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Let's Dish/What a Crock of ....
October 4, 2007 - Phyllis Sigal
... the best French onion soup I've had in a long time!
First of all, the Gazette Grill on Main Street in St. C had me from the get-go, as I felt pangs of nostalgia having worked at The Times Leader office just down the street in the early '80s.
Part of my job every Monday was to collect all the news and the obituaries from the past week's T-L for publication in the St. Clairsville Gazette-Chronical. The actual Gazette went way back to the 1870s.
Early pages from the Gazette as well as some from the 1970s graced the tables, under a protective polyurethane glaze. It was quite fun wandering around the establishment, reading the articles and advertisements from way back when.
Adding to the atmosphere were the exposed brick wall, tin ceiling, hardwood floor and an old telephone booth. It really fits in with the look of the quaint St. C downtown area. Other amenities include a deck out back with a few tables, lots of televisions all around (even in the restrooms!) and a beautiful bar.
But as with all restaurants, if the food isn't up to standards, well, all the quaint decor in the world won't keep it going. Luckily, this place rates high in that department.
I ordered a couple of wings (40 cents a wing!), French onion soup and a side dish of baked spinach, the special for the day. The wings were perfect; very crisp, just like I like them, with a generous side of hot sauce.
But one bite of the soup ... I was in heaven. I could taste the thyme, and the broth was rich and hearty.
The chef stopped by the table (the "basement cook," he referred to himself) and asked how everything was. We told him how good the soup was, and he commented, "It makes a difference when you make everything from scratch."
Yes, indeed. And you sure could tell. He made his broth with dried thyme and bay leaves, with some tomato skins thrown in for color, he said.
Also on the menu were a variety of appetizers, wraps, sandwiches, salads and dinner entrees.
The chef also noted that Monday is Mexican night, Tuesday is Asian night, Wednesday is Italian night, Thursday is Greek night and Friday is fish night. Sounds good.
The Gazette Grill also made headlines when it opened because it had been granted the first liquor license in town since prohibition!
The Gazette Grill ... worth the trip. It's located at 142 W. Main, St. Clairsville. (740) 695-4745.
... And, as long as we're dishing out the compliments .... Happy anniversary to Later (Alligator) in the Center Wheeling area .... Susan Haddad's crepe restaurant celebrated one year in business on Aug. 31. Enjoying lunch under the bright red umbrellas at one of the choice outdoor tables, I noticed the menu is now bright and colorful and laminated. A few new crepes are evident ... The Humpty Dumpty, Theo's, LocoMotive, Aesop's Feta, Pesto-Change-O and the Hula Hoop. I had the Humpty Dumpty, and it was tasty. Actually, I've been there three times in the past few weeks. The Aesop's Feta is yummy, and I think the Pesto-Change-O is my new favorite. The Blue Moon Pumpkin Ale is a real fall treat.
Keep up the good work, Susan, and take a day off! You deserve it!
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