For whatever reason (and I will tell you a few) I never made my way to TownHall in Ohio City. Doing the food thing you hear multiple opinions on why you shouldn’t go to a certain place and I heard three big ones about TownHall. I heard the food was marginal at best, the service was horrific, and the crowd was undesirable. I just got back from an amazing Paleo dinner at TownHall and I can 100% without a doubt say none of those claims were even remotely true. We had an amazing meal, with probably the best service I had in a long time in an upscale casual atmosphere that catered to everyone from families to tattoo sleeved beer loving hipsters.
TownHall is in an amazing space in the trendy Ohio City area just steps away from Cleveland’s West Side Market. It has a cafe side that serves everything from ultra healthy juices and smoothies to the decadent Salted Pistachio and Bacon milkshake (made with organic milk and ice cream from neighboring Mitchell’s). It also boasts two patios. There is one in the back that resembles a hip beer garden and a casual patio out front perfect for W. 25th Street people watching. The main bar is expansive with warm wood finishes, and a bar that goes on for what seems to be a mile, which is good because they need room for the 36 different taps to choose from. They offer all beers at $5.00. Some are an 8 ounce pour and others 14. The beers range from locals from Willoughby Brewing and Hoppin’ Frog all the way to Maui Brewing Company with Stone, Founders, Bell’s and Dogfish in there too. 36 on tap you are guaranteed to find something to quench your thirst. I didn’t even mention the whisky but they have over 50 kinds to sample and a creative cocktail list too.
What TownHall is trying to do is offer a 100% GMO free menu. They are getting there and continue to offer a wide variety of fresh meals. Vegan, Vegetarian, Gluten Free, Paleo? Yes. All the above. They just don’t have a couple of options either. The menu is heavy on dietary restricted meal options. Monday is Vegan night with multiple options. Wednesday is Paleo night and what brought us in. We started out with the Scallop B.L.T’s. Seared tender scallops served on top of crispy bacon, lettuce, tomato and lemon aioli. These things were fantastic. For dinner I had the Herbed Roasted Half Chicken served with Baked Sweet Potato (with grass-fed honey butter), Brussel Sprout Coleslaw and a side of Pan Jus. My wife had the Gyro Sticks served with Sweet Potato Fries.
Can we talk about the Pan Jus alone? It tasted like Thanksgiving. I would do shots of this stuff if it were socially acceptable to do so. The chicken was moist and seasoned perfectly. The portion? It was a half a damn chicken. I had to take some home. It was served on this giant wood block which made me think all the staff must have super toned dominant arms. The sweet potato was not overly buttered and was warm and wonderful. The sprout slaw was fresh and delicious. At $18.00 it is an incredible value. This dish would be in the $20’s anywhere else. The kitchen staff is nothing short of amazing with what they are creating back there.
For dessert we had to try the Skillet Cookie. A fresh baked milk and white chocolate chunk cookie with a generous scoop of Mitchell’s vanilla on top. Fresh baked as in don’t touch the skillet. It is served fresh out of the oven hot with that cool ice cream melting over it. It is an amazing twist on the comfort food classic cookie just super sized.
The majority of the menu TownHall serves is healthy and hefty comfort food (well minus the cookie, but even cookies are fine in moderation). Their dedication to offer a multitude of options for all types of eaters says we actually listen to our customers. TownHall understands food trends, food allergies and food ethics and offers something for everyone. Not just one lonely vegetarian option, or one gluten free dish but multiple choices for anyone that needs to watch what they eat.
I saw none of what I was warned about. I had an amazing experience at TownHall. I had incredible service that was attentive and educational. I had amazing food at an affordable price, and I enjoyed the atmosphere. TownHall is a perfect place for dinner with the family, an after hours business meeting, a casual lunch or just to kick back at the bar and watch the game. If the weather was warmer the patio would be a great place to spend a spring or summer night sipping cocktails with friends. It is in the heart of one of the hottest nightlife areas of the city and stays busy until last call. TownHall is the experience you make of it. I just think the folks that don’t like the vibe can find something wrong with anything. Screw them. Next time I am doing brunch.