Ay, there’s the pub
The desire for a deal on gastropub goodies lured me downtown on a recent afternoon, but first I should have checked the baseball schedule. Located across the street from the Aces stadium, Mellow Fellow Gastropub offers a decent happy hour menu from 3 to 6 p.m.—unless it’s a game day. I’ve really got to get some new glasses and start paying attention to the fine print.
I’d heard they claim a selection of 40 craft beers from across the continent, so I took the time to tally the chalkboard while deciding on a brew. Over 40, check. More than half I’ve never heard of, double-check. This looks like the right place to try something new and interesting.
Regular beers are priced at $5 a glass. Premium drafts and a handful of bottles range from $6 to $30 each. As is the current custom, each potion described includes the ABV percentage (alcohol by volume). I knew I didn’t have time for more than one—and I wanted something new to me—so I chose the highest octane with a clever name, Rogue Old Crustacean Barleywine, and was not disappointed.
The food menu consists primarily of things that pair well with beer (salt, fat, carbs), with the possible exception of three salads that snuck in. Perhaps they’re intended for those who order one of the four wines available? If your date orders wine or salad in a place with this much beer, whiskey, salt and cheese on the menu, he or she is not a keeper.
Though tempted by the charcuterie and cheese board for appetizers, I selected the pizzel ($8), a locally-baked soft pretzel covered in mozzarella and pepperoni with marinara on the side, and the pork pop ($4), a four-ounce serving of bone-in grilled shank with a choice of sweet or spicy barbecue sauce. The pop was much like eating an extra-tender rib, meat falling off the bone and texture akin to a chop. A basket of pork pops ought to be on the menu. The pretzel was soft and chewy, and the toppings were fine, though I wish the sauce was more interesting. It’s possible seasoning was involved, but I wouldn’t swear to it.
A daily selection of locally produced sausages are available served on a stick ($6.50) or bun ($7.50). I felt compelled to try the Elk apple pear grilled sausage on a stick. Noticeable chunks of fruit were blended with savory seasoning, grilled with just enough char and surprisingly moist. Not cheap, but also not average. A sausage sampler plate would be a great idea, especially matched against the malt offerings.
Over a dozen grilled sandwiches made with Texas toast round out the menu ($11 with choice of side. $1.50 to add peppers and onions). My wife and I split a pair: the Blue Plate Special with coleslaw (meatloaf, mac and cheese, cheddar), and the Tatanka with potato salad (grilled chicken, provolone, Buffalo sauce). First, I’ve got to give credit to the sides. The slaw was a creamy mix of cabbage and shredded veggies with a bit of spicy kick in the back end. (Sriracha?) Similar result with the taters, thick cut rather than cubed and that same bit of kick. Yummy.
The Blue Plate was our favorite— super cheesy, crispy, and with well-seasoned slabs of meatloaf nestled inside. Similarly, the Tatanka was not lacking for cheese, but I would have preferred the sauce included in the sandwich rather than on the side as a dip. “Let the cheesy hot wing sandwich be hot,” is what I always say.
With a mix of tall pub and low long tables, there’s enough seating for a large gathering. Furthering the fun atmosphere, there are board games, a pool table and a shuffleboard table. If I were 20 years younger, I’d probably live there.