Monday, July 8, 2013

Review: Vegetarian Friendly Grub and Green Juice at Town Hall

A couple weeks ago I met up with my friend Heather for a quick after work birthday dinner at Town Hall in Ohio City. She has a baby and he's on a pretty strict schedule, so it can be difficult to schedule an appointment with her. For months I've been trying to take her out in honor of her July birthday but something kept coming up. (better early than late, right?) We always try to go somewhere new or different for her birthday, to Town Hall we went.

I don't drive myself to Ohio City all that much, and I happened to stumble upon the free parking lot directly behind Town Hall. I got there right before 6:00 pm on a Thursday and the lot was pretty full because of happy hour, but I got a spot pretty easily. (that wasn't the case when I left closer to 8! it was packed!!)

I waled through the back patio entrance and walked past some lounge-y looking vinyl couches, huge high top tables, and a large rock wall/water feature. It was definitely pretty back there and you didn't feel like you were practically sitting in a parking lot in Ohio City. Then I walked through a huge door into the restaurant in an attempt to find the hostess. It's a little confusing to figure out where to go because there's a bar to the right, a bar to the left, and all sorts of seating everywhere. But I found her way at the front of the restaurant and asked for a patio seat. She told me there weren't any available...I protested and said I'd just walked through a somewhat empty back patio and she explained that there was a private party going on. I told her I work in a cubicle and would kill to see some sunshine, so I'd wait...but then suddenly a couch in the back patio area became available.

It was cougar central on the back patio. Made me laugh a little. The vibe outside and in was definitely "this is a place you go to meet people and be seen." But that's ok by me. I obviously wasn't there to meet anyone, so while I waited for Heather, I ordered a super delicious (and super cheap at only $4.50) green thumb green juice drink made out of kale, celery, lemon, ginger, and apple. It had just the right mix of greens and apples so it didn't taste like you were drinking fresh cut grass. It was actually pretty refreshing.
Green Thumb juice
 I did have to laugh, though, when a server delivered my drink to the table. "Kay-leee juice? Who ordered the kay-lee juice?" I assumed she meant kale (siiigh) so I took the drink. I had to laugh. I guess I just assume that kale is super popular and everyone knows how to pronounce it, but...apparently not.

I check out menus before I head to any restaurant and I was really happy to see that Town Hall has a clearly labeled AND vegetarian friendly menu. There are a ton of gluten free options, too, along with many vegetarian items that can easily be made vegan by omitting cheese, etc. There's everything from burritos, to rice bowls, to salad and pizzas. I love it when I can order more than just the token vegetarian salad on a restaurant's menu.

Thai bowl with tofu
I ordered a Thai bowl with tofu. I looked pretty promising, was mainly rice with a small handful of veggies and tofu doused in a peanut sauce that could have used a little something. It was ok but not great. (my friend had a burger that was just ok, too...but she loved her fries) I won't hold that against Town Hall, though. When I went, I don't think they'd been open for even a month, and I know it can take a little while to get the recipes just right on a menu. I still give them an A for effort for offering delicious juice and lots of vegetarian options. 

I've read a ton of Yelp reviews for Town Hall and many of them talk about bad service. We didn't have that experience. We had to flag someone down to get silverware and I might have liked some more water but nothing was terrible. Again, I can cut a restaurant some slack when it's new and overflowing with people during happy hour. 

I bought a discount gift certificate through Cleveland Independents (there are still some available!) and I hope to go back sometime soon to see how everything is coming together over at Town Hall. I think it's a great addition to Ohio City and has the potential to be the new hot spot in the neighborhood. 

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