Calamari fries at Ye Olde Durty Bird.
There's a Durty little secret in the Warehouse District: Some of the best "bar food" in Toledo can be found at the corner of South St. Clair and Washington streets.
The Ye Olde Durty Bird gastropub, located across the street from the right-field entrance of Fifth Third Field, offers myriad varieties of sandwiches, burgers, and other tavern favorites — taken up a notch.
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MENU: Ye Olde Durty Bird
The Durty Burger ($8.99) is a half pound of beef cooked to order with the signature Durty Sauce, a sweet and tangy barbecue sauce, with aged cheddar and sweet spiced bacon. It's a delicious version of the common bacon cheeseburger. There's a "deluxe" version on the menu as well that adds pulled pork and coleslaw between the buns. Both versions also are available as the Durty Burger with a chicken breast instead of beef.
The Cuban ($8.99) comes with everything you would expect, but the slow-roasted pulled pork adds a wonderful twist and meshes perfectly with swiss cheese, pickles, and cilantro honey mustard on your choice of grilled bread. This sandwich is a can't-miss.
Split a large appetizer of chili cheese fries ($8.99) with a mound of gooey cheese covering thick steak fries slathered with a hearty chili sauce and chunks of tomatoes, onions, and peppers. The calamari fries ($9.95), which are thick, almost fish-stick-looking "fries," are a delicious appetizer option.
The caprese chicken sandwich ($8.99) is full of flavor with the large chicken breast infused with balsamic and basil. It's topped with fresh mozzarella, tomato and more basil with a basil aioli spread and balsamic reduction on a soft bun.
The Durby hoagie ($8.99) — sliced roast beef topped with mozzarella, sautéed onions and green peppers — was a little dry and could have benefited from an au jus and less green peppers.
The sandwiches are served with basic ridged potato chips, but the sides are worth the $1.49 up charge. The onion rings are large cuts of sweet onions with a salty and crunchy coating.
The side order of smoked gouda mac and cheese with bacon and tomato was outstanding, making the appetizer of the same dish worth the $6.99 price tag.
Unfortunately, the clam chowder was a miss. While definitely made in-house, the texture was sandy and it tasted as if green peppers were used instead of celery, which was unpleasant.
The tavern boasts a gorgeous wooden bar at the front of the restaurant. The exposed brick and Toledo-centric decorations, such as a partial Willys Jeep hanging from the wall, sets off the atmosphere from other drinking establishments.
The Ye Olde Durty Bird, which has a large patio that looks like it would be fun during baseball season, also has a secret weapon: a free parking lot, which is a rare downtown commodity.
Contact Bill of Fare at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Star ratings are based on comparisons of similar restaurants. The Blade pays for critics' meals.