Looking for lunch to break up a long Sunday of
studying and writing our original destination turned out to be
closed on Sundays…look for them on a page near this one. Instead we
shot up the road to join the religious for lunch. At least the folks
who religiously drink at a bar on Sundays. The building which is
currently Cleats was once a bar/restaurant we would frequent for
lunch about a decade ago. The layout of the building has gone
essential unchanged but they have added a number of televisions and
video games to give it more of a sports bar feel. Just a note to
those of you who are playing the video game “Bags” in bars. If the
physical requirements of a strenuous game of corn-hole are too great
for you, so you’ve opted for the less corporal and less exciting
video version, please see a physician.
Sorry, some things I just don’t get. The inside of the restaurant is a bit brighter than it used to be and has two rooms of tables, one flanked by booths. The menu is bar food ordinare and I began to get haunting flashbacks to our trip to Legends in the Falls. Our server was much more on the ball at Cleats and there were other folks who were actually there to eat instead of stewing their brains in adult beverages so we maintained a ray of hope. We started with a couple of appetizers. Cleats is apparently the “official” chicken wing of the Cleveland Indians so we ordered a small basket. There are 22 available sauces from a Lime Pepper dry rub to what they have named Red Death. Looking for something a little less ordinary we tried the Kentucky Bourbon sauce. They also had something labeled Potato Cupcakes. There is simply no way we were leaving without finding out what these things could possibly be. Don’t get too excited, they are essentially tater skins. They do have a lighter texture than most potato skins and are loaded with cheese and bacony happiness, really pretty good, the name is just much more innovative than the dish.
Sweet, Smoky Wings With a Kick
I Had to Pull Fries Off To See This Much
The wings however were fabulously crusty and completely doused with
a rich sauce. The Kentucky Bourbon is definitely a sweeter option
but it has a nice kick on the back end and the smokiness of the
Bourbon really goes well with the fried chicken. If you're sitting in
Legends parking lot right now reading
this…do yourself a favor…drive to a Cleats.
We split a couple of sandwiches, one standard
and one a little off the beaten path for us. The Buffalo chicken
sandwich is breaded and fried, dipped in the hot sauce and topped
with pepper jack. Steph found the sauce hotter than she expected and
the Buffalo chicken sandwich is one of her go to orders. I found the
heat just about perfect. The sandwich was hard to see through the
thick shingling of darkly fried potatoes that had invaded from the
pile and eclipsed everything else on the plate.
There is Chicken Under It All, Good Spicy Sauce
The Veggie Melt...Really Pretty Good
The sandwich comes with a little cup of blue cheese dressing. I usually get irritated when someone charges extra for a cup of blue cheese and then deliver an insipid and blueless goo. This stuff has a virulent blue tang and comes gratis. If I had eaten the whole thing I would have happily bought more.
The second sandwich was the Vegetarian Melt. Fried zucchini planks are topped with roasted pepper, tomato, lettuce, onions and ranch dressing. I didn’t care a great deal for the zucchini planks alone, they had something off-putting in the breading or perhaps the grease, but all together between two slabs of good bread, it was very good. Would be a great place to catch a game, if you’re looking for a sports bar with pretty good food, you can do a lot worse than Cleats.