ABC The Tavern
 Cleveland, Ohio        Date of Visit  10/26/12  

Our second try to hit a place seen on the show 24 in 24 actually worked out. After a pre-meal tasting at Crepes DeLuxe and some shopping for dinner supplies at the West Side Market we walked up a block and waited for the place to open. Right on schedule we strolled into a long dark bar space with an odd little balcony and a few tables along the walls. The place is working towards hip but seems to find itself a little more hip than it actually is.



Whatever You Order, They Got The Sauce

Our server was wearing jeans and a Tshirt (CALIFORNIA: You Can’t Afford It) along with anti-social facial hair. He rolled right along with our ridiculous order. He was friendly and pretty thoughtful. The entire service was a team affair which worked pretty well as there are far more bartenders than kitchen staff.

We started with the things we had seen praised on the show…namely hush puppies, the atomic dog and the BLT. Everything at the Tavern is made in house including the house cured pork belly for the BLT, the puppies, and I don’t know about the hot dog. The host seemed ridiculously impressed by the BLT and it’s production. I just wasn’t. The belly had been cured in a manner that resulted in something stringier than poorly done jerky but without all of the flavor. The Italian bread didn’t hold up well and the dill aioli didn’t seem to make any sense at all. For all of the attention received I thought it was a complete disaster.


The Vaunted BLT Looked Promising But...

...Was A Failure Of The First Magnitude

The Atomic Dog

Actually Worked To Fulfill It's Spicy Promise

The Atomic Dog was markedly better, wrapped in bacon and deep fried; the all beef sausage was laden with porky goodness. It was also saturated with jalapeno peppers, topped with a sriacha aioli and served on a chili oil bun resulting in an unapologetic heat. Much better. The hush puppies were also pretty tasty. Cornmeal balls fried to a seriously dark brown and accompanied by the sriracha aioli, they weren’t as oniony as many I have had which made them easier for Steph to enjoy. The bump of rich heat also helped.

I know. Our ridiculous orders are usually much more ridiculous…we are trying to behave a little more nowadays. Yeah. Right. There were also a couple of things on the menu which had not seen the harsh lights of the TV cameras which sounded intriguing. Our server recommended the wings which are a time to time special. They were huge…a bonus in some ways but often results in slightly underdone chicken which we were suspiciously close to here. The sauce was fine if unremarkable. Wings really aren’t what would draw me back down the block from the market. What actually stood out from the entire experience was something we decided on after having perused the menu…not typical of us…but it just sounded good….and it completely paid off.


Darkly Fried Homemade Pups

Hot Corny Flavor

Wings Were Huge

But Unremarkable

The Hummus Cucumber Club had layers of pita bread loaded with roasted red pepper hummus, cucumbers, lettuce, roasted red peppers and cucumber sauce. This veggie option had intense and varied flavors and textures which all supported and improved each other to make for a really nice sandwich. Add fairly good fries to all three dishes, loads of condiment options, a wide variety of beer options and an extensive and eclectic soundtrack and The ABC faired pretty well. It does offer ever continuing proof that you can’t always trust the grinning noggins on TV. Some times they have a difference of opinion, sometimes they get paid to smile and like stuff, like it or not. I don’t know how anyone could honestly enjoy the BLT. If you stay long enough there will be something playing that you enjoy…from Sinatra to the Bee Gees to Rage Against the Machine…all have a chance to be heard. You will also likely find something good enough to eat. Don’t expect really good; you will be rewarded.

The Hummus Cucumber Club

Wonders Of Thoughtful Vegetarian Options



What's Best

What's Worst

  C B- B A F C-  
  Limited Menu     I Know I Know,
But Veggie Sandwich
Crimes Against
Pork Belly
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