The Greek Burger and french fries from Berger's Olde Tyme Bar and Grill.
Sometimes what makes a restaurant charming, is its understated charm. At Berger’s Olde Tyme Bar and Grill, 1742 W. Laskey Rd., the emphasis is on supplying a relaxing spot for friends to gather or for the working man and woman to kick back and defuse after a hard day’s work.
Located near some of Toledo’s factories, this was no doubt a spot for laborers to be at home with a cold beer and a hot dish. And it still is.
Potato skins from Berger's Olde Tyme Bar and Grill.
Since 1993 it has been serving good ol’ American pub grub, with thought and of course some draft or bottled beer. It is the neighborhood bar, known for serving oversized hamburgers whose succulent patty happily hangs over the bun.
Although the bar runs the length of the restaurant parallel to the booth-style seating, this is a place where you can bring your child for an early dinner. We did. Don’t be fooled by the grimy facade of the plaza it’s in. It’s clean and cozy, and the vintage-stained glass lamp shades emit a warm glow over the booths and bar. Plus it plays some of the best ’80s and ’90s hits.
On a Friday night we had one thing on our mind: burgers. Correction: make that Bergers. Bergers as big as heads and juicy as a watermelon on hot August day. But first, we noshed on the appetizers. Golden-fried mozzarella sticks ($5.99) that we dipped in a meaty marinara sauce. The potato skins ($7.99) were loaded with gooey cheese, spiked with crisp bacon bits, and, of course, we used the potato halves to scoop up cool sour cream.
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We each ordered a burger. One friend personalized her dinner ordering a classic cheddar cheese burger with mayonnaise, ketchup, and pickles ($6.75). Another friend ordered the Greek burger ($7.49). It was a gyro in bun form, with sweet bright red onions, a rich Greek dressing, and the briny, bold feta cheese. “Each bite was surprisingly different,” she said.
★ ★ ★ ½
Address: 1742 W. Laskey Rd.
Hours: 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday through Thursday; 10 a.m. to 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday; noon to 10 p.m. Sunday.
Wheelchair access: Yes
Average price: $-$$
Credit cards: MC, V, D, AE
Web site: bergersbarandgrill.com.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★ Outstanding; ★ ★ ★ ★ Very Good;
★ ★ ★ Good; ★ ★ Fair; ★ Poor
Star ratings are based on comparisons of similar restaurants. The Blade pays for critics’ meals.
I opted for the hot tamale burger ($7.49). It brought together all the spicy suspects AKA firestarters: the pepper, jalapeno; the cheese, pepper jack, and the sauce, salsa. Unfortunately, the jalapeno and salsa were duking it out under the cheese, which was slightly cold, and the salsa won. The salsa was cold and it’s acidic tones overpowered my burger, or maybe it was the vinegar from the jalapeno. Wherever it came from, it was too much for my burger to handle.
I also found it was slightly on the dry side, and not cooked as I ordered, medium rare. I also made the mistake of ordering chips with my meal instead of asking for their hand-cut fries. We rectified the mistake with a basket of fries ($2.99), crispy on the outside and soft on the inside.
It was all washed down with a draft of pumpkin beer ($3.47), nicely spiced and light.
For our second visit after work on a Thursday night, we brought a friend’s 8-year-old daughter, who reveled in the cheeseburger ($6.75), that was as big as her head, and fries ($1.75). We hoped there was a kid’s menu, but after all, it is a bar.
We started the cold autumn night with a warm basket of onion rings ($3.99) that could fit around my wrists. The tender, sharp white onion was encapsulated in a ring of fluffy fried dough that reminded me of carnival fare. Friends split a six-piece order of chicken wings ($5.99), coated in mild sauce. The wings were an oily mess, and despite the crispy coating they said it imparted more oil than flavor.
The table pleaser was no doubt one of the specials of the day, deep-fried green beans ($5.99), a delightful oxymoron of gluttony and healthy restraint. The crunchy fried coating protected the crisp green vegetable inside. When we dipped one bean into the cool, spiced ranch sauce, I think I heard angels sing. Or maybe it was the devil, because I kept hearing a voice that said, “Take another. Quick. Another, before they are gone.”
A friend was pleased with the blue cheese burger ($7.99), specifically how instead of crumbly cheese, it slathered the patty in a creamy blue cheese sauce. She also delighted in how well the burger filled, or overfilled, the bun. She ordered the burger medium, and it was slightly overcooked, yet still hit the spot.
The Hot Tamale Burger from Berger's Olde Tyme Bar and Grill.
Another friend ordered the steak and cheese sub ($8.99), a glorious mess of minced steak, onion, and mushrooms, fused together by juice, cheese, and fluffy white bread. He chose to replace chips with coleslaw ($1.99). He compared the creamy, sweet salad to a backyard slaw, because of its roughly chopped ingredients.
I ordered off the sandwich side of the menu, (there is also a salad side, which looked appetizing, but we decided to keep to the rib-sticking foods). My hot Italian sub ($7.49) was a toasted torpedo of Italian spices and thinly sliced cured Italian meats, ham and salami. I eagerly consumed it, and wished for another.
Berger’s definitely adds a bit of excitement to the bar scene and pub grub that bars usually prepare as an afterthought to the beverages. Here, food is definitely the draw, and if you like American fare, you’ll find a spot, with great friends, at Berger’s Olde Tyme Bar and Grill.
Contact Bill of Fare at firstname.lastname@example.org.