- By Alexis Larsen Contributing Writer
Tucked half-way between Springfield and Dayton in tiny Medway is a Clark County restaurant gem that residents from both cities should get to know.
The Tavernette Inn, established in 1939, is one of the area’s best kept restaurant secrets, boasting atmosphere and ambiance that goes on for days.
Here are just a few reasons you should plan a visit as soon as possible …
The vibe: Get ready for a time warp. The walls and cabinets full of old toys and kitschy antiques will transport you to another era. The hot orange chairs and turquoise booths add to the feel. This spot is a vintage feast for the eyes and provides a one-of-a-kind dining setting.
The specials: Tavernette specials are where it’s at — Tuesdays are a pizza special of the day. Wednesdays are fresh smoked BBQ ribs after 5 p.m., served with two sides ($18.95 for a half rack and $23.95 for a full). Thursdays is a chef’s choice surprise and Fridays and Saturdays feature a prime rib entrée after 5 p.m.
The food: The menu is a terrific companion to the throwback setting. The New York Strip ($23.95) is a great cut grilled to order and well worth it.
The Baked Meatloaf ($15.95), a newer option, made with onions, green peppers and bread crumbs and topped with house-made brown sugar glaze was savory, soft and comforting. The batter-fried walleye ($16.95) was a huge piece of crispy, golden-brown breaded fish that was perfectly fried and satisfying.
Other notable menu items: fried green tomatoes ($8.95), frog legs ($15.95), a Tavern Sticky Burger ($12.95) topped with bacon, pepper jack cheese, peanut butter and jalapeño jelly. The restaurant’s pork chops ($16.95), pizzas (various) and seafood dishes are also worth exploring.
Brunch: Brunch is available 11:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. every Friday and Saturday. Bonus: Free non-alcoholic drink with food purchase. The Tavernette’s sausage gravy and biscuits ($5.95) is a great place to start.
The pizzas: They come in nine, 12 and 16 inches. The garden veggie is topped with a house-made garlic butter cream sauce, sprinkled with a blend of mozzarella and cheddar cheese, topped with fresh diced red onions, red peppers, broccoli, mushrooms, and sliced tomatoes ($10.95, $15.95, $18.95). There’s a meat lovers, a Tavern Deluxe and the noteworthy Tavern Sticky made just like the burger with hamburger, bacon, pepper jack cheese blend, peanut butter, and jalapeño jelly ($11.95, $16.95, $19.95). I can guarantee you there’s no other place to find that particular combination on a pizza in town. Definitely a conversation piece amongst friends if you’re going out in a group.
The drinks: The old-school bar cranks out the classic cocktails, wine and beer. The bar greets you when you walk through the door and sets the right tone for the evening.
The patio: Keep this in your memory bank: The patio at the Tavernette should be on your summer dining list. Overlooking woods, it offers a beautiful view and a great setting and is a great summertime destination.
The location: Just over 15 minutes from downtown Springfield and downtown Dayton, it offers a scenic drive and an adventure opportunity that isn’t a huge investment of time.
If you love vintage and crave opportunities to get nostalgic, look no further. The Tavernette offers great food in a setting that is powerfully evocative and a whole lot of fun.
>> Big city experience, small-town touch at this Springfield restaurant