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Friday, June 20, 2008

Restaurant of the Weekend: Wieners are winners at Buckeye Beer Engine

Posted By on Fri, Jun 20, 2008 at 8:58 AM

What’s a summer weekend without a couple cold ones and some juicy hotdogs? But no need to fire up the grill. Lakewood’s Buckeye Beer Engine is standing by, with brews aplenty and some kick-ass dogs, to boot. True, food hasn’t always been a priority at this casual Madison Avenue watering hole. In fact, when brewmaster Garin Wright first popped the top on the tavern last spring, his focus was strictly on the suds, a remarkable roundup of 27 beers on tap and 120 in bottles that he likes to describe as "breakouts, hot stuff, and things you've never seen before in your life." ... But if the Engine was initially all about beer, the grub is now coming into its own. Take that quarter-pound, Kobe-style beef hot dog: outrageously plump, shockingly juicy, and relentlessly well seasoned, with a natural casing that provides just a bit of snap. Wrap it up in a warm, soft-and-chewy pretzel bun, and side it with a tumble of fresh-from-the-fryer chips – and you’re looking at our pick for the best hot-dog dinner in town. Freshly ground, half-pound burgers are a big deal, too, especially the best-selling Tuscan Burger, topped with applewood-smoked bacon, rosemary goat cheese, roasted red peppers and caramelized balsamic onions. Non-carnivorous sorts can substitute a grilled portabello mushroom cap or a homemade spicy black-bean patty in place of the meat. Other popular options include homemade deep-fried pickles, the addictive “beer caps” (battered and deep-fried jalapeño slices), and the fried bologna sandwich, featuring a grilled five-ounce slab of German bologna from Berea’s Chef’s Choice Meats, topped with grilled onions and served on a pretzel bun with homemade chips and Martian Lager whole-grain mustard. In case breakfast is more your style, Sunday-brunch service also debuted last week, featuring such possibilities as custard-dipped challah French toast with caramelized bananas and pecans; a BBQ Omelet, with pulled pork, mustard-barbecue sauce, and pepper jack cheese; and a breakfast burrito with scrambled eggs, pepper-jack cheese, tomato, and avocado. And to drink, Wright and his crew have been developing beer-based cocktails, including the Omme-rosa, a riff on the standard Sunday-brunch mimosa, combining Ommegang Witte Ale and OJ. Brunch is served each Sunday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.; the regular menu kicks in at 2 p.m. and runs until midnight. For the remainder of the week, the kitchen is cranking it out from 11 a.m. to midnight Monday through Thursday, and 11 a.m. to 1 a.m. Friday and Saturday. The Buckeye Beer Engine is at 15315 Madison Ave., in Lakewood; call 216-226-2337 for details. To read our full review from June 2007, click here --- Elaine T. Cicora Read Elaine Cicora's restaurant reviews, food news, and comprehensive dining guide on the restaurant page at

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