We all have that quirky little spot close to home that we always fall back on. It’s the neighborhood place where you recognize many of the faces, know what you’re going to order without a glance at the worn and tattered menu, and even though it may not serve up the best food, it’s comforting – and sometimes that’s all that matters. To me, that place is The American Tavern – or the AT, as it’s more affectionately referred to as.
The AT, which is located in north Solon on the Orange border, has all the makings of a great neighborhood joint complete with better than average bar food. My favorites as of late are the grilled cheese on wheat and Manhattan clam chowder (just had this on Friday evening) and the fish fry – crispy, sometimes a bit too greasy, but ideal if you’re in the mood for this. The burgers and wings are also worthy of a mention.
At the risk of sounding a bit corny, this place holds a special place in my heart. I spent a few summer breaks from college bartending and serving there. I had little experience, but Linda, the owner, was so friendly and excited to have help, she didn’t seem to notice my lack of serving talents, although I’m sure she came to regret her decision once she saw I was a klutz, too. When I stop in there now for lunch or dinner, she always smiles and asks how I am. I told her once I used to work for her, and she smiled as if she remembered like it was yesterday. I’m pretty confident she doesn’t, but it’s still a nice gesture. The AT is also the place where my friends would all meet and drink way too much during those same breaks and several times post college. It’s also the place we instantly migrated to to grieve and reminisce when one of our friends died much too young nine years ago.
My visits to the AT now are thankfully filled with much less alcohol and more about grabbing a quick lunch or dinner as it’s close to home and work. But every time I walk through the door, I step back in time for a brief moment and can picture random events from my past. And the funny thing is, it has now become that quirky little neighborhood spot for my husband. He always offers up going there for a quick dinner saying it reminds him of the place he always went to growing up in Youngstown.