For Press Grill, the old adage of "if it ain't broke, don't fix it" rings true. The Short North stalwart hasn't changed drastically over the years, but that's alright since they've been doing it right since the beginning. With the sudden resurgence in gimmick-laden eateries, it's refreshing to enjoy a spot that is dedicated to the basics. On a recent Tuesday, I checked out Press Grill's legendary wing special to experience why the High Street mainstay has such a devout following.
The wings (which are 60 cents a pop on Tuesdays) were tender, juicy and covered in just the right amount of sauce. They were prepared well and, even with ordering the minimum, I had to get a box. They were served with the standard celery and ranch (or bleu cheese, depending on preference). Iíve had better wings, and though Press Grillís werenít mind-blowing, they were exactly what you would want and expect from bar wings; messy and sinfully satisfying. I was less impressed with the onion rings, that were overly greasy and poorly presented. I would have preferred them to be crispier, and the fried batter less doughy. If youíre into really thick-battered onion rings, they might be more satisfying for you, but I would have gladly just stuck with wings.
The bar is dark and cozy, offering a comfortable warmth against the freezing weather I had just come in from. People were huddled at tables actually conversing face-to-face with one another (no iPhones in sight). If youíre looking for an insane scene, Press Grill might be best saved for another night. Though the place gets lively later on, it probably isnít going to quell the thrill-seekers. However, Press Grill is the ideal place for meeting with friends or business associates; itís hip without trying too hard, the price point is comfortable, and the quality is undeniable.
Overall experience: 4
Press Grill is a Short North landmark for a reason. The staff is friendly and knowledgeable, and, as an added bonus, doesnít have that snobby ďIím a bartender in the Short North, and therefore cannot seem to interested in serving youĒ attitude that typically makes me avoid the area all together. Itís refreshing to see a bar commit to what they do, and do it right rather than jump on a trend bandwagon. I think they just earned a new regular.
Photo by Tim Johnson