Cuisine Type: Barbecue and
American comfort food
Reservations: Not necessary
Handicap Accessible: Yes
Number of Tables: 11?25
Parking: Parking lot
Most popular offering: Smoked meats
Alcohol: Full bar
Delivery/Take-out Available: Yes
Outdoor Seating: No
The aroma of Southern-style barbecue fills Tavern of Solon, rising above the top of its restored 1950s high-school scoreboard and up to the ceiling. Under the watchful eye of owner Rich Earle, the casual pub crafts dishes such as Angus burgers topped with Carolina-style barbecue pork and smoked or fried wings entirely in-house. The pillars of the menu, though, are the slow-smoked barbecue platters?pork, brisket, chicken, and baby back ribs?paired with traditional sides, including coleslaw and cornbread muffins. Events, such as live music on Saturday nights and screenings of Sunday- and Monday-night NFL games, contribute to the lively atmosphere. Decades-old photos of the city of Solon line the walls, conjuring a blend of local pride and nostalgia.
The Dickey’s Barbecue Pit sign may be ubiquitous today as a spot for good ole’ Texas barbecue, but when Travis Dickey first opened his Dallas shop in 1941, the sign had to share space with advertisements to help pay rent. In the 70 years since then, the Dickeys have done well for themselves, with their initial store spawning a slew of franchises throughout the country. Though the barbecue at each outpost is no longer under the hand of one of Dickey’s descendants, each shop still smokes their own meats in-house to create the signature Texan flavor that infuses their briskets, pulled pork, and fall-off-the-bone ribs. Meals can come in any size, from the a la carte sandwiches to platters that incorporate a chosen number of meats with a buttery roll, a pickle, two homestyle sides, and free ice cream. Whether serving up their dishes in the dining room or packing them up for take-away or catering, the staff ensures that each client gets a taste of Texas home cooking without the hassle rubbing every dish on a campfire crock-pot.
Boneyard Beer Farm & Mesquite Grill combines hearty eats with entertainment. HDTVs illuminate trays filled with double-patty burgers and St. Louis-style ribs drowned in house made barbecue sauce, as well as 16 types of sandwich including the hand-made, slow roasted pulled pork. On the weekends, live bands take the stage, serenading ears as fingers busy themselves with wings drenched in one of 15 sauces ranging from mild to devilishly hot.
Al "Bubba" Baker is no stranger to awards. The former NFL lineman went to three pro bowls during his career and was named 1978's Defensive Rookie of the Year. Upon his retirement from the field, Bubba yearned for a return to his southern roots, and so he and his wife Sabrina decided to open a barbecue restaurant using secret family recipes stemming all the way back to the 1950s. Those time-honored techniques include marinating dry-rubbed pork, brisket, and ribs overnight, and then slow-smoking them for hours over smoldering piles of Ohio-grown applewood. It's a painstaking process, but it pays—today, Bubba's trophy case is filled with myriad awards for his succulent cuisine, including four Silver Spoon recognitions from Cleveland Magazine for Best Ribs and Best Barbecue Restaurant.
While many barbecue joints taut ribs that are boneless, Bubba's takes things a step further by de-boning baby back ribs through an patented process that leaves them easily mastered with a knife and fork or spare fencing sword. Bourbon adds an extra flair to boneless beef short ribs, which are sautéed in Bubba's signature barbecue sauce, splashed with bourbon, and set aflame before serving, and southern fried chicken owes its own crispy exterior to a secret batter invented by Bubba's momma, Ernestine. The kitchen also ladles its famous pulled meats onto baskets of fries and on sandwiches to create easy handheld eats, which may be enjoyed in the sports-themed dining room or out on the covered patio, where an inset fireplace keeps things warm and cozy in true down-homestyle.
Stationed across from Kent Free Library, Wild Goats Café tramples hunger with its selection of homemade comfort food for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Inside the dining room, wood trim runs along the top of sand- and pistachio-shaded walls, creating a warm atmosphere often filled with the smell of fresh-roasted coffee. Friendly servers pirouette between booths and tables delivering omelets in the morning and sandwiches in the afternoon, such as The Goat—an open-faced fusion of melted cheddar, tangy hummus, and veggies stacked atop pita bread. For dinner, the cooks craft a handful of entrees featuring a variety of enticing ingredients, such as organic chicken breast, house roasted sirloin, and homemade tomato cream sauce. Throughout the week, specials reward diners for their visit, including Buck Buck Brinner Wednesday, when eight menu items cost just a dollar apiece, making it the ideal night to finally take your pet elephant out for dinner.
Domenic's Pub is a classic sports bar featuring a menu of pub fare that's served until late (11 p.m. Sunday–Thursday, midnight on Fridays and Saturdays). Chow down on pizza, sandwiches, and wings capable of filling stomachs with that warm, fuzzy feeling normally only achieved by hunkering down in a Japanese kitten pit. The sliced prime-rib panini slathered with horseradish mayo and provolone comes au jus to allow for the delightful juice-to-bread exchange ($5). Specialty pizzas such as the Mediterranean (olive oil, shrimp, roasted red pepper, basil, and fresh mozzarella, $6) provide pre-sliced pabulum for bicker-free dining among the mixed company of friends, acquaintances, and old-timey industrial tycoons. Prove your mettle by downing a basket of hot wings, which can be lovingly chased by a pint of Labatt Blue, Leinenkugel's Sunset Wheat, Guinness, or Miller Lite, all on draught.