Shawn's Irish Tavern
105 S. Third Street
Open daily from 11:30am
Shawn's Irish Tavern in Waterville is the little sister of the infamous "Shawn's Back Door" (now also called "Shawn's Irish Tavern") that has been a landmark in South Toledo since 1968. The Waterville location was once an IGA and has been home to a series of restaurants. The Larks remodeled the space adding wood paneling, stained glass chandeliers over the bar, and enough large flat screened televisions to be able to see one from any seat in the place.
I was there on a Thursday night that featured Johnny Rodriguez playing classic and modern rock on his guitar accompanied by his beat box (aka, "Tiny"). He is there every other Thursday from 9:30pm to 11pm.
We began our adventure by perusing the menu for Irish classics like potato soup, fish and chips, shepherd's pie, and Irish stew. What we found were American bar standards like chicken quesadillas, fried Reuben Balls, and other frozen appetizers cooked in the deep fryer. In an effort to keep with the Irish theme, the "Pot of Gold Combination" ($8.75) bundles fried pepper jack cheese balls, fried potato skins, fried mushrooms along with battered and fried onion rings.
In an effort to focus on house made specialties, we ordered the fried grouper strips ($7.25). Served with tartar sauce and cocktail sauce, we requested malt vinegar and enjoyed these fish sticks for grown ups. The soup and salad list does not include potato soup or any other Irish fare, but we were enchanted by Shawn's Famous Chili ($2.85/bowl, $2.35/cup) and Shawn's Chop Salad ($6.95 for a dinner portion). The chop salad includes iceberg lettuce, ham, shredded cheddar cheese, tomatoes and cucumber tossed with a creamy dressing. This salad is an ideal way to get your kids to eat a few vegetables. Besides, who can resist the salty corn crunch of crushed Frito's on top of the chop?
The dinner entrees served from 5pm to 10pm range from Liver and Onions ($9.25) to baby back ribs ($15.25 full slab, $9.95 half slab) to a 14 oz ribeye steak special ($12.95). We sampled the Shepherd's pie and two sandwiches. The "Danny Boy" is grilled deli ham and melted swiss cheese on a kaiser bun ($6.25). The reuben ($6.95) is light on corned beef and Russian dressing but heavy on sauerkraut and melted swiss. It is served on seedless rye. It can also be ordered with turkey instead of corned beef. All sandwiches come with a choice of chips or fries. The chips have a pleasant seasoning. I think they are "Crunchers". The Shepherd's pie is served fresh from the oven in a "don't touch this plate" oval dish. What the ground beef and gravy base lacks in vegetables the whipped potato topping compensate for with a lightly browned layer of cheddar cheese on top.
The menu also includes "Casa Made" pizza and ciabatta wraps. Rumor has it that "Shawn's Back Door" bought a next door pizza parlor and keeps their recipes on the menu at both locations.
Shawn's Tavern is a friendly place to take your family for a casual American meal. It's a neighborhood bar that is perfect for a beer with friends and to watch a game. If you are looking for Irish pub food and a grand selection of on tap beers, this isn't your joint.
“Glass City Gourmet” is a chronicle of one woman's attempt to cook, eat, diet and entertain with both flair and whimsy while based in Toledo, Ohio. I encourage you to read on as the "Glass City Gourmet" attempts grand recipes, samples locally owned restaurants, visits indigenous markets and humbly pursues her quest to be formally recognized as the official "Glass City Gourmet".