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Tasty sandwiches, flatbreads on tap

Feb 26 • Features • 229

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You’d think a place called the Tap House wouldn’t have much to offer besides beer. However, the quaint little pub in downtown Erie has a surprising number of quality dishes for the under-21 crowd and those looking for a more solid lunch.

UPick6 got started in 2009, when its owners began offering customers the ability to choose variety over the standard six-pack. The concept caught on quickly. Now, two locations – the Beer Store at 7520 Peach and the Tap House – serve up hundreds of craft, regional and international beers and complementing dishes.

On my first trip to the Tap House, I was impressed by the space’s aesthetics – fireplaces, brick walls, wood beams and leather stools. It’s warm and cozy, which is much appreciated in a city that sees average wind chills of 8 degrees.

I tried the “tap” house salad, which cost a reasonable $4.99 and an additional $2.99 for chicken or steak. The mixed greens were fresh and filling, and I appreciated the fact that they were served in a large metal bowl. Honestly, nothing makes me feel so juvenile as flinging lettuce across the table while trying to distribute dressing.

I made a return trip several weeks later, opting for the tap house dip that time. Two words describe the entree perfectly: never again.

The sandwich – a toasted hoagie roll stuffed with shaved roast beef and Swiss cheese – had next to no substance. What little meat I could find between the buns was a stringy, fatty mess. I had no desire to actually dip the tap house dip in the au jus provided, as it was colder than the fall air outside. Overall, a waste of $9.49.

The Sicilian – salami, pepperoni and spicy capicola with melted provolone, lettuce, tomato and Italian dressing on a grilled flatbread – and the turkey avocado – smoked turkey breast, avocado, balsamic glaze, mayo and smoked gouda on sourdough bread – are a tad less expensive at $8.99. Both get good feedback on sites like Yelp. If I could redo my order the day of the tap house dip, I’d definitely select one of those.

Because of its convenience, I decided to give the Tap House another shot, and I’m so glad I did. The four cheese pizza puts Porky’s, Hungry Howie’s and other local shops to shame. I don’t know if it’s the stone oven or the mix of shredded mozzarella, white cheddar, fresh mozzarella and parmesan cheeses, but that pizza was worth the $8.29 despite its small size. As an added bonus for some, it’s vegetarian-friendly.

If the four cheese is any indication, other flavors should be just as appetizing. You have plenty to choose from: buffalo chicken, California club, chicken spinach mushroom, classic pepperoni and veggie, all for under $10.

I’m particularly intrigued by the baked pear, which comes with herb-garlic sauce, fresh baked pears, fresh mozzarella and gouda cheese, caramelized onions, and candied walnuts topped with a balsamic glaze. I plan to order that next visit.

The Tap House’s menu also features oven-baked Stromboli, burgers and flat-breads. The place gets points for creativity. Instead of the standard appetizers, they have garlic hummus, spinach dip, pizza muffins and homemade crab cakes.

There is one glaring hole in the menu: fries. I understand they’re going for a “we’re hip and health-conscious” vibe, but fries are a bar – nay, restaurant – staple. Slice up some potato skins, sprinkle sea salt on them, and resign yourself to catering to the masses, UPick6. Sides like coleslaw, cottage cheese and kettle chips are less than fair substitutes.

All in all, the Tap House is excellent for beer snobs, but only a decent choice for hungry college students.

 

APRIL SHERNISKY

shernisk003@knights.gannon.edu

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