The Clintonville-area restaurant elevates bar food to a new, family-friendly level.

Melissa Kossler Dutton and her sons, Nick, 16, and Alex, 14, recently dined on the patio at Pat and Gracie’s near Clintonville. The locally owned restaurant also has an eatery in Downtown Columbus.

Mom Says…

Although we’ve been pretty steadily ordering takeout meals during the pandemic, our family was craving something different. We decided that the corresponding drop in summer temperatures and Franklin County’s COVID-19 infection rate seemed like a good reason to check out a local patio.

We decided to try the Clintonville-area location of Pat and Gracie’s, a restaurant known for scratch-made tavern food. In order to offer patio seating, the restaurant negotiated with its Graceland Shopping Center landlord for access to outdoor space a few doors down from the restaurant. Although it was a bit of walk for the waitstaff, our server was attentive and friendly. Most importantly, our food arrived piping hot.

Everything sounded so good; three of the four of us had trouble choosing just one item. We landed on an elaborate plan, where Nick ordered the Spicy Chicken Sandwich ($9.49) and agreed to give half to his dad, who ordered the Salmon BLT ($12.29). I ordered the Pimento Cheese Melt ($11.29) and gave half to Nick, and in return received half of my husband’s BLT. (Family compromising at its best!)

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I love all things pimento cheese and this sandwich was no exception. The cheese mingled deliciously with the house-made pickles. The buttered sourdough bread was toasted to perfection. It was a great summertime dish but it was slightly outshone by the BLT, which was an amazing blend of rich flavors. The blackened salmon was set off with a Sriracha mayonnaise; it made for a yummy bite that was more flavorful than spicy. I ordered blue cheese coleslaw as my side; it was a great take on an old favorite. I think we all agreed that the hand-cut french fries were the true standout among the sides.

Nick Says…

I was really looking forward to going to a restaurant, even if it was on a patio, after months of being cooped up with my family. I had only been to Pat and Gracie’s one other time. It was several years ago before my piano recital, so I really didn’t remember much about the experience.

We started with an order of Fried B&B Pickles ($6.29), which was different than we expected. They were bread-and-butter pickles instead of dill, which is what I’m used to. Normally, I don’t like sweet pickles but these were really good and crispy—maybe because they are made in-house. The breading was also tasty and crunchy. The ranch dip that came with it was nice and creamy and delicious. Together, they were one of the best fried pickle appetizers I have ever had.

For my main meal, I had half each of a Spicy Chicken Sandwich and a Pimento Cheese Melt. Although the melt was good, the chicken was incredible. It was really spicy, which I liked. Don’t expect a traditional sandwich spiced with Buffalo sauce. On this dish, the spice comes from fresh jalapeños. The breading, which was obviously from scratch, was flavorful and not soggy. The bun was good, too. I also appreciated that the tomatoes were really ripe and good. Even the bit of leftovers we brought home was excellent cold the next day.

The service was also really good, especially considering how far the waiter had to walk to get to the outdoor seating. I won’t forget this trip to Pat and Gracie’s. I’m already lobbying my parents to take us back before the weather gets cold.

Alex Says…

When I heard we were doing a review that would involve sitting on a patio, I was excited that we were doing something other than ordering takeout. While takeout is OK, it doesn’t compare to dining at a restaurant. Right away when we sat down, I noticed there were QR codes on the table that linked to their menu. I thought this was a great, germ-free way for them to handle orders. Later, the waiter also brought disposable paper menus. These were a bit confusing as they didn’t list all of the specials, and the meal I ended up ordering was only on the digital menu. If you come during COVID-19, I recommend you use the online menu.

For our appetizer of fried pickles, they gave us a very generous amount of them. The pickles themselves were quite tasty. They were sweet pickles, and while I’m not really a sweet pickle person, I couldn’t stop eating them. The dipping sauce is what really distinguished these pickles from those at other restaurants. They came with a house-made ranch that complemented the sweetness of the pickles really well. For my main course, I got the Lake Erie Walleye Fish Dinner ($14.99). This came with fries and blue cheese coleslaw. The first thing I noticed was, just like the pickles, there was a very generous amount of fries. The fries also stood out. They were amazing: very hot and almost every one had some of the potato skin on it, which is good since I always like the ones with more skin. The fish itself was excellent. It was walleye and definitely not frozen. It was obviously hand-breaded. While it was a little bit fishy, the freshness of the fish and homemade breading made this more than just your typical bar fish and chips. The fish also came with tartar sauce, which was very herby with strong notes of dill. Unfortunately, I had already finished the fish before noticing how good the tartar sauce was. I’d definitely check out Pat and Gracie’s if you want bar food that takes the extra step.