A late post from Thanksgiving 2021 Travel to Cleveland, Ohio. A few more are still in the backlog-- but local content takes priority. Enjoy!
Another morning came during our visit to Cleveland, Ohio where my husband and I would be on our own while his siblings slept in to enjoy their holiday to its fullest. We didn’t know where to go for breakfast, but we most certainly did not want to be the types that went to Starbucks while on a mini vacation. A cursory google search for favorite brunch restaurants in town lead us to Townhall down by the West Side Market. It appeared on every list I checked, and it provided us an opportunity to stop by one of our favorite locations in the city again if we wanted to bring something along for the Ohio State game that afternoon.
Townhall has been around long enough that I have vague memories of driving by the front of the restaurant and staring at it longingly. It was a very superficial fascination with the decor out front more than anything, because I had no idea what was inside it. This trip, I was able to find out because my husband left me in charge of these outings. We walked around the market and into the cafe side of the restaurant to order.
Townhall has a great menu with options for all types of eaters, including vegans. That variety is certainly what catapults the restaurant up to the top of many lists across the internet. We went for two of the most common types of brunch dishes, eggs benedict and the egg sandwich. Both can be ordered with rosemary roasted potatoes which are only available during actual brunch hours. We decided to go that route.
Koko Sushi Bar moved to their new location over the summer of 2021, and I have taken my time getting out there. We are big sushi lovers. Umi Sushi, however, is a block away. Our experience at Koko Sushi Bar in their downtown location in 2020 remains the best in town even with Umi Sushi so close to where we live. Our decision to visit Koko’s new location came in a Friday evening while we were out on the west side trying to decide on dinner. We had originally went out to visit Badger State Brewing and the Bay Burger Food truck. The truck was delayed, and we were hungry.
So we went farther down Lombardi to visit an old friend of a restaurant that we had neglected over time. Stepping into the restaurant and seeing the tree that was a famous fixture of the old location reminded me that I had done them a disservice by not coming to visit them again. We were seated quickly despite the Friday night crowd, and we ordered our small meal for the night.
The Packers first playoff game of the year is coming, and it reminded me that I forgot to post a review I wrote for a downtown classic back in November. Please enjoy this backlogged post and consider Saint Brendan's Inn for your playoff needs-- food and lodging!
My husband and I wandered into Downtown Green Bay on a chilly November evening looking for something to eat. Something was going on at the Meyer, so many of the places we scouted out before we got into the car were already full. Vintage Cantina had long been on the radar, and I swear that every single seat in there was full. We parked just outside of Saint Brendan’s Inn, so we walked back down toward the car, found ourselves guided to the door of the Irish Restaurant/Hotel by the delightful smell in the air, and walked inside.
This wasn’t the first time we visited. Back when we first moved here, one of my husband’s new coworkers invited us out to lunch here. It is still one of my fondest memories of town. We ate and drank very well, and yet my husband and I hadn’t been back since. This Friday night provided the opportunity to return without a wait at the door, and we sat down in the dining area with the Bucks game on at the bar behind us.
Going home for Christmas often provides the unique opportunity of reviewing restaurants outside of my traditional coverage area, and this year was no exception. It’s the first time in three years that I’ve been home. The universe gave me a gift: Schlafly Brewery of Saint Louis opened a location in the family’s ancestral home of Highland, Illinois during Christmas week.
After coming to the USA from Switzerland, the founders of the craft brewery first put down roots in a small town not far from where I would be staying this Christmas. I saw the news of the opening through the old television station I got all my news from as a kid. It struck me as unusual for many reasons. Saint Louis, while not far away, so rarely extends the tendrils of its businesses out into these rural communities. It wouldn’t be until I actually visited that I’d find out the historical significance of the choice. It also promised a dining experience to an area often underserved.
So I planned Christmas Eve lunch with my father and my husband at the new restaurant, and we arrived ahead of the doors opening to make sure we could get a table. The location wasn’t taking reservations– and they may never. That wasn’t particularly clear. What was clear, however, was that we were not the only people in the region with this idea. Even ten minutes early, car after car arrived to park along Highland Square and wait their turn to walk into the doors of the old bank turned brewpub.
