There's no covering up that the partnership between the celebrated ex-coach and reliable restaurant group Corso Ventures has resulted in a strong-performing sports bar
This week is obviously special — it’s the week Ohio State plays The Team Up North (hereafter referred to as TTUN).
Yeah, it’s Thanksgiving, too, so, like many of you, I’ll perform my patriotic duty and happily eat myself stupid. But as soon as I emerge from my tryptophan-and-gravy haze, I’ll be refocusing on “The Game.” One place designed to enable such fanaticism is Urban Meyer’s Pint House. (The eatery's “7-0” subtitle alludes to OSU’s perfect record against TTUN during Meyer’s tenure as head coach.)
In a buckeye nutshell, this new Dublin Bridge Park theme eatery — in which Meyer has smartly partnered with reliable Corso Ventures — is a huge, loud and crowded, strong-performing sports bar.
Another thing about Urban Meyer’s Pint House (hereafter UMPH): Urban Meyer was there every time I visited. No, not the real Meyer — that guy’s busy — but a life-sized, cardboard cutout. Fake Urban is posed on Astro Turf, set among football props and atop a de facto, Instagram-perfect stage where fans willing to wait in an occasional line can, and often do, snap selfies.
Other features in the bustling and rambling restaurant include multiple dining areas, two bars, wall-to-wall TVs, bathroom signage with the letter “M” crossed out, a tower of glittering scarlet bottles, plus plenty of memorabilia and photos of a triumphant Meyer. While I could do without the images of Meyer as Florida’s coach hugging Tim Tebow and hoisting a national championship trophy, this is an attractive sports pub.
Expect to wait for a table, but unlikely for as long as you’re quoted by the conscientious host. After ordering, expect your food to arrive quickly and to be well prepared.
When you order the Short Rib Nachos ($15) — yes, when — you’ll observe no shortage of short-rib meat, or anything else, in the stunningly mountainous feast. Loaded with delicious pot roast-like beef, a garlicky beer-cheese sauce and much more, these are to most other nachos what Ohio Stadium is to a high school football field.
If a Caesar Salad ($8) is more your speed, you’ll receive a solid one with house croutons, roasted tomatoes and a creamy dressing with pleasant garlic and anchovy notes. The garlicky Browned Brussels Sprouts ($7) are even better.
UMPH scores well with a sports bar staple: its 8-ounce Pint House Burger ($14). It’s nothing fancy, just an honest, seared-and-juicy cheeseburger with melted cheddar, a nice bun and a huge side of big, blocky and good fries.Our prediction/hope for the Michigan game is that everyone has a good time. Sign up for our daily newsletter
Arrive midweek, and an identical heap of fries accompanies an impressive roasted half-chicken and a selected 21-ounce beer in a fantastic $10 Wednesday special copied from the Short North Pint House, another Corso restaurant. A wide selection of beers is available; I recommend choosing the 7-0 Ale, a robust kolsch from the local Land Grant Brewing Company.
If your game plan calls for a vodka-powered cocktail, try The Coach ($10). It features grapefruit, so it’s a little bitter and a little sour, but also amusing. Given these traits, maybe the coach it’s named after is Jim Harbaugh.
Favorites from Forno, Corso’s best restaurant, lend UMPH an alluring Italian accent. Among these dishes, the Linguine and Clams offers appealing flavors — but it’s $19, and several of my shellfish were overcooked.
A Forno-style pizza is a safer bet. The Pint House Deluxe pie ($14), with spicy sausage, pepperoni, caramelized onions and roasted red peppers, would be at home in an upscale trattoria.
While enjoying that pizza, I noticed a nearby solitary diner I’d been monitoring — he could’ve been a Buckeyes linebacker — who was polishing off UMPH’s monumental nachos. I wonder if he properly commemorated this heroic victory later with a selfie that included his clean-plate-club platter and cutout Urban.