Nestled in the Monroe Street Market Shopping Center, Bier Stube, 5333 Monroe Street, is not easily spotted despite its bright orange awning and lettering.
Bier Stube comes off as an ordinary bar -- a dark open space with pool tables in the middle of the floor, lots of bar stool seating, and televisions broadcasting sporting events. However, its alter ego, House of Eats, is anything but ordinary. Everything on the menu, down to the ketchup and mustard, is homemade.
The custom eatery located inside the bar features a menu full of American staples, but with many twists. The Witwer's Mud Burger ($8) features a beef patty, bacon, peanut butter, pickles, red onions, tomatoes, American cheese, and more peanut butter, loaded on country white bread.
The Frankenstein, listed as a "chronic combo," sounds a lot like the scientist's monster itself. The dish comes with tater tots, hot sauce, grilled red onions, pepperoncinis, pickles, bacon, ham, melted cheddar, and pepperjack, boneless chicken bites in sweet barbecue sauce and onion rings ($16).
If neither or those, or anything else on the menu, suits you, House of Eats offers several build-it-yourself options, including salads, grilled cheese, wraps and sandwiches and stuffed mac and cheese. Each item starts off with the basic versions and guests can add everything from spicy slaw, sauerkraut, mushrooms, eggs, pineapples, and a variety of meats and vegetables.
On our first visit, we ordered a bowl of chicken tortilla soup ($5), spin-achoke bites ($5), and stuffed mac and cheese($4). The homemade soup was delicious. It was loaded with chicken, beans, chopped tomato, onion, green pepper and corn, mixed in a thick creamy white base and topped with cheese and fresh crunchy tortillas.
The spin-achoke bites -- spinach artichoke dip formed into a ball and deep fried -- were creamy on the inside with a lightly battered crunchy outer coating. The house ranch, served on the side, was a nice mix of spices, including dill and thyme.
We stuffed our mac and cheese with thick cuts of smoky bacon. While the bacon was top notch, the mac and cheese itself wasn't as pleasant. The noodles were thick and stiff and covered with a house-made sauce made up of a variety of cheeses. The sauce was thick, dark, grainy, and tasted more like a potato based sauce than cheese.
Service was excellent. Our waiter was attentive and knowledgeable, offering suggestions and explaining menu items.
On our second visit, service was almost an after thought. Our waitress was more focused on tending to customers at the bar and chatting with patrons. Once our order was taken, we decided to try the Old School Dog ($5), House of Eats' version of a coney dog. The all-beef wiener is deep fried, slit down the middle, and tastes more like a polish sausage than a hot dog. The chili was filled with chunks of ground meat and beans, loaded on top of the dog and stuffed inside of a toasted hoagie.
We also tried the Gayle ($6), a grilled chicken wrap with Swiss cheese, mayo, onion, lettuce, and tomato, all rolled into a spinach wrap. The vegetables were fresh and crisp, and the chicken was tender and juicy. Per the menu description, the sandwich does include "lots" of mayo and heavy red onion. The house-made raspberry mandarin sauce/dressing was light and a mix of sweet and tangy flavors.
An order of the deep-fried brown bites ($4) proved that you can fry just about anything. The bites where crispy on the outside and warm, moist, and chocolatey on the inside.
House of Eats gets credit for being different and creative. The chef is willing to deep-fry just about anything, including sauerkraut, hot dogs, and chocolate chip cookie dough. If the house creations aren't to your liking, the menu encourages customers to "tell us what you want us to build and if we can, we will feed your face with it."
Contact Bill of Fare at firstname.lastname@example.org.