My husband and I first moved to Green Bay in November of 2019, and the first meal we shared together was at Poke the Bear in downtown. It was the only restaurant he knew of in the area because its where his job took him during his interview process, and he wanted to share the experience with me on that first evening. Back then, I didn’t review it. I was not as serious about my blogging back then as I am now, and I was somewhere brand new.
Now, two years later, we walked into the doors of the Northland Hotel for the first time since. It is exactly as I remember it. A luxurious looking hotel lobby out of a magazine is there to greet you before you turn to your left and into Poke the Bear. We arrived as a bridal shower was wrapping up in their back room area, so we took a seat at their high tops by the window to look out on a bright, sunny, and most importantly warm Saturday afternoon.
Saturday afternoon. My husband just got back from his field day for his hunting certification. We were both hungry, and we couldn’t decide where to go. So, we made a list of restaurants and bars in town that we hadn’t visited yet and rolled a die. The number seven was face up, and number seven on our List was Crown and Common-- a relatively new bar in the area that I only noticed on my radar shortly after lockdown.
Crown and Common sits in the district of Main Street where a lot of new businesses have started to pop up in recent years-- particularly restaurants and bars. They built up an interesting patio area for more space for business to follow post-lockdown restaurant business practices, which is perhaps one of the best things about the bar. The covered patio has long and wide tables with a little firepit in the middle to keep folks warm in the winter if they go outside, and the garage door type windows raise to bring some air in in the warmer months.
It was the type of day for the garage doors to be open, and the Brewers playoff game was on the TV, making it the perfect afternoon to drop into a bar for some drinks and snacks. The prices at Crown and Common are incredible for the quality of mixed drinks and the variety of beer is respectably low. Every mixed drink is served in a tall glass the size of a draft cup of beer for almost always only six dollars.
A crisp Thursday evening, one of the first in October, set over town on the night of the Alton Brown show, Beyond the Eats, that my husband had ordered tickets for me for my birthday when the visit to Green Bay was first announced. We had to be at the Weidner Center at UW-GB in a few hours, but we wanted to go out for dinner. It looked like other people attending the show had the same idea. There was one restaurant close to campus that looked promising-- Black Sheep.
The Oktoberfest at Revolution Market welcomed a new vendor into their halls for a prolonged stay. Souper Day wasn’t here just to pop up. They were here for the long haul, and they were ready for the morning when the doors opened to the Oktoberfest goers one cool October afternoon. We stopped in immediately once we realized that the newcomers were ready, and we learned a lot about them while the crowd remained thin.
This was their very first day in their new stall at the Revolution Market. We spoke to Farmer Rick of Produce With Purpose who seemed very excited to welcome in the new blood, swearing that he'd be their best customer as the weather gets colder and soup becomes even more welcoming. The ladies manning the new stall seemed excited for the new beginning in their business and shared their plans for the future with us while my husband and I worked out what we wanted to sample. It was our mission that day to try to buy something from every vendor in the building, and we would be remiss not to do so with the newest permanent residents of one of our favorite locations in town.
We have reviewed Player 2 Arcade Bar in the past, focusing on their drinks and our experience among the vintage arcade cabinets of youth. Player 2 remains a destination for any visitors that come to see me from the era of the classic arcade, and no one has been disappointed. However, we never formally ate there. That ended one October weekend where it got too hot in my apartment for me to cook, and my husband and I needed something to do.
We arrived just before the rush came pouring into the door with enough time to order drinks and our meal from the one bartender on staff. The poor guy was managing the bar, food orders, and any malfunctions on the variety of machines in the building by himself by the time we left. Overwhelmed is one way to describe the guy by the end of our visit-- but he was as courteous then as he was when my husband and I initially ordered.
The burger menu is an homage to characters of the 80’s and 90’s video games. Donkey Kong, Mario, The Terminator, and more have a signature burger on the regular menu for you to pick out at any given visit. They go through a special burger each month, and this month’s burger was named for that classic NFL Arcade Game: Blitz. It’s a game my husband plays every visit, and the burger he decided to get for himself.