Behind the horseshoe-shaped bar, Cedarcrest Tavern's bartenders pop caps from beer bottles, pull draft taps, and shake cocktails with top-shelf liquors. More than 20 televisions broadcast sports games throughout the tavern, from their ceiling mounts above the bar or tucked into individual booths. Elegant candelabras, framed mirrors, and wood accents contrast the utter modernity of the sprawling flat-screen monitors.
The TVs aren't the only sizeable rectangles at the restaurant—the large menu presents hand-cut fries, burgers, and steaks, which can be enjoyed over games of trivia on Tuesday nights. Other events—such as ladies' and guys' nights, college football celebrations, and live music or DJ's—make Cedarcrest a leisurely destination, unlike Accounting World, where you get to ride rollercoasters, but only while filling out 1040 EZ forms.
In April of 2011, a group of friends on a fishing trip—all veterans of the hospitality industry—got to talking about their love of food as they cooked their dinner around a campfire. The smoky flavors, crackling flames, and friendship merged into an idea to create a barbecue joint with traditional Southern comfort fare and an interactive dessert element.
Today, diners pile into wood-backed booths to dig into ribs slathered in house sauce, smoked sausages, and a menu stocked with homestyle fare. From three types of mac 'n' cheese—traditional, broccoli, and pulled pork—to fresh-ground burgers made with short ribs, brisket, and ground chuck, the kitchen crew crafts its own takes on classic comfort fare as flat-screen TVs flicker above the bar. The dessert section includes do-it-yourself s'mores that are toasted tableside by a portable burn pit and touted as "the only dessert in town that requires a disclaimer," an honor previously held by torch-it-yourself crème brûlée.
Owners Monica Webb, Helena Thornfeldt, and Deborah Schjodt, a trio of former professional athletes, foster their life-long love of competition with 10 Diamond tables and replenish nutrients with inspired American fare. Dominate on the sweeping emerald, fueled by a full bar with more than nine taps and unlimited cue sharpenings. The menu, a profusion of time-tested fodder, includes wings tossed in 11 different sauces ($7.49 for 10), the classic Stix burger ($6.99), and the Sledgehammer sandwich, a soaring duet of salami and roast beef accompanied by warm provolone baritone ($7.99). Pizza rolls encase troves of toppings, such as ham, jalapeños, and bacon, in a hearty, hand-tossed crust ($6.99), much like Chef Boyardee smuggles secret recipes in his hat.
Games of Keno or Texas hold'em add a bit of risk to a night at Locals Bar & Grill—unlike the menu of comfort-food classics, such as hand-cut fries piled next to similarly handcrafted burgers. Ten-inch personal pizzas come with custom toppings that range from bacon to banana peppers. Chicken wings are served by the pound and are also customizable, featuring lemon-pepper, honey-barbecue, and other sauces. Tacos, nachos supreme, deviled eggs, and homemade chili round out the menu.
In spirit with the olden days of romantic turkey-leg gnawing by firelight, Olde Towne serves up an extensive menu of protein-packed fare, including grilled meats, seafood, burgers, sandwiches, hand-tossed pizzas, gourmet salads, soups, and more. Pique your palate with an order of Chesapeake crab fritters served with roasted red-pepper aioli and wasabi slaw ($9.99); or Cajun chicken nachos, topped with wood-fired chicken, lettuce, tomatoes, jalapeños, and a mix of cheeses ($7.99). Jumbo fresh fried chicken wings come doused in your choice of sauce (house specialties include lemon pepper, ranch, and lemon-yaki), served with celery and blue cheese or ranch dressing ($8.99 for 10). Treat your mouth to some wood-fired protein, such as prime rib served au jus with horseradish ($12.99 for 8 oz.), chicken Florentine stuffed with spinach and artichoke dip and topped with sun-dried tomatoes and a demi glaze ($13.99), or seared tuna served with veggies, wasabi slaw, and one additional side ($13.99). To satisfy the mini taste sensors on your fingertips, try a handheld creation such as the Black and Blue Burger (bacon and blue, jack, and cheddar cheeses, $8.50) or patty melt (Swiss and American cheeses and sautéed onions on rye, $8.99), and satisfy creative impulses with a build-your-own pizza topped with your choices from Olde Towne's bevy of meats, veggies, and cheeses (starting at $9.99 for 14").
With its chair-lined bar, cozy wooden booths, and flat-screen televisions playing every big game, Ralph's Tavern exudes all the charm of a neighborhood pub and grill. Lingering is hardly a problem since the eatery remains open until as late as 2 a.m. on weekend nights and starless weekday evenings. To help keep hunger pangs at bay late into the night, the cooks prepare an eclectic variety of hearty comfort foods that are still classics nonetheless. Sandwiches made with Boar's Head deli meats appear alongside shrimp fajitas and linguine with meatballs and homemade marinara sauce. Additionally, the cooks make their signature burgers by grilling patties of 100% Angus beef and topping the finished creations with everything from smoked gouda and caramelized onions to fried green tomatoes and spicy mayo.