large punch bowl glasses

Shane tried to defend himself by claiming that he “had to be the one different thing at our table.” Ted was just glad that title didn’t belong to him this time around. Although then he went and ruined it a few rounds later by trading in his beer for something similar to what Shane was drinking … after Shane spilled his nearly full drink and had to order another one. So either he was just trying to make Shane feel better, or he’d actually been insanely jealous the entire time. 

Ted didn't get a fancy glass. Or anyone to stir up his drink, apparently.

Ted didn’t get a fancy glass. Or anyone to stir up his drink, apparently.

Another sign that summer is over: mine and Ted’s beers were actually about the same color. And potency … a fact that crept up on me somewhere into the second tall glass. And I think hit Amanda when she tried to chug a beer like Ted did on his last beer round, and failed miserably.

Maybe the orange got in the way of the chug?

Maybe the orange got in the way of the chug?

So long 4.2% alcohol content beers. It’s been a fun summer.

Anyway.

We must’ve been delirious from either the humidity outside or the higher potency beers – or both – because we actually didn’t order an appetizer this week. What? Who are we? Those weeks off have changed us. For shame.

Ted and Shane both right down to business with the steak special, and also split the 25 wing platter. I think Shane’s exact words to the server were “we’ll want to START with the 25 wing platter.” She laughed. And then realized he was serious.

As Shane and Ted decided on flavors for their wing feast, I have to admit to slight flashbacks to a place called Cleats that we used to be regulars at back in Howland, where Shane and I lived long before WTGW was even a glimmer in our eyes. They also had a 25-wing platter, which Shane was well known for ordering and finishing all on his own. Shocker, I know. And surprising that he’ll now share it with Ted, but whatevs. In any case, they had an Erie Island dry rub seasoning that was to die for, and pretty much all Shane would eat there. And rave about whenever we went anywhere else. And dream about once we moved away. You get the idea.

So when we saw it on the menu again here, I thought for sure it would be hand’s down Shane’s favorite once again. They did order it as one of the five selections, along with the hot garlic parm, pineapple habenero, six pepper and Kentucky bourbon. Ironically, it didn’t win out. That title went to the Kentucky bourbon, although not overwhelmingly. In fact, Shane proclaimed the wings in general to be “just average.”

He rated the steak a bit higher, saying it was good and actually cooked exactly as asked. Which if you follow this blog you know he practically pulls out a rare-vs-medium-rare cooking chart every time he orders any type of meat, so that’s a compliment. His only complaint was that the steak was small, even for a special.

There's a steak under there somewhere

There’s a steak under there somewhere

Ted said wings good, steak good. That may be an exact quote.

If you just looked at that plate, it would seem so healthy

If you just looked at that plate, it would seem so healthy

But instead there's this

But instead there’s this

Amanda and I both went the burger route for this visit. I had the Chophouse burger with sweet potato fries, while she ordered the MVP burger with waffle fries and a side of cheese – another throwback to our old days at Cleats back in Warren. One that made me instantly jealous when her food arrived that I hadn’t thought to order the same thing. Seriously, why don’t more places offer a good cheese sauce for waffle fries? It’s just a natural fit, people. And if you’ve never tried it before, well, do yourself a favor and look for it on every menu until you can finally order it. Trust me.

Oh fake cheese, how we love you

Oh fake cheese, how we love you

Sweet potatoes are kind of vegetables, right?

Sweet potatoes are kind of vegetables, right?

We ended our evening with another thing you should always, always eat when it’s on the menu – our new favorite thing, and pretty much the only reason we actually even look at the dessert portion of the menu at all, funnel cake fries. Because now we just have to try them everywhere on principle. I say that like it’s a bad thing.

Oh hello there, lover

Oh hello there, lover

When the fries arrived, Amanda and Shane tried them first, and immediately tried to save Ted and I from the trouble by proclaiming them no good. They’re so kind. Unfortunately for them Ted and I aren’t so gullible. Let’s just say that I think those fries disappeared from the table in less time than it took Ted and Shane to decide on what wing flavors to order.

All in all Jerzees was a win in our book – service was good, food was decent and lots of TVs for games and other sports. It’s pretty much your typical cookie cutter sports bar/grill, where families and kid’s sports teams come for dinner after games but serious football watchers also get plenty of space for yelling and beer guzzling. If it were closer to us I could see it being more of a regular hangout for us, but there wasn’t much on the menu that made us say we really had to make the 25 minute drive again.

Amanda

Amanda

Steph

Steph

Shane

Shane

Ted gives it two saucy thumbs up

Ted gives it two saucy thumbs up

 

CAPSULE

Picked by:  Amanda

Drinks:  Not a huge draft selection. Or maybe it just seemed that way now that all of the lighter summer beers have been replaced by porters and pumpkin ales. The “girly” drinks were a tasty alternative for some of the group. 
Food:
Typical sports bar menu – burgers, sandwiches, salads, etc. The steak night deal is a decent price, but if you’re anything like the guys in this group you’ll need an appetizer (or 25-wing platter, whatever) to supplement the meal.
Service: Good. Our drinks were full, she gave good recommendations and was quick to bring extra napkins when Shane’s drink took a turn toward the floor.
Overall: Nothing bad, but nothing overly impressive either. A good neighborhood bar – if you live in the neighborhood, that is. Which we don’t. But we can always visit if we happen to be in the area.

Next Pick:  Ted

 

Jerzee's Sports Grille Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato