I’ve been to my share of dive bars… and the Cedar-Lee district definitely has its share. But the TavCo (as those on the “in” call it), was not what I was expecting.
Yesterday, I was surfing the interwebs looking for a new place to grab dinner. My stomach was empty (besides about a gallon of coffee) and I couldn’t come up with anything I wanted… that I could afford. A cursory glance at a the Gayot’s review (an interesting site I found off of Urbanspoon) about TavCo offered little insight with the statement
“A neighborhood bar with hearty pub food”
Also, I caught some other mumbo jumbo about big TVs and liquor. So I thought nothing of it. I actually remember thinking, “I’ve seen that bar (with its plain green/white sign). I don’t really see myself going there… I’ve never even heard anyone even mention it.” So, I settled on Dewey’s pizza. One of the few chains that I admit to liking… and they have some decent taps.
I guess it was fate, because literally a few hours after dismissing TavCo, I found myself walking down Lee Rd. with my girlfriend, hungry and unguided, after we found out that Dewey’s had an hour waiting list. All of a sudden she said, “let’s go to TavCo!” Convinced I would just be getting an average burger and fries, I agreed.
Upon walking in, there was no surprise as I saw the big bar surrounded by some TVs on the left half and a small dining area on the other. Just a regular sports pub. The first big plus was the beer list. A large variety of craft/import bottles and a solid draft selection… which any good bar should have. But when I opened up the menu and saw dishes like spinach gnocchi with wild mushroom-blue cheese cream and a pork chop with creamy manchego-bacon polenta, my jaw dropped. Did I walk into some kind of East Side Bar Symon wanna be? We started off with some awesome calamari that was lightly breaded and fried with a creamy, sweet orange sauce. For an entree, Annie got the BDG Burger (which I guess stood for the big dog burger) which came with bacon, cheddar, onion rings and an egg on an excellent bun made fresh across the street at The Stone Oven Bakery. The burger was juicy and flavorful, and the combo of the smokey bacon, sharp cheddar and egg was perfect. For me, I had the hangar steak (which seems to be a more pretentious and trendy cut of beef) with a simple red wine reduction sauce, paired with mushroom risotto and asparagus. The beef was very flavorful and the perfectly cheesy risotto had big chunks of wild mushrooms… my mouth is watering just thinking about it.
Since the menu is a new development, some of the dishes need a little refining. But I wholly recommend this Cleveland Heights dive to anyone interested in a unique experience. FYI, don’t look for a website… because there isn’t one (as of today), but check out their menu on their Facebook page.