The Short Course:
To avoid wait: Visit during an off-peak time or call ahead.
Noise level: Loud!
Bathroom amenities: Clean.
High chairs? Yes.
Got milk? Yes.
Kids’ menu? Yes.
Anything healthy for kids? Standard options with applesauce available. Adult salads and sides offer healthy options that may work for kiddos.
Food allergy concerns? Speak with your server about specific allergy concerns.
We had just survived the great snow dump of 2019. The dishwasher was broken, and this mom was not in the mood to cook (and then hand wash all those dishes!). So off to Beer Barrel we went where we were greeted by a friendly face and a roaring fire.
Although the parking lot was full, the spacious restaurant offers enough seating so that we got a table immediately. We wound our way through booths and open tables, around a large curved bar and stepped up into a big, round corner booth. With a view of the full restaurant, we could see the cavernous building lined with warm wood and rustic metal. Vintage chandeliers hung above the tables while enormous projection screens, TV monitors, and neon lights added bright accents throughout the space. Classic Cooper Tire and Marathon signs dotted the walls.
From nutritious and delicious to indulgent and extravagant
The kids gazed around the room, the girls began coloring and Leland, Jeremy and I began perusing the menu. With an ambitious beer selection, astounding salad options (meatball salad?!) and an impressive variety of pizzas (including cauliflower and gluten-free crusts), Beer Barrel offers tempting choices for any appetite from large to small, healthy to indulgent.
To get started, we opted for the Flaming Saganaki appetizer because, well, it involves both cheese and fire. I also wanted to try the Fried Green Beans since the choice seemed semi-responsible but also yummy. For our main dishes, the girls split a half cheese / half pepperoni deep dish pizza. Leland chose a classic rib dinner with mashed potatoes and fries (he inherited his love of spuds from me!). My husband, Jeremy, picked a meatball sub and I finally chose the San Antonio thin crust pizza.
Soon after placing our order, a crowd of servers gathered around our table. And there it was – a brick of cheese on a plate. With great gusto, clapping, and an exuberant “Opa!”, the Saganaki was set aflame. We were in awe and the kids started reaching toward the fiery cheese for a taste. Served with soft, warm pita bread, the cheese included a crisp outer shell and a mild, Swiss-like flavor. I’m not a fan of Swiss, by between the group of us, that appetizer disappeared. Thankfully, during this time the green beans appeared. Served with a spicy and sweet Thai dipping sauce, the beans had a light tempura coating that gave them a delicate and delicious crunch. The kids ate a few but found the dipping sauce a bit spicy.
A close second to the Windy City
As we awaited our main meals, my eyes kept skipping around the large, spacious restaurant. Upbeat music poured through the speakers, bright lights flashed from the games and the TV screens caught my eye. Thankfully, the food arrived promptly. The pizza was a classic blend of cheese topped with vibrant red tomato sauce (traditional deep dish style!) and sprinkled with bright green basil. Leland was positively radiant as he eyed his ribs while I relished the festive blend of yellow corn, green cilantro and black beans on my San Antonio pizza. As we dug in, Jeremy reported that the sub was pretty standard but noted that the ribs were delicious. Leland couldn’t report on the flavors because he was too busy eating his food and grinning (obviously a good sign). Mae was a little taken aback by the pizza’s flip-flopped cheese and sauce. Joey loved the thick layer of cheese but wasn’t too keen on the basil (strange since she eats it off the plant during the summer).
Having lived in Chicago, Jeremy and I have some pretty strong feelings about deep dish pizza. While Beer Barrel’s version lacked the cornmeal crust we love, it was hands-down the closest to authentic deep dish we’ve found anywhere outside the Windy City. My thin crust pizza was really enjoyable, with fresh flavors balanced by sweet corn and creamy, plentiful cheese. Perhaps the only complaint was that the crust was too thin to support all the toppings!
Mouthwatering desserts – for another time
My kids’ complaint, however, was that we left Beer Barrel and denied them the opportunity to try dessert. For those with a sweet tooth, Beer Barrel offers only a few desserts, but they are undeniably tempting: tabletop s’mores, cheesecake, and a chocolate and peanut butter buckeye dessert (appropriate for this Ohio-based chain restaurant!). But alas, the hour was late and our bellies were bursting. With two large takeout boxes of pizza, we braved the dark, snowy roads home. With so many tasty and adventurous ways to satisfy our cravings, we’ll return to Beer Barrel soon. And maybe then we can sample those scrumptious desserts.
Beer Barrel pizza and Grill
900 Interstate Dr., Findlay
“Beer Barrel Pizza & Grill” on Facebook
Monday – Thursday: 11am-12am
Friday and Saturday: 11am-1am